Shillington Farmers Market Bacon Egg Cheese

Shillington Farmers Market Cafe

Shillington Farmers Market Cafe

In the past year, Berks County Eats has experienced the re-emergence of the Shillington Farmers Market through great meals. We’ve fallen in love with the Brocmar taco at Brocmar Smokehouse and rekindled our love of empanadas at Mi Casa Su Casa Cafe.

Among the dining options added to the market in past 12 months is the Shillington Farmers Market Cafe, a no-frills eatery tucked in a corner of the market behind Max Crema’s Coffee.

Shillington Farmers Market Cafe

The Cafe feels like a small diner. You can watch the meals being prepared in the tiny kitchen behind the counter as a wait staff of two takes care of the customers in front. It had a decent crowd during our visit, though there were tables available in the small dining room throughout our meal.

Julie, Jakob and I settled in at a table for four and menus were dropped off promptly and we were served soon after.

Shillington Farmers Market Cafe

I ordered three blueberry pancakes (the plan being that I would share my meal with Jakob, my nearly year-old son who recently discovered his love for pancakes).

Shillington Farmers Market Cafe Blueberry Pancakes

The pancakes were thick and fluffy with large whole blueberries inside. It was served with a cup of butter on the side (or on top, rather) and syrup. The pancakes were very good and there was plenty of fruit, but I did need the syrup. It was sweet enough without it, but a little dry. The syrup took care of that and the pancakes were a hit with both myself and Jakob.

Two-thirds of the way through, Jakob and I both had enough. It was then that our server said, “I’ve never seen anyone eat the whole thing.” I’m half-tempted to return now just to try to take on the three-pancake stack myself.

Shillington Farmers Market Bacon Egg Cheese

Julie was able to finish her fried egg, bacon and cheese on toast. From-scratch sandwiches like this are always better than the fast-food versions and Julie certainly enjoyed hers. She also was a fan of the hash browns which she said were done perfectly.

My corned beef hash – hash browns with sliced corned beef – were not cooked as perfectly. While I enjoyed the use of fresh sliced corned beef, the potatoes were burnt. Thankfully, I didn’t need it anyway.

Shillington Farmers Market Cafe Corned Beef Hash

Also, and I can’t believe this, but our meal was only $15. That was with an apple juice and an orange juice in addition to our food. That’s a good value, especially considering neither Julie nor I were hungry for lunch after such a robust breakfast.

The Cafe may not be the fanciest restaurant in Berks County, and it’s only open three days a week (Thursday through Saturday) with the Farmers Market, but it’s a good little spot for a no-fuss meal.

And with Brocmar Smokehouse and Mi Casa Su Casa Cafe, the Shillington Farmers Market is definitely worth a visit.

BCE Rating
Food: Good
Service: Very Good
Ambiance: Fair
Value: Bargain

Shillington Farmers Market Cafe
10 S. Summit Ave
Shillington, PA 19607

Breakfast & Brunch Farmers Market Meals Reviews

Crossroads Family Restaurant

At the intersection of Routes 222 and 61 is one of Berks County’s busiest diners.

The stainless steel exterior of Crossroads Family Restaurant can’t be seen from 222, but driving north or south along Route 61, you can’t miss the shining building with the packed parking lot.

We visited on a recent Saturday morning and found the parking lot almost at capacity. Lucky for us there were a few select spaces left in the last row of the lot.

Crossroads is the quintessential diner. Rows of booths and tables span the large dining area. Two private rooms – one on either side of the building – are separated by glass windows. We watched as one of the rooms emptied out, and the windows were slid along a track in the ceiling to open up the space for more seating.

Despite its size, Crossroads had no problem filling the tables on this Saturday morning. We had a five minute wait when we arrived at 8:30, but as many people as were beginning to wait, just as many people were filing out to pay at the register, which was flanked on either side by cases full of tempting cakes, pies and baked goods. Behind the register, I was surprised to see a fully stocked bar.

After our brief wait, we were led into the main dining room where Julie and I sat at a booth with Jakob next to us, car seat atop a high chair. As usual, Jakob was the center of attention, with waitresses and other staff stopping by to take a peek at the four-month-old with us.

