Best Of Berks 2018 winners Best Of Berks 2018 winners

35 categories. Thousands of votes cast. Meet the 2019 winners chosen by you!

writing by Albright College, School of Professional Studies | co-editors Marian Frances Wolbers & Kelly Tanger | photos by Heidi Reuter

Food & Drink

Best Spot for Appetizers

Brickstone’s Mighty Fine Food & Spirits

It’s no surprise that Brickstone’s Mighty Fine Food & Spirits in Wyomissing wins in the appetizer category in 2019. This destination delights diners with a wide array of enticing starters. Moreover, the bar and restaurant boasts a comfortable, intimate environment. As General Manager and Bar Director Ryan Lobo explains, “We focus on atmosphere as much as food and service.” The popular Tex-Mex eggrolls are hand-rolled and filled with mouthwatering fresh ingredients. Southern Fried Chicken Tenders hit the spot with a hint of spice in the dipping sauce. Vegan and vegetarian options such as Vegan Kung Pao Cauliflower are also favorites. Lobo adds, “The perfect addition to our appetizers is our cocktail list with unique and classic offerings.” — Kelly Tanger

901 Hill Avenue, Wyomissing | 610.985.0609 |

Best (Local) Brewery

Broken Chair Brewery

The brewing system is hard at work over at Broken Chair Brewery, as everything is brewed in-house. With more than 24 beers on tap, ranging from stouts and porters to cream ales and IPAs, there is an option for everyone. The winner’s proud owner, Todd Bray, believes, “We offer the most dark beers in the area, with four to seven on tap at any one time,” which sets Broken Chair Brewery apart from other local breweries. The Citra IPA, Pineapple IPA, Vanilla Porter and Milk Stoudt are fan favorites. Broken Chair exudes a warm, welcoming atmosphere with brick walls and rustic wood accents, and their Thursday through Sunday calendar features live music, trivia, and other special events. Can’t hang out? Grab a crowler or growler to go.– Jason Brown

424 Penn Avenue, West Reading |

Best Pizza by the Slice

Café Sweet Street

When you hear the name Café Sweet Street, the first things that may come to mind are decadent desserts or in-house burgers and salads made with local, top-notch ingredients. You may not expect to hear the praises of its pizza. Chef Brendan Jones says much of their secret to excellence lies in the making. “We try to use the highest-quality ingredients, including a three-day sourdough dough recipe,” he reveals. Using these ingredients, the pizzas are made on-site in the Café’s custom-made Marra Forni oven. Patrons are cautioned that the pizza is only available during spring, summer and fall seasons, weather permitting, as it is prepared outdoors. Although the venue offers customer favorites like the Wild Mushroom Pizza, they create a unique pizza that changes weekly, too. Visit and try a few! — Brady Nemec

722 Hiesters Lane, Reading | 610.929.0616 |

Café Sweet Street

Best Coffee Spot

Benchwarmers Coffee & Doughnuts

Benchwarmers brews its coffee fresh from on-site roasted beans. When the beans arrive at the cafe, they start as green morsels, later brewed to their desired roast level every day. Owner Adam Kenderdine reveals this secret: “Roasting on site and in two-pound batches allows us to control the quality of the roast.” Dark Sumatra and Columbia beans are used daily, while a special blend of beans is the essence for espresso added to specialty coffee drinks. Kenderdine takes time to provide every customer with a heart as part of his latté topping art. As an added bonus, pair your brew with a homemade doughnut creation customized by you! Can’t get enough of the shop’s brews? Order a monthly coffee subscription online to be delivered to your home. — Janis Haynes

400 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 610.374.2326 |

Benchwarmers Coffee & Doughnuts

Best Place to Meet for Drinks

the whiskey bar at winedown café

Whether you are looking for a cocktail before dinner or a night out with friends, the whiskey bar at winedown is your place to go. This West Reading space is an upscale drinking establishment with a relaxed but modern edge, offering roughly 75 varieties of whiskey including weekly drink specials that change with the seasons. Owner Ben Franco says, “Try the whiskey neat without obstruction first; this gives you the base flavor. It allows you to try it in its own purity.” Franco is quick to praise his staff for mastering the varieties of whiskey and their ability to make suggestions to a first-time customer or an experienced drinker. His aim is to welcome customers with the chance to experiment with the whiskey in a cosmopolitan environment. — Janis Haynes

