Best Of Berks 2018 winners Best Of Berks 2018 winners

You cast your votes by the thousands. See how things shook out and meet your winners down below. Congratulations to all!

profiles by Albright College students | photos by Heidi Reuter

Food & Drink

Best Fine Dining

Dans at Green Hills

Do you ever long to enjoy a marvelous dinner while being treated like royalty? Dans at Green Hills can make your fantasy come true! “Our number one priority is our passion and concern for our customers,” says co-owner Bill Woolworth. Open 360 nights a year (for dinner only), Dans at Green Hills gives diners the luxury of basking in an intimate atmosphere while relishing executive chef Michael Schaeffer’s contemporary American, French-influenced cuisine. Bring your co-workers to Happy Hour from 4-6:30pm, featuring a new bar menu and drink specials, or reserve a room for corporate events, wedding receptions, fundraisers or private parties. No matter how big or small your group may be, nothing beats enjoying roasted duck breast with a beautiful view from their garden room or being transported through time as you savor filet mignon in the main dining space. - Shaone Kennedy

2444 Morgantown Rd., Reading | 610.777.9611 | dansatgreenhills.com

Dans at Green Hills

Best (Local) Winery

Folino Estate

Whether you are looking to purchase wine for an intimate dinner or to accommodate a large dinner party, go for the best at Folino Estate in Kutztown. Make a day of the visit and enjoy a wine-tasting experience for $10-15 per person with a Folino Winery glass to bring home as a keepsake. Afterwards, browse the on-site retail gift shop portion of the tasting room for gourmet foods and home furnishings. End the day with a home-cooked Italian meal in Folino’s full-service restaurant. Currently, Folino boasts 25 varieties of award-winning red and white wines, which are listed on their website. Folino’s most recent endeavor is its store/eatery set to debut in Phoenixville in late fall/early winter. Owner Andrea Folino says of the opening: “We wanted to expand our wine base. Some of our customers drive far, so we thought this was a popular, up-and-coming area.” – Janis Haynes

340 Old Route 22, Kutztown | 484.452.3633 | folinoestate.com

Folino Estate

Photo by John Secoges, Secoges Photographics

Best Cafe

Café Sweet Street

Chef Brendan Jones has crafted this unique, industrial-design, Manhattan-style indoor/outdoor café as “the place to be in Berks.” Whether you are visiting Café Sweet Street for its signature Southwest Salad, a locally-sourced build-your-own burger, some avocado toast, or one of the many scrumptious desserts it is famous for, Café Sweet Street cooks up a menu that is hard to beat. According to Jones, the food is what brings fans in, and “the atmosphere brings them back.” Local partnerships are big when it comes to cooking up the luscious and crave-able Café offerings. Quality ingredients are found at such local spots as Wyomissing’s Dundore and Heister, and B&H Organic Produce. Let Café Sweet Street turn your day — breakfast, lunch or early dinner — into a sweet one! And don’t forget; take- out is always an option. – Benjamin Foreman

722 Hiesters Lane, Reading | 610.929.0616 | cafesweetstreet.com

Café Sweet Street

Best Cup of Coffee

Benchwarmers Coffee & Doughnuts

Follow the aroma of freshly roasted coffee and sweet doughnuts that lingers alluringly through West Reading’s Main Street Corridor, and you’ll arrive at Benchwarmers Coffee & Doughnuts. Benchwarmers sources its coffee straight from the farm and roasts it to perfection in house, unleashing the fullest of flavors. Owner Adam Kenderdine believes his coffee is the best because of “its freshness and the care put into making it correctly.” Opt for a freshly brewed slow pour, or tap into a smooth nitro cold brew. The coffeehouse offers many options and roasts, but keep in mind: nothing pairs better with your coffee than a decadent doughnut hand-made to order. Choose a signature flavor like “You’re Kill’n Me Smalls” topped with chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallows, or create your own from any three of 13 toppings including bacon, banana, caramel sauce, sprinkles and more. – Jason Brown

400 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 610.374.2326 | benchwarmerscoffee.com

Benchwarmers Coffee & Doughnuts

Best Place for Ice Cream or Fro-Yo

Sweet Ride Ice Cream, LLC.

If you are celebrating a wedding, birthday party or social event and want to make it extra special, call on Sweet Ride Ice Cream in West Reading. This two-time Best of Berks winner serves the perfect creamy ice cream we all love with more than 45 flavors to choose from, including Banana Peanut Butter Chip, French Vanilla, Salted Caramel and many more. An experience that takes you sweetly back in time, the ice cream parlor revives the 1950s with its warm vintage atmosphere. Their goal, says co-owner Angie Farrell, is to provide a “comfortable feeling, a happy place that you can come with your loved one, friend or family and enjoy being together in addition to having really good ice cream.” You can even rent the parlor and invite up to 100 people, or have Sweet Ride come to an event and treat your guests! – Will Rivera

542 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 484.987.7338 | sweetrideicecream.com

Sweet Ride Ice Cream, LLC.

