Kwik Shoppe Pulled Duck Sandwich

Kwik Shoppe Drive-In

Kwik Shoppe Drive-In Shoemakersville, PA

In October 2018, Arby’s tested a very unique sandwich at one of its Berks County locations. The Arby’s in Spring Township sold – and sold out of – the one-time-only duck sandwich.

It was a very different concept, especially for a national fast food chain. But it was met with positive reviews, and the line that morning when Arby’s opened up said there was a demand for it.

That’s where the Kwik Shoppe in Shoemakersville comes in. They saw opportunity and capitalized on it, introducing duck on their menu in November.

Kwik Shoppe Drive-In Shoemakersville, PA

While duck is normally found on finer dining menus – five-spice duck breast at Savory Grille and ravioli with duck ragu at Salute come to mind – it’s not the first time I’ve had it in a more casual setting.

At the Liberty Taproom, I enjoyed a duck confit burger topped with duck sausage. And my first real taste of duck came at the relaxed Canal Street Pub.

But fast food is a different story. Walking into the Kwik Shoppe – a quintessential drive-in with hexagonal tile floor, booth seating and a claw machine behind the door – duck just doesn’t seem to fit.

The Kwik Shoppe has three different duck items on their menu: the pulled duck sandwich, duck fries and a duck sausage sandwich. All of them sounded good, but a photo of the pulled duck sandwich on the restaurant’s Facebook page had me sold before I got there.

Kwik Shoppe Pulled Duck Sandwich

The sandwich was topped with an onion ring and pineapple papaya sauce (barbecue sauce was also an option).

Before diving into the sandwich, I tasted the meat on its own. It was similar to a pulled pork but fattier with a deeper flavor. I was impressed.

On the whole, the sandwich was very good. There wasn’t a lot of sauce, but there didn’t need to be. It added some sweet and tangy notes that came through after the meat. The onion ring was a reminder that I was eating fast food. It wasn’t necessary, but I certainly didn’t mind it either.

I would go back for another.

Kwik Shoppe Drive-In Cheeseburger

Julie went with the much less exciting cheeseburger. It wasn’t bad, but it’s not going to win any best burger contests. It was also around $2 so we’re not going to complain.

Kwik Shoppe Drive-In French Fries

Both of us did enjoy our fries. They weren’t anything special, just a really good fast food-style French fry. They were cut small so you could pop several of them at a time. I think their small size allowed them to retain more flavor from the fryer. After adding a little salt and pepper, they were just what we hoped they would be.

Kwik Shoppe Drive-In Mac and Cheese Bites

Jakob, our now one-year-old son, is now at the point that he can have his own food when we go out. So we got him an order for mac and cheese bites. He enjoyed them, eating two out of the five in the order (along with some fries and some duck). Again, nothing special, just a typical fried fast food side.

None of us really needed anything else to eat after our dinners, but the ice cream was right there, and we just couldn’t pass up the chance to indulge.

Kwik Shoppe Drive-In Ice Cream

I am a sucker for flurries so my go-to on this night was a brownie dough flurry. The flurry was actually mixed to the point that much of the brownie had broken off into small bits, making it look more like cookies and cream than brownie dough. But there were still some larger chunks that were definitely brownie. It was delicious, but a small was more than enough for me, especially after indulging at dinner.

Julie’s new favorite dessert is the dusty road sundae. Kwik Shoppe loaded theirs up with chocolate syrup, malt powder, whipped cream, crushed peanuts and the obligatory cherry on top. The soft-serve vanilla was very good and they didn’t skimp on the toppings. Julie couldn’t finish it, but made sure to eat “all the good stuff.”

We spent about $32 on our visit – $22 on dinner and $10 on dessert. The duck items are a little more expensive than the rest of the menu so we easily could have spent less and we easily could have spent more. But overall, it felt like a good value.

The service isn’t great (a little slow but not bad), but that’s to be expected when a group of four high school students are handling all of the orders behind the counter.

I went in to the meal with an open mind when it came to fast food duck. After eating the pulled duck sandwich, I think you can count me among the believers.

