A salmon BLT, toasted and cut in half, on a plate alongside a metal basket of fries at Doc & Bubba's in Mohnton, PA

Review: Doc & Bubba’s

Five years ago, I posted about La Cantina Restaurant, an Italian restaurant and bar along New Holland Road that I was frequenting during my poker-playing days. Fast-forward to July 2021 and La Cantina closed its doors.

A year later, Doc & Bubba’s has risen in its place.

While the barroom at La Cantina was very much of a dive, Doc & Bubba’s is anything but. The new restaurant is gorgeous and gives off a finer dining ambiance with dark wood tabletops and gray metal chairs with a modern flair.

A modern bar U-shaped with black liquor cabinets at Doc & Bubba's in Mohnton, PA

The bar, itself, has been set apart. Assorted bottles peek out from windows above the bar, watching over customers and the high-top tables that flank the bar area. (Our visit came in October so the bar was also adorned with ghosts that hung from the overhead liquor cabinets).

The outside patio – open year-round thanks to heat lamps – is the more casual space with a mix of standard dining tables along with Adirondacks and more relaxing seats. A second bar serves those sitting outside.

The outside patio at Doc & Bubba's in Mohnton, PA with tables for four on stone pavers beneath a tan awning

Julie and I visited for lunch and were among the first to arrive after it opened at 11, allowing us our choice of seats. We settled in at a table in the back of the dining room where we could look out the large picture windows and admire the back patio.

The lunch menu at Doc & Bubba’s consists of sandwiches, burgers, salads and pizza (with a few shareables). The menu is seasonal so items rotate on and off. During our visit, the sandwich calling my name was the South Philly roast pork – a traditional roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe, Sharp provolone, but with the addition of pizzaioli sauce and roasted garlic aioli.

Roast pork sandwich with a small metal basket of fries from Doc & Bubba's in Mohnton, PA

It was good and hearty. Roast pork sandwiches typically aren’t served with sauce, but I liked the addition of the pizzaioli sauce on this. I actually wished there was a little more of it spread throughout so I could have gotten the flavor in every bite.

Julie really enjoyed her salmon BLT. Served on perfectly toasted bread, the salmon blended well with the traditional BLT. And it was perfectly portioned for lunch – not too light to leave her hungry, but not too heavy either.

A salmon BLT, toasted and cut in half, on a plate alongside a metal basket of fries at Doc & Bubba's in Mohnton, PA

We both enjoyed the fries which were served in their own little fryer basket along with an individual sized bottle of ketchup – a nice little added touch. The fries were topped with sea salt and pepper, but I found myself adding just a pinch more salt to them. Otherwise, they were nearly perfect.

At $40, our lunch was on the expensive side (I did also have an iced tea), but it didn’t feel like we had overpaid because the food was definitely a higher quality than we would get at many other lunch spots.

Dark wooden tables with gray chairs inside Doc & Bubba's in Mohnton, PA

The dinner prices are a little higher, but most entrees fall in the $20-$30 range with steaks and select seafood dishes coming in higher.

Doc & Bubba’s may not be weekly stop for me like La Cantina was at one time, but it’s we will definitely return – whether for an elevated lunch or a nice dinner.

BCE Rating
Food: Very Good
Ambiance: Excellent
Service: Good
Price: A Little Pricey

Doc & Bubba’s
4312 New Holland Rd
Mohnton, PA 19540

Finer Dining
Blue plate on a table with tacos, tortilla chips and salsa

Tacos, Guac & Bowl

exterior of a small storefront with a sign that reads Tacos Guac and Bowl

Recently, I have been making a concerted effort to try to get out and try some of the newer restaurants in Berks County, places that have been around for months rather than years, and places that I haven’t been to before.

With a more flexible lunch than I’ve had in years past, I’ve been taking that time to explore these places on my own, such was the case with a recent visit to Tacos, Guac & Bowl.

The restaurant is nestled in a small space at the corner of Lancaster and Baker Avenues at the south end of Reading. The space was formerly home to Giannotti’s Pizza & Subs, which closed in November 2020. Tacos, Guac & Bowl opened a year later (almost exactly) and has been serving up Mexican specialties ever since.