Best (Local) Brewery

Chatty Monks Brewing Company

Using Belgian brewing techniques, Chatty Monks transforms locally grown hops and malts into beer that is sure to engage your taste buds. Eight original beers are always on tap at the West Reading location, with seasonal brews and collaborations on rotation. A recent expansion means Chatty Monks is now at the Fairgrounds Farmers Market, too; it’s also the local beer brewer featured at the Reading Fightin Phils’ FirstEnergy Stadium. Endoplasmic Reticulum IPA is the bestseller; however, there is something on tap for everyone. Rob Metzger feels that the “Belgian (non-witbeer) beers allow us to stand out from other local breweries. No one else is doing them.” Chatty Monks also offers a delicious food menu with items from Hoppy French Friars to a House-Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich, allowing you to “Chew, Chant and Chill.” – Jason Brown

610 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 484.818.0176 | chattymonks.com

Chatty Monks Brewing Company

Best Place to Buy Fresh Seafood

Adelphia Seafood

When the urge strikes to make seafood paella or smothered salmon, head to Adelphia Seafood in West Lawn, where you’ll experience quality customer service and get the freshest seafood. Providing exceptional fish and shellfish, Adelphia Seafood’s selection is sourced from all around the world, ensuring their products are fresh, safe and ready to be consumed and enjoyed. If you’re unsure about how to serve up their beautiful king crab legs, fish fillets or lobster tails, says president and co-owner Jason Hurleman, Adelphia can help; just ask. “We have a wide range of original soups, salads, dips and spreads to complement your selections.” The business even provides take-and-bake meals for those days when you have no patience for recipes! By prioritizing quality, freshness and flavor, Adelphia Seafood will dazzle both hesitant and seasoned seafood enthusiasts alike. Locations are also found in the Shillington and Fairgrounds Farmers Markets. – Shaone Kennedy

3024 Penn Avenue, West Lawn | 610.670.2500 | adelphiaseafood.com

Adelphia Seafood

Best Spot for Burgers

Bertie’s Inn

What makes the burgers at Bertie’s Inn the best in Berks County is not just the taste — it’s the TLC (tender loving care) that goes into each patty. After all, Bertie’s is committed to serving top-quality, fresh, homemade food. Each burger starts with owner Peter Thomas’ own recipe, using a heavy half-pound of ground beef that is individually weighed. Then there’s a long list of enticing add-on options. Peter explains, “The possibilities are endless when it comes to making your burger. If it’s in the building, it can go on the burger.” While their most popular creation is the California burger, the Motley Burger is Bertie’s most unique: it’s like a California cheeseburger, only with Bertie’s own pulled pork barbecue placed on top. Popular sides to pair with the burgers include French fries and delicious soups made by Anne, Peter’s wife. – Janis Haynes

160 Old Friedensburg Rd., Exeter Township | 610.779.5797 | bertiesinn.com

Bertie’s Inn

Best Place to Watch the Game

Pike Café

It’s clear why Reading staple the Pike Café has been earning awards and recognition for years. Founded in 1985, this sports bar (affectionately known as “The Pike”) gives patrons the opportunity to watch any game, from any league, on any one of their 54 flat-screen TVs year-round. “We are a trend-setter, ahead of our time,” remarks charismatic owner Mike Pullano, “and we owe it all to our top-notch staff.” Come in and have some classics while rooting on your favorite team; try their renowned wings and burgers, or class it up with a filet mignon or lobster dinner. Everyday drink and food specials, utilizing their 24-spout microbrew and draft system, make this joint a true hot spot. Swing in, catch the game, and bring your gear, because it’s always a party at The Pike. – Benjamin Foreman

930 Pike St., Reading | 610.373.6616 | pikecafe.com

Pike Café

Best Slice of Pizza

Paradise by the Slice

With more than 14 round, hand-tossed pizza options featuring various sauces and toppings, it’s no wonder that Wernersville’s Paradise by the Slice houses the Best Slice of Pizza in Berks County. Owner Robert Zeiders believes, “Every time a customer orders at Paradise by the Slice, they know they will receive the same consistent, quality product time after time,” setting the eatery apart from others. Paradise by the Slice offers daily online and in-house specials as well as delivery services. On tap is a wide variety of 29 draft beers ranging from IPAs and stouts to fruit beers, which pair well with any pizza. “The spicy Hawaiian pizza pairs great with one of our hoppy IPAs,” says Zeiders. Each pie is baked to perfection, ensuring there is a bit of paradise in each slice. Slice prices start at $2.75. Toppings are 50 cents extra. – Jason Brown

