Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Brighten up your day with a meal at Sunshine Café

LIMERICK – When it comes to creating the hometown feeling, Sunshine Café has got it right. And if the full parking lot and jovial patrons are any sign, there is definitely a great sense of community at this Limerick destination.

“We’re the ‘Cheer’s’ without the beer,” said owner Jamie Coulston.

As the Muncher looked left to right at crowded room of smiling customers enjoying coffee and breakfast, with servers speaking to customers on a first-name basis, it was hard to disagree.
Located at 207 West Ridge Pike, the property, which used to be a second location for Speck’s Chicken, has been operating as Sunshine Café for 10 years.

Throughout this time a number of different specials and unique items have made the diner a staple in the community of Limerick.

Stuffed French toast made with cream cheese filling and topped with strawberries complements specialty omelettes like Italian sausage, stromboli, and southwest steak.
After continuous customer requests, Sunshine Café made the decision to open for dinner on Thursdays to Saturdays. Offerings such as homemade chicken pot pie, chicken cacciatore, pork and sauerkraut, and meatloaf are a wholesome treat to evening diners.

The Mercury Muncher had the pleasure of sampling the sticky bun French toast, eggs benedict and kielbasa. The sticky bun French toast a sticky bun sliced into thirds, dipped in egg mixture, then tossed on the grill and doused with powdered sugar. The result is a tasty treat that could have been a dessert, as the sweet cinnamon and maple collided with a warm walnut crunch. And if you are coming for dessert, try the sticky bun ice cream sandwich, caramel apple cake, peach cobbler or homemade cheesecake.

The eggs Benedict were a familiar, and delicious, breakfast staple. The Muncher enjoyed the traditional version, but others can sample variations such as crab Benedict, where egg are placed on a crab cake instead of Canadian bacon; or eggs Benedict Florentine, where spinach is mixed into the hollandaise sauce.

A generous side of kielbasa was the perfect breakfast pairing, as the crispy skin gave way to the juicy, tender meat.

With daily specials, a menu that changes weekly to fit customer requests and friendly, speedy service, Sunshine Café is one diner not to miss.

Sunshine Café is open 7 days a week, Sunday to Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information or to place a take out order, call 610-409-8420.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Nikka’s Kitchen Cafe shows you don’t have to drive far for great Greek food

DOUGLASSVILLE – Nikka’s Kitchen Café offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu of recipes that combine modern innovation with the best of traditional cooking styles.

Owners Nikki and Karen (from which the name Nikka’s in derived) loved the charm of the building in which the restaurant is housed. This convinced them to offer their family recipes to the public when they opened in July 2010. The open-concept dining room is artistic and reminiscent of a quaint city-style dining establishment – without the city prices.

There are not many places in the area you can get Greek food, and adapting traditional meals with a personal chef’s touch separates Nikka’s from the rest. Spanakopita is one such dish. This rich spinach puff with ricotta and feta cheese, eggs and chopped onion wrapped in filo dough.
Chicken Byzantine is made of artichokes with capers, olives and wine with a zesty tomato sauce. The dish is a Greek delicacy. Ouzo tomato sauce is sautéed, and tomatoes and olives are added. Feta cheese is placed on top and the dish is baked in the oven.

For pizza lovers who love toppings, the flatbread pizza is a must-eat. Made with Roma tomatoes, caramelized onions, green peppers and goat cheese, this is an eclectic dish packed with plenty of flavor.
Soups are different each day, and offer a twist on traditional recipes. For example, a Tuscan clam chowder is made with penne pasta and chick peas instead of potatoes. To cap a fine meal, delectable desserts such as cheesecake, tiramisu, and Greek pastries like baklava complement popular offerings of brownies and cookies.

The Muncher tried the baked lemon chicken with pasta cooked with olive oil and white wine. The chicken was tender and seasoned perfectly – without an often common emphasis on salt – which combined with the pasta to create a delicious meal.

Tuesday night is pasta night, featuring a number of different pasta dishes, such as homemade mushroom ravioli. Fresh pasta is stuffed with mushrooms, seasoning and garlic. A half-chicken dinner is served on Thursdays.