622 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 610.373.4907 |

Best Burger

Frank & Diannah’s Arbor Inn

Winning this award is made all the more special to Frank & Diannah’s Arbor Inn as the owners mark their 20th year in business this December. Thursdays are Burger Nights, the only nights when burgers are served. A special burger is kept a secret until right before opening, and past fun creations have seen Peanut Butter & Jelly burgers and other unique creations. Burgers start at $10.50 (at press time), toppings can be added for an extra cost. Ever a congenial host, Frank says, “I like to be available to every guest to help them pick the toppings.” He suggests not overloading with extras though, as to allow the true taste to come through. All of Arbor Inn’s food is cooked to guaranteed freshness. — Janis Haynes

47 S. Bingaman St., Reading | 610.406.0126 |

Best Fine Dining

Willoughby’s on Park

When looking for a fine dining opportunity, customers return to Willoughby’s on Park for more than gourmet ingredients and an expert culinary team – they return for the service. Willoughby’s staff members are extensively trained in table and wine service and possess “an impeccable pride in what they do,” according to George Zeppos, who along with his wife, Eleny, owns Willoughby’s on Park. “We believe the details are everything,” Zeppos says. Chef Jake and the culinary team spend time focusing on Willoughby’s signature meat and seafood dishes, like the 20-ounce Dry-aged Bone-in Rib Eye. Aged for 30 days, the chop is juicy and delicious. Willoughby’s has three separate areas to host private events, business meetings, wine-tasting dinners and more. Plan your visit when you’re looking for that extra-special experience. — Miles Klein

305 N. Park Rd., Wyomissing | 610.816.7473 |

Best (Local) Winery

Folino Estate

What makes Folino Estate Winery so unforgettable is more than the award-winning wines — it’s the thought that goes into every event on site. Folino hosts four events annually: the Fall Festival, the Holiday Festival, the Italian Festival, and the Spring Wine & Food Festival. Folino also holds a variety of workshops, ranging from wine education to wreath workshops and sangria workshops, too. This family-owned business honors loved ones when naming its fine wines, according to Andrea Folino, co-owner. She reveals, “The two kinds that mean the most are the Valentino, which is named after my father-in-law who recently passed, and the L’Amore di Lidia, which is named after my mother-in-law.” Both are from Folino’s Black Label Collection. Wine tasting costs $10 for six wine selections. – Janis Haynes

340 Old Route 22, Kutztown | 484.452.3633 |

Best Place to Watch the Game

P.J. Whelihan’s Pub + Restaurant

Fifty-eight! That’s the number of televisions that line the walls of P.J. Whelihan’s Pub + Restaurant. When friends and family are looking for the best place to hang out and watch their favorite sporting event – be it NHL, NBA, MLB or NFL – this is your go-to spot. Although the pub and restaurant only celebrated its fifth year in Reading this past October, it has become a hot spot on game days. Many people have called P.J. Whelihan’s Pub + Restaurant home when it comes to cheering on their favorite team, and it’s that community spirit that brings everyone together. “It’s not the TVs; it’s the people we have in the building,” says General Manager Mike Ruddy. Whether for hockey, basketball, tennis, football or another sport altogether, P.J.’s makes you feel right at home. — Brady Nemec

1101 Rocky Rd., West Lawn | 484.525.4400 |

Best Vegan/Vegetarian Options

The Farmhouse Kitchen

Serving breakfast and lunch seven days a week, The Farmhouse Kitchen offers a full organic and non-GMO menu, with approximately 15 made-to-order dishes, including a wide array of vegan and vegetarian options. In a venue that values all-natural, owner Martie Samuel asserts, “You will not find a microwave in here!” She reveals that the crowd favorite is a plump, five-grain veggie burger. Dressing the burger are Goose Lane greens, caramelized onions, and tomato, all contained within a crispy happy camper bun with a touch of black garlic mustard. The menu also includes meat options for carnivores. A juice bar, coffee and tea, and educational experiences are also offered. Rethink the way you are living and stop in for a true farm-to-table dining experience. – Jason Brown