63 E. Penn Avenue, Wernersville | 610.670.8888 | paradisebytheslice.com

Paradise by the Slice

Best Diner

Exeter Family Restaurant

Exeter Family Restaurant is back with yet another Best of Berks win in the Best Diner category. One reason it is likely being honored yet again: it boasts exceptional customer service. Owner Michael Nanouh says his diner, open 24/7, is home to “good food and good service in a clean and comfortable atmosphere,” be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. One customer favorite is the Exeter Special: two eggs served with your choice of meat (ham, bacon, a sausage patty or links, scrapple or pork roll) along with a choice of French toast or a short stack of pancakes, plus home fries, toast and jelly. Wow! They don’t let you leave hungry. The diner itself exudes a warm, friendly atmosphere. It’s also loved for its array of dessert choices such as New York cheesecake, which pairs perfectly with a cup of fresh-made coffee served after your entree. – Will Rivera

4800 Perkiomen Avenue, Reading | 610.370.5131 | exeterfamilyrestaurant.com

Exeter Family Restaurant

Stock Photo from Unsplash

Best Sandwich Spot

Screpesi’s Sandwich Shop

If you’re new to Reading and are looking for the freshest quality sandwiches in the area, look no further than Screpesi’s Sandwich Shop, with locations in Reading and Mohnton. Serving the community with the area's best sandwiches since 1949, Screpesi’s continues to satisfy customers of all ages. Their three signature sandwiches include the Italian, ham and cheese, and tuna – although their turkey is tops on some folks’ crave lists. Their meatball subs and pizza are popular, too. Each sandwich is made on homemade bread with a spread of butter that gives it a to-die-for taste. And all pair perfectly with a bag of Goods chips. Third-generation owner Eddie Ostrowski says, “Grandpa and Grandma instilled in me that the customer and the quality are always first.” Want to enjoy Screpesi’s sandwiches at an event? Good news: they offer catering! – Zackary Dobey, Jr.

500 Lancaster Avenue, Reading | 610.373.9913, or 1365 Alleghenyville Rd., Mohnton | 610.777.1780 | screpesisandwichshop.com

Screpesi’s Sandwich Shop

Best Outdoor Dining Spot

Jimmy G’s Beverly Hills Tavern

When you feel the urge to escape to the shore, to enjoy dinner in the open air, or to hang out with friends at a beach-side sports bar, believe it or not, there’s a place for you in Berks: Jimmy G’s Beverly Hills Tavern in Sinking Spring. With its expansive outside beach area, it’s the spot to sink your toes into the sand, literally. A multi-Best-of-Berks- award winner, the Tavern offers great sandwiches, salads and seafood dishes. Try the very popular lobster roll, which co-owner Jim Giuffrida says lots of people claim is “the best they ever had anywhere.” Or order their very own smokehouse ribs. The beach section, complete with games, is open from April to November and is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages; the dining room is open and inviting during the winter months. – Eric Schultz

710 Old Fritztown Rd., Sinking Spring | 610.777.4516 | beverlyhillstavern.biz

Jimmy G’s Beverly Hills Tavern

Best Place to Meet for Drinks

winedown café & wine bar

Seasoned sommeliers and amateur palates agree: winedown café & wine bar is the perfect combination of class, comfort and customer service. This rustically elegant café provides endless opportunities to learn more about wines, whiskeys and other drinks, many of which you won’t find at your local liquor store. Knowledgeable, friendly staff love to help patrons find the glass of wine or cheese plate pairing that speaks to them. “We want people to feel like they’re visiting our home,” says smiling General Manager Nicole Barnes. “People keep coming back for the laid-back atmosphere.” Boasting no televisions or live bands to cramp your conversation, winedown café & wine bar is the ideal spot to catch up with old friends — or even make some new ones. – Emily Durell

622 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 610.373.4907 | winedowncafe.net

winedown café & wine bar

Stock Photo from Unsplash

Services

Best Florist

The Rustic Bunch

Lovely, delicate, fresh and locally grown flowers are the heart and soul of The Rustic Bunch, headquartered on a charming family farm in Fleetwood. A husband-and-wife team grow their own flowers, which then blossom into beautiful creations. Whatever is naturally growing becomes the inspiration behind each design, truly reflecting the business name. Owner Katie Smaglinski says the best part of her job is the people’s reaction to her blooms. “It’s the whole emotional response,” she reveals. “Whether it is a sympathy arrangement or the happiest day of their life — that, to me, is very rewarding to be able to witness.” Ordering is online, by phone, or by making an appointment to meet with Katie to create a personal floral design with a special gardener’s touch. Floral arrangements suit every occasion — weddings, showers, bat mitzvahs, parties, single arrangement deliveries and more. — Kelly Tanger

