HOME > Chowhound > Pennsylvania >


Reading or Morgantown, PA

Going for breakfast to Shady Maple in Morgantown, thinking of staying overnight in reading -any ideas for a good casual dinner? Maybe a hotal suggestion also?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Let me first say that I do not spend much time at all in Reading. But one Saturday during this past summer, I was looking for a day trip to Reading. And, in researching a restaurant, the following three were my top choices.


    We chose the Austrian pub! And, let me tell you, it was a hoot! Now, it is not gourmet cuisine by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a fun experience! The woman who took our reservation just barely spoke English. There is a strolling accordian player that takes requests (we heard Edelweiss a million times!). They have traditional schnitzel and cabbage and buttered noodles. And, after dinner, you can visit their gift shop and buy yourself some lederhosen with a matching hat!

    If you are looking a for a different type of fun and laid back experience in Reading, this may be it!


    1. Although not right in Reading, Cab Frye's in Palm is nice http://www.cabfryes.com/ and so is the Oley Valley Inn http://www.oleyvalleyinn.com/ and if you haven't visited the reading cvb website yet, here it is http://www.readingberkspa.com/home.asp

      1. Have fun at the Shady Maple. While not exactly fine dining, I always seem to enjoy it. Technically speaking, it's located in East Earl, not Morgantown, but close enough.

        I wouldn't recommend any restaurants in Morgantown proper. Except maybe the Heritage, if you are looking for something very "casual." I like their chicken wings.

        If you've never been there, consider Stoudts Brewery on Rt. 272 in Adamstown http://www.stoudtsbeer.com/ They are well known as one of the finer microbreweries on the east coast. For dining, you can choose the formal dining room or the more casual pub area. Both are great.

        In Reading, I would recommend Hong Thanh at 6th and Court Street if you like Vietnamese. Great food at reasonable prices in a nice setting. Also, Canal Street Pub is usally pretty decent. http://www.canalstreetpub.com/

        One of my favorite restaurants in the Reading area is Frank & Diannah's Arbor Inn in Mt Penn. Great food in a cozy setting. It is a little pricey though, but I've never been dissappointed.

        I agree the Oley Valley Inn is a great choice, though also a bit pricey and not exactly what I'd call casual. You might also consider Stokesay Castle http://www.stokesaycastle.com/

        1. Oh I forgot to mention the Ugly Oyster in Reading if you are looking for something casual. It's on 21 S 5th St.


          1. I was wondering if the OP had made it to Reading. If not, here is another Reading area restaurant to consider.

            Austins is one really good place for casual dining. Their food is above the TGI Fridays level of dining but their prices are in the same range. One of the best bets for baby back ribs in the area. Every time I have been here, the service has been great too. Apparently, the same owners also own the J.B. Dawson's restaurant is the Philly area, but Austins was first.


            Let us know how it goes!

            1 Reply
            1. Another vote for the Ugly Oyster, our regular lunch stop. Among other things, they offer a chicken cheesesteak with, if you ask, mushrooms and peanuts, served with a honey mustard sauce. Quite good and unusual. They have a great fish fry, and of course, fried oysters. Really, there's very little on their menu that isn't just a little bit better than you'd expect in a pub :)

              1. We ate at a place called Emily's, which is on Rt 10 (Morgantown Road) in the Green Hills area. It was excellent, great service, nice people. I had a delicious red snapper and could only eat about half of it. Not a BYO, but the wine list was reasonable. We had a Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, which is something we have purchased several times at the State store for about $9 or $10; and it was $20 on the menu. The chef apparently was formerly at Dans' before that restaurant went through some big changes recently. Emily's has a new owner since about 6 months ago. He and his wife also own Yellow House in Amity.

                Another great place in Reading is Hong Thanh on Chestnut Street downtown. Vietnamese and Chinese food... extremeley tasty. BYO.

                1. I live in Reading, and my wife and I like going to Viva Good Life Bistro, across the street from the VF outlet mall. Good menu and great food. The owners just bought Casa Grande, an Italian place on the west side of town, and brought in a new menu to match the food at Viva. Add to the list:
                  Judy's on Cherry - great food in down town. Upscale but still causal
                  Peanut Bar - Great food in bar like setting down town.
                  Austins - Casual setting and great prices
                  Chef Alan's Bistro - West Reading. Good price

                  1. Interesting to see that both Emily's and Casa Grande are under new ownership. I hope it's an improvement as I've been disappointed with both in the past.

