Review: Klinger’s at the Airport

mural of various airplanes, pilots and flight attendants at Klinger's at the Airport

Long-time followers of Berks County Eats know how much we have enjoyed our visits to Klinger’s pubs across the county over the years. 

While I will always love the original Klinger’s on Carsonia, Klinger’s at the Airport has recently become our family’s go-to for both the food and the look on our son’s face when he sees a plane takeoff outside the window.

TV's hang near the bar area at Klinger's at the Airport

Our most recent visit reaffirmed how much we enjoy the restaurant by the runway at the Reading Regional Airport. Jump to Original Review from 2017

We stopped in on a Friday night around 5:30. The bar was full and the restaurant was bustling but there was still plenty of seating in the dining area and we were lucky enough to get a table by the window. 

Even though it was already dark outside, the lights of the planes illuminated them just enough so that Jakob could watch them take off while we waited for our food to arrive. 

basket with red and white checkered paper with a dozen wings, half in a dark barbecue sauce the other half covered in a creamy parm peppercorn

For my meal, I ordered Klinger’s boneless wings – half Parmesan peppercorn and half Jameson Whiskey BBQ. The boneless wings were always a favorite of mine at the Carsonia location and they did not disappoint. Klinger’s BBQ sauce is one of my favorite wing sauces I’ve found – smokey and sweet. And the Parmesan peppercorn was creamy and mild. 

The best part, I ordered 10 wings and got a full baker’s dozen in my basket. 

green triangular plate with a quesadilla, cups of salsa and sour cream for dipping and a cup of applesauce

Julie had the Cadillac quesadilla. The name is an homage to Klinger’s former location in Fleetwood and is a delicious take on a cheesesteak. In addition to the steak, cheese and grilled onions, the quesadilla is drizzled with barbecue sauce. 

Though it comes served with salsa and sour cream on the side, the barbecue sauce adds a sweetness to the dish that makes the other sauces almost unnecessary. 

basket with red and white checkered liner with a cup of pasta with red sauce and an order of tater tots

For Jakob’s meal, we got him pasta and tater tots. The pasta was curly noodles that he didn’t need to cut which made it easy for him to clear his bowl. He did the same with his tots, leaving just three left when he declared “I’m full” at the end of the meal. 

It took him a little longer than the rest of us to finish his food because there were at least 10 planes landing or taking off while we were there, and for a five-year-old, each one is an event that can’t be missed. 

yellow plate with a cheeseburger and an order of fries

Joining us on our visit was my mother-in-law, Peggy, who loves Klinger’s fries – beer-battered and crispy. She enjoyed them alongside her cheeseburger.

Overall, it was a great meal and a great experience – exactly what we were hoping for with this family meal. And for the four of us, our total was under $80 (and we had a $5 off coupon).

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

Klinger’s at the Airport
2385 Bernville Rd
Reading, PA 19605

Original Post – February 13, 2017

Every great movie franchise is built on the trilogy. Think Lord of the Rings, the Dark Knight and Star Wars (the originals, obviously). That formula apparently works for restaurants, too.

With the opening of Klinger’s at the Airport at the end of 2016, the Klinger’s trilogy is now complete.

Berks County Eats has already visited the original Klinger’s on Carsonia, and last year, we visited the new Klinger’s of Fleetwood.

If I were starting a restaurant, the Reading Regional Airport would not be my ideal location. The airport hasn’t had regular passenger service since 2004.

But with the closing of Malibooz early last year, the space was open and Klinger’s stepped in.

The lights were mostly off in the terminal when we arrived, but Klinger’s was alive and well, tucked in a corner on the left side of the building.

It looks like a hole in the wall, but the dining area opens up from the entrance. To the right is a 360-degree bar. A large mural dedicated to aviation history decorates the wall behind it.

The rest of the dining room is filled with booths and tables, definitely the largest dining area of the three Klinger’s restaurants.

Our table was by one of the windows overlooking the airstrip. During our visit – a Tuesday night where we played Challenge the Pub trivia – we saw exactly one plane out the window, though whether it was coming or going, I couldn’t say.

basket of BBQ wings with celery and ranch dressing from Klinger's at the Airport

Klinger’s is known for their bar food and for me, their wings are some of the best around. So we had to start our night with a basket – five Old Bay and five Jameson Whiskey BBQ.

Both flavors can be found at Klinger’s other restaurants, the Jameson Whiskey BBQ being the signature flavor. It’s sweet, and a little bitey. When I’ve had the wings at Carsonia, the sauce is laid on much thicker. This was lighter, but the flavor was still there. And the Old Bay is exactly what it sounds like, wings rubbed down in the classic seasoning, Julie’s favorite.