Fleetwood | 610.916.3899 | rusticbunch.com

The Rustic Bunch

Best Hair Salon

United Artists Salon & Spa

“United Artists is what our name implies — a united team of artists who serve our guests, welcome new guests and cherish giving back to our community,” says Cherie Slusser, owner. Comfortable, fun and caring, United Artists Salon & Spa embodies what you’d expect from a full-service hair care experience for clients in every facet, from stylish cuts and color to extensions and many other services. The team continues to develop its education and to create bonds with its clients and the community. One way they show this is through their exceptional wig services for those who choose to accessorize with them, or for those who suffer from illnesses resulting in hair loss; there’s even a private room for clients who desire privacy for either their illnesses or religious values. Moreover, United Artists’ support of local charities through donations and events makes the business truly remarkable. – Raquel Rohrbach

299 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 610.376.8481 | unitedartistssalon.com

United Artists Salon & Spa

Best Spa Services

Lords & Ladies Salon and Medical Spa

With seven locations, Lords & Ladies Salon and Medical Spa is the place to go if you’re looking for a wide variety of top-of-the-line spa services and skilled estheticians. A first-time winner for Spa Services, Lords & Ladies, is no novice to the Best of Berks nod, as the salon, owned and operated by Terry Derr, has previously won Best Hair Salon, and the MedSpa, Best Place for a Facial. The MedSpa is owned and operated by renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Reedy, and boasts top-educated service providers. Lords & Ladies offers the popular HydraFacial, as well as massage services, Botox and fillers, chemical peels, Dermaplaning, waxing, brow and lash tinting, and other treatments, many of which can only be found in a doctor’s office. Med Spa Manager Joie McKim says, “We want to continue the growth of our MedSpa and can continue to offer our clients the best of the best.” – Samantha Koller

Multiple Locations | 844.725.665 | lordsandladiessalons.com

Lords & Ladies Salon and Medical Spa

Best Residential Senior Living Facility

The Heritage of Green Hills

There are very few residential communities that truly value and focus on their residents the way The Heritage of Green Hills does. The gorgeous campus has 195 independent living apartments sitting on 78 acres. Residents are 55-and-over individuals who experience a lifestyle centered on their personal needs and wants. Offering a campus-wide program known as the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, the community’s declared intent is for every resident to benefit socially, intellectually and physically through fully customized wellness programs. Executive Director Doug Walther says that The Heritage’s primary objective is to give each resident a “true sense of community and an engaged lifestyle." Clearly, this two-time Best of Berks winner understands and honors how vital the well-being and care of seniors is. Their compassion and sense of engagement with their residents is simply unmatched. – Zackary Dobey, Jr.

200 Tranquility Lane, Shillington | 484.577.8673 | heritageofgreenhills.com

The Heritage of Green Hills

Best Veterinary Practice

Douglassville Veterinary Hospital

Berks County pet owners know to trust the health of their furry family members to the experts at Douglassville Veterinary Hospital. “People just absolutely love our doctors and staff,” says Dr. JoAnn DeWire, who founded the practice in 1997. Caring primarily for companion animals like cats, dogs and the like, this practice prioritizes both the health of its patients and the peace of mind of their owners. “We all know how it feels to have a sick pet, and we want to help you through that experience,” says Business Manager Candace Rishko. Douglassville Veterinary Hospital blends the thoughtfulness of a family-owned business with the most cutting-edge veterinary techniques, and its in-house lab generates results without the often-agonizing delay. It’s no wonder Douglassville Veterinary Hospital is being honored again as Best of Berks! — Emily Durell

105 Griffith Drive, Douglassville | 610.385.4848 | douglassvillepets.com

Douglassville Veterinary Hospital

Stock Photo from iStock

Best Landscaping Company

Connelly Lawn & Garden, Inc.

If you want to increase your home’s value and want it to be one of the best-looking properties on the block, look no further than Connelly Lawn & Garden, Inc. The business boasts decades of satisfied customers and offers hardscaping and design services or more simple offerings like lawn mowing and planting. Owner Tom Connelly feels having a close-knit service area affords better care to the customer. A three-time-running Best of Berks winner, Tom asserts, “The work that all the staff does and their dedication to the customers is what won the award – not just me.” Once you meet Tom and his staff, you’ll easily understand why he has experienced longevity in the business. Mark and Brett, who serve as managers, attribute Connelly’s success to two factors: Mark points to a strong knowledge of products, while Brett credits the accessibility of the staff. — Janis Haynes

703 Henry Circle, Sinking Spring | 610.678.8949 | connellylawn.com

Connelly Lawn & Garden, Inc.