426 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 484.869.5193 |

Best Place to Break for Lunch

Boscov’s Fairgrounds Farmers Market

Embracing community, family and modernization, the Boscov’s Fairgrounds Farmers Market has become a mainstream lunch destination. Boscov’s Senior Vice President Jacob Stein says, “The market has changed dramatically over the past few years.” Offering more farm-to-table options than ever before, this renovated establishment provides customers with outstanding choices and a sleek interior. A family-friendly, one-stop shop is reflected in both the store’s environment and many family-owned stands. Stein says, “People want locally owned, locally sourced, and locally operated produce, seafood and meat.” The market has just about every type of food you can name so Berks County lunch-goers can stop by the farmers market every Thursday, Friday and Saturday to enjoy dozens of stands, serving everything from poke bowls to soft pretzels. — Owen Sandor

2934 N. 5th Street Highway, Reading | 610.929.3429 |

Stock Photo from Unsplash

Best Diner

Exeter Family Restaurant

For the past 20 years, hungry Berks County residents have been able to count on Exeter Family Restaurant as their go-to, family-friendly diner. Manager Michael Nanouh says, “We pride ourselves on serving a good combination of healthy and hearty options.” Exeter Family Restaurant combines year-round menu mainstays with a rotating panel of seasonal specials. Nanouh adds, “The family mission is to ensure that our guests feel like part of our family by providing them with great food and friendly service in a clean, comfortable and fun atmosphere.” The diner maintains its popularity by keeping the experience new and unique while also staying loyal to diner classics, such as all-day breakfast. Their dedicated customer base proves it’s a winner, and if you’re a fan, you may even want to download the Exeter Family Restaurant app! — Owen Sandor

4800 Perkiomen Avenue, Exeter Township | 610.373.9913, or 1365 Alleghenyville Rd., Mohnton | 610.370.5131 |

Best Outdoor Dining Spot

Jimmy G’s Beverly Hills Tavern

Jimmy G’s Beverly Hills Tavern in Sinking Spring is a favorite spot for a night of dinner and fun activities in the open air without leaving Berks. A six-time consecutive Best of Berks winner, the tavern offers outdoor dining in a beach-like atmosphere surrounded by sand at your toes. Co-owner April Giuffrida says, “It’s just like you are at a beach bar!” Delicious food, playtime with cornhole and monster pong, and lively music every weekend and during Happy Hour all enhance the dining experience. Since their last win in 2018, Beverly Hills Tavern has hired a new chef and has expanded its menu. The outdoor beach dining section is open from April to November. In the winter months, the Tavern’s indoor dining room provides a cozy atmosphere. — Hannah Brenizer

710 Old Fritztown Rd., Sinking Spring | 610.777.4516 |

Jimmy G’s Beverly Hills Tavern

Best Place to Buy Fresh Seafood

Adelphia Seafood

Make your way to Adelphia Seafood, where their seafood salads, soups, shrimp, lobster, sushi, and many varieties of fish will exceed your needs and expectations. At Adelphia Seafood, they are committed to assisting community members in living a healthy life. Whether it comes from a visit to the West Lawn, Fairgrounds Farmers Market, or Pottsville location, your purchase will be fresh with products sourced from all over the world. Adelphia employs strict safety guidelines to ensure their products are sustainable and plentiful. Winning in this category for the second year running, Jason Hurleman, president and co-owner, says, “It’s not about what I think; it’s what our customers think, and when you are voted by your customers to be the best at something, it is humbling.” — Shaone Kennedy