The menu looks similar to the other two locations, though each one has its own unique offerings. For instance, all three feature different varieties of chili. I had an opportunity to sample the habanero chili during the chili cook-off at this year’s Fire & Ice Festival and loved it. It was a little sweet with enough heat to make you take notice, but not enough to overpower everything else.

steak sandwich with fresh-cut fries from Klinger's at the Airport

Another twist comes with the sandwiches. All three locations have a section for steak sandwiches, but only Fleetwood and the Airport have the Lone Star Style steak sandwich featuring sautéed onions, barbecue sauce, beer cheese and bacon.

It is a phenomenal mix of ingredients. The steak meat – real cuts of meat, not Steak-Ums – is a great base. The beer cheese and the barbecue sauce blend together really well for a sweet and smoky flavor. The thick-cut bacon adds a salty note and more smokiness. And the sautéed onions are the perfect finish.

This is no Philly cheesesteak, but it is one of the best sandwiches that I have tried in more than three years of Berks County Eats.

stromboli with a bowl of marinara for dipping from Klinger's at the Airport

One of the only-at-the-airport menu additions is Stromboli – seven varieties made with beer dough. Julie decided to try the Classic – pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, mozzarella and marinara.

Klinger’s did a good job with this. The doughy shell is very good, though I couldn’t taste anything uniquely “beer dough” about it. What really stands out though is the sauce. It’s a thick, deep red sauce that is quite enjoyable for a place that doesn’t qualify as an “Italian restaurant.”

a large chocolate chip cookie flanked by two scoops of ice cream and two squirts of whipped cream all drizzled with chocolate

We were joined on our visit by our friends Matt and Hannah, who were very excited to see a cookie sundae on the dessert menu.

I have to say, after the meal, the sundae was a bit of a letdown. The chocolate chip cookie, though it looked cute with a faux face made of chocolate chunks – was disappointing. It was hard so it was difficult to cut and share. We finished off the ice cream and chocolate syrup but left some of the cookie behind.

For Julie and I, our total bill was around $30 (that included our two entrees, wings and an iced tea as Matt and Hannah picked up the tab for the cookie). Good luck coming in under $30 for dinner at PHL.

The new Klinger’s, despite its location, should prove successful. It follows a similar formula as its two sister restaurants: a cool atmosphere, rotating craft beers for the bar crowd, and great food.

Now that they have the three-peat, will Klinger’s try for four?

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

Klinger’s at the Airport
2385 Bernville Rd
Reading, PA 19605

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Bars & Pubs Dessert Lunch & Dinner Reviews
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
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
A round foil to-go container with baked ziti topped with cheese.

Nino’s Italian Ristorante of Wyomissing

For nine years, Julie and I lived in the Berkshire Heights neighborhood of Wyomissing. We loved the location – close to the highway and within walking distance of all the great restaurants in West Reading.

We also had some great restaurants closer to home. Willoughby’s on Park is one of our favorites for fine dining. Mikura always had delicious Asian-inspired meals. And I had many chai tea lattes from the Park Road Café.

But the one place we had never visited was the restaurant that had been there the longest: Nino’s Pizzeria.

A photo of a brick pizza oven with a door next to it.

Nino’s is in their 26th year of serving Wyomissing and Berks County. When we knew we were going to be moving, Julie and I made a promise that we had to have dinner from Nino’s at least once before we left.

One night after packing boxes all day, we called in an order, and I walked down the street to the little Italian restaurant in the strip mall. On many of our walks, we would see people sitting inside enjoying their meals, but the chairs were all up on the tables when I walked in, a symptom of the COVID-19 pandemic and the tight restrictions on dine-in.

A photo of a restaurant with chairs on top of tables and a picture of Italy hanging on the wall

Talking with the owners, it was easy to understand their decision to focus exclusively on takeout and delivery. With such a small space, 25% capacity would only allow them to seat about 12 people. And with the extra protocols around cleaning and sanitizing tables, it just didn’t make financial sense to offer table service.

But the phone-in orders seemed to be coming in at a steady pace. And I was anxious to get the food back to the house to finally try it.

Julie and I had both opted for one of their Italian dinners. Julie went with her personal favorite, baked ziti, while I ordered the homemade lasagna.

A round foil to-go container with a cheesey lasagna slice

Anytime I order from a restaurant that has a large menu – as Nino’s does – I am drawn to anything that says “homemade.” The connotation, at least, is that the dish takes time to make and it is one that the owners are proud to serve.

