West Reading Avenues Summer 2016

Page 1

Greater Reading’s hub for arts, shopping and entertainment

r e m Sum Summer 2016


Mural corridor is shaping up


CONTACT INFORMATION Publisher, Tracy Hoffmann Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc.


Editor, Sara Braun Radaoui Design, Kim Lewis 2921 Windmill Road Reading, PA 19608 HoffmannPublishing.com 610.685.0914 Avenues@HoffPubs.com

IN THE KNOW & ON THE GO 4 New & Improved on the Avenues 7 Delaney Circle Concepts

ADVERTISING 610.685.0914 ext. 1 Sales@HoffPubs.com

BOROUGH BUSINESS West Reading Borough 500 Chestnut Street West Reading, PA 19611 WestReadingBorough.com 610.374.8273

WEST READING MAINSTREET PROGRAM West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation 500 Chestnut Street West Reading, PA 19611 WRCRF.org 610.685.8854 View the Digital Version of West Reading Avenues online at lovewestreading.org The opinions expressed in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

RETAILERS PERSPECTIVE 8 Justin Bortz: A New World Holistic Jeweler

RESTAURANT PERSPECTIVE 9 A Vibrant Business Lunch:

Judy’s on Cherry & Plein Air

IN THE COMMUNITY 10 Reading Hospital Road Run 12 Giving is Receiving 14 Community Banks Remain Key


to Local Economy

15 Mural corridor is shaping up 16 Reading’s youth provide ideas

for future of Penn Street

SUMMER ON THE AVENUES 18 Calendar of Events 21 Avenue Art

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced electronically or in print without the express written permission of the publisher.


West Reading Avenues is published quarterly {Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter}.


22 The Millennials Are Coming!

24 Summer Fashion Trends at VF Outlet


RESTAURANT REVIEWS 26 What’s on the Menu

FARMERS MARKET 28 Celebrating 10 Years

IN EVERY ISSUE 3 From the Editor


Helpful Arts, Culture & Business Links Art Plus Gallery artplusgallerypa.com Berks Arts Council berksarts.org Berks Jazz Fest berksjazzfest.com County of Berks co.berks.pa.us The Gallery Above Penn Square galleryabovepennsquare.com GoggleWorks Center for the Arts goggleworks.org Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry greaterreadingchamber.org Greater Reading Convention & Visitors Bureau gogreaterreading.com Greater Reading Economic Partnership greaterreading.com RACC - Miller Center for the Arts racc.edu/MillerCenter Reading Downtown Improvement District downtownreading.com Reading Public Museum readingpublicmuseum.org Reading Symphony Orchestra readingsymphony.org Santander Arena Santander Performing Arts Center santander-arena.com Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area schuylkillriver.org West Reading Borough westreadingborough.com West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation wrcrf.org West Reading Main Street lovewestreading.org Wyomissing Borough www.wyomissingboro.org The Yocum Institute for Arts Education institute-of-arts.org


Avenues Summer 2016

WELCOME //// from the editor

Welc ome S u mmer !


Sara Braun Radaoui Editor Avenues Magazine

his summer, the Penn Corridor will be buzzing with good vibrations. Come out and feel the rhythm as you move through the Avenues! The corridor always has something great to offer everyone.

In this issue, read all about Justin Bortz New World Jewelers and aura readings! Dine out at the bustling eateries featured in our restaurant spotlights, and make sure not to forget about your favorite bars and eateries that provide local entertainment each week! Make sure to check out the hopping entertainment at the Berks Country Fest held at several locations in the Greater Reading Area. There are a ton of great events for the family happening this summer at The Santander Arena & Performing Arts Center, The Miller Center for the Arts, the Scottish Rite Cathedral, and more! Art lovers- get excited! This time of year, art is everywhere. The community shares a collective desire to support the local arts, which is why it’s celebrating the 22nd annual Art on the Avenue! A summer season of inspired local art begins on Penn Avenue June 17 and 18 with a new plein air painting competition in conjunction with Art on the Avenue. This event welcomes artists to spend a day or two painting in situ anywhere in West Reading. Step into The Art Plus Gallery and CafÊ BOLD to see the inspiring art that will be adorning their walls! This charming neighborhood will be ringing with excitement all summer long. Whether you are strolling Penn Avenue for a bite to eat, turning the corner and find yourself at the park, or cooling off with a dip at the pool, there is non-stop excitement for everyone. Come see for yourself and experience it all firsthand. See you on the Avenues!