And I hope there are more believers out there because this was a sandwich I would like to have again.

BCE Rating
Food: Fair to Very Good
Service: Fair
Ambiance: Good
Value: Reasonable

Kwik Shoppe Drive-In
555 Shoemaker Ave
Shoemakersville, PA 19555

Dessert Drive-Ins Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Scoupe DeVille

Driving along Route 724 near Birdsboro it’s hard to miss Scoupe Deville. The building, with its distinct half-car sticking out the front, was built in the 1950s as a service station.

First opening as an ice cream parlor in 2001, Scoupe DeVille’s current owners took over the space in 2017.

The 1950s has been brought back in all its kitschy glory inside Scoupe DeVille. Reproduction signs, old photographs, an old jukebox and a retro gas pump are among the hundreds of decorations found throughout the building.

Early rock ‘n’ roll played through speakers inside and outside the building. A small TV in one corner showed clips of the Three Stooges and I Love Lucy on rotation.

In addition to ice cream, Scoupe DeVille does offer a very limited food menu that includes burgers, hot dogs, fries and barbecue sandwiches.

I ordered a Coney burger with onions and no cheese. I was a little puzzled when the young lady behind the counter told me that the Coney burger came smothered in gravy, but I rolled with it. Just like I rolled with it when the burger came out with a slice of white American cheese on top.

It was an okay burger. There’s no grill (at least that I saw) so I’m sure it was a pre-done patty that was just reheated.

Julie’s hot dog was a little better, though it was absolutely loaded with cheese and chili – probably a little overstuffed. It was good enough, if a little messy.

One thing we really enjoyed was the use of potato rolls for the hamburger and the hot dog. It’s a small touch, but it does make a difference in flavor.

Another thing we enjoyed were the fries. The crinkle-cut fries were no different than you would find at similar places, but that didn’t make them any less enjoyable.

If I was going to grab dinner there again, I would either opt for a bowl of chili or a barbecue sandwich.

But we weren’t really there for the food. We were there for the ice cream.

The ice cream menu is vast, with hard and soft ice cream, four types of banana splits, milkshakes, sundaes, shimmies (kind of like a Blizzard but not copyrighted), and the Fat Elvis Ice Cream Challenge: a 10-scoop sundae (five scoops of banana ice cream, five scoops of peanut butter ice cream), seven toppings, whipped cream, a brownie, a banana and cherries. Eat it in 30 minutes, and you win.

I don’t know how long the challenge has been in place, but there was only one photo on the wall of fame.

Julie and I were only looking for one scoop each. Scoupe DeVille primarily serves Nelson’s Ice Cream (we most recently saw Nelson’s ice cream at Oley Turnpike Dairy), but they also offer select flavors from Schuylkill County favorite Leiby’s Dairy.

And it just happened that the flavors that caught our eyes were both from Leiby’s.

For me, it was cashew and raspberry. Not to be confused with black raspberry, the cashew and raspberry was a vanilla ice cream with raspberry swirl. No, this was better than any black raspberry. It was sweet and rich. If I had one criticism it would be that there weren’t enough cashews and I would have liked the nuts to have been salted. That would have put it over the top in my book.

Julie went with red velvet cheesecake, a new flavor (according to Scoupe DeVille’s Facebook page). The decadent ice cream featured chunks of red velvet with graham cracker crust. It was a unique flavor, and quickly became one of Julie’s favorites. She also splurged on a chocolate-covered waffle cone dipped in sprinkles. It’s hard not to love that.

Between dinner and ice cream, our total was just over $20. And while dinner certainly didn’t wow us, the ice cream had us leaving extremely satisfied.

BCE Rating
Food: Fair
Ice Cream: Excellent
Ambiance: Very Good
Service: Good
Value: Very Reasonable

Scoupe DeVille
3365 Main St
Birdsboro, PA 19508

Note: Scoupe DeVille is only open seasonally

Dessert Drive-Ins Lunch & Dinner Reviews
Our meal: Steak Sandwich, Chicken Steak Sandwich and Fries.

