Editor’s Note: Wild Sage announced in January 2022 that both the downtown cafe and Fairgrounds Farmers Market stands “will be closing down in our current format for an undetermined period of time.” A new place, Sweets Cafe & Juice Bar, now operates in the downtown location while Oola Bowls has the farmers market stand.
When it opened in Spring 2017, Wild Sage Coffee and Kitchen brought a unique vibe and menu to downtown Reading.
For the first year and a half after it opened, the cafe’s hours were limited to weekday breakfast and lunch: great for those who live and work and downtown Reading but not great for people like me with a long commute.
Then last fall, Wild Sage introduced weekend hours, serving brunch every Saturday and Sunday. Now two years after Wild Sage opened for business, Julie and I finally had an opportunity to visit the little cafe on Washington Street.
The location is convenient to the downtown business district along the 700 block of Washington. We arrived to find the block parked full. Thankfully the Poplar and Walnut garage is right around the corner (the charge for up to an hour is $2 but we actually didn’t have to pay anything when we put the ticket in the machine).
Before Wild Sage took over, the stone town home housed a doctor’s office. The decor inside is simple with gray walls and a hardwood floor. The walls featured paintings and drawings from local artists. The bells on the door jangled with every passing car. “Our ghost,” one employee joked as the sound caught my attention.
On weekends, the full menu – both breakfast and lunch – are available along with a select few brunch-only specials. The menu changes seasonally but always features soups, salads, sandwiches and grain bowls for lunch with sandwiches, toast, fruit bowls and select sweets at breakfast.
And of course they have a full menu of specialty drinks that includes coffee, tea, smoothies and more. I decided to try the iced chai tea while Julie went with a cold brewed tea.
Chai lattes are a favorite of mine, but not everyone offers a cold version of the spiced tea so I was excited to see it on Wild Sage’s menu. It did not disappoint. It had the right blend of chai spice and creamy milk to make for a refreshing mid-morning drink. Julie also enjoyed her lavender lemon tea – unsweetened but with a strong, relaxing lavender flavor.
For our meals, I stuck with the breakfast side of the menu while Julie went with lunch.
My sweet tooth told me to order the cinnamon roll pancakes: two pancakes topped with a cream cheese glaze and candied walnuts with cinnamon sugar. They were a true indulgence.
The cream cheese glaze was delicious and the walnuts added some nice texture. But it was the cinnamon sugar, which had been nicely caramelized, that really hit on the perfect flavor combination.
I had also ordered a hash brown waffle, one of the sides listed on the brunch-only menu. Unfortunately I was told that it was no longer being offered. Instead of replacing it with bacon or a fried egg (the only other sides listed) I stuck with just the pancakes. I probably could have eaten something else but I really didn’t need to so in the end I didn’t miss it.
For her lunch, Julie went with a soup and sandwich combo. For the soup, she opted for their roasted red pepper soup. It was topped with feta cheese and balsamic drizzle, the former added a tang and a little creaminess.
The only complaint was that it could have been hotter. It was warm, but it wasn’t the steaming cup of hot soup that would be expected.
Her maple bacon sandwich was also a winner in her book. It featured turkey, apple, cheddar cheese, bacon and a maple spread on thick-cut white toast.
Turkey, bacon and cheddar always go well together, and Julie enjoyed the addition of the maple spread -a sweet sauce – and the apples which gave the sandwich a crunchy texture.
Our meal was very good all around. And even with our two drinks, we spent less than $30 so I’d say it was a good deal as well.
I’m glad that Wild Sage added weekend hours so those of us outside the city can enjoy this great little cafe downtown. Hopefully more guests will take advantage of it because it seemed like a relatively slow day during what would be considered the lunch rush.
At least I can say that we will be back.
Food: Very Good
Ambiance: Very Good
Wild Sage Coffee & Kitchen
731 Washington St
Reading, PA 19601
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