3024 Penn Avenue, West Lawn | 610.670.2500 |


Best Pet Friendly Business

The Barley Mow Craft Beer House

Folks at The Barley Mow Craft Beer House understand that pets make the best companions. That’s why all pets are welcome at this establishment! Owner Peter Starr is a pet owner himself, and his desire to bring his dog with him when he shops and eats influenced his decision to allow pets into his business. Starr emphasizes that The Barley Mow’s pet-friendliness is just as beneficial to pets as it is to their owners, saying, “Being able to socialize animals, being able to get them out, is always a benefit to the animal itself.” Designed to feel more like a coffee shop than a bar, this venue focuses on relaxation, offers hundreds of beer varieties, and encourages time spent with friends (including canine companions). Bonus: pets receive complimentary treats. — Michael Foster

719 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 484.926.2094 |

Best Spa Services

Lords & Ladies Salon and Medical Spa

Celebrating 35 years with seven locations across Berks and Montgomery counties, Lords & Ladies Salon and Medical Spa aims to offer an amazing overall experience. “We create a luxurious atmosphere where our clients can come and have a one-stop shop for all of their beauty services,” says Brand and Marketing Director Rebecca Ezolt. A second-time winner for Spa Services, Lords & Ladies offers unique services, like injectables such as Botox and fillers, as well as massages and facials. Their most popular facial is the HydraFacial, which leaves clients feeling relaxed and with lasting skin benefits like increased radiance, deep cleansing and hydration in just one treatment. Highly trained estheticians and staff give a warm welcome to clients, providing a complimentary consultation with every visit. — Natalie Lua

Multiple Locations | 844.725.665 |

Lords & Ladies Salon and Medical Spa

Best Hair Salon

United Artists Salon and Spa

What makes United Artists Salon & Spa so popular? Marketing Director Jenna Hiester says it all: “We’re a professional, large, high-quality salon, but we have a comfortable, homey, neighborhood feel.” A visit to United Artists reveals just how true this is. The salon’s team of stylists is skilled, passionate, friendly and down-to-earth. They treat you more like a friend than a client. A haircut from this crew is a relaxing experience from a genuine stylist whose only goal is to make their client as happy as can be. The team’s creativity shines as they provide their clients with new, fashionable looks. There’s a reason the stylists at this West Reading salon call themselves artists! Potential clients are advised to make appointments in advance.— Michael Foster

299 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 610.376.8481 |

Best Florist

Steins Flowers Inc.

When you walk into Steins Flowers Inc., you immediately recognize why the shop is a six-time Best of Berks winner. Even before soaking in the array of beautiful flower bouquets, basket arrangements, and other gifts, you are enveloped by owner Amy Muckey’s aura of positivity. For Muckey, this is more than just a flower shop: it is a way to help serve the community. Muckey says, “For me, it’s not all about the money — it never has been.” Often looking for ways to get involved, this florist enjoys volunteering at local hospitals by providing patients with materials and instruction on floral arrangement. Muckey says, “I really care about value. In this business, I put the people first...and that’s been working out well for 27 years.” — Francheska Guzman

32 State St., Shillington | 610.775.0430 |

Best Residential Senior Living Facility

The Heritage of Green Hills

This three-time winner doesn’t just claim to be a “senior live-it-up community” — they live it. From belly dancing to scuba diving, it is clear that residents of The Heritage of Green Hills are actively enjoying life. The management takes great pride in the culture of friendliness and sense of community that exists within their campus. “It’s that one piece that truly makes us a little different from everybody else,” says Executive Director Doug Walther. “It’s deeply entrenched in who we are,” he says. Walther recounts instances when residents and employees alike help shovel snow off cars and assist residents as they carry in groceries. When it comes to community, The Heritage of Green Hills is obviously an exemplary place to live. — Francheska Guzman

200 Tranquility Lane, Shillington | 484.577.8673 |

The Heritage of Green Hills

Best Veterinary Practice

Douglassville Veterinary Hospital

For reliable pet care, Douglassville Veterinary Hospital is a top choice. The practice has won the Best Veterinary Practice category for five years now, and their specially trained staff is the reason why. Douglassville Veterinary Hospital recognizes the importance of the human-animal connection and is supported by superior staff veterinarians. Their practice of comprehensive medicine, including ultrasonographic technology and emergency surgery, sets them apart from other practices. The dedicated doctors and vet techs work hard to ensure that every pet and pet owner is cared for. Dr. Geoff DeWire explains, “We aim to treat every pet that comes through here like it’s one of our own.” The vet’s office can be a scary place for animals, but Douglassville Veterinary Hospital puts fears at ease. — Jillian Quale

105 Griffith Drive, Douglassville | 610.385.4848 |

Douglassville Veterinary Hospital

Stock Photo from iStock

Best Landscaping Company

Connelly Lawn & Garden, Inc.