Best Lasik Surgery Facility

Eye Consultants of PA

This four-time Best of Berks winner is dedicated to “maximizing benefit and minimizing risk” for its patients, says one of three cornea specialists, Dr. Jonathan Primack. Dr. Primack, along with Dr. Adam Altman and Dr. Kevin Shah, ensure that anyone can receive the care they deserve, offering many consultation services for Lasik eye surgery, lens surgery and more. Working with your personal optometrist, Eye Consultants of PA aims to get you living your best glasses-free life. Safety is the doctors’ top priority. These fellowship-trained specialists “offer services to the community they [patients] otherwise would have to go out of the way to get,” says Dr. Altman. Passionate about what they do, these doctors are dedicated to making it possible for you to chase opportunities you might not have seen otherwise. – Ginger Hill

1 Granite Point Drive, Ste. 100, Wyomissing | 610.378.1344 | eyeconsultantsofpa.com

Eye Consultants of PA

Stock Photo from iStock

Best Place for a Mani-Pedi

MAK Nail Bar and Organic Spa

Sometimes it’s hard to give up things you love in a bid to save the environment – but here’s some great news: you don’t have to give up quality manicures or pedicures to go green! MAK Nail Bar and Organic Spa consistently gives high-quality manicures and pedicures to all who walk in the door — men, women and children. Owner Angel Nguyen makes the sugar scrubs and lotions they sell, going organic and buying from US-based businesses whenever possible. A three-time Best of Berks winner, Nguyen says, “We love our clients; we love to make our clients happy, and we continue to provide good service. Those three things make us successful.” You’ll enjoy their seasonal specials while you get pampered, perhaps with MAK’s top-selling gel manicure and a pumpkin spice-scented sugar scrub, all in a chemical-free environment. Their motto is “Love the air we breathe,” after all. — Ginger Hill

704 Woodland Rd., Shoppes at Wyomissing | 610.750.7538 | maknailbar.com

MAK Nail Bar and Organic Spa

Best Financial Institution

Diamond Credit Union

At Diamond Credit Union, the member is their main focus. That’s what sets them apart from other full-service financial institutions. John Faust, CEO and President, says, “The Diamond staff, including myself, feel humbled and validated that our members have said they can truly count on us, and they measure other businesses to our standards.” Diamond Credit Union provides members with checking and savings accounts, lending needs, mortgage loans and more. The institution also places importance on giving back by actively participating in various community fundraisers. And when members suggested establishing more branches in the area, a search began. The new Muhlenberg Township branch, their seventh, has a tentative opening date of October 2019. And it doesn’t stop there. Diamond has plans to add more locations to suit members’ needs. — Janis Haynes

Various locations in Berks | 1.800.593.1000 | diamondcu.org

Diamond Credit Union

Stock Photo from iStock

Shopping

Best Place to Buy a Gift

It’s a Gift!

Peek inside It’s a Gift!, but be warned: you might never buy gifts from Target or Amazon again. Staffed primarily by volunteers, the delightful shop infuses its proceeds right back into the Berks community. Each year it supports a different local charity, most recently Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks County. According to Manager Jennifer Rudd-Glenn, “Our customers really feel good about what they’re buying.” As if that deal isn’t sweet enough, the gifts here are truly one-of-a-kind. Surprise a friend (or treat yourself) with a hand-crafted centerpiece, pretty plush toy, artisan-made necklace or clever tchotchke. Much of the selection is hand- or locally-made, and all is absolutely charming. Don’t worry; if you’re at a loss for what to pick, a passionate volunteer is sure to match you with the perfect present. — Emily Durell

720 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 610.373.0960 | itsagift.org

It’s a Gift!

Best Jewlery Store (Non-Chain)

The Jewelry Source

Imagine a jewelry store where you know and trust the person who is handling, repairing and creating your jewelry — a place where your vision becomes a sparkling reality. You will find this and more at The Jewelry Source in Blandon. The unique custom work and exquisite merchandise will amaze you. Customers can bring their own design ideas, pictures, old or broken jewelry into the store and owner Ruth Schlechter will sit and talk you through your concept and bring it to life. Ruth says, “We try to make everything match what you need. Your price, your value, your concept.” Ruth does all jewelry repairs herself. Nothing gets sent out. You can even wait in the store while Ruth repairs your items (by appointment only). Head over to The Jewelry Source for a personalized experience that you’ll never forget and will treasure always. – Kelly Tanger