The chicken is served with rice or lemon potatoes, Greek salad with homemade dressing and sliced bread. The healthy chicken dish is marinated in lemon juice and fresh herbs then baked.
Nikka’s is open for lunch Tuesday to Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is located at 7 Old Swede Road (422 East) in Douglassville. The restaurant opens again for dinner at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and offers personal catering services. For more information call 610-914-0117 or visit www.nikkaskitchencafe.com.

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Penny’s Pizza wants to know: Got cornmeal?

ROYERSFORD — When Penny’s Pizza closed its doors almost four years ago, there was a resounding feeling of disappointment in the Royersford area.

When the renowned pizza shop opened back up last October, the only disappointment associated with Penny’s was that the wait time for pizza grew as high as six hours, with the last pizza typically coming out of the oven at 1:15 a.m. But for devoted Penny’s fans, the wait was well worth it.

Penny’s Pizza’s claim to fame comes from their sweet sauce and use of cornmeal in pizza-making. Each pie is made backwards. Cheese is laid on the dough, then sauce is added, a method that few pizzerias employ. The dough is kneaded with a healthy dose of corn meal to give it the signature Penny’s taste.

“It’s an old family recipe that we have kept,” said owner Jen Pengelly, pictured below. She added, “the sweet sauce is what the customers like most.”

The Mercury Muncher has sampled a fair share of pizzas, but nothing was quite like the crunchy corn meal concoction that Penny’s offered. Combined with the sweet sauce, the pizza was a tasty treat with distinctive character, something that does not come with just any slice.

Penny’s serves a small menu, but what they do serve they serve right. Available are Neapolitan and white pizzas with a wide variety of fresh toppings, lasagna, strombolis and calzones.

One of the most defining characteristics of Penny’s is the commitment level of their customers near and far. The restaurant has shipped their food via next-day-air to California and Florida. Two customers come from Lancaster twice a month to get pizza and strombolis for parties, and others from Penn State and the District of Columbia will order 10 to 15 strombolis and freeze them.

In the spirit of being back in action, Penny’s Pizza will host their first annual pizza - eating contest in the spring, and will have more details on their website, www.gotcornmeal.com.

Penny’s Pizza is located at 68 W. Ridge Pike, Royersford and is open Thursday to Sunday, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m for pickup customers. To place an order, call 610-489-3636.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Bella Pizzeria serves up a slice of history

EAST VINCENT — In the late 1700s ,the Brumbach (later known as Brownbach) family built the building that today houses Bella Pizzeria.

Standing the test of time, much of the interior has remained the same over the years, including the fine stonework and floors. From a general store to a gas station where barbeques were held in the back to a Red Rooster breakfast restaurant, the building has seen a lot of transition.

Celebrating more than three years in business, Bella Pizzeria is making a name for itself by serving quality foods at reasonable prices. And while the outside maintains the traditional look, inside there is a restaurant that is keeping up with the times — and appetites — of the greater East Vincent community.

A huge menu unfolds to a variety of foods, included a wide selection of handcrafted pizza options, all cooked in a brick oven. Feedback from the customers is that the pizza is great, people love the wings, and because of some poultry-infused dishes it was suggested that the restaurant start calling itself “Bella Chicken.”

The restaurant features traditional pizzeria items such as steaks, hoagies and pizza as well as some more obscure dishes, such as the Red Rooster. This sandwich is made of grilled chicken, fried onions, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and pepper jack cheese on a freshly baked roll. Farmland steak and chicken is used, complemented by fresh vegetables and other ingredients.
Homemade desserts such as cheesecake, triple chocolate cake and cannolis complement the lunch and dinner menu items, all of which can be enjoyed in a large dining area. The dining room, featuring a small game room and television, makes Bella Pizzeria a relaxing family-oriented destination.

The Mercury Muncher sampled a tasty cheesesteak with hearty beef, gooey melted American cheese, thick-cut fried onions and cool sauce. Even a small sandwich was filling enough to satisfy the Muncher for the whole day. The Muncher’s only regret was that it didn’t get a large so it could snack on the sandwich again for dinner!

Pickup, dine-in and takeout service are offered, take out beer is available, and on Mondays and Tuesdays kids can eat for $2. Senior citizen discounts and a variety of specials can be taken advantage of and are promoted on the Bella Pizzeria Facebook, where the full menu and coupons are available.