IN THE KNOW & ON THE GO //// new & improved

New & Improved on the Avenues NEW ON THE AVENUE

Rice Rice Modern Thai Restaurant promises to serve ‘Healthy, Delicious and Authentic’ Thai food with a modern twist to their customers! Come out and enjoy the comfortable & relaxing atmosphere that will keep everyone feeling right at home. The menu offers a wide variety from Thai beef jerky, to papaya salad, to seared salmon dressed in a delicious red curry. The available outdoor seating is a bonus just in time for summer! Our new neighbors in town are located at 615 Penn Avenue, and they’re open Tuesday through Sunday throughout the week. Rice takes reservations as well as walk-ins, and delivery is always an option!


615 Penn Ave, West Reading 484-755-5864 www.ricemodernthai.com

Sweet Ride Ice Cream Sweet Ride Ice Cream, LLC is an ice cream parlor and soda fountain located in West Reading. This vibrant ice cream parlor offers super premium ice cream, sundaes, custom ice cream cookie sandwiches, waffle sundaes, coffee, hot chocolate and hand crafted sodas. Sweet Ride even has a mobile ice cream parlor and vintage ice cream bike to serve at your next special event! They serve Berks County as well as Southeastern Pennsylvania. Come visit with our new neighbors and enjoy some old favorites like the Chery Lime Rickey or a NY Egg Cream! Located at 542 Penn Avenue, Sweet Ride is open Monday- Thursday 12 to 8:30pm, Friday and Saturday 12-10pm, and Sunday 12- 8pm.

Sweet Ride Ice Cream

542 Penn Avenue, West Reading 484-987-7338 www.sweetrideicecream.com


Avenues Summer 2016


West Reading DrugstoreNew Ownership Under new ownership, the West Reading Drug Store is maintaining its focus to provide exceptional care to everyone who walks through their doors. Eric Esterbrook has owned and is the “sole owner” of now 3 locations in West Reading! Esterbrook Pharmacy, Outlook Pharmacy Services, and now the West Reading Drug Store. Eric acquired the West Reading Drug Store on May 2nd, 2016, which is the oldest pharmacy serving Berks County! The previous owner, James Levan, and now new owner, Eric, have the same philosophy regarding the pharmacy business. Esterbrook mentions, “keeping independent pharmacies independent is important.” Eric is a Berks County native who resides in Wyomissing and walks to work. He prides himself on spending at least three hours at each of the locations.

It’s where they help builders.

It’s where we make decisions. Deb and Tom Kearse, Owners Kohl Building Products

Locally focused. A world of possibilities.


West Reading Drug Store

Mark Maggs, Merrill Lynch named America’s Top 1,200 Advisors

Esterbrook Pharmacy

Mark Maggs, a senior vice president and wealth management advisor in the Wyomissing office of Merrill Lynch, was named by Barron’s Magazine to its 2016 list of “America’s Top 1,200 Advisors.” The tribute recognizes that Maggs is among the nation’s best in successfully working with clients to help them manage wealth and achieve their financial goals. Maggs is an active member of the Berks County community whose clients include business owners, professionals, high-level executives and retirees in need of wealth management advice and services.

538 Penn Ave, West Reading 610-375-4366 www.westreadingdrug.com 301 S. 7th Ave #145, West Reading 610-376-6542 www.esterbrookpharmacy.com

Outlook Pharmacy Services

301 S. 7th Ave #146, West Reading 610-376-6542

Sharp Dressed Man Come out to Sharp Dressed Man’s new location located on the 400 block of Penn Avenue. Stop in to see the hottest fashions straight from the runway right in their store! Shipments from their favorite designers are just in. The shop is open Wednesday through Friday, 11am-7pm, and Tuesday by appointments only. From mix-and-match basics, to business attire and formal wear, you will find something to complete your wardrobe for every season with new and original styles!