Inside is limited seating, but there wasn’t anyone using it when I got there. There were, however, several guests were enjoying the outside patio which had plenty of umbrella-covered tables to shield the summer sun.

I took advantage of the online ordering, and in the time it took me to drive to the restaurant from Wyomissing, my order was ready packed and ready for pickup. Mine was one of several orders that were ready at the takeout counter which is always reassuring to see.  

Blue plate on a table with tacos, tortilla chips and salsa

After a short drive back home and I was ready to dig in to my quesabirrias.

Quesabirrias are a cross between a taco a quesadilla and a taco – quesadilla-sized with cheese, choice of meet and the traditional taco toppings of onions and cilantro. All quesabirrias come with a cup of brothy birria sauce for dipping (if you haven’t had a birria taco and the accompanying sauce, it’s like an au jus but with some added spices and diced onions).

I got two – one with chorizo and one with the namesake birria (braised beef). The chorizo was good – a little spicy but not too bad – but the birria was amazing. The braised beef was so tender and flavorful. Both paired well with the dipping sauce, but it was clearly made to complement the birria and it did so very well.

close-up of a birria taco dipped in sauce

Just because I could, I also added on an order of chips and salsa. The website says the chips are made fresh every day from masa, and I believe it. They have a little different texture – slightly softer than a manufactured chip. I would have liked a little more salt on them, but they were still good and the salsa was very good, too.

My meal only cost about $15 (or it would have if I hadn’t made an impulse buy of a Jarritos when I got there, tacking on another $3). I certainly didn’t feel cheated, and I had tortilla chips with my lunch for a couple days after that, too.

Next time, I’ll have to give the bowls a try – maybe even splurge for the guacamole, too.

And there will definitely be a next time. I was impressed by the food, the service, and the price. I recommend it for anyone looking for a quick, delicious lunch or dinner.

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

Tacos, Guac & Bowl
1040 Lancaster Ave
Reading, PA 19607

Lunch & Dinner Mexican

Matt’s Chicken at the Shillington Farmers Market

Farmers Market stand with a sign that reads "Matt's Chicken"

The Shillington Farmers Market is home to some amazing vendors. I’ve enjoyed some great meals from Eve’s Thai Kitchen and the Market Café (and Brocmar Smokehouse and Mi Casa Su Casa when they were still open), but one of the great things about all of Berks County’s farmers markets is that there is always more to try.

Recently, I stopped at the market for lunch to try out one of those newer stands – Matt’s Chicken.

Matt’s opened in the fall of 2021 and focuses on – you guessed it – chicken dishes. It’s actually quite refreshing to see a menu so focused. While there are weekly specials, the core menu on the board when I visited was pretty simple: chicken sandwiches (classic or spicy), chicken nuggets and the fried chicken Caesar salad. The only two sides on the menu board were fries and fried Brussels sprouts.

I’ve had many Caesar salads with grilled chicken, but never with fried chicken so I was anxious to give the dish a try. I ordered at the counter and waited about 10 minutes until it was ready before carrying it to the market’s upstairs seating area.

A cardboard takeout box with sliced fried chicken atop a Caesar salad on a table with a cup of fries

Opening the box, I found quite the salad in front of me with a sliced chicken breast, big romaine leaves and oversized croutons with a cup of dressing.

For a takeout salad, it looked fine. But the flavor was way beyond what I expected. Specifically, the chicken breast had just the right amount of seasoning in the breading and was cooked perfectly so it was still juicy. And it just went so well with the dressing that I could have skipped the salad and just dipped the chicken in the dressing for lunch.

Wanting to give more of the menu a try, I also grabbed a cup of fries and unsurprisingly they were also delicious. They were well-salted, not too much to make me overly thirsty but enough that I wanted to keep shoveling them down.

Overall, I was impressed. For a small stand, the food packed some big flavor. And it was pretty reasonably priced at less than $15 for my lunch.

