Kathryn’s Grille – CLOSED

Editor’s Note: Kathryn’s Grille is now closed. The restaurant originally cut back its hours before closing in early 2018.

Great restaurants have an identity. That’s the case everywhere, including Berks County.

Willoughby’s on Park is a high-end steakhouse. Tomcat Cafe is creative breakfast. Nonno Alby’s Wood Oven Pizza is…wood oven pizza.

For all of these, you know what you’re getting before you go. But there are many restaurants where, at first glance, it’s a little harder.

Kathryn’s Grille, one of Berks County’s newest restaurants, falls into the latter category.

The Douglassville restaurant is located just off westbound Route 422 in a small shopping center formerly home to Amity Ice Cream and OVO BYOB.

It’s a cozy spot with mostly tables for two and a few four-seaters. It’s also one of the nicest dining rooms around: minimalistic in its decor with soft grays and blacks that give it a slightly upscale feel.

But something about the menu just doesn’t seem to fit. It features fried appetizers and wings (50 cents on Sunday), assorted burgers and sandwiches, and eight entree options.

The entrees themselves are an interesting mix. There’s a New York strip steak, seafood options including crab cakes and grilled salmon, and a couple Italian specialties (chicken Parmesan and chicken marsala).

Meanwhile, the sides – fries, sweet potato fries, coleslaw, apple sauce, etc. – scream diner.

For my entree, I decided on the filet beef tips over egg noodles. They were tossed with a blend of mushrooms (cremini, shiitake and domestic, according to the menu) and caramelized onions.

At first, I wasn’t really into it. The noodles on top were very dry. But as I dug deeper, I found increasingly vibrant flavors as the onions and mushrooms soaked into the dish. The steak was fine, but it needed those other flavors to really elevate it.

On the menu, it listed that the meat and mushrooms were in a caramelized onion beef gravy. While the onions were present, there was no gravy. It wasn’t until I was writing this review and looked at the menu again that I realized that gravy was advertised. No wonder the noodles were dry.

None of the sides really paired well with the meal, but being forced to choose one, I went with the day’s special, a vegetable medley of roasted peppers and squash.

Even while we sat there, I joked with Julie that “vegetable medley” is code for vegetables that need to be used before they go bad. The peppers were actually very good, and it was certainly an interesting mix, but not something that I would order again.

I suppose I could have done a side salad, but then I would have preferred that as an appetizer, not a side.

Among the appetizers available is the French onion soup – the only soup with a permanent place on menu. It sounded like a good way to start the meal.

Our waitress asked if I would prefer it in a crock or a bread bowl. I had no choice but to go with the traditional crock.

The soup was topped with a combination of Swiss and Provolone cheeses. The soup itself was good if a little salty, but I thought the cheeses didn’t work as well with it as a more traditional gruyere. They didn’t melt very well and didn’t complement the flavors of soup in the same way.

Provolone cheese was a key ingredient in Julie’s entree, the “Dip It” prime rib sandwich. It was a typical French dip with a glass of au jus for dipping.

It was a good sandwich. The roll was excellent, soaking up the au jus well. I wouldn’t call it the best French dip around, but Julie enjoyed it.

Sandwiches are served with house-made chips. These were excellent. The small waffle-cut chips were well-salted, bite sized and perfect for snacking.

Toward the end of our meal, the owner (I assume) came around and stopped at every table to ask how their meals were. He then dimmed the lights slightly “I don’t want it to feel like a cafeteria.”

I guess “cafeteria” is one thing that Kathryn’s is not.

But I’m still trying to figure out what it is.

Here’s what I do know about Kathryn’s: The sandwich was good and so were the chips. The beef tips needed that gravy. The French onion soup left something to be desired. And it was $40 for our meal.

So where does that leave us? Conflicted. It’s a restaurant with potential, but it’s lacking something. Hopefully they can figure out what that is.

Kathryn’s Grille
1 Park Ln
Douglassville, PA 19518

Kathryn's Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Closed Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Basin Street Hotel

basin-street-hotel-exterior

Kutztown will always have a special place in my heart.

I don’t make it back there as often as I would like since graduating from KU in 2013. When it’s time for blogging, I try to time my visits so school’s not in session.

It’s not that I have anything against college students, but the summer months (and winter break) are slower times for many of the local restaurants. That means less crowds, shorter waits, and better service.

That’s why Julie and I waited until a Thursday night in June to pay a visit to the Basin Street Hotel. Two months from now, when class is back in session, I wouldn’t suggest going anywhere in town on a Thirsty Thursday night.

basin-street-hotel-interior

But the Hotel was calm and quiet when we arrived. Only one other booth was taken, though there were a few people hanging at the bar and a couple enjoying dinner outside on the cloudy evening.

During my time in Kutztown, I had never visited Basin Street. It’s almost on the wrong side of the tracks for college students, facing out to the train station and the Allentown and Auburn Railroad line.

Restaurants and inns have been operating on the location at the corner of Main and Willow Streets (ironically, there is no Basin Street) for more than 100 years, and the hotel maintains a certain old-time charm inside with high wooden booths, decorative ceiling tiles and historic photos of Basin Street and the town.

The only thing I really knew about Basin Street before arriving is that they are known for their wings, or at least, that’s what they tout on Twitter and Facebook so I knew where our meal was starting.

basin-street-hotel-wings

There are 22 flavors to choose from on the menu ranging from standard hot, mild and BBQ to original creations like the red pepper parm and drunken varieties.