                    Now the Peanut Bar is a Reading classic. Not pretty, but usually fun and a good value.

                    1. If you are ever back this way, here's another good place to try. The resturant is called Bistro on the green, and it's the clubhouse resturant at the Flying Hills golf course. RR 10 between Morgantown and Reading, although only about 2 miles south of Reading. It's not a fancy country club or anything like that, but has great food. Not just bar/grill food either. That have all of that, but also excellent seafood, sushi, soups and salads, and home made ice cream. I get the sushi a lot, even after playing golf sometimes!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: egbluesuede

                        actually we are thinking about another overnighter to the area - are the places open on Sundays as well?

                        1. re: tuxedo

                          Unfortunately, both the Bistro on the Green and Emily's are closed on Sunday, and both would be in perfect driving range from Morgantown. I just ate at Emily's for lunch yesterday, first time in quite a while. The food was excellent, good service, and good price. Really a neat, unique place. I looked at their dinner menu as well. Approx $25 entrees, but nice selection of steaks, chicken, and seafood. I'll have to go back for dinner sometime and try it.

                      2. I go to Reading once or twice a year and always stop at Judy's. Casual atmosphere and I think excellent food. Go for anything out of the wood oven.

                        1. Judy's on Cherry is outstanding, and the Speckled Hen is one of my favs - that would be my rec.

                          Alpenhof is great also, if you're into that kind of food.

                          Viva, Stoudts, Austins are great choices. Cab Frye's is no where near Reading (probably a 40 min drive), and even further from Morgantown.

                          I would caution against Peanut Bar, Chef Alan's and particularly Canal Street Pub. These are very popular places that just are not as good as they used to be compared to the places above.

                          Only one place in Morgantown are is worth seeking out and that would be Giovannis Pizza & Pasta - which has the biggest tastiest wings. The pizza's pretty good also.

                          If you like Shady - you might also enjoy Yoders over in New Holland. The food is a bit better, but there's not as much variety. I think they are remodelling though.

                          1. Hotel suggestion - if you're looking for something historic - there's the Abraham Lincoln on 5th and Washington; though, Wyomissing/Berkshire Mall area has some good hotels, too. I personally prefer Country Inn and Suites on Park Blvd., behind the outlets.

                            Restaurants: For breakfast, the Antique Airplane inside Best Western Dutch Colony (Perkiomen Avenue) is my favorite - never been there for lunch or dinner. Dan's is great, and so is Austin's.

                            Maybe it's just me, but I found the PA Dutch places around the area to be a bit too heavy for me. I know they specialize in good, hearty food - but maybe it was just too hearty for me.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: miznic

                              Saturday night we ate at Frank & Diannah's Arbor Inn in Reading (actually St. Lawrence). It was excellent and we had terrific service. Frank, the chef, had made a special appetizer of crawfish etoufee, which we shared along with a couple of other yummy appetizers. I had duck breast for my main course and it was perfectly cooked and with a very tasty sauce. The only negative IMO is that it is NOT a BYO and their wine list is small. We had a party of 6 and the total bill was about $120 per couple including tip (only one bottle of wine, but a couple of people had mixed drinks), so that should give you an idea of their prices.

                              1. re: zelbee

                                I've heard good things about their hamburger night.... Haven't been there but I've heard they're high end and well worth it.

                              2. re: miznic

                                The Abraham Lincoln Hotel has a very good Italian Restaurant
                                L'arte della Veta.... http://www.wyndham.com/hotels/RDGHT/d...
                                The dining room is very old style hotel decor, but you can dress casual.

                              3. I found that RUSE'S DELI in Morgantown has DELICIOUS sandwiches (hoagies). Packed full of meat, etc! Very reasonable prices. Great, friendly place. I will definitely go there if I pass thru Morgantown again.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: sierrakid

                                  I suspect you mean Nuse's - and yes, great sandwiches, particularly cheese steaks.