Sharp Dressed Man

408 Penn Avenue West Reading, PA 19611 610-685-4381

Merrill Lynch

985 Berkshire Blvd Wyomissing, PA 19610 610-320-5471 lovewestreading.org


IN THE KNOW & ON THE GO //// new & improved

Anniversaries on the Avenues ANNIVERSARIES ON THE AVENUE

50 Years of Giving

It’s a Gift!, run by Woman’s Exchange, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. 50 years is a milestone year for any business, but it is especially impressive since this is a business that has been run by volunteers since day one and donates all of its profits to local charities. It’s a Gift! has turned out to be quite a gem to our community. From the outside it depicts the wonderful boutique that is inside, and when you go through the store you will be even more impressed with the variety of merchandise! The past two years It’s a Gift! was voted as the best place to buy a gift by Berks County Living Magazine and was chosen this year as the Preferred Bridal Registry of the Reading Museum. Their motto is “Give the gift that gives twice.” Where else could you shop in Berks County and find the perfect gift and help a local charity at the same time?

Hello neighbor! We want to know what you LOVE about West Reading. Help us build a better future by taking the survey below. The survey will be open until June 30, 2016. The more the merrier- so forward to friends, family and anyone else who is fond of West Reading... The community is asked to supply their opinion on a series of standard perceptual questions about Downtown West Reading. The purpose of this survey tool is to get a better idea of how people feel about common attributes that contribute to a “sense of place” within a community, and to guide the West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation’s West Reading Business District – the Main Street initiative, with potential downtown revitalization strategies. The questions are based upon a matrix for what constitutes a “place” that was developed by the Project for Public Spaces.

Happy 50th Anniversary!!

It’s a Gift!

720 Penn Ave, West Reading 610-373-0960 www.itsagift.org

Take the Current Perceptions Survey! Visit www.padowntown.org/ downtown-west-reading-current-perceptions Thank you for your time, talent and love of West Reading! - Christin Kelley, Main Street Manager


Avenues Summer 2016


Delaney Circle Concepts


&KA presented conceptual plans and renderings to the West Reading Borough Council for the revitalization of and improvements to Delaney Circle and the West Reading side of Buttonwood Street . The plans presented addressed a number of ideas and concerns raised by council members and West Reading residents at an open meeting held in mid-March, 2016. The park-like setting incorporates raised seating areas, perimeter walls and planters, site lighting, and a water feature. The circle could be used for performances, public gatherings, and other outdoor activities to further energize the Penn Avenue commercial district. Additionally, the installation of new lighting to Buttonwood Street, visually linking the Buttonwood Street bridge to Penn Avenue, was discussed.

Outdoor Dining NOW OPEN!

Kautter & Kelley Architects 5 Belmont Avenue Wyomissing, PA 19610-2001 tel 610.372.9960 www.kautterkelley.com





A New World Holistic Jeweler

Sara Radaoui | Editor


f you know Justin Bortz, you know he’s an artistic mystic. He’s always had a passion for jewelry, from his early high school years working with a goldsmith in downtown Reading, to an after-college stint in Seattle, then finally settling back into Berks in 1991 with his shop at 426 Penn Avenue in West Reading. A certified gemologist and new age jewelry designer, he’s now blending the energy of holistic presence and with avant-garde jewelry design. But wait, it gets better. He’s now offering jewelry aura readings at his shop every Friday. If you’re wondering, what in the world does that mean, or, what do auras have to do with jewelry, let me help you. A person’s aura is said to be a field of energy that a person gives off. Some believe that everything has an aura, or is surrounded by a field of its own energy. Auras are energy bodies that contain loads of information about what is going on with people, animals, and so forth, at a deeper level. The ability to read one’s aura is considered to be a psychic skill. Aura readings uncover the color circulating around a person’s body in relation to their physical, spiritual and emotional being. Having never experienced any type of reading before, I was a bit skeptical, so I decided to visit with my co-worker Alicia. Upon arrival, we were greeted by owner, Justin Bortz. His gallery was filled with the scent of a musky, yet light, incense, and the sounds of relaxing Zen music. Within moments, we were introduced to Brandi, the aura reader, who shared her unusual path to enlightenment. After undergoing double brain surgery at a young age, Brandi was left partially blind with a heightened awareness exposing her to her gifted ability read auras. The readings began rather innocently. Justin invited us to select a few of the stones, gems or jewelry pieces that we were really drawn to. Some caught our eyes the second we stepped foot in the store. In a matter of moments, Alicia and I had each selected about 5 pieces. We were then shown to the back room where Brandi read our auras, first, just as we appeared when we entered the store, and then sitting with each piece of jewelry that we had selected. During the aura readings, Justin brought out various loose stones


