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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Food: Very Good
Ambiance: Very Good
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