Bella Pizzeria is located at 366 Ridge Road in Spring City and is open Monday to Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday to Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information or to place an order, call 610-495-5272.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CJ’s House of Wings N’ Things earns notoriety with variety

It didn’t take long for C.J.’s House of Wings N’ Things to garner the attention of the community, as The Mercury’s Readers’ Choice winner for best wings has quickly made a name for itself with a stacked menu that includes 69 flavors of wings — and counting.

Open since May of 2010 at their Pottstown location, the family business is owned and operated by local firefighters including chef C.J., who has concocted wing sauces ranging from the sweet to the ghastly — literally. The “Fiery Ghost” flavor is an inferno sauce mixed with Ghost Pepper, and C.J. explained “if you like it hot, it’s good.” A creative flavor called the “Twisted Mexican” features a southern-style sauce of herbs, spices and cayenne pepper mixed with blue cheese and ranch.

And while in spicy heat measurement C.J.’s offers an extreme sauce that reaches 5 million Scoville units, the variety of fresh, never frozen wings offers something for everyone.

Though wings are C.J.’s specialty, smoked pork and ribs, hoagie and steak sandwiches and much more fill out a diverse menu. The Muncher tried the “Beech Street Melt,” a hearty portion of turkey, cheese wiz, onion rings and hot ranch sauce packed in a fresh Amoroso deli roll. The cool cheese was the first taste felt, but a zing of the hot ranch sauce on the backend made this dish a welcome distraction from the typical turkey sandwich. Offering a variety of specials, C.J.’s delivers a delicious and economical meal that doesn’t compromise quality.

Located at 203 N. York St. in Pottstown, C.J.’s House of Wings N’ Things is open Sunday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Free delivery available by calling 610-970-8646.

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Fresh not frozen is the key at Kickin’ Chicken

POTTSTOWN – As Kickin’ Chicken & More gears for their first anniversary at their new location, one thing that hasn’t changed is the emphasis they put on making high quality, delicious cuisine.

Now at 808 N. Charlotte St. in Pottstown after two years at High and Washington streets, Kickin’ Chicken now offers limited seating, though most orders are for takeout.

All menu items have been served at seven locations that the co-owner and chef Norm Taylor has managed in a long career in the restaurant business. Taylor features special recipes for homemade soups, hand-cut potato skins, sautéed corn, broccoli with onions and much more.

Large, juicy chicken strips and wings are what Kickin’ Chicken is famous for, as the portion size is significantly larger than the competition. Cooked from scratch and never frozen, it may take a few extra minutes to prepare some food items, but the wait is well worth the quality.

Special promotions for weekend football games and holiday parties are now being offered, and the staff will cater for large orders.

The goal of the restaurant is to provide quality home-cooked meals at affordable prices.

Kickin’ Chicken is open Monday to Friday 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday 3 to 8:30 p.m.

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Get food that really delivers at Ice House Steaks & Pizza

POTTSTOWN — When Craig Bolinger bought the historic corner building at King and Manatawny streets, he envisioned a restaurant that served the freshest food possible, delivered right to the customers’ doorstep. With the help of manager Lynn Mazza and his excellent team of employees, the dream was realized and continues today, as prompt service is complimented by a smile and friendly greeting.

One of the first independent pizza restaurants locally to use a computer ordering system, Ice House has evolved with the times to provide online ordering through their updated website, www.icehousedelivers.com.

Customers crave their cheesesteaks, wings and hoagies, and the Mercury Muncher was quick to hop on the specialty cheesesteak, which was served with Farmland sliced steak and served on a fresh-baked Conshohocken roll. Provolone cheese, sauce and fried onions made this mouthwatering dish a Muncher favorite.

For Ice House, the staff is not happy unless the customer is happy, stressing a commitment to their 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee. As they develop their expanded catering menu, quality and convenience are paramount as the restaurant has expanded to meet the catering needs of the community.

Delivering everything on the menu, Ice House Steaks & Pizza offers delivery, pickup, dine-in, catering and take out beer. They are open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For orders call 610-326-9999.

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