|Good Eatz in cute West Reading.|
|Menu in the window. How we would have loved the seitan logs. They were out.|
|Interior. Budget, cozy hippy with art for sale. Cleared house when we left.|
|Vegan tempeh ruben|
|Vegan Shepherd's Pie|
|Midnight Monkey Pie|
When the husband and I travel, we like to dine at places that are vegan. You know that whatever you eat will not contain anything fishy (no pun intended) or be fried along a burger. When that's not an option, we will resort to places that have a dedicated vegan or vegetarian menu. Since our plans for an anniversary overnight date were kaibashed by Hurricane Irene, we spent the day in the Reading, PA area while his parents watched our two little ones. A Google search for vegan restaurants + Reading brought Good Eatz Green Cafe to our attention. They specialize in gluten-free, veg and healthy foods. We thought we'd give it a try.
I waitressed a lot in college. I know what need to be done as a server and I know what needs to be done on the management side to give the customer a pleasurable dining experience. This is a preface to my review, FYI. I shall move on.
Driving into West Reading, I was pleasantly surprised at how cute the town is--lots of little shops and brick town homes--and thought that yes, it makes sense that a place that has a veg menu exists here. What first struck me when we entered the café was how packed the place was! And yay! Free wi-fi. Always a great thing when you are traveling.
There were several things on the menu that appealed to us and we ordered... and then the waitress repeatedly came back to tell us they were out of what we ordered. Now, I know some people would fault the waitress and leave her a bad tip, but it's really the management's issue to keep the kitchen fully stocked to support your menu. Finally, after the waitress was utterly embarrassed, we settled on the vegan tempeh ruben and the vegan shepherd's pie. The ruben was a first choice, the pie, a fourth choice. The ruben was good, but not knock your socks off good. When you've had incredible rubens at places like Boneshakers in Brooklyn and Sprig and Vine in New Hope, PA, having one that is only OK seems like a let down. It was dry and needed more umpf. The shepherd's pie was also very dry and tasted as though it was frozen after it was made. Not inedible, but not re-order-on-another-visit material. Sigh... I so was hoping for something great, but all we got was passable. Staff was friendly and very apologetic about their lack of stock.
If you live in the PA area, you may have seen Good Eatz desserts at your local health food store. Not sure if the bakery or the cafe came first. Never able to pass up a vegan dessert, we shared a piece of Midnight Monkey Pie. A chocolate/banana/walnut vegan mousse. It was a bit granular (maybe ground walnuts in the mousse?) but super tasty and possibly healthy. It may have been raw and/or gluten free.
Overall, given the lack of veg choices in the area, I would go back and give them a second chance when we're visiting the in-laws. They had a packed house when we arrived, so they must be doing something right. Some advice though, when offering a veg menu, if you can't keep it in stock or make it fresh (maybe due to lack of veg orders?) then just have a few dedicated veg items on the menu. Quality over quantity is my moto!
Good Eatz Green Cafe
701 Penn Avenue
West Reading, PA, 19611