Intel’s Pennside Drive-In

Intel's Pennside Drive-In

Some weeks, doing this blog is easy. Other weeks, getting out and doing a review seems next to impossible.

This was one of those weeks.

The thing is, we actually had a plan. We knew where we were going, and I even had a good idea of what I was going to get when we got there. What we hadn’t anticipated was arriving at our desired restaurant only to find the parking lot completely full. (We’ll save that story for another review).

So we found ourselves on the east side of Reading. Our plans were thrown out the window, and we were hungry.

We needed a place that was fast so we headed out Carsonia Avenue to Intel’s Pennside Drive-In.

Intel's Pennside Drive-In has a familiar interior.

It was my first visit to the Pennside, but stepping inside, it felt like a place I had been before. From the checkered floor tiles that harkened back to D&J Sandwich Shop to the retro booths that could have been plucked from Schell’s, CeGee’s or any other similar restaurant that pre-dates the term “fast-casual.”

There’s two parts to Intel’s – the dinner and the dessert. While Julie and I would have loved a cone of soft serve, a towering sundae or a fresh-made milkshake, we needed to get through dinner first.

Pennside’s dinner menu is more robust than many similar restaurants. In addition to burgers and hot dogs, there are also hot and cold subs, including tuna burgers, chipped sausage sandwiches and a variety of steak sandwiches.

Our meal: Steak Sandwich, Chicken Steak Sandwich and Fries.

Julie decided to go with a traditional Berks County-style cheesesteak with meat sauce and onions while I went with the chicken steak, a lighter version of the same thing.

The small hoagie rolls were packed to capacity with the finely chopped steak. We had seen the steaks go on the flattop grill. They looked like Steak-umms or something similar, and we weren’t mad about that because the sandwiches tasted great.

The closest comparison we could make was to V&S. They were meaty and just a little greasy with just enough marinara sauce and onions to pop every few bites with flavor.

We split a small order of French fries as well. They were your average thick-cut fast food fries. Nothing special, but a good go-with for the steak sandwiches.

One of the big pluses for the Pennside is value. For our two sandwiches, fries and two bottled drinks, we spent just $18.

Unfortunately, we didn’t save room for dessert. Next time, I think we’ll skip the fries in favor of ice cream. That seems like a fair trade.

Next time, we’ll plan our trip better. And I’m sure there will be a next time.

BCE Rating
Food: Good
Service: Good
Ambiance: Good
Price: Very Reasonable

Intel’s Pennside Drive-In
916 Carsonia Ave
Reading, PA 19606

Pennside Drive In Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Drive-Ins Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Road Trip: Heisler’s Cloverleaf Dairy

Berks County is home to many retro drive-in restaurants.

Places like Schell’s, Cee-Gees, the Kwik Stoppe and Intel’s Pennside Drive-In are local favorites that continue to attract diners for classics like hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and, of course, ice cream.

Retro restaurants like these can be found everywhere from the biggest cities to rural backroads.

The latter is where you will find Schuylkill County’s favorite drive-in: Heisler’s Cloverleaf Dairy.

Heisler’s is like a mix of Schell’s, Boehringer’s and the Works. It’s a retro quick-service restaurant with homemade ice cream. It’s also a mini-golf mecca with two 18-hole courses. Add to that the driving range, arcade and gift shop, and Heisler’s has to be considered an entertainment destination.

Though only a 45-minute drive from Reading, Heisler’s feels like another world. The complex grew up around the original Heisler’s dairy farm, which explains why it feels like the middle of nowhere, three miles from the nearest numbered highway (Route 895) along a windy, two-lane road.

Yet when we pulled up, the parking lot was packed with customers from all over, including several from Berks County (the Fleetwood Tigers and SV Panthers shirts gave away their hometowns).

Despite the crowded parking lot, there wasn’t much of a line to order – most of the people seemed to already be on the golf course or eating – so we were helped quickly.

Our order was fairly simple: a cheeseburger for Julie, a hamburger for me, an order of fries to share and two bottles of water. And it was out in a hurry.

The burgers were fresh off the grill. I prefer the basics: LTO. I have no complaints about the burger. It’s fast food not gourmet. Don’t expect anything more and you won’t be disappointed.

