Looking back, 2019 was a great year for new restaurants in Berks County. Unfortunately we also lost a few restaurants – some old favorites and some new places that couldn’t make it. Here’s a last look back at some of the restaurants we lost in 2019.

Signatures Cafe by Angell

Signatures Cafe was the anchor eatery at the short-lived Morgantown Farmers Marketplace located just outside town (and just over the county line in Lancaster County). We had the opportunity to enjoy some of Signature’s soul food in January before the market closed in March.

Mad Anthony’s

Another Morgantown Farmers Marketplace vendor, Mad Anthony’s was a butcher and sandwich stand that closed along with the market in March.

Abigail’s Tea Room

Abigail’s Tea Room was in business for 13 years, offering breakfast and lunch in a beautiful Victorian home along Perkiomen Avenue in Reading. Unfortuantely the Tea Room closed in August. At the time, it was said that the business was looking to reopen in a large space – potentially in Boyertown – but there have been no updates since.

Brocmar Smokehouse
West Reading

When it opened in the Shillington Farmers Market at the end of 2017, Brocmar Smokehouse quickly became my new favorite barbecue place in Berks County. So I was very excited to hear it was opening inside the cafe portion of B2 Bistro in West Reading. Unfortunately the partnership lasted just a few months before closing in October when B2 began doing barbecue themselves in the space. The good news for Brocmar fans is that the Shillington Farmers Market location and the stand at the Santander Arena continue on.

Nectar’s Cafe & Juice Bar

Nectar’s was the food and beverage extension of the Yoga House in Kutztown. While the Yoga House continues (it was scheduled to move, then didn’t), the cafe closed in July.

Jake’s Place

Jake’s Place, a comfort food restaurant and bar located just outside Hamburg along Old Route 22, closed in June after completing the sale of its liquor license.

House of Jerk Dread

House of Jerk Dread brought authentic Jamaican food to Penn Street in Reading when it opened in 2017. And while the restaurant closed in early 2019, HOJD is still going strong. You can still enjoy their signature jerk chicken – and their many other offerings – at events throughout Berks County (or have them cater yours).

Le Pain Chaud

Le Pain Chaud billed itself as Berks County’s Haitian bakery and cafe. Operating in Wernersville, the cafe closed in early fall as the owners made the decision to concentrate on the catering side of the business.

1 Potato Two at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market

1 Potato Two

One of my favorite stands at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market, 1 Potato Two offered the Spudwich, a completely unique “sandwich” that featured potatoes instead of bread. The business had been for sale for a while, eventually closing in the fall. 1 Potato Two still has a food truck operation based n South Jersey. San’s Asian Food now occupies the market stand.

The Sandwich Shack

Another Fairgrounds Farmers Market stand that closed in 2019, the Sandwich Shack offered a range of breakfast and lunch sandwiches. The space now houses Tradicions, a stand offering street tacos, egg sandwiches and more.

Pit Stop Tavern/Decades Speakeasy

The Pit Stop Tavern had been a staple in eastern Berks County since the 1950s. New owners took over the space in 2018. A year later, the restaurant was renovated and reopened as Decades Speakeasy, closing just a few weeks later. The site is now home to Barrel & Ale, which offers German specialities among other American comfort foods.

Billy Burger & Bakery

While it operated, Billy Burger & Bakery was home to some of the best burgers in Berks County. Unfortunately the restuarant closed in early 2019.

The BBQ Bully

The BBQ Bully is one of the craziest stories of 2019. The eatery opened inside the Reverb nightclub in downtown Reading. Then after only a few days of regular hours, it closed. Though the owner promises to continue and find new avenues for bringing his barbecue to Reading and Berks County.

Irena’s Mexican and Italian Restaurant

This summer, Irena’s Mexican and Italian Restaurant moved from Auburn, Schuylkill County, to the former A&M Pizza in Wernersville. Unfortunately the new location didn’t stick and after just a few months in business, the lights were off and Irena’s closed.

On a Roll Grill

Suffering much the same fate as Irena’s, On A Roll Grill was also a short-lived restaurant. Opening and closing in a matter of a few months, On A Roll Grill originally posted on Facebook that they would be closing for a week. Then a sign appeared on the door that said they were closed for the season and would reopen in May. At this point, it appears as if the restaurant is closed for good.

Castaneda’s Mexican Restaurant

Castaneda’s, which opened in 2017, quickly became a popular spot on the west side of Robeosnia. A second location opened in January in Denver, Lancaster County. This summer, the Robesonia location closed as it prepared to move to a larger space on the other side of town. A “Coming Soon” sign has been outside ever since as we continue to wait for Castaneda’s return.

Belly Kitchen & Drinkery

Belly Kitchen & Drinkery

Belly Kitchen & Drinkery opened inside the Goggleworks to much fanfare in July 2018. Earlier this year, the restaurant partners announced they were leaving downtown to partner with the Barley Mow Craft Beer House in West Reading, which had previously operated without a kitchen. Belly officially closed at the end of October, but the Goggleworks will have a new bar and restaurant soon when the Den by Sly Fox opens in December.

Francesca’s Pizzeria & Restaurant

Francesca’s was the successor to Arner’s, the longtime area diner along Howard Boulevard in east Reading. The Italian restaurant operated from 2016 until this fall. Plaza Azteca, the Mexican restaurant chain, is set to open its second Berks County location in the space. 

Sofrito Gastro Pub

Of all the closings, this may be the one that stings the most. Sofrito Gastro Pub was a neighborhood gem on the edge of the Centre Park Historic District in Reading. Sofrito shined bright, even opening a second location in Mohnton that operated for a short time. Now both locations are closed.

Hay Creek Snack Shack

The Hay Creek Snack Shack closed in early October as a restaurant. The owners made the announcement on Facebook, citing a desire to concentrate on catering. They also offered baked goods around the holidays. In the announcement, the possibility of reopening as a restaurant was left open, but for now, the Snack Shack is closed.

Dryville Hotel

The Dryville Hotel, located just a few miles south of Lyons in the village of Dryville, closed in November. The former owners, who operated the hotel for the past seven years, sold the location and their liquor licenese to the owners of the Liberty Taproom and Liberty Ale House. The Liberty at Dryville is expected to open at the spot sometime in early 2020.

Bistro 614
West Reading

After 15 years in business, West Reading’s Bistro 614 closed in early December. The fine dining restaurant suffered a devastating fire in 2014, reopening in 2015. Less than five years later, the restaurant is now closed. There is no word on what will happen to the location.

Talarico’s Sandwich Shop

One of Berks County’s longest running restaurants, Talarico’s Sandwich Shop closed after 68 years of business. The Boyertown landmark announced the closing with a letter on the door thanking its customers, family and friends.

Know of a restaurant that has recently closed? Send us an email at berkscountyeats@gmail.com.

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