Today my fun and frolicsome friend Clare and I continued our french fry adventure through West Reading, Pennsylvania.
(As a refresher, please see The French Fries of West Reading PART ONE: Say Cheese!)
By the way, we were delighted to be mentioned in The Reading Eagle newspaper: “A blogger begins a survey of West Reading french fries.”
That makes us feel as though we’re official and not just two knuckleheads going around eating french fries all over the place!
Our stop this time was West Reading Tavern at 606 Penn Avenue, known for its distinctive signage and red door. At the moment, the signage has met with some Halloween shenanigans:
But the captain was there at the door, as he so often is:
A person can’t really picture West Reading without West Reading Tavern, because it’s been a distinctive feature on the streetscape since 1978. (Interesting old and new photographs appear on the tavern web site here: West Reading Tavern History.)
Clare and I aimed for the “Truffle Fries,” often on the menu under “Starters,” but not before we ordered beer even though it was 11:30 in the a.m.
(You know what they say, though! It’s always 5:00 p.m. somewhere!
Or 3:00 p.m.
Or whatever time you claim is the acceptable time for alcohol.
I personally like to limit myself to “not at breakfast.”
The tavern is known for its excellent beer menu, so “When In Rome” and “Carpe Diem,” and all the other sayings!)
Clare ordered a Dun Wurkyn Lager, which is a totally great name for a beer, and I ordered a Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale. ‘Tis the season!
The beer was followed very shortly by Truffle Fries:
According to the famous Amy–and if you go to West Reading Tavern enough, you will surely encounter Amy–the fries are deep fried in a vegetable oil and seasoned with truffle salt, black pepper and parmesan cheese. You may order them with a garlic aioli or a malt (vinegar) aioli. We ordered both!
Wow! Truffle salt. That’s fun and delicious!
The french fry selection changes, so this weekend, don’t be surprised to find “Duck-fat Fries” with a Vermont maple aioli. This winter, the menu included “Fire Fries,” which were delicious jalapeño pepper fries.
Alas, with the parmesan and the aioli and the duck fat, these selections are not always vegan. But let me tell you this! The tavern menu almost always includes a vegan option, so that’s why we often go. The menu is traditional but interesting and up-to-date at the same time. Menu items often change, so it’s a good place for variety.
For lunch (after the fries), I ordered the “Vegan Burger,” which is grilled squash, zucchini, peppers, onion, spinach and tomato between two portobello mushroom caps.
I was so excited to dive in, I neglected to photograph the “burger” in its original state. It was served like a burger with the mushroom caps as the bun and a knife holding everything together. Clare ordered a traditional burger and fries. Hers came similar to mine, like this:
See the knife? That’s a cool presentation, even if it’s a little violent :)
Clare’s burger fries were traditional french fries, deeply golden brown and lovely. She let me try them. Who can get enough french fries in one sitting? I ask you.
After our meal, Amy introduced us to owner, Steve Woodward, who explained the story of the captain pictured earlier. It turns out he has a name–Jonesy–after an old, favorite customer and boating enthusiast named Bob Jones, who has since passed away.
If the tavern is open, and the weather is any way decent, you will probably see Jonesy propping open the door, inviting your presence. He is beloved by passing children and dogs and people in general. Steve said he has seen children hugging the statue. He purchased the Jonesy statue in Ocean City, Maryland about 25 years ago, never envisioning its future importance.
We had a great time learning about him, and we enjoyed our time at the warm and wonderful West Reading Tavern.