Food News: March 2021

March was a busy month for Berks County restaurants as we saw closings, openings and re-openings, and learned of a few new restaurants coming soon. In case you missed any of it, here’s a look back at the Food News for March 2021:

Restaurant Openings:

10 & 23 Tacos
Morgantown

A new food truck is now serving tacos at the corner of Routes 10 and 23 in Morgantown. 10 & 23 Tacos opened for business on March 18. Currently, the food truck is open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays serving tacos, quesadillas, burritos, flan, and more.

Chef David’s Food & Friends
Wyomissing

Chef David’s Food & Friends opened its doors on March 17. The new Wyomissing spot offers grab-and-go meals, made-to-order breakfast, family-style dinners, and more. Chef David’s is located in the former Relish the Deli-sh at 105 Evans Avenue.

Bogey’s Pub at Golden Oaks
Fleetwood

The Pub at Golden Oaks Golf Club – now Bogey’s Pub at Golden Oaks – is now under new management. The pub is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

Restaurant Reopenings:

501 Grille and Tavern
Mount Aetna

The 501 Grill and Tavern in Mount Aetna, which was closed since early 2020 because of COVID precautions, reopened on March 5 with a new chef.

Bally Hotel
Bally

After nearly a year, the Bally Hotel reopened on March 3. During the COVID-19 closure, the owners took the opportunity to renovate the restaurant and give it a clean new look.

Oakbrook Brewing Company
Reading

Oakbrook Brewing Company closed its dining room in December when increased COVID-19 restrictions were placed on restaurants. After three months, the brewpub reopened on March 19. Currently, Oakbrook is open Thursday through Sunday, though the owners said it could and would expand once a few more staff positions are filled.

Restaurant Closings:

Sign reading "Klinger's of Fleetwood Dining Room Entrance"

Klinger’s of Fleetwood
Fleetwood

In early March it was announced that Klinger’s would be closing its Fleetwood location at the end of the month after the owners decided not to renew the lease. Klinger’s on Carsonia and Klinger’s at the Airport were unaffected by the decision and continue to operate as normal.

Exterior of Smokin' Brays BBQ

Smokin Brays
Hamburg

After five years at their Hamburg location, Smokin Brays closed its doors in March 2021. “Keith is retiring and I have been unable to find a cook to replace him,” was the reason stated on the restaurant’s official Facebook page. The building, including the restaurant and attached residence, are currently listed for sale.

Customer ordering at a counter with a sign that says Sunrise Grille

Sunrise Grille
Wyomissing

The Sunrise Grille at the PA Dutch Farmers Market of Wyomissing, which was listed as temporarily closed for several months, is now officially closed. The restaurant’s owners were planning to reopen in March 2021, but instead made an announcement that the restaurant would permanently close. The stand is currently open, and no replacement has been announced as of yet.

Coming Soon:

Fox’s Country Tea House
Stouchsburg
Projected Opening: April 2021

Berks County is getting a new tea house as Fox’s Country Tea House is scheduled to open soon along Route 422 in Stouchsburg. According to their official Facebook page, Fox’s will offer a “variety of teas, home made tea sandwiches, soup, salad and deserts…as well as a variety of simple breakfast selections.” The Tea House will be located in the Stouchsburg Business Center at 4023 Conrad Weiser Parkway. The business’ opening is scheduled for April 10.

Great American Creamery
Reading
Projected Opening: Summer 2021

A new ice cream parlor is coming to downtown Reading in summer 2021. That’s when the Great American Creamery is expected to open at 645 Penn Street. According to the creamery’s Facebook page, Penn State Berkey Creamery ice cream will be served. The location near the DoubleTree and Santander Arena is home to multiple businesses, including Cafe de Columbia, Salsa Burritio and the Reading Science Center.

Liberty at Dryville
Mertztown
Projected Opening: Spring/Summer 2021

The Liberty at Dryville is the newest venture from the owners of the Liberty Taproom and Liberty Ale House. The former Dryville Hotel closed in November 2019, with the owners retiring and selling the business to the group behind Liberty. There have been on recent updates on a tentative opening date.

Messy Pig BBQ & Catering Company
Womelsdorf
Projected Opening: Spring 2021

The Messy Pig BBQ is set to open a brick-and-mortar location in Womelsdorf in the coming weeks. Messy Pig has been touring the region as a food truck since 2018. The business belongs to the former owner of Darrylz, which operated in Stouchsburg from 2018 until the summer of 2019. The new location is 109 E. High Street in Womelsdorf. No other information has been shared as of yet.