The crinkle cut fries were a bit of a letdown though. I have to assume they had been sitting for a moment before being served because they warm, not hot, and a little hard as opposed to crispy.

I’ve had their fries when piping hot and they are very good. This was an off-day for them.

Between dinner and dessert, we took time to play 18. When I was a child, my parents had brought us to Heisler’s once or twice. The old miniature golf course (and tepee) is gone, replaced in 2003 by two more modern courses.

The Black Diamond Fairways features a coal mine theme, complete with a rock waterfall. It’s also the busier of the two (especially with kids). We decided for the faster, calmer round at Lewistown Fairways.

It’s a beautiful course that’s fun and challenging enough that Julie couldn’t luck into a win against my 3-under performance.

After working up our appetites again, we were at the dessert window (desserts are ordered at the front of the building, hot food at the side).

I went with a very…vanilla option, choosing a vanilla milkshake over more complicated desserts. I can’t help it; I love milkshakes. And Heisler’s milkshakes are not too runny, not too thick and sized just right. They work just as well for dessert as they do with your meal.

When it comes to desserts, Julie is more of a go-big-or-go-home kind of girl. She went with the peanut butter sundae with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter topping, whipped cream and a cherry on top.

It must have been good because she devoured it pretty fast. We had absolutely nothing to complain about at dinner.

For everything – dinner, miniature golf and dessert – we spent around $35. Not bad for an evening of food and entertainment.

A few other notes for those who have never been to Heisler’s or haven’t been there in a while:

  • Heisler’s is CASH ONLY. There’s an ATM on site if you forget, but who wants to pay those fees?
  • The Waffle Shop is still there, but it’s no longer serving waffles and ice cream. It has been converted into a private party area.
  • Most of the seating is located under a large pavilion. It can fill up at the dinner rush so be prepared to not get a table, just in case.

Heisler’s is a fun time with good food. Yes, there are plenty of places in Berks County to get similar food and a similar experience, but sometimes it’s nice to just go for a drive and explore something different.

And for us, Heisler’s is worth a drive, if only once a year.

Heisler’s Cloverleaf Dairy
743 Catawissa Rd
Tamaqua, PA 18252

Heisler Cloverleaf Dairy, Inc. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dessert Drive-Ins Reviews

CeGee’s Drive-In

cegee-s

When I go out to eat during the summer, I’m looking for something very different than any other time in the year.

I can’t explain why, but something about the warm months makes me crave less gourmet meals and more fast food. Thankfully, Berks County has no shortage of home-grown restaurants offering an alternative to the Big Mac.

A few weeks ago we traveled south on Route 222 to Boehringer’s. But a short drive in the other direction brings you to another summer-only spot where ice cream is king.

CeGee’s Drive-In sits on Fleetwood-Blandon Road, just a short piece from where the Route 222 bypass ends and the two-lane begins.

This season marks the 11th for CeGee’s. For the first nine of those years, the parking lot would fill up on select Saturday nights for the popular restaurant, a tradition that ended last year with the arrival of a new retail store next door that took away the extra parking needed.

Even without the cruise nights, the restaurant remains busy. When we arrived on a warm Saturday afternoon for lunch, most of the booths that lined that dining room were full with families.

One difference between CeGee’s and similar restaurants that we’ve visited like Boehringer’s and Schell’s is that CeGee’s has a much larger food menu than the others. In addition to the staples like hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries, the menu includes cheesesteaks, chicken fingers, and a variety of sides like jalapeno poppers and pierogis.

cegee-s-3

But when the sign outside proclaims “Coney Island,” there’s really only one option.

Coney Island hamburgers are a favorite of mine, but there are not a lot of places in Berks County to get one anymore.

cegee-s-coney-burger

It’s a simple pleasure: a traditional hamburger patty covered in onions and Coney Island sauce, and CeGee’s does it really well. The sauce is somewhere between hamburger barbecue and chili with the meat ground really fine. It’s a just a little sweet, a great topper to a tasty burger.

cegee-s-bacon-cheeseburger

Julie also was hungry for a burger, ordering the bacon cheeseburger. The American cheese was melted on top of the bacon, smothering everything for a delicious meal.

cegee-s-fries

Planning ahead to dessert, we decided to split an order of fries. The thick cut spuds were good, but not unlike any other fast food joint.