For the fourth year in a row, Berks County Living readers have selected Connelly Lawn & Garden as the Best Landscaping Company. A staple of the community for 29 years, this business offers residential and commercial landscaping design, installation and maintenance as well as hardscaping design and installation to generations of satisfied customers. The grass is always greener for owners Tom and Linda Connelly. As Tom puts it, “We consider ourselves lucky to go to work every day doing a job we love while working with creative, talented, enthusiastic employees whose passion is shown in every aspect of their work.” Green-thumb talent and care goes into each and every job, explaining their longevity and enthusiastic customer support. — Tracy Gray Hayes

703 Henry Circle, Sinking Spring | 610.678.8949 |

Connelly Lawn & Garden, Inc.

Best Lasik Surgery Facility

Eye Consultants of PA

Precision. Elegance. Attention to detail. All come together for the perfect description for LASIK eye surgery, otherwise known as “the art and science of getting people out of their glasses and into a better quality of living,” as Dr. Jonathan Primack says. For the area’s only Board-Certified Cornea Fellowship-trained LASIK specialists Drs. Jonathan Primack, Kevin Shah, and Adam Altman, their shared career path isn’t solely a love for science, but a passion for helping patients to live a better life. Celebrating a fifth-year win, Eye Consultants of PA takes pride in patient relationships, making it a point to see that their patients are safely taken care of 100 percent throughout the process, from a free consultation all the way to post-surgery visits. In the hands of these doctors you won’t just feel their trust and expertise, you’ll see it too!— Will Hill

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

Eye Consultants of PA

Stock Photo from iStock

Best Place for a Mani-Pedi

Bell Tower Salon Spa

Manicures and pedicures are a luxurious pampering experience at Bell Tower Salon Spa, thanks to a highly trained and educated staff and premium professional products. Owner Carolyn Helms says, “We have tremendous expertise in our nail department and do wonderful wellness-focused manicures and pedicures, which add value to what we do.” Nail services offered include a BT Signature Pedissage, the Express Manicure, Gel Manicure and Pedicure, Almond Manicure and Pedicure, Essential Manicure and Pedicure, and Citrus Manicure and Pedicure. Product lines include OPI and SpaRitual, which offers vegan and organic options. Manis and pedis run between 20-75 minutes, allowing time to add on to your experience to get your eyebrows done, hair colored, and more, all at Bell Tower. — Natalie Lua

18 State Hill Rd., Wyomissing | 610.372.6379 |

Best Financial Institution

Diamond Credit Union

Winning this category for the second year in a row, it’s easy to see why Diamond Credit Union earns customers across Berks County. As a full-service financial institution, Diamond offers big-bank services like mobile check deposits and both online and mobile banking, while maintaining a commitment to the community. When asked about its community-centered strategy, John Faust, President & CEO of Diamond Credit Union, thrills in saying: “We strictly focus on serving the local community, both as customers and as neighbors.” Whether raising nearly a million dollars for the American Cancer Society or creating local partnerships with national businesses, the dedication from Diamond is evident. Interested in becoming a member? Check out eligibility requirements online, by calling or by visiting any of seven branch locations. — Miles Klein

Various locations in Berks | 1.800.593.1000 |

Diamond Credit Union

Stock Photo from iStock


Best Place to Buy a Gift

It’s a Gift!