Sweet Street Baked
Fairgrounds Farmers Market
Projected Opening: Spring 2021

Cafe Sweet Street has announced a new concept, coming soon to the Fairgrounds Farmers Market in Muhlenberg Township. Sweet Street Baked will offer “cookies, breads, sweets, and fresh coffee” according to the official Facebook page. No opening date has been announced as of yet.

News of Note:

  • When it reopens this spring, the Red Plate Diner in Wernersville will be operating under new ownership. No reopening date has been announced yet.
  • Also reopening under new ownership will be the Stonersville Hotel. The sale was announced in February, and the new owners have been posting updates from the restaurant’s renovation on social media.
  • 3rd and Spruce Cafe will also have owners – and a new name – when it reopens this spring as 3rd and Spruce Drafthaus. The restaurant has not yet announced an opening dates, but has indicated they are booking private parties after May 1.
  • The Greshville Inn announced that it is closing April 2 after the owners finalized a deal to sell the restaurant.
  • CJ Hummel’s in Lenhartsville is temporarily closed for renovations and Easter break. The restaurant and line-dancing bar is scheduled to reopen on April 6.
  • The annual Berks Pepper Jam, scheduled for June at the Pat Garrett Amphitheater, has been cancelled for 2021. The event producers announced the event would return in 2022.

Upcoming Events:

West Reading Restaurant Week
April 6 – 17

Thirteen restaurants have been confirmed to participate in the Spring edition of West Reading Restaurant Week, set to kick off April 6. Area restaurants will be offering special menus and prices throughout Restaurant Week. Visit the official event Facebook page for more details: West Reading Restaurant Week | Facebook

Dine Local Photo Contest
April 1 – 30

Zuber Realty is sponsoring a Dine Local photo contest. Visit one of the 14 participating restaurants in the Berks-Mont region and take a selfie and be entered to win up to $100. The contest runs throughout the month of April. Richard A. Zuber Realty | Facebook

Food News

Klinger’s taking over Fleetwood Grille; two new restaurants open; more food news

Klinger’s to open new Fleetwood Grille

The owners of Klinger’s on Carsonia are the new owners of the Fleetwood Grille, and they plan to reopen in June, according to posts on its official Facebook page. The former Fleetwood Grille and Simmeria Bistro closed in April after five years in business.

Guacamole Mexican Grill opens on Route 61

A new restaurant has opened in the former Ray’s Original O’Grady’s on Route 61 in Muhlenberg Township. Guacamole Mexican Grill opened their doors at the end of April. The new restaurant does not have a website, but you can find more information, including the menu, on its Facebook page.

Premium Pasta Pizza & Subs opens in West Reading

Premium Pasta Pizza & Subs is now open on the corner of Franklin Street and Second Avenue in West Reading. The new restaurant opened on May 15, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. The location has been home to restaurants in the past, including D&D Sandwich Shop.

Chatty Monks scraps Phoenixville expansion

Chatty Monks Brewing Company has cancelled plans to expand to Phoenixville, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Chatty Monks had announced in August that they were going to open a new, larger location in Phoenixville. Instead, the West Reading brewery and restaurant will not expand, citing concerns with growing too fast, too soon.

 

Food News

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

New name for Old San Juan’s new location; Wing Fling returning Oct. 1; and more food news

Old San Juan’s second location gets new name

The second restaurant from the owners of Old San Juan Cafe will have a new name. The new El Morro Cafe in West Reading will share a name with a 16th century citadel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The new restaurant is scheduled to open in early May.

Wanamakers General Store completes renovations, celebrating with open house

The Wanamakers General Store in nearby Lehigh County has recently completed renovations to its cafe, and is celebrating with an open house on May 7. The day begins at 8 a.m. with a ribbon cutting at 10:30 a.m. The day’s activities include live music, giveaways and the unique “Meet a Neighbor You Didn’t Know You Had” event that encourages visitors to unplug and disconnect from their phone during their visit.

Greshville Inn wins Boyertown chili cook-off

The Greshville Inn earned top prize in the annual chili cook-off during Boyertown’s Coming Out of Hibernation event on Saturday. According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, the prime rib chili was tops among the competitors.