Matt’s is definitely a place that I will return to. I’m sure I will enjoy the sandwiches just as much. And when I do, I’ll let everyone know.

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

Matt’s Chicken
Shillington Farmers Market
10 S. Summit Ave
Shillington, PA 19607

Farmers Market Meals Lunch & Dinner Takeout
Hand holding a wrap, cut in half, filled with broccoli and rice

Betty’s Wraps

oval sign hanging from a brick building that reads "betty's wraps, smoothies, salads, soups"

During my college career at Kutztown, I had a chance to enjoy most of the restaurants in downtown, but sadly there were a few that I overlooked back then. I regret it now, but thankfully there’s still time to go back and make up for those missed opportunities.

One restaurant I regret never visiting back then is Betty’s.

In a college town filled with unhealthy choices (I still miss Spuds), Betty’s stood apart with a lighter menu of wraps, soups, salads and smoothies. Now that I’m inching closer to 40, that kind of food speaks to me a lot more than it did back then.

counter seating at a restaurant with a sign on the wall that says "Betty's"

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a day in Kutztown, and when it came time for lunch, I made the short walk down Main Street to Betty’s.

It’s a small storefront with no more than 20 chairs, including a handful of stools along a counter by the kitchen. The tables they do have are actually pretty cool, decorated with cartoon-ish drawings that just make you feel a little happier.

Table that is painted with a cartoon drawing of a busy cafe

The menu at Betty’s may be healthier, but it’s definitely not small. There are more than 20 wrap options when you count all the hot wraps, cold wraps, specialty wraps and snack wraps. (Plus, the hot wraps can all be made into burrito bowls).  It makes it hard to choose just one.

But I settled on the Thai wrap. One of the hot wrap options, the Thai wrap came stuffed with broccoli, carrots, red pepper and rice with a soy peanut sauce.

The first thing you taste when you bite in is the peanut sauce which comes through strong, but then you get a little of the salty sweetness of the soy. The rice really soaked up a lot of the sauce, ensuring flavor in every bite.

Hand holding a wrap, cut in half, filled with broccoli and rice

The wrap was overstuffed with vegetables and after one bite there was rice and broccoli sitting in a pool of sauce on the unfolded wrapper.

Not wanting to go overboard with a smoothie, I settled instead for a flavored iced tea – peach – which was sweet and refreshing.

The food was out quick, despite the fact that I had ordered behind a group of KU field hockey players who had arrived just before me, and at around $10, the price was right.

Most of the customers that I saw coming through were doing takeout, and I would probably do the same in the future. Not that it was bad inside, but the dining area is definitely cramped and quite frankly there are plenty of beautiful open spaces in Kutztown to enjoy a meal.

And there are plenty more places – like Betty’s – that I definitely still need to try in town.

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

Betty’s
129 W. Main St
Kutztown, PA 19530

Lunch & Dinner Sandwich Shops
A brick wall with three shelves lined with old time railroad gear and coffee mugs

Brakeman’s Cafe

A brick building with a sign that says Brakeman's Cafe

Berks County’s main streets are lined with incredible restaurants. Penn Avenue in West Reading and Main Street in Kutztown come to mind. Boyertown has both Philadelphia and Reading Avenues with stores and restaurants along both. But delicious dining can be found off Boyertown’s main streets, too, as we discovered on our visit to Brakeman’s Café.

The café is located along Washington Street, across the street from the Colebrookdale Railroad’s passenger station (a brakeman being an old-time railroad worker). We visited on a cool November day – too cool to take advantage of the ample outdoor seating – and were lucky to find a table during the Saturday lunch rush.

A brick wall with three shelves lined with old time railroad gear and coffee mugs

Brakeman’s is the quintessential coffee shop. First, it has a cool vibe. Entering through the front door, you’re surrounded by historic railroad equipment in the brick-walled room. Yes, the décor is unique, but it feels like a coffee shop.

A large brick fireplace with an old-fashioned saddle hanging above

So, too, does the dining room, with its mix of tables all within proximity of the large fireplace. The dining room’s décor is less focused on the railroad and more focused on Boyertown history with old photos of downtown lining the walls.