By the time I got home the lasagna was not much to look at – it shifted around in the foil packaging so it looked like a blob of cheese atop a blob of pasta and sauce – but it sure tasted good.

The menu describes the meat sauce as slightly sweet with a rich flavor, and I can’t describe it any better than that. The lasagna noodles weren’t the thinnest that I have seen, but they weren’t thick either. And there was plenty of cheese on top. It was definitely worthy of the “homemade” distinction.

A round foil to-go container with baked ziti topped with cheese.

Julie’s baked ziti was also very good (and also tasted much better than it looked in the to-go packaging). The tomato sauce was a little sweeter than the meat sauce on my lasagna, probably just because it didn’t have the extra savory element to it.

Both meals also came with a side salad and homemade bread. The side salads were pretty typical – lettuce with red onion, a slice of tomato and choice of dressing. But the bread was much more than typical.

A large loaf of Italian bread on a paper plate.

Normally when something comes with bread, I expect a slice or two. Both Julie and I got – essentially – a whole loaf of bread with our meals. We were happy to enjoy it with several more meals throughout the week.

I can say for sure that Nino’s didn’t skimp on quality or portions. And at around $35, we certainly got our money’s worth.

I’m really not sure why it took us so long to get to Nino’s – perhaps we just took for granted that it was there – but we wish we would have gone sooner.

The good news is, we didn’t move that far away so there’s nothing stopping us from going back again.

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

Italian Lunch & Dinner Takeout Uncategorized
A look at the exterior of Cherry's Jamaican Delight in West Reading

Cherry’s Jamaican Delight

A look at the exterior of Cherry's Jamaican Delight in West Reading

I was very excited when I heard Cherry’s Jamaican Delight was moving to West Reading at the beginning of the year. The new location would expose the restaurant – and the Jamaican culture that inspires the cuisine – to a whole new audience that otherwise may miss out.

Cherry’s shares a wall with Chen Vegetarian House in the 700 block of Penn Avenue. It’s a cozy location, one that previously housed small cafes. There’s limited inside seating – made more limited by current guidelines – with a few more yellow and green picnic tables set up out front.

For those not lucky enough to snag a table or those who prefer to eat at home, Cherry’s also offers takeout and delivery through GrubHub.

We decided to take advantage of the online ordering through the GrubHub app, but being just a short drive away, I opted for takeout and the opportunity to see one of West Reading’s newest restaurants.

I got a text notification that my order was ready for pickup early so I made the quick trip from our Wyomissing home into West Reading. Parking wasn’t an issue as I was able to snag a space right in front of the restaurant.

The restaurant’s renovation still feels fresh. Most of the walls are painted in a bright, vibrant yellow that is made more dramatic by the lack of tables.

My order was waiting behind the counter, and I was in-and-out and back home with my food in no time.

Cherry’s menu features Jamaican comfort food like Pepsi brown stew chicken, curried goat and several seafood options. But I had my sights on the brown oxtail stew.

A styrofoam container with stewed oxtails and rice covered in brown sauce

Oxtail is a unique cut of meat. As the name suggests, it comes from the tail of a cow. It’s a gelatinous meat. The slow-cooking in the stew helps cook it down a bit but it still has a slightly chewy consistency, especially around the bone. But the flavor is rich, and it was enhanced by the brown stew sauce.

The sauce was dark and flavorful. And it was spread across the side of rice and peas (which are actually red beans), as well, adding those deep tones to the whole plate.

A styrofoam container with chicken, rice and plantains

Arguably the most popular Jamaican dish in America – or at least the most familiar – is jerk chicken. And it’s also a favorite of my wife, Julie.

She was excited to try Cherry’s version of the dish and was not disappointed. The jerk spice, a little sweet and salty with a (very) mild heat, permeated through the perfectly cooked chicken.

Each of the meals also came with a nice little side of steamed cabbage and – my favorite – fried plantains.

A styrofoam cup with an orange drink and ice next to a styrofoam container with rice and stewed oxtails

And because every meal needs a little bit of sweet, we both decided to try the Calypso Mango, a delicious tropical lemonade that we haven’t seen anywhere else in our ventures.

In all, our dinners and drinks totaled a little less than $40, which isn’t a bad price when you consider we paid a premium for the convenience of online ordering.

Our first experience with Cherry’s Jamaican Delight definitely made us eager to try more. And hopefully others will be eager to give them a try, too.