8468 Allentown Pike, Blandon | 610.926.3999 | thejewelrysourceberks.com

The Jewelry Source

Best Place to Pamper Your Pet

Oasis Dog Spa & Shoppe

Oasis Dog Spa & Shoppe is your pet’s dream come true. When you walk in, you are welcomed with a friendly, warm smile. Your pet can relax while enjoying a variety of spa treatment packages, including “A Little Taste of Heaven” or “Solomon’s Retreat,” both a combination of aromatherapy and other pampering modalities. Toothbrushing and pedicure services are also on the menu. Their all-natural products are designed to leave your fur babies smelling better for much longer. Afraid that your pet won’t enjoy his or her grooming experience? To first-time Oasis Spa-goers, owner Carlytta Camper says, “[We] make it fun, make it exciting and make sure they feel that they’re being rewarded and not punished.” Complete your dog’s day by buying a marvelous treat – perhaps in the form of peanut butter drops, cupcakes, cookies or another delicious goodie made by local businesses. – Will Rivera

2911 Centre Avenue, Unit #2, Muhlenberg | 610.816.5492, | oasisdogspa.com

Oasis Dog Spa & Shoppe

Best Car Dealership

Tom Masano Auto Group, Inc.

When looking for your next car, start at a Masano dealership. In business for 62 years now, Masano dealerships are extensively stocked and offer knowledgeable staff, making them a one-stop shop for a vehicle purchase. Their newly renovated and sleek looking Mercedes-Benz and BMW dealerships, as well as their existing Ford and Lincoln locations, are all within a quick drive from each other. Everyone at Masano will tell you, “Our BMW and Mercedes-Benz teams are so excited about their new world-class dealerships!” And they will work to find you the exact vehicle to meet your needs and budget. Between their new locations and the astonishing used car auto park, with a 120-car indoor showroom and a lounge area to accommodate every customer, you are sure to find the car of your dreams without any of the hassle. – Jeff Osborn

815 Lancaster Avenue, Reading, 610.777.6587 | tommasano.com

Tom Masano Auto Group, Inc.

Stock Photo from iStock

Health & Recreation

Best Spot for Yoga

Kula Kamala Foundation and Yoga Ashram

Do you find yourself constantly stressed or in chronic pain? Luckily, Best of Berks winner the Kula Kamala Foundation and Yoga Ashram, Alsace Township, can help. As co-founder Ed Allitt says, “There is a yogic cure for everything.” Located on six acres complete with relaxing gardens, strung hammocks and beautiful scenery, this yoga spot focuses on the individual, so your experience is personalized to your needs. With a pay-what-you-can cafeteria on site, Kula Kamala Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that everyone seeking help is able to find it; there’s no membership fee, but donations are accepted and appreciated. Kula Kamala caters to all experience levels, so don’t be afraid to pay a visit if you’ve never done yoga before. Ed advises, “Experience the Ashram for yourself – yoga is within your reach.” The result? A healthier and more content life. – Ginger Hill

17 Basket Rd., Alsace | 484.509.5073 | kulakamalafoundation.org

Kula Kamala Foundation and Yoga Ashram

Best Summer Camp

South Mountain YMCA Camps

South Mountain YMCA camps are well known for being accepting and welcoming, with something to offer every child. Not only is there is a day camp with Camp Bynden Wood and an overnight camp in Camp Conrad Weiser, but boundless activities await, including zip-lining, fishing, dramatic acting, horseback riding and archery, to name a few. Campers and staff come from all around the globe to attend this fun and inclusive camp. Even families who have trouble affording the camp still have an opportunity to attend with financial aid and scholarships. CEO Nathan Brant says, “I think it’s critical that every kid has this opportunity.” When camp is not in session, the South Mountain YMCA is still busy with free community events for children and families to enjoy. Are you an adult envious of all the fun the camp kids are having? No worries! There’s a camp for you, too. – Amy Chechi

201 Cushion Peak Rd., Wernersville | 610.670.2267 | smymca.org

South Mountain YMCA Camps

Best (Local) Place for a Family Day Out

Reading Public Museum

The Reading Public Museum, encompassing The Museum, Neag Planetarium, an Arboretum and outside exhibits, provides ample fun for all ages. Moreover, this cultural icon is accredited as autism friendly and runs sensory hours twice a month. Emily Moore, Manager of Marketing & Digital Media, says, “You can learn a lot at The Museum. Visit once a year or 10 times a year, and you’ll learn something new every time.” Moore thinks people might be surprised to know they can purchase annual memberships to The Museum, which allow unlimited admission to the Neag Planetarium and The Museum exhibits, for both individuals and families. Knowing how most children dream of traveling in space, The Museum will run an Astronaut exhibit from Jan. 21 through May 5, 2019, an interactive hands-on show. Exhibits rotate every three to four months. — Janis Haynes

