Editor’s Note: The Stony Run Inn is closed. The restaurant closed at the start of the pandemic and never reopened.
For an area that has such a long, proud German heritage, there aren’t many places to enjoy traditional German food.
Sure, you can find Pennsylvania Dutch pot pie and shoofly pie, but I’m talking about German food: schnitzel, wurst, sauerkraut, etc. With the exception of private clubs like the Reading Liederkranz and the Evergreen Club, there just aren’t places to find it around the city.
It’s here in Berks County, you just have to be willing to drive for it. And that’s just what we decided to do.
We drove north, north of Kutztown along Route 737. We drove past the I-78 construction and the abandoned Krumsville Diner. We drove past the Gunmakers’ Fair at Dixon’s Muzzleloading Shop, continuing north until we saw the German Bundesdienstflagge hanging from the front porch of the Stony Run Inn.
The Stony Run Inn began as the Wessnersville Hotel in 1856, according to the history on the restaurant’s website. But it is only in past decade that it has been known for Old World specialties. After some down years, new owners stepped up in September to rejuvenate the restaurant.
Since then, the response has been overwhelmingly positive across all review sites. I couldn’t wait to see what the fuss is all about.
The dining room isn’t very large so we called ahead to make reservations, just in case. We had to wait in the bar area, only briefly, while they finished clearing and resetting our table. There was one other couple waiting with us — without reservations — who had to wait just a few minutes longer.
Once seated, we had another short wait until the waiter took our order, but he was quick and attentive thereafter, dropping off our bread and dipping oil just a few moments later.
I don’t normally comment on the dipping oil, but this was worth mentioning. The herbs and spices were unique. Salt, oregano, garlic and paprika combined for a salty dip with the mildest afterburn that we both really enjoyed.
The menu, like the dining area, is small. It’s a single sheet of paper, two-sided, with appetizers, salads and sides on the front, burgers, sandwiches and entrees on the back.
While some of the burgers did sound good (especially the Hunters: beef tenderloin tips in Burgundy sauce with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and bacon), I had my heart set on an Old World German-Austrian dish.
The Austrian Bauernschmaus was a mini smorgasbord. Four kinds of meats — bratwurst, smoked sausage, roast pork and smoked pork — served with mashed potatoes and a healthy portion of sauerkraut.
I thoroughly enjoyed everything on the plate, but my favorite was the smoked pork. The meat was tenderized and flattened like unbreaded schnitzel. Though it took only six bites to down, each one was heavenly.
The smoked sausage was cut like a bloomin’ onion, with four petals all connected at the base. It had a nice, mild heat, the spiciest of any of the four meats on the plate. The bratwurst was very good, and even the roast pork, which was basically ham, was enjoyable, especially with the light au jus-like sauce.
I really liked the sauerkraut. It was a little more sour than I usually prefer, but was great mixed in with the mashed potatoes.
All in all, I couldn’t complain about anything on my plate.
Julie, meanwhile, was in love with her dish.
Her chicken paprikash included a chicken breast in a paprika roux, served with red cabbage and spätzle. The sauce was exceptional, with a truly unique flavor from anything else we have found.
The spätzle was a little al dente and very buttery. And the red cabbage was done just right, with maybe just a hint of vinegar.
After she finished, she called it one of the best meals that she has had in a long time.
Of course, we couldn’t skip dessert once the waiter told us there was apple strudel.
It was definitely worth it. The filling was spot-on with the right amount of brown sugar to sweeten the apples further. Strudel dough is always thin, but this was flaky like filo, making it feel much lighter.
We were more than full by the time we finished the last bite. But we both agreed that it was $53 well-spent for one of the better meals in recent memory.
Stony Run is about a 40-minute drive for us from Wyomissing. That’s not exactly right around the corner.
But if you have a craving for good German food, it’s definitely worth the drive.
Food: Very Good
Stony Run Inn
Kempton, PA 19529
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