December is a time to look back and reflect on the year that was. Berks County Eats is taking a look back at the best of the best from more than 50 restaurants and 10 festivals we visited in 2014. This week: Our Top Five Favorite Appetizers. 

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. For a foodie, that means the first taste you get at a restaurant is usually an appetizer. Here’s a look back to our five favorite appetizers we tried in the past year:


Fried Hot Peppers – Mom Chaffe’s Cellarette

Unique is almost always better when it comes to appetizers and I don’t think I had anything more unique than the Italian fried hot peppers at Mom Chaffe’s Cellarette. Pan-fried chile peppers served atop a bed of Mozzarella, tomatoes and lettuce were well-worth the few extra TUMS I had to take that night. The hot and creamy appetizer was infinitely better than an ordinary jalapeno popper.


Lamb Sausage Flatbread – Emily’s

There was so much to love about this dish, from the crispy base to the chunks of spicy lamb to the blend of Fortina and Mozzarella cheese to the caramelized onions. But what really brought this together was the red currant sauce which took what would have been delicious already and gave it a sweet, berry flavor that brought everything together to create a perfect starter.


Pierogies au Schpeck – Bowers Hotel

Pierogies are a great side dish, but how do you turn them into an amazing appetizer? Wrap them in bacon, deep fry them, and serve them atop a bed of sour cream, chives and sautéed onions. The result was less a pierogi, and more a loaded potato with fried dough. I savored every crunchy bite of this beautiful creation.


Sausage Diavolo Flatbread – Viva Bistro & Lounge

The second flatbread dish on our list was completely different from the first, but just as delicious. Viva’s sausage diavolo flatbread was more of a traditional pizza served atop the thin, crispy crust. Topped with chunks of sausage, strips of red peppers and more cheese than the plate could handle, I could have stopped the meal right there and been very happy.


Sweet Potato and Pub Rings – Willoughby’s Bar & Grill

If you’re ordering an appetizer at a bar and grill, fried food is almost mandatory. The sweet potato fries and onion rings combination at Willoughby’s was one of the best fried appetizers I have found. It’s a good dish that was made great by the sweet maple dipping sauce. The only downside was I couldn’t stop eating them, as the two of us were sharing enough for four people. (Note: Willoughby’s has changed their menu and sweet potato fries have been removed. Pub rings are still available as a stand alone appetizer).

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