Two glasses of iced tea on a table

While my typical coffee shop order includes a chai tea latte, Julie and I decided to give a try to their specialty lemonades – one Arnold Palmer and one guava lemonade. I really enjoyed my Arnold Palmer (half tea, half lemonade). It was just the right amount of sweet to be refreshing and still complement the meal.

A pork sandwich on a kaiser roll with melted cheese

Our lunch arrived shortly afterward. For me, it was the Italian pulled pork sandwich.

Instead of BBQ sauce, the sandwich was topped with pesto aioli and Provolone cheese. It was a delicious combination. The pesto aioli permeated throughout the sandwich and every bite had a nice bit of sharp cheese, all of it pairing perfectly with the melt-in-your-mouth pork.

Passing over the chips, I opted for the broccoli salad on the side. I always enjoy broccoli salad, especially one that was as creamy as this. It’s a nice change-of-pace from chips and other “snack food” sides.

Turkey Apple Wrap from Brakeman's Cafe

Julie was also a big fan of the turkey and apple wrap. It was filled with sliced turkey, cheddar cheese, sliced apples, mixed greens and a cranberry aioli.

Not quite a “Gobbler”, it still had the turkey and cranberry flavors that blend so well together. The sliced apples provided additional sweetness (adding to the sour-sweet cranberry) a much-needed crunch. And the cheddar was the right choice of cheese to bring it all together.

Two halves of a PB&J sandwich stacked on top of each other

While there’s not a “kids’ menu” so to speak, the PB&J serves as such, and Jakob was more than happy with his. It was a basic sandwich, but the multi-grain bread was a nice touch, and they didn’t skimp on the filling. Our finicky four-year-old was happy, and that’s all that mattered to us.

It was a winning meal all around. With tip, it cost us about $45, not a bad total for three meals considering we splurged on the lemonades.

Yes, Boyertown’s main streets are filled with great restaurants. But on this day, we were glad that we veered right and found our way to Brakeman’s Café.

BCE Rating

Food: Very Good
Ambiance: Very Good
Service: Very Good

Brakeman’s Café
56 S. Washington St
Boyertown, PA 19512

Cafes & Coffeeshops Lunch & Dinner Reviews
waffles topped in blueberry compote and breakfast potatoes

Squawk Cafe – Wyomissing

Exeterior of Squawk Cafe in Wyomissing

Normally, I try to wait a while before checking out a new restaurant, but when I found out the Squawk Café was opening on January 14, I just couldn’t wait to try it.

Though I have never been, I’ve heard good things about the original Squawk Café at B2 Bistro, and knowing that the new café was being run by the original team, it sounded like a recipe for a great new spot. (Note: the new Squawk Café is in no way affiliated with B2 Bistro or its café by the same name).

The new location is unique, inside the office building that houses Riverfront Federal Credit Union. It’s amazing how the lobby has been fully transformed into a café. What was a reception desk is now the order counter and coffee bar. And off to the left side, a large space has been converted into a dining area with around 30 seats.

Empty tables and chairs in the dining area of Squawk Cafe in Wyomissing

Only about a half dozen seats were taken – a table of four and a table of two – when I arrived and claimed my spot by the wall.

The café was running with a limited menu for their opening day. The breakfast burrito I had seen on the menu was unavailable so I switched it up from savory to sweet and ordered the blueberry waffle stack with a side of breakfast potatoes and a chai tea latte.

First out was the chai tea latte. I was, admittedly, a little disappointed with the chai because there was no sweetener. For straight-up chai tea, it was really good. I’m just used to sweeter varieties. (Next time, I’ll be asking for a little vanilla).

A stack of four waffle triangles topped with blueberry compote

What didn’t lack sweetness was the blueberry cinnamon waffle stack.

The stack was technically two stacks, each with four waffle triangles layered with cream cheese, all topped with blueberry compote.

It was every bit as good as I hoped. The cream cheese and the compote were sweet, but not too sweet to overpower the waffles. It was sweet enough though that I didn’t need the maple syrup that was served on the side.

