Patty’s closes; El Morro announces opening dates; more food news

Wyomissing’s Patty’s Soups closes

Patty’s Soups, Salads and Such in Wyomissing has closed after four years in business. The announcement was made on the restaurant’s Facebook page last week. The restaurant was located on Park Road in the same strip mall as two other restaurants, Nino’s of Wyomissing and Mikura.

El Morro to celebrate Grand Opening May 19 & 20

The new El Morro Cafe will celebrate its grand opening on May 19 and 20. The new West Reading restaurant, the second location for the owners of Old San Juan Cafe in Reading, will have live entertainment and free samples both days. El Morro is located at 808 North Ninth Street.

Rutter’s planned for Hamburg

Hamburg is set to get a new Rutter’s Farm Store, according to an article in the April 26 Reading Eagle. The new convenience store will be open 24 hours. Rutter’s menu is similar to Sheetz’s with made-to-order burgers, wraps, chicken, nachos, sandwiches and more. Scheduled to open in late summer, the store will be located at the corner of Route 61 and Grand Street.

Chef Tim Twiford wins Taste of Wyomissing

Chef Tim Twiford from the Crowne Plaza Wyomissing earned top honors in the annual Taste of Wyomissing event, his second victory in as many years, according to the April 29 Reading Eagle. Chef Twiford’s dish was voted best among six participating restaurants in the community choice category.

Food News

Fleetwood Grille, Simmeria sold; new fast-food restaurant planned for 5th St; more food news

Fleetwood Grille, Simmeria sold

The Fleetwood Grille and Simmeria Cafe have been sold, according to a post on their official Facebook pages. Details were few, but the new owners are veterans of the restaurant business in Berks County. Here is the full post:

N and I thank you all for your patience, concerns, and kind notes!! I am EXTREMELY proud to announce that we have found a Berks County area family — decades successful in Berks County, that specializes in FRESH food, great beer selection, and the kind of service that can only come from a truly family run business, to reopen. This will be their second location, the first one (as I noted) wildly successful.

Over the course of the past few years, it became painfully obvious to N and I that absentee ownership simply does not work. We, therefore, focused our efforts on finding the “right” person(s) to bring what we have always believed our Community is craving, (finally) alive.

Please stay tuned for further details, some GREAT stuff (and awesome FRESH food and beer and wines and custom drinks — already honed to be some of Berks’ County’s Best), is coming VERY soon!

Popeye’s planned for 5th Street Highway

A new Popeye’s could be coming to the Fifth Street Highway, according to an article in the April 21 Reading Eagle. Plans for the restaurant were brought before the Muhlenberg Township Planning Commission. The restaurant would be built on the site of the vacant discount movie theater in Plaza 222.

Wild Fox Farm running Barnraiser campaign

Barto’s Wild Fox Farm is currently running a Barnraiser campaign to help the business reduce its carbon footprint. The Footprint Campaign seeks to raise $30,000 for the farm to install a walk-in freezer and solar panels to generate 50% of the farm’s energy needs. The farm supplies many area restaurants and is a regular at the Emmaus Farmers’ Market. You can watch the full campaign video below.

Food News

Liberty Alehouse coming to Lancaster Ave; Sweet Ride opening Monday; Ulrich’s set to close; and more food news

The Liberty Alehouse to open on Lancaster Avenue

The Liberty Alehouse, a new sister restaurant to the Liberty Taproom, is coming to Lancaster Avenue. The new restaurant launched its own Facebook page last week to announce the news. The location at 1501 Lancaster Avenue is the former Avenue Bar & Grill. No opening date is available yet. Liberty Taproom has been open in Exeter Township since 2011.

Sweet Ride Ice Cream opening Monday

Sweet Ride Ice Cream is opening its new West Reading location on Monday, April 18, according to its official Facebook page. This will be the first permanent location for the mobile ice cream business. The new location is on the 500 block of Penn Avenue next to the West Reading Drug Store. Sweet Ride started as an ice cream cart in 2014 and debuted an ice cream truck last year.

Ulrich’s in Shoemakersville closing

Ulrich’s Sandwich Shop in Shoemakersville will close its doors on May 2, according to an article in the April 13 Reading Eagle. Ulrich’s has been serving Shomeakersville and the surrounding communities since 1985. According to the article, the owners are retiring and will not be selling the business, though the equipment and memorabilia will eventually go to auction.

Fleetwood Grille, Simmeria closed for remodeling

Simmeria Cafe and Bistro and the Fleetwood Grille at Simmeria are closed for remodeling, according to posts on both Facebook pages. No date has been announced for reopening. Simmeria opened on Main Street in Fleetwood in 2010, adding the Fleetwood Grille one year later.