While the lunch and dinners are good, it is ice cream that is CeGee’s real bread and butter, so to speak. The soft serve only comes in two flavors—vanilla and chocolate—but those two flavors are just a starting point for flavor burst dips, a dozen different sundaes, countless milkshake flavors and nor’easters, CeGee’s version of the Blizzard.

ce-gee-s-banana-split

And then there’s the classic banana split which was just too tempting to resist. Three mounds of soft serve topped with pineapple, chocolate and strawberries, a load of whipped cream and the obligatory cherry on top, it was perfection in a plastic boat.

cegee-s-chocolate-crunch-nor-easter

A chocolate crunch nor’easter sounded good to Julie. Essentially cookies and cream, the vanilla soft serve was swirled with chocolate cookie bits. It’s impossible to go wrong with that flavor combination.

Dessert almost cost as much as our meal, which says more about how reasonable the food prices are at CeGee’s. All told, we spent just over $20 during our visit.

As with most of the summer drive-ins, there’s nothing fancy about CeGee’s. The food is good, the ice cream is fantastic, and there’s plenty of each to choose from.

It was a great place to satisfy my fast food craving.

BCE Rating
Food: Good
Service: Good
Ambiance: Very Good
Price: Very Reasonable

CeGee’s Drive-In
833 Park Rd
Blandon, PA 19510

Dessert Drive-Ins Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Boehringer’s Drive-In

boehringer-s-sign

The beginning of spring is one of my favorite times of year. The weather begins to warm. The flowers begin to bloom. And Boehringer’s Drive-In in Adamstown springs to life for another season.

Located just a stone’s throw from the Berks County line, Boehringer’s is a true throwback—a seasonal spot open from mid-March to September.

Last May, the grill fell silent after a fire ripped through the kitchen. A faulty milkshake mixer was blamed for the blaze and for the first time in 70 years, the summer staple sat idle as the calendar turned to June.

But two months after the fire, Boehringer’s was back, and picked up right where it left off.

The summer flew past and September came faster than I expected. I never made it to Boehringer’s after the re-opening, which meant enduring the six-month hibernation until I could go again.

Part of Boehringer’s charm is the coziness. And by cozy, I mean it’s small. Cramming inside the building with the hungry mob is all part of the experience. There is no indoor seating, just a narrow area where everyone waits before and after placing the order.

The only place that may be more crowded is behind the counter, where about 10 workers jockey for position to take orders, scoop ice cream and build burgers, all while sharing a single cash register.

Boehringer’s is a lot like Schell’s (without the mini golf). The menu is simple: burgers, hot dogs, French fries and hamburger BBQ, with lots of ice cream.

While there are no seats inside, there are plenty of picnic tables outside along Little Muddy Creek. We were among the lucky few to find a table while many others were stuck eating in their cars in the jam-packed parking lot.

boehringer-s-hamburger-bbq

There’s nothing fancy about Boehringer’s food. It’s just simple and good. The hamburger BBQ doesn’t taste much different than you would find at a backyard picnic. The fries are typical fast food. But everything is delicious (and inexpensive) which is why so many people go back year after year.

boehringer-s-ice-cream-menu-board

What really sets Boehringer’s apart from other places is the ice cream. The sign on the wall says it all, “Yes! We still do, always have, and always will make our own ice cream.” Twenty-one flavors of hard ice cream are available at all times, along with 12 sundaes and my favorite, milkshakes.

boehringer-s-peach-milkshake

Peach sounded like the perfect flavor for a spring shake, and I was right. I got a chunk of fresh peach with every few sips. It was cool, refreshing and delicious.

boehringer-s-cheeseburger

Julie has always had a soft spot for Boehringer’s banana ice cream, another flavor with real pieces of fruit, not syrup flavoring, which makes all the difference.

