In 1989, Dan Gallagher and Dan Smith joined their respective names and began pursuing one common goal: to bring a contemporary alternative to Berks County's dining scene. The 40-seat eatery was successful in the Dans' hands until 2005, when Bill Woolworth and MD. Monir stopped in for dinner, fell in love with the place, and decided to buy it.
Though much of the space's original charm remains intact, the new owners gussied up the decor with white tablecloths and floral arrangements, and they solicited the help of executive chef Jason Hook to lighten the rotating menu. Jason draws on his experience studying in France and working at The Four Seasons in New York to craft healthful, contemporary French- and Californian-inspired dishes. In every preparation, he highlights the ingredients' natural tastes, often pairing local cuts of meat and poultry with fresh, seasonal ingredients and luxurious flourishes such as truffles or Lamborghini-scented foam.
Hook, Woolworth, and Monir also frequently evaluate their wine selections to ensure that they pair well with the evolving menu, which changes every week. While sipping glasses of red or white, diners can question servers about the building's rich history in the Penn's Common Historic District. Before the restaurant settled into the space, it was inhabited by an old-style soda dive, a prison doctor's home, and a grassland populated with roaming dinosaurs.
Good Eatz Green Café stocks its kitchen with local, sustainable, and organic ingredients to fill its menu with gluten-, dairy-, or animal product-free meals. Wholesome recipes include maple buckwheat pancakes and Mexican-style frittatas, as well as ahi tuna sashimi, gluten-free cheese ravioli, seitan meatloaf, and Black Angus cheeseburgers.
In addition to its devotion to sustainable ingredients, Good Eatz boasts other green qualifications such as membership in Oxfam and Green America, formerly Co-op America, a box and paper reuse program, and Energy Star appliances, which can be plugged directly into the sun.
The ingredients used in Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cuisine are vastly different, as are the methods of preparation. At Zhuang's Garden, they come together in surprising ways. Eight crackling hibachi-grill tables and a sushi bar represent Japan, and Chinese décor and the aromas of lo mein hint at the traditions of that nation. Glasses of wine clink together above plates of Thai food at the BYOB eatery, where the dishes include curry that is the brilliant yellow of turmeric or a banana salesman’s business card.
The 200-year-old stone walls of Christine’s Creekside Inn sheltered an 18th-century grist mill, a knitting mill, and a Prohibition-era speakeasy before hosting executive chef and owner Doug Delong. This is a second homecoming for Delong, who was one of the original chefs here during the early 1990s when the restaurant was called Old Mill Inn. After an apprenticeship at the Green Hills Inn to study American and French cuisine, Delong returned to restore the elegance of the restaurant and pour two decades of experience into his hearty meat- and seafood-focused cuisine. Italian taste dominates the menu, so veal and chicken are draped in traditional sauces with lemon and capers, artichokes, or marsala wine to complement their tiny borsalino hats. Steaks are hand-cut from certified Angus beef and pair nicely with wine or a microbrew from the diverse list of 14 bottled beers.
Delicate iron chandeliers descend from timber beams in the peaked ceiling, but their soft glow seems unnecessary against a wall of arched windows that reach nearly two stories on their tippy toes. The broad hall exudes both cathedral grandeur and country charm, making it suitable for an elegant night out or a wedding reception.
As patrons step into the Western-themed restaurant, their stomachs instantly stop growling to bask in awe of 25 specialty sandwiches and 25 types of gourmet fries. Those who dare to slay The Beast, a snarling made-to-order 3-pound beef patty that doesn't know the meaning of "no"—earn a gift card and a coveted spot in the Spuds Hall of Fame. No less satisfying, but slightly less filling, sandwiches sandwich 8-ounce patties of chicken, ground beef, or steak, and pair well with a helping of gourmet fries, ranging in toppings from gravy to cheesesteak to pizza. An array of appetizers including salads, wings, and pierogies supplement meals or serve as additional burger toppings.
Beneath the bright arrow that pivots around Tack's small sign, the quaint facade protects the home of a host of well-loved sandwiches, housemade sides, and famous Cream Smoothie sodas. Daily specials include hot dog Tuesdays and dollar cheeseburgers—which have one-dollar bills for lettuce—all day Saturday. These specials join a lineup of hot sandwiches and even a kids menu.