The only issue was that the plastic knife struggled to cut through the waffles. But that was a minor inconvenience while eating such a delicious dish.

A disposable clamshell filled with potatoes tossed with diced peppers and onions

My side of potatoes was just as satisfying. I opted for the add-on of peppers and onions. The potatoes were about as crispy as any I have ever had. And the peppers and onions were a nice add-on. As a bonus, it comes served with a cup of aioli for dipping. It was good, but like the maple syrup, it was unnecessary.

I definitely over-ordered, though. The blueberry cinnamon waffle stack would have been plenty on its own. I didn’t regret the potatoes, but with them, I wasn’t hungry until long after lunch.

And with as much as I ordered, my final bill was more than $20. I can’t say that any individual item wasn’t worth the price, though.

The best part for me is that the new Squawk Café is only a couple blocks from my house so I’m sure I will be back sooner than later. Maybe then I’ll get that breakfast burrito.

I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

BCE Rating
Food: Excellent
Service: Very Good
Ambiance: Very Good
Price: A Little Pricey

Squawk Café
2609 Keiser Blvd
Wyomissing, PA 19610

Breakfast & Brunch Cafes & Coffeeshops
Plate of French toast with fresh cut strawberries and blueberries

Cafe Esperanza

Exterior of Cafe Esperanza at 105 W. Greenwich Street in Reading, PA

Of all the new restaurants that opened in 2021, Café Esperanza stands out.

First, the café is a non-profit, first envisioned by the congregation at Hope Lutheran Church on the opposite corner of Front and Greenwich Streets in Reading. And from concept to opening day took a decade of work.

The café and coffee shop has everything you expect – a selection of coffees and caffeinated beverages, breakfast and lunch options, comfortable seating and a cool vibe. It also has off-street parking, a rarity in the city (thanks to Hope’s parking lot). But it’s what’s missing that sets it apart from every other eatery in Berks County.

Cafe Esperanza order counter

Look at the menu board, and you’ll notice that there are no prices. That’s because Café Esperanza is unique among Berks County restaurants – unique among Pennsylvania restaurants, for that matter – as the region’s only pay-what-you-can café.

What does that mean? Exactly what it sounds like. Whether you have $10, $5, $2, or nothing, everyone is welcome to a meal at Café Esperanza. No one is turned away.

Table full of empty water glasses with a sign that reads "Coffee is the Best Idea Ever"

But don’t confuse Café Esperanza with other charities. This is a real café. When I walked in for breakfast on a Thursday morning, there were a couple other patrons there. I walked up to the counter and ordered a chai latte and French toast. (Unfortunately, I was then told they were out of chai, so I settled for a hot chocolate instead).

The only difference was that instead of being told how much I owed, I was asked, “how much change would you like?”.

A white coffee mug with the words "Si Yes Oui" sits on a wooden coffee table next to a planter

I walked back to the front of the dining area and took a seat on a sofa by the window. My hot chocolate arrived a short time later. It was very good, but hot chocolate always is. One thing to note: like all good cafes, customers have a choice of whole milk or non-dairy options for all drinks.

While the drink was good, the French toast was just about perfect. The presentation was better than most restaurants – three thick slices of French toast, dusted with powdered sugar, served on a plate with fresh strawberries and blueberries. The plate, itself, was served on a wooden board with a small cup of syrup.

A plate of French toast dusted in powdered sugar with fresh-cut strawberries and blueberries from Cafe Esperanza in Reading, PA

Best of all, it tasted as good as it looked.

The bread used for the French toast had a nutty flavor to it which I enjoyed greatly, and despite the fact that it required a knife and fork to cut, it was melt-in-your-mouth good. And the fresh fruit on the side made it a healthy meal (right?).

For me, though, it’s not just that it was a great meal, but it is a worthy cause as well. Yes, I probably paid double than what I would have for the same meal anywhere else, but I paid that knowing that one or two others who need a meal can get one.

And you can’t put a price on that.