Panevino wins top prize at Opp House Souper Bowl

Panvevino Restaurant’s corn chowder with lump crab soup was named best at the annual Opportunity House Souper Bowl on Monday, according to the April 20 Reading Eagle. The event raised around $42,000 to support the work of the Opportunity House in Reading.

Wing Fling returning October 1

The Reading Wing Fling will return to the Santander Arena on October 1, according to a post on the event’s official Facebook page. Ten restaurants, including defending People’s Choice champions, The Outside In. Also confirmed are:

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

Jason Hook is Iron Chef again; Crave opening ice cream stand; Buffalo Wild Wings moves forward; more food news

Chef Jason Hook wins Wilson Iron Chef

wilson-iron-chef-2016

Chef Jason Hook of h2o Kitchen earned his second consecutive victory in the Wilson Iron Chef competition on Sunday, beating out Chef David Shefter from the Penn Werner Hotel and Chef Joshua Haines from Beverly Hills Tavern. The three chefs competed to create the best dish using four secret ingredients: skirt steak, avocado, pickles and marshmallow Peeps.

In the People’s Choice competition, nine area restaurants and vendors competed for a chance to make next year’s competition by crafting their best bacon dish. The Crowne Plaza earned top honors with bacon wrapped pork, crab cakes and bacon shooters. The Bernville Eagle Hotel was named runner-up with their maple bacon crunch ice cream. Those two restaurants are invited to compete in next year’s Iron Chef competition.

Crave Cafe opening ice cream stand

Crave Cafe will be opening an ice cream stand later this spring, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page. The ice cream stand will be separate from the cafe in a stand-alone shack across the parking lot. No opening date has been set yet.

Buffalo Wild Wings takes step forward

Wyomissing is one step closer to getting a Buffalo Wild Wings. The new restaurant, which is slated to be built on the parking lot of the Berkshire Mall, has posted its liquor license application on the corner of State Hill and Woodland Roads. The application lists “Blazin’ Wings, Inc.,” the doing business as name for Buffalo Wild Wings, as the applicant. No construction has begun yet.

Fairgrounds Market reopens after fire; Jambalaya J’s still cleaning

Jambalaya J’s is still cleaning up after a small fire at the stand Thursday night forced the Fairgrounds Farmers Market to close on Friday. The market reopened on Saturday, but Jambalaya J’s remains closed, with hopes to reopen this week, according to a post on the stand’s Facebook page.

Rumba Martini Lounge evicted

Property owners have evicted the Rumba Martini Lounge in Cumru Township, according to an article in the April 1 Reading Eagle. The eviction notice came days after a shooting occurred outside the bar in front of township police, the second such incident in the past 13 months. At least one scheduled event for the lounge was moved to the 724 Lounge on Franklin Street in Reading, according to Rumba’s Facebook page.

Food News

Spring Township looking for food vendors for Winefest

savory-fusion

Spring Township is looking for food vendors for its upcoming Savory Fusion Winefest. The event is scheduled for Sunday, May 1 at the Green Valley Chateau. Here are the details:

The Township of Spring Parks and Recreation Department, would like to invite you to be a part of the 2016 Savory Fusion Wine Fest, offering a unique no-cost marketing opportunity.  Join us for an afternoon of wine, food and music.  In order to showcase the great wines of your business, we ask you to provide wine samples.  A staff member or staff members should attend the event for proper presentation and to market your business.

Due to our partnership with the Reading Eagle, all vendors will be included in multi-media advertising in the Reading Eagle and WEEU 830 AM radio, prior to the event at no cost to you.

As a thank you for participating, you will receive one complementary ticket. Event staff members working the event do not need a ticket.  Also, your business will be recognized in the 2016 Fall Township of Spring Parks and Recreation publication, distributed to over 18,000 households.

Proceeds from this event will help provide safe, attractive and well maintained park facilities, youth playground and adult programs.

Your support is greatly appreciated.

If you would like to attend, you are asked to return the participant form and return by April 6th so your company name can be included in the advertising.  You can email Teri Hettinger or fax (610) 678-4571.

Food News

New concept steakhouse coming to Wyomissing – April Fool’s

fogo de chow chow

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.”

fogo-de-chow-chow-3

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.

fogo-de-chow-chow-1

“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.

Food News