Jambalaya J’s reopens after fire

Jambalaya J’s reopened on Friday, according to its official Facebook page. A small fire at the stand on April 7 forced the Fairgrounds Farmers Market to close the next day. All other stands were able to reopen, but Jambalaya J’s remained closed for cleaning and minor repairs.

Food News

New concept steakhouse coming to Wyomissing – April Fool’s

fogo de chow chow

This post was originally written as an April Fool’s joke in 2016. To read about actual restaurants coming soon to Berks County, check out our News section.

A new concept restaurant is coming to the former Old Country Buffet in Wyomissing. The unique restaurant blends the feel of a Brazilian steakhouse with Pennsylvania Dutch cooking.

Fogo de Chow Chow is the brainchild of Bobby “B.S.” Stoltzfus, who said he got the idea after eating at a Brazilian steakhouse near Philadelphia.

“I ain’t never seen anything like it,” he said. “We used to go the smorgasbords, but they were too much work. You had to get up and fetch some more food every time.

“Then I went to this Brazilian place and they brought everything to me and didn’t stop once now.”

poorly photoshopped photo of  a coming soon sign on a restaurant storefront

Fogo de Chow Chow takes the Brazilian steakhouse and Dutchifies it, as Stoltzfus says.

“We give everyone a card with a hex sign on it,” he said. “When you want more, just turn up the green side. And when you’re done, just turn up the red side.

“But we’ll keep bringing more anyhow because even when you say ‘I’m full,’ we know you can eat it.”

At many Brazilian steakhouses, the meat is delivered on skewers or swords, but Stoltzfus says his servers, dressed in suspenders and straw hats, will deliver it on pitchforks.

poorly photoshopped photo of a pitchfork with meatballs

“We’ll have steaks and pork chops done Dutchy style — always well done with a little salt…heck, we salt everything, even the salad…Then we’ll give you some of our specialties like ham balls, scrapple and stuffed pig’s stomach. And you’ll get to taste fancy foods like groundhog legs and roast pigeon.”

But what about the namesake chow chow? Stoltzfus says you won’t be disappointed.

“Our salad bar’s got lots of good stuff like chow chow, dandelions with hot bacon dressing, and waffles for your chicken.”

Then there’s dessert: shoo-fly pie, funny cake, A.P. and lots of it.

“If you leave here hungry, you ain’t right.”

The restaurant expects to open sometime this summer, though a soft opening could come as early as June.

“I can’t wait for everyone to try our food,” said Stoltzfus. “You’ll get plenty of bull at our steakhaus, or  my name ain’t B.S.”

Happy April Fool’s Day, Berks County.

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Food News

Basil’s Pizza opens in Reading; three restaurants set opening dates

Basil’s Pizza & Grill comes to Stadium District

A new restaurant, Basil’s Pizza & Grill, has opened along Route 61 near FirstEnergy Stadium. The location at 1635 Centre Ave was most recently home to the short-lived second location for Dino’s Wings & Things. Basil’s, which opened earlier this month, features pizzas, wraps, paninis, subs, pasta dinners and more.

Francesca’s delays opening one week

Francesca’s Pizzeria & Restaurant has delayed its opening one week, and is now scheduled to open this Wednesday, March 30. The restaurant, located in the former Arner’s on Howard Boulevard, was originally supposed to open last week, but announced on their Facebook page that they would be taking an extra week to prepare for opening day.

Firefly Cafe opening April 8

The Firefly Cafe, a new vegan restaurant coming to Reading Avenue in Boyertown, is scheduled to open on April 8, according to the cafe’s official Facebook page. The latest post touts the cafe’s passing of its final inspections. The cafe has also announced its hours, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Rice Modern Thai opening April 25

West Reading will have a new restaurant when Rice Modern Thai opens on April 25. The opening date was announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page last week. The restaurant will be located in the former Papillon Brasserie at 615 Penn Avenue.

Food News

Francesca’s sets opening date; Old San Juan location and opening revealed; more food news

Francesca’s to open March 23

Francesca’s Pizzeria & Restaurant will open for the first time next Wednesday, March 23. The announcement was made on Facebook last week. The new restaurant, located in the former Arner’s at 2101 Howard Boulevard in East Reading, has already posted their menu. It will include pizza, Italian dinners, hot and cold sandwiches, burgers and more.