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

Caribbean & Latin American Lunch & Dinner Takeout
Assorted foods in takeout containers spread on a granite countertop

Delicioso Tour

On Friday, August 14, Barrio Alegría hosted its annual Delicioso Tour, a culinary tour that highlights some of downtown Reading’s best food businesses.

Normally, the Delicioso Tour is an actual tour with guests walking from restaurant to restaurant in the City of Reading to sample the cuisine of a diverse population and learn the stories behind the food and those who make it.

Rather than canceling the 2020 event, the tour went virtual. Instead of going from site to site, the food was delivered right to your door. And because we couldn’t meet the owners face-to-face, video introductions were included from each of the five restaurateurs giving tour-goers insight into their heritage and their food.

Two chocolate milkshakes in clear plastic cups with still wrapped straws sitting on a countertop

Stop #1 – Franklyn’s Breakfast, Burgers, and Shakes

The first “stop” on the tour was Franklyn’s (1007 Penn Street), one of downtown’s newer restaurants. Franklyn’s opened at the end of 2019, Franklyn’s has a simple menu that, as the name suggests, focuses on scratch-made breakfasts and lunch.

We were treated to our choice of milkshake from the diner. I chose strawberry-banana while Julie chose the Oreo shake.

This is one time when I was more than happy to eat dessert first. The shakes were amazing. Drinking my strawberry-banana shake was like drinking a banana split.

close-up photo of two tacos in corn tortillas covered with onions and cilantro

Stop #2 – Loncheria y Panaderia Doña Tere

Doña Tere is located across from Reading High School (800 N. 13th Street), and as we found out with our second course, it is home to some of the best tacos anywhere.

Photo of two tacos, both with corn tortillas but one with shredded beef and the other with marinated pork filling.

We each had two tacos – one of our choice and one of their speciality taco, suadero. Suadero is a slow roasted or stewed beef that is then shredded similar to a pork carnitas. It had a similar flavor, too, but was just a little richer. For my other taco, I tried the adobada.

Photo of two tacos on corn tortillas. One is topped with beef and chorizo, the other is topped with shredded beef.

All of our tacos were served with a side of traditional toppings – cilantro and onion. I wouldn’t want them any other way because the meat was perfect and flavorful all on its own.

The tacos also came with a green salsa and a red salsa – both of them were a little too hot for our tastes. The flavors were great, but a little bit went a long way.

Photo of a takeout container filled with rice and beans and pork ribs

Stop #3 – El Tronco de Lily

El Tronco de Lily (101 S. 6th Street) was the “main course” of the meal. Julie had their rice and peas with ribs while I had the white rice with chicken.

Photo of takeout container with white rice and a half breast of chicken.

I was not expecting to enjoy my chicken as much as I did. It had a nice flavor, almost like a barbecue chicken but with a Latin twist. And the spices seeped in so it was good all the way to the last bite.

Photo of Spanish beans in tomato sauce.

While Julie’s yellow rice had the “peas” cooked with it, my white rice came with a dish of beans in a tomato sauce to pour over top. It was all very good, but way too much food for a five-course meal (we both saved about half of our rice for later).

The ribs were good, too. They weren’t the fall-off-the-bone ribs like you would find at a barbecue joint. They were a little tougher but still with plenty of flavor.

Photo of a plastic takeout container filled with assorted fried foods.

Stop #4 – Antojitos y Algo Mas

The dishes from Antojitos y Algo Mas (154 Walnut Street) were practically a meal of themselves. We knew were were getting chicharrón (pork rinds) and arepas (ground maize/corn, kind of like a fluffy corn tortilla) but the box also included some fried plantains, ribs and chorizo.

The latter were actually my favorites. Because of how they were fried, they almost had the texture of jerky which I enjoyed, especially as a change of pace to the other dishes we had tried.

close-up photo of a tres leche cake in a plastic takeout container topped with a cherry.

Stop #5 – Homemade Cravings

Just when we thought the meal couldn’t get any better, Homemade Cravings (50 N. 5th Street) had tres leches cake. The milky cake was so rich and sweet, but neither of us had enough room to finish it.

That was OK though, because after a couple nights in the refrigerator, the cake had soaked in even more flavor from the creamy mixture it was sitting in.

And it also helped extend the tour for a couple days, which was great because we didn’t want it to end.

The food throughout was outstanding and it was great to experience so many new places – some that I was vaguely familiar with and others that I had never heard of.

I really hope that the tour happens in person next year because the only thing better than eating the amazing food would be to dine alongside others who are discovering new dishes and new restaurants, too.

But whether the next tour is in-person or virtual, you can count us in.

Caribbean & Latin American Dessert Lunch & Dinner Takeout Uncategorized