500 Museum Rd., Reading | 610.371.5850 | readingpublicmuseum.org

Reading Public Museum

Best (Local)Arts Outlet

GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

When a former manufacturing building for safety goggles turns into the largest interactive art center in the country — right in your backyard – that is cultural success. At GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, you can see hot blown glass demonstrations or take a glass-blowing class yourself; you can view intriguing works of art in its galleries or relax watching an independent film in the theater. A variety of courses brings in the entire family for arts experiences. Executive Director Levi Landis explains, “We’re really proud of our after-school arts program, which serves 250 students throughout the area, completely free of charge.” During Arts Festival Reading in October each year, studio artists give live demonstrations and workshops. Landis says, “It’s an event that takes over the whole campus. You can see the whole place come to life.” Something is always happening at the GoggleWorks. – Kelly Tanger

201 Washington St., Reading | 610.374.4600 | goggleworks.org

GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

Best Fitness Center (Non-Chain)

Wyomissing Fitness and Training

If you are looking for a gym that will help you take your fitness routine to a whole new level, then Wyomissing Fitness and Training is the place for you. Whether you are into CrossFit, powerlifting, cross training or cardio, the 20,000-square-foot facility has it all. With superior cleanliness and an upbeat atmosphere, it truly shines. Need some extra motivation? Get set up with one of the personal trainers. “It doesn’t matter what your goals are; you will fit in here,” says General Manager Mike Lawlor. Locally owned and operated, Wyomissing Fitness and Training takes pride in being affordable and accommodating, with $25 monthly memberships, no contracts or fees, plus access to their Exeter Fitness location. Head Trainer John Monteleone believes, “It is our obligation to provide and maintain exceptional service to our members.” – Jason Brown

950 Woodland Rd., Wyomissing | 610.743.4039 | wyofitness.com

Wyomissing Fitness and Training

Best Public Golf Course

Manor Golf Club

Whether you are looking to hit the links, grab a drink or catch up with friends, this Berks County favorite, a traditional championship-style course, has been making people smile since 1928. Owner and Operator Cheryl Heckman claims that The Manor (as it’s nicknamed) is “not just a golf course.” It’s a beautifully inviting sports destination where generations of golfers have been taking their first swings, making it a very good spot for testing the turf as a new hobby. Heckman is confident that this family- and junior-oriented course is geared towards “any golfer looking for great conditions, good value, and a relaxed atmosphere.” With the promotion called “Get Golf-ready in Four Days for $99,” Manor Golf and Head Pro Patrick Spang has built the best instructional program in the county. Private lessons and plenty of additional clinics are also offered. – Benjamin Foreman

153 Bran Rd., Sinking Spring | 610.678.9597 | themanorgolfclub.com

Manor Golf Club

Best (Local) Non-Profit Event

Reading Public Library’s Cocktails & Classics

For eight years running, the Reading Public Library has hosted its highly successful Cocktails and Classics event. This lively fundraiser, with an admission tag of $75 per person, serves up amazing food provided by local restaurants and caterers, live music, silent and live auctions, and an open bar. Not only can you enjoy the welcoming atmosphere with a fun literary theme, but it is also an opportunity to meet people from countless different walks of life. Linda Capozello, the Director of Advancement and Communications at the Reading Public Library, says, “It is a successful concept for people to come together in a relatively informal setting, while still offering a really special evening.” The next event will take place on March 8, 2019, from 6-9pm at the DoubleTree by Hilton. Stay tuned for more details and plan on supporting this event for a good cause. – Amy Chechi

100 S. Fifth St., Reading | 610.655.6350 | readingpubliclibrary.org

Reading Public Library’s Cocktails & Classics

Best Place to Book and Event

Reading Public Museum

With the Reading Public Museum, the sky is the limit when it comes to all of your event needs. One of the most unique, beautiful and versatile venues in all of Berks County is conveniently located in Reading. Its extensive grounds, flowering trees, monumental architecture, indoor spaces and unique Neag Planetarium make it especially attractive for memorable photos from special occasions. Whether you are looking to book your wedding, a landmark birthday party, or a corporate function to “wow” guests, the friendly staff at Reading Public Museum will accommodate your schedule, plus they allow you to book your event up to two years in advance and offer customizable packages. According to Stephanie Shaak, Vice President of Event and Exhibition Rentals, “We offer the ability to entertain your guests even under the stars of our Planetarium.” — Jeff Osborn