We went with two of the more original flavors: enchilada and spicy lime.

The enchilada wings were tossed in oil and taco seasoning. Unfortunately, much of it ran off the wings so I had to continually dip it in the run-off on the plate to get that Mexican flavor I was looking for. It took some work, but I got. I just wish it had been stronger.

On the spicy lime, I got spice and very little lime. It was basically Buffalo sauce with a little after taste of citrus. (Unless I was accidently given hot wings and just imagined the lime). For Buffalo wings, they were really good.

The wings were also very meaty and filling, definitely more than we needed when we saw the size of our dinner.

Basin Street’s menu is all pub food: apps, salads, burgers and sandwiches. There are no entrees, no meals. But that’s OK. There are more than 40 burgers, wraps and sandwiches to choose from on the robust menu.

basin-street-hotel-the-golden-bear

On the “Collegiate Corner” part of the menu, all of the sandwiches were given KU-themed names, like the Golden Bear.

The Golden Bear is Basin Street’s take on a Primanti Brothers sandwich – roast beef with coleslaw and French fries served on top of the meat.

This is a sandwich that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. Separately, it’s average fries, good roast beef and tasty slaw, but together, it was a hearty, enjoyable sandwich.

From being between the hot roast beef and fries, the coleslaw warmed up quick so there was never a cold bite. The fries got a little soggy, but the thick French bread roll held up deliciously well. I probably shouldn’t have finished the whole thing, but I did anyway.

Julie went with something a little bit different as well, the turkey French dip.

basin-street-hotel-turkey-french-dip

French dip sandwiches, as you probably know, are generally made with roast beef and served with a cup of au jus (light gravy) on the side. The turkey French dip just substituted the meat on the sandwich and in the gravy.

It was a nice change of pace. Julie especially enjoyed it with the Provolone cheese she ordered on top. She also finished off everything on her plate, except a few chips that she left in the bag to take home.

The only downside to visiting Kutztown in the summer months is that a lot of the restaurants are running with short staffs. There was only one guy working as both server and bartender, and while he did well at taking our orders and bringing our food, we had to go up to the bar to get and pay our $30 check.

I’m sure there aren’t many nights when the Basin Street Hotel is as quiet as it was for our visit. But that’s why we went when we did.

I like to enjoy Kutztown – and its restaurants – at its best.

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

Basin Street Hotel
42 E. Main St
Kutztown, PA 19530

Basin Street Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars & Pubs Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Greshville Inn

greshville-inn

It’s a rare occasion when I don’t have a restaurant in mind for the weekly review. Usually it’s planned out days, if not more than a week, ahead of time.

But this week was different. We were headed to Boyertown to the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles. The town’s Oktoberfest celebration was being held on the same day, and many of the town’s restaurants were closing their doors to participate.

We went to Boyertown with no plan, driving out St. Lawrence Avenue and continuing along the Boyertown Pike (Route 562). I made note of all the restaurants we passed on our way, just in case we couldn’t find something downtown.

As much as I wanted to try all of the stands at Oktoberfest, I really wanted a sit-down meal for my review. So after walking out empty-handed, we hopped back in the car, headed about a mile west of town and pulled into the parking lot at the Greshville Inn.

TripAdvisor had listed the Greshville Inn as the No. 2 restaurant in the Boyertown area. The parking lot was mostly empty. Inside, there were two ladies sitting at a booth and guy at the bar. The rest of the dining area was empty.

But the Greshville Inn is more of a dinner and drinks place than a lunch stop so we were not all that surprised.

We were led into the dining room to a table for two that sat next to a large aquarium, with two oversized goldfish and one silvery fish whose scales were losing their luster.

greshville-inn-fish-tank

The trio provided our entertainment during the meal, especially the larger of the goldfish who spent the entire time digging around the bottom of the tank, sucking stones and spitting them back out against the glass.

On its website, the Greshville Inn says that it is “proud to offer the largest American home cooked cuisine selection available in the greater Boyertown, PA region.”

It’s a mouthful, and a little deceiving. The dinner menu isn’t very large at all: two chicken dinners, three steaks, a veal Oscar, four seafood dishes and an array of appetizers and sandwiches. The lunch menu added another handful of options though three of them were crossed out.

One of the sandwich selections was the hard-carved roast beef. It sounded too good to pass up.

greshville-inn-roast-beef-sandwich

The toasted roll was overstuffed with meat and sliced in half. A small cup of au jus was set in the center for dipping, and the plate was flanked by a pile of fries.

It was excellently done. The beef was cooked perfectly. The au jus gave it a softer texture that made it easier to put down. And the fries were great as well.

greshville-inn-french-dip

Julie’s meal didn’t stray far from me as she opted for the prime rib French dip. Served on an Italian roll, the meat wasn’t packed in as tight. The addition of melted Swiss cheese gave it a richer flavor and the use of prime rib meat gave the sandwich a richer flavor.  It was an excellent—and filling—sandwich in its own right.

It took a little while for our bill to arrive. The only waitress on staff was doubling as the bartender. And while no one else came into the dining room while we were there, the stools had begun filling up for the college football games.

Our total was only $22 for two sandwiches that were hearty enough to hold us over for the rest of the day.

The Greshville Inn may not have been my first choice on this day, but it ended up being a great meal. Sometimes your second choice turns out pretty good.

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

Greshville Inn
1013 Reading Ave
Boyertown, PA 19512

Greshville Inn Incorporated Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lunch & Dinner Reviews