Old San Juan eyeing mid-April for second location

The second location for Old San Juan Cafe should be open by the end of April, according to a representative of the restaurant. Work is underway at the new West Reading location, located at 36 N. Sixth Avenue. The location, which actually fronts Reading Ave, was most recently home to Taste of India.

Chef Alan’s now managing the Abe Lincoln

The Abraham Lincoln Hotel’s food service is now under new management. According to an article in the March 12 Reading Eagle, Chef Alan’s is taking over the Abe Saloon restaurant and all catering at the historic downtown hotel. The new Abe’s by Chef Alan restaurant will celebrate its reopening on April 1.

New life for former Big John’s restaurant?

A new restaurant may be coming to the former Big John’s on Schuylkill Avenue, according to the March 10 Reading Eagle. The following appeared in a Reading zoning board brief:

Sonia Camacho for a variance for the relief of off-street parking requirements for a property at 1316 Schuylkill Ave. Camacho plans to renovate a mixed-used structure into a first floor restaurant, with two dwelling units on the upper floors.

Big John’s restaurant closed in 2012 when owner John Ulrich retired.

Food News

Old San Juan opening new location; Leesport Diner open; more food news

Old San Juan Cafe opening second location

The Old San Juan Cafe is set to open a second location in West Reading, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page. The post says that the restaurant is now hiring and expects to open this spring. No further information on the location is available at this time. Berks County Eats recently visited Old San Juan’s 9th Street location. Read the review here.

Leesport Diner now open

The new Leesport Diner is now open. The restaurant opened for the first time on Sunday, February 28. Though no official announcement was made, customers have been posting reviews of their meals since the beginning of last week. The restaurant, located at the intersection of Routes 61 and 73, is open 24 hours.

Brook’s Cafe coming to Douglassville

A new breakfast and lunch spot is coming to the Douglassville area. Brook’s Cafe is coming soon to the Benjamin Franklin Court Shopping Center along Route 422 West. The sign is up above the door of the former Don Julio restaurant and crews have been working inside for the past few weeks. No open date is available yet.

Correction: In a correction from last week’s Food News recap, the Bloomin’ Lotus Cafe is not closed. The building is for sale, but the business is still open.

Food News

New pizza shop coming to Sinking Spring area; Winners announced in Chili Cook Off; more food news

Rocco’s Wood Fired Pizza coming to South Heidelberg

A new pizza place is scheduled to open in Sinking Spring. Rocco’s Wood Fired Pizza is moving into a vacant space in the Sinking Spring Plaza near the former Shurfine grocery store. The restaurant’s website lists April as the opening date. No menu has been posted yet, but the restaurant is advertising as a BYOB.

Former Lubrano’s Restaurant to become vapor store

The former Lubrano’s Pizza restaurant along Route 422 in Amity Township is being renovated into a vapor shop, according to a sign in front of the building. A “For Lease” sign had been out front since the restaurant closed last spring. In late summer, Woogies Wood-Fired BBQ had announced that it was moving from Pottstown into the location, but those plans fell through. Woogies instead reopened as Smokehouse BBQ and Grille in Limerick Township, Montgomery County.

Winners announced for Kettles of Fire Chili Cook Off

The winners have been announced for the second annual Kettles of Fire Chili Cook Off. The event, part of the Reading + Ice Fest, handed out judged awards as well as People’s Choice awards. Here are the winners:

First Place: Kauffman family
Second Place: Klinger’s on Carsonia
Third Place: Conrad Weiser Cross Country Team

People’s Choice
First Place: Muddy’s Smokehouse BBQ
Second Place: DoubleTree by Hilton
Third Place: Conrad Weiser Cross Country Team

Food News

Penn Grille ownership change; Woodside reopens; more food news

Penn Grille changes ownership

The Penn Grille in West Lawn is now under new ownership. The transition occurred over the New Year’s holiday without interrupting service. The Penn Grille, which now has a new logo and revived Facebook page, is attached to the Redner’s Quick Shoppe and Rite Aid Pharmacy at the corner of Penn Avenue and West Wyomissing Boulevard.

Woodside Family Restaurant reopens

Bechtelsville’s Woodside Family Restaurant has reopened, according to an article in the January 10 Reading Eagle. The restaurant, which has a long history spanning five decades, closed in September and sat idle for three months before being reopened.

Chili Cook-Off Returns to Fire + Ice Fest this weekend

The “Kettles of Fire” Chili Cook-Off will again be part of the Reading Fire + Ice Festival when it returns this weekend. The event is scheduled for this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel. The contest will offer two awards: a Judged Winner  and a People’s Choice Award. Boscov’s a La Carte Catering swept the awards in 2015.

Food News