One of the reasons why people keep flocking to Boehringer’s is the how inexpensive it is. For our two meals, plus a third for my mother-in-law who was tagging along, our bill just hit $20.

Boehringer’s has been a summer tradition for more than 70 years, and its no surprise. Homemade ice cream, great food and a unique experience combine to make the drive-in a real attraction.

Just watch the calendar. September will be here before you know it.

Boehringer's Drive-In on Urbanspoon

Dessert Drive-Ins Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Schell’s & Schell’s Dairy Swirl

Schell-s

It was in 1955 that Ray Kroc teamed up with the McDonald brothers, rewriting the history of the fast food restaurant.

From the humble beginnings in San Bernardino, McDonald’s became the benchmark for American fast food, leading a multi-billion-dollar industry.

But despite the dominance of fast food giants, local quick service restaurants continue to thrive in a niche market.

In 1952, three full years before the McDonald’s revolution began, one of Berks County’s favorite fast food spots opened it doors.

Schell-s-Menu-Board

Not much has changed in the six decades since Schell’s began selling hamburgers and hot dogs along 5th Street Highway in Temple. The prices have gone up a little (you can’t get fries for 15 cents anymore), but the menu is largely the same: burgers, dogs, grilled cheese, fried chicken, fries, onion rings, and my personal favorite, hamburger bar-b-que.

Schell-s-bar-b-que-and-fries

Hamburger bar-b-que is so simple to make (four ingredients: ground beef, ketchup, mustard and brown sugar), yet I find it hard to top Schell’s. A tip for first-timers: to cut down on the mess, eat your sandwich upside down. The thicker top half of the bun will absorb more of the juices.

Of course, what fast food meal is complete without a side of fries and a milkshake? The crinkle fries are crisped to perfection and pre-loaded with plenty of salt. Schell’s offers four flavors of milkshakes from its soft serve machine: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and my personal favorite: raspberry. The shakes are nice and thick, and though they won’t do much to quench your thirst, they are delicious.

Dairy-Swirl

Those with a sweet tooth may want to forgo the shake in favor of some frozen treats. Just across the parking lot is one of the sweetest places in Berks County, Schell’s Dairy Swirl. (Rather than skip the shake, I decided to make an ice cream-only trip later in the week).

If you aren’t sure if you still have room, inside the barn-like building are large pictures of sundaes, ice cream cones and banana splits, just to get you a little hungrier.

Dairy-Swirl-Arctic-Swirl

I went with a banana split arctic swirl, the equivalent of a Dairy Queen Blizzard. Watching them make it is the best kind of torture as they slice up a fresh banana and add it, along with the remaining ingredients, into a cup of vanilla soft serve, then mix it all up into a delicious mess.

Dairy-Swirl-Peanut-Butter-Sundae

Sundaes are another favorite at the Dairy Swirl. My wife’s peanut butter sundae was loaded with peanuts and peanut butter sauce, and piled high with whipped cream. Maybe it was piled a little too high because half of the whipped cream (as well as the cherry on top) fell to the floor as she tried to eat it.)

And the fun doesn’t end with dessert. After you finish the last spoonful of soft serve, 27 holes of miniature golf are waiting to challenge even the most experienced putters.

Schell-s-miniature-golf

Schell’s course is not just nine holes longer than a standard course, it’s far more difficult. The slopes and patches of “rough” and “bunkers” that surround the holes can be frustrating for those looking for a low score (like myself), but immense fun for anyone who doesn’t take their game too seriously.

The next time you’re thinking about picking up some fast food, skip the drive-through lane and head to Schell’s. The prices are just as reasonable, but the food is so much better. Besides, I’ve never seen a Burger King with mini-golf.

So whether you go for a quick dinner, a creamy dessert or a round of golf, Schell’s is a sure hole-in-one.

BCE Rating
Food: Good
Service: Good
Ambiance: Good
Price: Very Reasonable

Schell’s
4625 N. 5th Street Hwy
Temple, PA 19560

Schell's on Urbanspoon

Classics Drive-Ins Lunch & Dinner Reviews