Proud of winning in this category for a sixth year, store president Sallie Weaver says, “Know that if you bought it in It’s a Gift!, it’s quality!” Located in West Reading, the shop has a treat for everyone and every occasion, from elegant and crafty service-ware you can personalize to the work of local artisans who create one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces and ornaments. By shopping here, you ensure your gift has a “wow!” factor and also demonstrates a commitment to helping others, since It’s a Gift! donates profits from all sales to a local charity. This year, that charity is Habitat for Humanity of Berks County. Affordability and authenticity are all wrapped up inside, literally: their gift-wrapping service is free! — Will Hill

720 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 610.373.0960 |

It’s a Gift!

Best Jewelry Store

Gipprich Jewelers

The sparkles dance across the showcases at Gipprich Jewelers, demonstrating one reason why the business won the Best Jewelry Store category again this year. Gipprich is a third-generation, family-owned business — the oldest in the jewelry industry in Berks. Since 1945, Gipprich has been offering beautiful jewelry to purchase and treasure. Selections include watches, bracelets, necklaces and rings set with diamonds and gemstones, as well as estate pieces. In addition to selling jewelry, co-owner Richard Gipprich says, “We offer jewelry repairs on the premises, which is a comfort to customers, knowing their jewelry is not being sent out to be repaired.” Their warm and friendly customer service is evident as patrons are greeted by name when entering the store. — Nancy Taylor

103 W. Lancaster Avenue, Shillington | 610.777.7034 |

Best Car Dealership

Steve Moyer Subaru & Moyer Nissan

If you are tired of the typical pushy car salesman making for an uncomfortable car-buying experience, then head to Steve Moyer Subaru in Leesport or Moyer Nissan in Wernersville. The family-run, community-minded business, operating for more than 30 years in Leesport, has recently expanded to include the Wernersville location. Vice President Eric Moyer credits his staff, saying, “Our entire team is devoted to providing an extraordinary experience to each guest who visits our store.” He adds, “We are truly grateful for everyone who chooses to do business with us.” Customers receive daily complimentary refreshments, car washes, loaner cars, and access to a comfortable waiting area with free Wi-Fi — plus they’re invited to partake in monthly new owner parties. By providing remarkable devotion to their customers and creating lasting friendships, this business has earned this year’s distinction. — Jason Brown

201 S. Centre Avenue (Route 61), Leesport | 610.916.7000 |

6210 Penn Avenue, Wernersville | 610.678.8071 |

Health & Recreation

Best Spot for Yoga

BLDG. 7 Yoga

Are you on a self-seeking journey or simply interested in increasing your strength and flexibility? BLDG. 7 Yoga, located in the heart of Wyomissing, is a one-stop yoga destination. Voted best spot for yoga in Berks County four times, BLDG. 7 offers multi-dimensional classes for yoga practitioners of every skill level and age group. Classes range from conventional yoga, known as Ashtanga, to more complex styles like Aerial, in which participants hang from the ceiling in five feet of silk. Yogi and owner Linda Zogas says, “My team of special instructors are able to offer an awesome yoga experience and one-on-one attention as needed.” Whether you're a beginner or a veteran, this is the spot to find your yoga niche. — Ryan P. Buttery

220 N. Park Rd., Wyomissing | 484.755.5705 |

Best Summer Camp

South Mountain YMCA Camps

Looking for an engaging and highly reputable summer camp? South Mountain YMCA Camps (SMYMCA) is the place for your young camper! SMYMCA has won Best Summer Camp for five years running, and for good reason. The facility offers a diverse selection of programs, serving kids from ages 6 to 17. Their two main camps, the overnight Camp Conrad Weiser and Bynden Wood Day Camp, offer a variety of indoor and outdoor activities for attendees, including horseback riding, archery, and community-building adventures. Nathan Brant, CEO of SMYMCA, says, “We want every child to look at this camp and say, ‘There’s something for me here.’” The programs host mainly Berks County campers, but they attract staff and kids from all over the country, too. — Jillian Quale