BCE Rating
Food: Very Good
Service: Excellent
Ambiance: Excellent
Value: Priceless

Café Esperanza
105 W. Greenwich St
Reading, PA 19601

Breakfast & Brunch Cafes & Coffeeshops
Assorted foods in takeout containers spread on a granite countertop

The 12 Days of Takeout

While dining rooms across Pennsylvania were ordered to close through January 4, Berks County Eats continued to support local restaurants through takeout. During our 12 Days of Takeout, we visited 12 local eateries in 12 days between December 23 and January 3. Follow along below, and be sure to join the conversation by using #BerksCountyEats and #BerksCountyEatsTAKEOUT on Instagram and Facebook.

Day 12 – Russo Food Market

Finishing off our 12 Days of Takeout with lasagna and arancini from @russo_foodnmarket. Takeout lasagna doesn’t photograph very well, but it sure tastes good.


Day 11 – Farmers Market of Wyomissing

Day 11 of our 12 Days of Takeout saw us at the @padutchfmow for stuffed pretzels. The brisket pretzel is outstanding.


Day 10 – The Inn at Centre Park

Wishing you lots of luck in the new year – hoping this heaping helping of pork and sauerkraut (with mashed potatoes and a dinner roll) from @theinnatcentrepark does the trick. I don’t know about the luck part yet, but it was certainly a delicious start to the year. 


Day 9 – Regal Buffet

Styrofoam carryout container with a variety of Chinese food.

Day 9 of our 12 Days of Takeout features a little bit of everything. The to-go buffet at Regal Buffet (formerly Jumbo Buffet) in Muhlenberg has everything you expect from a Chinese buffet and it’s all pretty good.


Day 8 – D&J Sandwich Shop

For Day 8 of our 12 Days of Takeout we visited D&J Sandwich Shop. Shown here is Gerry’s Special – ham, capicola, Provolone and pepperoni baked in the oven. 👍


Day 7 – The Original Mama’s Pizza and Grill


Today I asked my three-year-old what he wanted for lunch. He said pizza and French fries. How could I refuse? This gorgeous slice of holiday pizza with a side of fries came from @originalmamas in Wyomissing. And it’s Day 7 in our 12 Days of Takeout.


Day 6 – Simply BOLD Cafe

On Day 6 of our 12 Days of Takeout, it was #takeout for breakfast from @simplyboldcafe in West Reading. The burrito wrap (eggs, cheddar, salsa, beans, avocado and sour cream) was spot-on, and so was the inspirational quote on my latte.


Day 5 – Aladdin Restaurant

Our fifth day of takeout might be one of the most beautiful (and delicious) takeout meals you will see. Lamb kebabs, tabouleh and baba ghannouj from Aladdin in West Reading.


Day 4 – Andy Pepper’s

Day 4 of our 12 Days of Takeout had us at one of our favorites: @iloveandypeppers. The little place in Limekiln has some of the best food you will find anywhere. Pictured is the Hot Mozz (tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, pesto and olive oil on grilled flatbread) with a side of mashed potato bites with ranch dipping sauce. Simply perfection.


Day 3 – Austin’s Restaurant

Merry Christmas from our table to yours! Today’s holiday dinner was a take-and-make meal from @austinsrestaurant and featured ham with apricot glaze, whipped potatoes, green beans almandine and skillet cornbread. A delicious meal from one of our favorite places. 


Day 2 – Dosie Dough

Good morning #BerksCounty! It’s Day 2 of our 12 Days of Takeout and today we are grabbing breakfast at Dosie Dough in Wyomissing. Donuts and an egg sandwich are on our menu on this Christmas Eve.


Day 1 – Dino’s Wings & Things

Today is our first day of 12 Days of Takeout, and we are starting off with a killer steak sandwich and fries from @dinos.wings.things. Thanks to everyone who suggested it after our recent visit to V&S. I definitely need more Dino’s in my life.


Join the #BerksCountyEatsTAKEOUT movement and support your local restaurants. Here’s how you can help:

Skip the chains and visit a local eatery – not only are you supporting a small business owner, but the food is probably going to be better and made with better ingredients.

