The Reading Eagle released its annual Reader’s Choice Award results on September 17. The people got a lot of things right, came close on a few more, and had a few whiffs. Here’s my take on this year’s winners:

The People Got It Right

Billy Burger earned the title of Best Burger

Best Burger: Billy Burger & Bakery

There are a lot of supporters for Frank & Diannah’s Arbor Inn – I’m one of them. On burger night, I agree. The rest of week, give me Billy Burger & Bakery in Morgantown.

Mikura was named Best Chinese in Berks.

Best Chinese: Mikura Asian Cuisine & Sushi Bar

I could make a case for Zhuang’s Garden or China Penn, but Mikura is excellent so I’m not going to argue this one.

Best Diner: Exeter Family Restaurant

Best Diner: Exeter Family Restaurant

It’s close between Exeter and Wyomissing Restaurant & Bakery but Exeter gets the nod for two reasons: a larger menu and 24-hour service. Also, Wyomissing won Best Family Restaurant so both get credit in the end.

Best Italian: Mom Chaffe’s Cellarette

It’s the oldest Italian restaurant in Berks County and it’s still the best.

Crave Cafe gets my vote, partially because of the cool ambiance

Best Lunch: Crave Cafe

The only other place that comes close for me is Cafe Sweet Street. Sweet Street has the edge on flavor. Crave has the edge on ambiance, location and healthful options.

Best Outdoor Dining: Jimmy G’s Beverly Hills Tavern

It’s the best beach in Berks County.

Best Pizza: Nonno Alby's

Best Pizza: Nonno Alby’s

Rocco’s was better, but it closed earlier in the year. That puts Nonno Alby’s back on top until someone can knock them off.

Best Seafood Market: Adelphia
Best Seafood Restaurant: Coastal Grille
Best Sushi: Mikura Asian Cuisine & Sushi Bar

I don’t eat seafood so I’m going to assume the people got it right.

Good Choice, but Not Mine

Best BBQ: Mission BBQ

I like love Mission BBQ. It’s a great concept with great food. I’ve purchased two commemorative cups – one supporting local first responders and one for the USO. But I don’t think that it is the best in Berks. I would probably still give my vote to Muddy’s, though both of Hamburg’s offerings (Backwoods Brothers and Smokin’ Brays) are excellent, too.

Wyomissing Restaurant & Bakery won best breakfast

Best Breakfast: Wyomissing Restaurant & Bakery

If you’re looking for a traditional breakfast or a good buffet, Wyomissing is the winner. I like it, but I love creativity. For me, Tom Cat Cafe in Sinking Spring or Letterman’s Diner in Kutztown rank higher.

Best Mexican: Plaza Azteca

Julie will tell you that her favorite item on any Mexican restaurant menu is the enchilladas rancheros from Plaza Azteca. I like it, but not as much as I like La Abuela or Alebrije.

PJ Whelihan's is Chickie's and Pete's kid brother

Best Sports Bar: P.J. Whelihan’s

The wings are fine. The fries are the kid brother of Chickie’s and Pete’s Crabfries. But P.J Whelihan’s does have lots of sports. The Pike Cafe was the runner-up, and it would have made a better winner.

Best Subs & Sandwiches: Screpesi’s Sandwich Shop

I still need to get to Screpesi’s. Not having been there yet, I can’t argue it. (update, I went to Screpesi’s in 2019. Really good stuff). I do love Lavigna & Sons though.

Best Wings: The Pike Cafe

Close, but Dino’s Wings & Things still gets my nod. Too many great flavors to choose from.

What Were You Thinking?

Texas tenders and fries from Austin's: delicious, but not fine dining

Best Fine Dining: Austin’s

Austin’s is amazing. Their Texas tenders and shoestring fries are a guilty pleasure of mine. But any menu that includes chicken tenders and shoestring fries shouldn’t be considered fine dining. Dans at Green Hills deserved this one.

Best Ice Cream: Way-Har Farms

I’m not arguing that Way-Har Farms has good ice cream, but it’s not the best. I’m also admittedly biased toward Lori’s Candy Station.

Best College: Alvernia University

Go KU! #ItsGoodToBeGolden

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