201 Cushion Peak Rd., Wernersville | 610.670.2267 |

South Mountain YMCA Camps

Best for Family Fun

The Works

If you are looking for an excitingly fun time for the entire family, look no further than The Works in Wyomissing! For 17 years, The Works has been owned and operated by the same Berks County family. A repeat recipient in several Best of Berks categories, The Works features affordable activities and food in an upbeat environment. Managing Partner Caitlin White Dopsovic says, “We attribute this continued success to our dedicated workers/team members, as they offer a great atmosphere and experience for Berks County families.” Among upcoming exciting and thrilling events is hatchet throwing, and in 2020 they will open a distillery with a bar and restaurant on-site. Because it offers lively fun for all ages, it is easy to understand why this is the go-to place for many. — Tracy Gray Hayes

1109 Bern Rd., Wyomissing | 610.375.2700 |

Best (Local)Arts Outlet

GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

Housed in a huge, rehabilitated safety goggle factory, the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts is an innovative arts outlet that supports local artists every day, all year round. It’s a repeat winner in this category for many reasons. Boasting three full galleries and two smaller ones, classes to take, and even a movie theater, the GoggleWorks creates an interactive, fun time for all. The center also hosts specialty events like its annual Spring Iron Pour, where you can come out, create a mold and see it filled up and cast by molten iron. Artistic Director Tim Compton says one of the best parts of this arts outlet is accessibility. “Anyone can just walk in off the street,” he says, “and pick an artist’s brain.” — Brady Nemec

201 Washington St., Reading | 610.374.4600 |

GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

Best Fitness Center (Non-Chain)

Colonial Fitness Center

Whether seeking fitness for a specific training goal or as a lifestyle choice, turn to this year’s winner in the Best Fitness Center category, a familiar face: Colonial Fitness Center. From infants to elders, Colonial Fitness offers something to anyone at any age and at any level of fitness. General Manager Becky Olson is clear about the Center’s uniqueness, saying, “Staff is what makes the difference. All of the high-tech equipment cannot replace the guidance, care and professional relationships that we deliver every day to our members.” So when looking for personalized programs with attention from professional personal trainers, or thinking that group exercise options are more your focus, feel assured at Colonial Fitness, with offerings at nearly 90 classes per week. — Blair F. Kettler

172 Shillington Rd., Sinking Spring | 610.777.7801 |

Best Public Golf Course

Manor Golf Club

With its rolling, challenging terrain and beautifully maintained greens, Manor Golf Course is outstanding as best public golf course for the fourth year in a row. Owner Cheryl Heckman believes that's primarily due to being inclusive and family-oriented, with a clear dedication to instruction. Indeed, Manor Golf Course has the largest instructional program in the area. “The way I look at it, these are recreational dollars people are choosing to spend with me, so I try to provide an experience above and beyond in service and exceptional course conditions," says Heckman. This past year saw more events than ever, including an Evening on the Green Wine Concert to benefit the First Tee Program, a not-for-profit program for kids. — Marian Frances Wolbers

153 Bran Rd., Sinking Spring | 610.678.9597 |

Manor Golf

Best (Local) Non-Profit Event

Bertie’s Belt Sander Race Benefitting M.S.

When Bertie’s Inn was purchased by Peter and Anne Thomas in 1989, their business plan showed a percentage of sales going to a local charity to benefit the community. The M.S. (Multiple Sclerosis) Society was the first non-profit to knock on their door — and next year marks the 30th anniversary of the Belt Sander Race. This event is always held in July on “the Saturday after the Monday after the 4th of July” and started as part of Bertie’s Ugly Bartender Contest. What makes it unusual and fun is that a person actually rides the belt sander, an idea suggested by a customer who is a carpenter. Owner Peter Thomas says, “We are all proud of the event, and we have been fortunate to have such a unique event become popular.” — Janis Haynes

160 Old Friedensburg Rd., Exeter Township | 610.779.5797 |

Best Place to Book and Event

Reading Public Museum

At the Reading Public Museum, you can dine with a dinosaur, have a wedding reception or party in a planetarium, fundraise near fine art, and more. At this venue, guests can take in the stunning stained glass of the Atrium and Galleries, the breathtaking view of the stars in the Neag Planetarium, the elegance of the outdoor Stone Terrace Tent, and the natural beauty of the Arboretum. The beauty of the scenery is matched by the taste of fine food provided by one of six preferred caterers. Stephanie Shaak, Vice President of Event and Exhibition Rentals, credits the Museum’s event-hosting success both to its uniqueness and its service. “We sincerely value our clients’ business and listen to them,” she says, “and we try to be very flexible and accommodating.” — Michael Foster 