500 Museum Rd., Reading | 610.371.5850 | readingpublicmuseum.org

Reading Public Museum

Lifetime Best Awards

Who are your Lifetime Best of Berks winners? They are those businesses acknowledged for a decade or more in their respective categories by you – our readers. Meet them, here…

Lifetime Best (Local) Clothing Boutique

Bella Jules Fashion Boutique, LLC

Looking for affordable, yet trendy and stylish, clothing and accessories? Bella Jules has been known for just that for more than a decade. Owner Juli Cleaver hand-picks items featured in the store with great thought and care for her loyal customers. She is thankful for Bella Jules’ status as a Lifetime Best of Berks Award winner, as is evident by a thoughtful quote on her website, stating: “It is said that when you support a small business you’re supporting a dream. You have made my dream come true.” Stay tuned to Bella Jules on Facebook for info on new items, special events, sales and more.

700 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 610.208.0600 | bellajulesboutique.com

Lifetime Best Cosmetic Enhancement Facility

Advanced Skin Care & Laser Center

The art of advanced medical technology combined with thorough, compassionate, personal care – that’s what you get at Advanced Skin Care & Laser Center under the direction of Dr. Harriet Comite, the region’s most experienced injector of Botox® & fillers. A Yale University School of Medicine grad and a board certified dermatologist of more than 25 years, Dr. Comite puts you in the best of hands. And if you’re struggling with acne, rest assured that Advanced Skin Care & Laser Center is the region’s only total acne treatment center. The Center also carries its own elegant signature skin care and beauty product line. Advanced Skin Care & Laser Center is always accepting new patients and offers prompt appointments.

1260 Broadcasting Rd., Wyomissing | 610.374.1400 | comiteskin.com

Lifetime Best Independent Jeweler

Van Scoy Jewelers

Overwhelmed by the prospect of finding the perfect piece of jewelry to wow that special someone? Don’t be. Get to Van Scoy, Greater Reading’s premier diamond store, where they make shopping for diamonds fun and easy. Owner Caroline Hill, a Penn State alum and Diamond Graduate of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), is proud to employ a staff with more than 90 years of experience in the industry and to offer visitors a friendly, no-pressure shopping environment. With quality jewels and more, call on Van Scoy for your repair needs, for a custom piece and for jewelry appraisals, too.

2733 Paper Mill Rd., Ste. 3, Wyomissing | 610.374.9330 | vanscoy.com

Lifetime Best Fitness Center

Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex

Looking to up your activity level? Get to Body Zone. It has more than 160,000 square feet of health and fitness activities, from independent exercise opportunities to sports leagues and more, so you’d be hard-pressed to find a whole-body wellness need not met. The fitness and aquatics centers are constantly evolving with the latest program and equipment offerings, including 125 weekly group fitness classes, MYZONE interactive fitness technology, InBody body composition screening and more. Looking for some fun with friends? Rent out one of two fields, an ice rink, or the basketball, volleyball or Pickleball court.

2103 Paper Mill Rd., Wyomissing | 610.376.2100 | bodyzonesports.com

Lifetime Best Country Hotel/Restaurant

Yellow House Hotel

Besides being an inn offering overnight accommodations, Yellow House Hotel, built in 1801 at the intersection of Routes 662 and 562 in the scenic Oley Valley, serves up delicious eats, history and top-notch service, be it for lunch, brunch, dinner or a special event. Deemed “a delightful departure,” it offers staples like steak, seafood and house specialties like crab cakes and baby back ribs prepared in a house-made barbeque sauce. Sunday brunch is also offered. Want to book a private event? Check out Dolly’s Room, the Back Room or the Hunt Room, suited for family reunions, corporate luncheons and more.

6743 Boyertown Pike, Douglassville, 610.689.9410 | yellowhousehotel.com

Lifetime Best Fine Dining

Judy's on Cherry

Looking for that special, unique treat? Head to Reading’s hearth-fired euro café, a creation of Chef Judy Henry – Judy’s on Cherry. It’s delicious Mediterranean fine dining cuisine served up Tuesdays through Saturdays. Hearty winter appetizers include Cast Iron Skillet Spiced Baked Cheese and Lamb Meatballs with Mint and Pine Nuts in Romesco Sauce. Just try to decide between seasonal new entrees like Roasted Lamb Shanks with Saffron Couscous and Kumquat Sauce with Pomegranate, and Maple Syrup Mustard Glazed Salmon with Quinoa Brown Rice, Roasted Garlic Beets and Brussel Sprouts Petals. Signature dishes include perennial favorites like Three Cheese Ravioli with Lobster and Tomato Vodka Rosa Sauce.

332 Cherry St., Reading | 610.374.8511 | judysoncherry.com

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