CALL and order your to-go meals. Online ordering apps cost money and cut into profits.

If you can, go to the restaurant and pick up your order.

  1. It’s going to save you money.
  2. It’s going to save the restaurant money.
  3. A kind word and a couple bucks in the tip jar go a long way.

If you have to do delivery, check to see the restaurant’s preferred delivery partner – or if they offer in-house delivery.

Takeout Uncategorized
An overhead photo of plate with a burger topped with cheese, the top bun next to it with lettuce and tomato, and a pile of fries.

The Berkshire Family Restaurant

A photo of the exterior of the Berkshire Restaurant in Wyomissing

Since starting Berks County Eats, I’ve learned a lot – about food and about the food business.

I’ve also learned that when a new restaurant opens, you have to accept that some things aren’t going to be perfect, but what matters is how you feel when you leave the restaurant.

A photo of the entryway of a diner with a hostess stand with painted black wood that matches the trim on the walls.

One new restaurant that had us feeling good when we left after our first visit was the Berkshire Family Restaurant.

The Berkshire opened in August, starting with takeout only before quickly expanding into table service that includes breakfast (served all day), lunch and dinner.

Its location has been a Berks County favorite for years. Set along State Hill Road in Wyomissing, just across from the Berkshire Mall, the building is still remembered as the former Arner’s, though it was most recently Giannotti’s Berkshire, which closed in 2018.

A counter at a diner with a dessert display case and the phrase "It was all a dream" on the wall.

We made a visit to the restaurant on a recent Friday evening – Julie, her mother (Peggy), Jakob and I arrived a little after 5 p.m. for dinner and were told there was a 15- to 20-minute wait. The benches were full in the main waiting area so Peggy grabbed a seat in the spacious entryway while Julie and I took Jakob for a walk around the building.

After a short walk, we headed inside. I went to the counter to see where we were in line only to see our name had been crossed off the list. The hostess was not at the stand at the time so I mentioned something when she returned and we had a table in short order.

Pumpkins, leaves and assorted fall decor sitting in a basket on an unused salad bar.

We were seated at a table in the middle of the main dining room, near what would be the salad bar (at the time of our visit, it was decorated with pumpkins and other fall décor).

Our waitress was very nice and remained attentive throughout our visit, though there was a slight mix-up early on.

Photo of a cup of soup with ravioli-like pasta floating on top.

Peggy ordered a soup and salad combo with a chicken pasta soup and a Cobb salad with ranch dressing. When the soups arrived – Julie had also ordered a soup – so too, did a house salad with ranch. It was returned to the kitchen, and after this hiccup, the meal was about as good as we could have hoped for.

The chicken pasta soup was very good with large bowtie pasta pieces and plenty of chicken and vegetables.

An overhead photo of plate with a burger topped with cheese, the top bun next to it with lettuce and tomato, and a pile of fries.

I needed something a little more substantial than soup and salad so I opted for one of the seven burgers on the menu – The Frenchy.

The Frenchy is described on the menu as “French onion soup meets the burger.” When it arrived, I could see the melted Swiss cheese on top, just like a crock of French onion soup. With my first bite, the onion and broth started to seep out.

A close-up photo of French fries covered in feta cheese and oregano with a burger in the background.

It really was a delicious burger. The flavor of the soup penetrated into the burger patty and throughout the toppings. French onion soup is on the main menu, and I would definitely order it by itself sometime.

All burgers are served with fries with upgrades available. One of those upgrades is Greek fries. For an extra $2, my fries were topped with feta cheese and oregano. Feta doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor on its own, but the oregano added a lot to it and made the upgrade worthwhile.

A pile of fried shrimp and French fries in a basket lined with red and white checkered paper

Julie had plain fries with her basket of shrimp – 21 shrimp basket to exact. Though she doesn’t order it often, fried shrimp is one of her favorites. The Berkshire’s version filled her fried food craving and her stomach.

Photo of a Cobb salad topped with grilled chicken. Piles of red onions, diced tomatoes and avocado can be seen.