500 Museum Rd., Reading | 610.371.5850 |

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

For hand-picked designer clothing right in Berks County, Bella Jules is the spot. Owner Juli Cleaver selects pieces featured in the store with great thought and care for her loyal customers. From daytime outfits to evening occasional pieces from some of the industry’s most talented and innovative designers, you can find it all at Bella Jules. Items are trendy and fashionable but affordable and accessible, too. And don’t forget the accessories. Be it classically designed pieces or bold statement items, accessories are crucial to completing your outfit, and Bella Jules has you covered from head to toe.

700 Penn Avenue, West Reading | 610.208.0600 |

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 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. New to Advanced Skin Care is the incredibly effective EMSCULPT® body contouring treatment that stimulates muscle contractions to simultaneously reduce stubborn body fat and create muscle tone. Call or visit to learn more! Advanced Skin Care is always accepting new patients and offers prompt appointments.

1260 Broadcasting Rd., Wyomissing | 610.374.1400 |

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. Seriously, there’s no pressure! Owner Caroline Hill, a Penn State alum and Diamond Graduate of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), is proud to employ a knowledgeable staff with more than 90 years of experience in the industry and to offer visitors outstanding customer service, personalized service, and jewelry masterpieces. Call on Van Scoy for your repair needs, for jewelry appraisals, and for a one-of-a-kind experience.

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

Lifetime Best Fitness Center

Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex

It’s no wonder that Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex is a Lifetime Best of Berks winner. The facility is truly a unique and complete sports and wellness experience for the entire family. Where else can you find 160,000 square feet of health and fitness opportunities including Body Zone Physical Therapy, two NHL-sized ice rinks and two Spinturf synthetic grass sports fields? The fitness and aquatics centers are constantly evolving with the latest program and equipment offerings, too. Need some help meeting your fitness and nutritional goals? Body Zone has you covered with support and resources that will set your wellness journey on fire.

2103 Paper Mill Rd., Wyomissing | 610.376.2100 |

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,” think staples like steak and seafood and house specialties like crab cakes and baby back ribs prepared in a house-made barbeque sauce. Sunday Brunch is also offered. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for information on special events like wine dinners, Christmas Eve reservations and more.

6743 Boyertown Pike, Douglassville, 610.689.9410 |

Lifetime Best Fine Dining

Judy’s On Cherry

Want to plan an extra-special dining experience? Make a reservation at Judy’s on Cherry and bask in the warm glow of vaulted wooden ceilings, gorgeous appointments and relaxed, comfortable service. Out-of-this-world Mediterranean fine dining cuisine is served up Tuesdays through Saturdays. Also be on the lookout for dining experiences like farm-to-table dinners, nights with the opera and more. Seasonal dishes using local specialties are often served, but some other menu stand-outs include Poached Caribbean Lobster Vodka Rosa, Mediterranean Swordfish with Arugula Pesto, Lump Crab Cakes with Roasted Corn Fennel Succotash and the Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Butter. Leave room for one of the made-in-house desserts by Pastry Chef Peter Dierkes.

332 Cherry St., Reading | 610.374.8511 |

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Lifetime Best Car Dealership

Tom Masano Auto Group, Inc.

When looking for your next car, start at a Masano dealership, our newest Lifetime Best of Berks Award recipient. For 63 years, Masano dealerships have offered an extensive stock and knowledgeable staff. Their newly renovated Mercedes-Benz and BMW dealerships, as well as their existing Ford and Lincoln locations, are all within a quick drive of each other. Between Masano’s new locations and the astonishing used car auto park, with a 120-car indoor showroom, you are sure to find the car of your dreams. Says the team, “We know that you have high expectations, and we enjoy the challenge of meeting and exceeding those standards each and every time. Allow us to demonstrate our commitment to excellence!”

815 Lancaster Avenue Reading | 610.777.6587 |

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