We perused the robust breakfast menu: skillets, French toast, pancakes, waffles, eggs and an array of sides. I joked about going big with my side and ordering the 14-ounce ham steak (no joke, this is a real side dish. As is the eight-ounce black diamond steak).

I still went big, opting for the L.A. cinnamon roll French toast with a side of corned beef hash.

You may remember my cinnamon roll French toast from Jukebox Cafe in Boyertown where I enjoyed an actual cinnamon roll that was made a la French toast. This was different: two thick slices of cinnamon swirl bread with a vanilla glaze.

The glaze was light – not a thick icing but a subtle glaze that provided enough sweetness that butter or syrup would have been overkill. The cinnamon toast itself was very good with big cinnamon swirls.

The L.A. cinnamon roll French toast is not one of the breakfast items that is available all day, which is a shame because it would make a great dessert.

On the side, my corned beef hash was more than I needed. The hash was tightly formed and cut in half. It was good if a little on the salty side (though in fairness, I think I’m much more sensitive to salt than most). I would have been satisfied with half the order, but I finished it anyway.

Julie went with a more traditional breakfast of eggs, potatoes, toast and bacon. While she enjoys all of the above, she ordered it specifically for the homefries, which she requested deep-fried.

After visiting Crossroads several times with some of the ladies from our church, Julie had learned of the deep-fried homefries and couldn’t wait to order them. The deep-fried potatoes were crispier and more flavorful than if they had been pan-fried.

The combo meal was only $5.95 so Julie didn’t feel so guilty about leaving a couple slices of toast.

Both of us ate enough at breakfast to skip lunch so I would say the $20 we paid (I had a $2 orange juice on the bill as well) was more than fair.

It was my first visit to the restaurant, and I left impressed and full. There’s no doubt that Berks County has no shortage of places to grab a good breakfast, and Crossroads is definitely among them.

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

Crossroad Family Restaurant
4643 Pottsville Pk
Reading, PA 19605

Crossroads Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Breakfast & Brunch Diners Reviews

Williams Family Restaurant at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market

williams-family-restaurant-exterior

There is no denying that the Fairgrounds Farmers Market has some great places to eat.

More than a dozen stands offer some kind of hot food service along with the many fresh produce and meat stands throughout.

Among all of the vendors, Williams Family Restaurant stands out.

Let’s be clear: William’s Family Restaurant is not a farmers market stand. It’s a diner that just happens to be in a farmers market.

williams-family-restaurant-interior

The restaurant has about 20 tables and a small lunch counter (almost as many seats as the rest of the market combined), all of which were full when we arrived a little before 9 a.m. There was one other couple in line in front of us, but it didn’t take long for a booth to open up.

In a room that was obviously filled with “regulars,” we were probably among the few people that our waittress didn’t know by name. Still, she was very attentive, and we never felt out of place.

Like all good diners, things happen quick at William’s. Only a little more than 10 minutes after we sat down, our breakfast was on the table.

williams-familiy-restaurant-stuffed-french-toast

I love sweets at breakfast. That’s why I ordered the stuffed French toast with strawberries.

Two thick slices of toast were sitting on my plate. They had been lined up so perfectly that I wasn’t sure whether they were actually stuffed until I slid the top layer off to reveal the bright red strawberry filling.

williams-family-restaurant-stuffed-french-toast-2

It was everything I was hoping for. Every bite was filled with strawberry and cream cheese for the sweetness I craved. And the two slices of French toast were done perfectly.

I had a more savory side with my corned beef hash. It didn’t look nearly as appetizing as the French toast (hash rarely does), but it was diner food at its best.

williams-family-restaurant-corned-beef-hash

It was a little greasy and nicely crisp from the grill. The meat was ground finer than some places, which made it look wetter. In reality, it just let the meat seep into every bite.

Julie also went sweet with her red, white and blue waffle.

williams-family-restaurant-red-white-and-blue-waffle

Strawberries (red), bananas (white) and blueberries (blue) topped a plate-sized Belgian waffle. The strawberries were in the same gooey syrup as my strawberry filling while the blueberries and bananas were fresh.