Peggy’s meal – the Cobb salad – was the most healthful of all of our orders. She opted for grilled chicken on top which she enjoyed along with hearty portions of avocado, onion, egg, tomatoes and lettuce. They certainly didn’t skimp on the portions for this salad.

A white plate with two halves of a grilled cheese sandwich and a handful of French fries.

For Jakob, we ordered the grilled cheese (almost three years old, he is now old enough to tell us what he wants when we read the menu to him). We were happy to see him eat his sandwich – all of it except the crust as toddlers will do – and he seemed to really like it.

Jakob’s meal also came with a scoop of ice cream (not pictured). For whatever reason, he wouldn’t eat it. So, daddy got to enjoy some chocolate ice cream for dessert.

Peggy and Julie both ordered dessert – rice pudding – to go. It’s their go-to diner dessert, and a little bit of a splurge that Julie savored in small portions throughout the week.

For all of our food, it was only around $50, in line with what you would expect from a diner.

There were a couple hiccups early on, but those will go away as the staff gains more experience. But we had no complaints about the food. To the contrary, we all left talking about how good our meals were.

And that’s the most important thing for any meal.

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

Diners Lunch & Dinner Soup
A photo of a calzone and French fries on a dark blue plate.

Piero’s Pizzeria

Photo of the exterior of Piero's Pizzeria in Reading, PA

Sometimes it feels like there is an Italian restaurant on just about every corner.

While that is an exaggeration, there is no question that you can find good Italian food wherever you go in Berks County.

Like at Piero’s Pizzeria.

Piero’s is wedged in on the corner of Route 183 and Upper Van Reed Road in Leinbachs, just a short drive north of the Reading Airport and Route 222.

Photo of an order counter in an Italian restaurant. Photos of food are on the wall above the counter while pizza is on display on the counter.

The location has limited parking in the front and on the side of the building, more than enough especially if you’re just stopping in to grab takeout (though Piero’s does have a decent size dining area for those who would prefer to dine-in.)

Our order was prepared quick and was ready to go by the time we made our way from Wyomissing to pick it up.

Piero’s, like many Italian family restaurants, offers a little bit of everything on their menu, including pizza, subs, salads, fried appetizers, burgers and Italian dinners.

I was in the mood for pizza but didn’t want a whole pie so I opted instead for a calzone.

A photo of a calzone and French fries on a dark blue plate.

All of Piero’s calzones are stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella and served with a side of marinara sauce for dipping. I decided to add meatballs to mine, creating something between a pizza and a meatball sandwich.

I was not disappointed. It was really the ricotta that sets the calzone apart. The lighter and creamier cheese adds a different element than just mozzarella (as would have been in a Stromboli).

The calzone was also the perfect size for one, though I couldn’t help but order a side of fries. They were the battered kind, fried to a golden crisp and perfect for eating one after another without thinking about it.

A photo of a tuna sandwich, cut in half, with the cut side facing the camera.

Julie, meanwhile, had a tuna melt – her favorite sandwich order. The sandwich was stuffed with tuna and overflowing with lettuce and tomato. The roll was toasted perfectly. It was a very good sandwich, and Julie gave it her stamp of approval.

A close-up picture of a slice of pepperoni pizza.

And our toddler approved of his slice of pizza. Jakob enjoyed his pepperoni pizza. The thin crust pie was a solid offering, and Jakob even ate the pepperoni slices. (He has been known, in the past, to not eat his pepperoni because it is “too spicy”).

Photo of Piero's Pizzeria's ham puffs - rolled dough with ham and cheese.

We also couldn’t help but order a half dozen of Piero’s ham puffs. Ham puffs are basically pepperoni rolls – rolls of dough filled with cheese and meat – but with slices of ham instead of pepperoni inside. Piero’s uses a very good dough for all of their items and it was just as good in the ham puffs.

Our meal was enjoyable across the board. It wasn’t anything earth-shattering, but Piero’s delivered on everything that we tried.

For everything we got, it was right around $30, not a bad price at all for so much food.

And good food, at that.

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

Lunch & Dinner Pizzerias Reviews Sandwich Shops Takeout