The whole thing was dusted with powdered sugar (it didn’t need it). The syrup helped the strawberry get into every nook and cranny so while she didn’t get all three fruits in every bite, she always had at least a little strawberry.

With as fast as they turned the tables over, we had our check as Julie was polishing off the last bites of her waffle.

At $17, it was one of the cheapest meals that we have ever had on a Berks County Eats trip. And we certainly got more than our money’s worth because I didn’t need to eat a lunch after finishing my meal.

By the time we were heading out the door, a large crowd had gathered outside. I’m sure they didn’t have to wait long.

William’s Family Restaurant is definitely not your typical farmers market stand. It’s a real old-fashioned diner with good food, good portions and great prices.

It just happens to be surrounded by a market.

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

Williams Family Restaurant at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market
2934 N. 5th Street Hwy
Reading, PA 19605

Williams Family Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Breakfast & Brunch Diners Farmers Market Meals Reviews

Chatty’s

chatty-s-1

In today’s world, it is very rare for any business, especially a restaurant, to not have a website. At the very least, one would expect a popular restaurant to at least have a Facebook page.

Sometimes I have been frustrated when I try to look up a restaurant only to find nothing but an automatically generated Google+ page.

One restaurant where I ran into this is Chatty’s, a breakfast and lunch spot that continually shows up at or near the top of review sites, but which has no web presence of its own.

Not wanting to miss out on a place that had received so many four- and five-star ratings, I decided to make a trip and accept whatever surprises awaited.

Chatty’s is the centerpiece of the Shoppes at Woodside strip mall along Pricetown Road. It’s a place I had passed by many times on my way to and from the old Muddy’s BBQ location.

On the outside, there is not much to distinguish Chatty’s from the custom kitchen store next door. Inside, the restaurant exudes a more vibrant atmosphere than the exterior lets on. The two long side walls are covered in bright murals, with unique art work, including a three-dimensional painting of a horse and a Rajah Shriner clown. The seating areas, including the counter, have a faux diner look, with the painted black and silver as if it were stainless steel.

The sign inside the door invited us to seat ourselves so we sat down at a table for two in the back corner and perused  the single-page menus that sat on the table.

Saturday and Sunday, Chatty’s serves breakfast only, serving from 7 to 11:45 a.m. That means it’s all breakfast: French toast, pancakes and omelets make up the bulk of the menu.

The day’s specials were listed out on a dry erase board at the entrance, and that was as far as I had to look for my choice: cranberry walnut pancakes.

chatty-s-cranberry-walnut-pancakes

I normally gravitate toward French toast when I dine out for breakfast, but cranberry and walnut are two words that will always get my attention. My waitress warned me that because they were the daily special, the pancakes were only a stack of two. One would have been sufficient. Though not the largest I have ever seen, these were big enough: thick and fluffy, and as big as the plate. The walnuts added a crunchy texture that you normally don’t get in pancakes, while the cranberry provided a different kind of sweetness than syrup alone could provide. After spreading a pad of melted butter on top, my plate achieved pancake perfection.

chatty-s-corned-beef-hash

Not knowing how much food I was going to get with “just” an order of pancakes, I also committed to a side of corned beef hash. Though it was a little salty (then again, I think that’s a requirement), it was tasty enough that I cleaned the plate.

chatty-s-smoked-sausage-omelet

Once she took her first look at the menu, Julie had her heart set on an omelet, opting for a smoked sausage omelet with toast. It is safe to say that Chatty’s did not skimp on the sausage.

chatty-s-smoked-sausage-omelet-2

Inside was a full sausage link (think Johnsonville-sized) sliced thick and spread throughout. It wasn’t quite as smokey as she was expecting, but it still made for quite a dish. She obviously still enjoyed it as there were no traces left when she was finished.

The diner vibe continued all the way through from fast service—we were in-and-out in less than 45 minutes—to the prices. For all of our food, plus a glass of orange juice for me, our total came in at under $15.

We went in to Chatty’s knowing almost nothing about it, ready for whatever experience was waiting for us. Sometimes a little surprise is a good thing.

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

Chatty’s
3130 Pricetown Rd
Fleetwood, PA 19522

Chatty's on Urbanspoon

Breakfast & Brunch Diners Reviews