Avenues Summer 2016

and gems which also affected our chakras in a positive way. Chakras, the centers of spiritual power in the human body, are like a swirling wheel of energy where matter and consciousness meet. It was interesting to see what one piece of jewelry could do to our auras. One necklace made my aura three times louder. For me, Brandi saw a lot of yellow, which translates to happiness. When another necklace was placed around my neck, my aura was glowing so much that it could light up a room. Alicia’s selection, a choker-type necklace, completely focused her aura and “calmed” her down, making her more at peace. The entire experience was peaceful and calming. In closing the session, Justin noted that, in addition to the Friday afternoon gallery readings, Aura-inspired design parties can be scheduled at any client’s chosen location.

As a holistic, new world jeweler, Justin focuses on providing experiences to help customers connect with pieces that provide positive energies. Whether selecting from unique, existing jewelry pieces, or drawing from your imagination and his inspiration to create custom pieces, Justin provides the ideal opportunity to connect more deeply with oneself by participating in a creative process resulting in jewelry that is both beautiful and empowers the wearer with a sense of well-being and power. Bortz uses experience and intuition to create rings, pendants, bracelets and earrings using a variety of stones and metals. And there’s an extra measure of protection in your visit. Van Scoy Jewelers and Justin Bortz New World Jewelers are the only two Berks County Jewelers that belong to the prestigious American Gem Society (AGS). The American Gem Society is the country’s preeminent jewelry trade organization dedicated to consumer protection. So, if you’re up to a more unusual jewelry experience, you may wish to visit Justin Bortz New World Jewelers.


A Vibrant Business Lunch

Judy’s on Cherry & Plein Air

Andréa Much


f you have a love for contemporary cuisine and are in Berks County for one afternoon only – take a trip to Cherry Street downtown. Conveniently located a few blocks walking distance from both the GoggleWorks, Santander Arena and other downtown landmarks, Judy’s on Cherry was once a farmer’s market beautifully renovated into a Mediterranean restaurant. Owned by local culinary creator Judy Henry, the chef-owner presides over Judy’s on Cherry and her two other neighboring restaurants, The Speckled Hen Pub and Plein Air, an outdoor garden café. All are situated on the corner of South 4th and Cherry Sts. in the heart of downtown Reading.

Judy’s on Cher ry Closed Sundays & Mondays Open for Lunch: Tu esday – Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Open for Dinner: Tu esday – Saturday, 59 p.m. Plein Air Open for Lunch: W ednesday – Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Open for Dinner: W ednesday – Saturday , 4:30 – 9 p.m. 30 S. 4th Street, Re ading, PA


www.judysoncherr y.com Call for reservation s: 610-374-8511

When you head upstairs to Judy’s on Cherry, marvel around the hearth fire oven, the restaurant’s centerpiece that cooks 90% of the pizzas, frittatas, focaccia bread and grilled favorites. Every ingredient has a significant role in each entrée, appetizer and dessert as spices, fresh herbs and ripe fruits splash together to combine a truly flavorful dining experience. Liven up your next business lunch with daily specials – pasta, frittata, catch of the day, or indulge in a delicately hearth-fired pizza with expertly thin cooked crust. Or, escape the day and meet friends to share small plates and extend your taste palette to new delights. On the right summer day, you may find yourself craving lunch al fresco – and Judy’s sister restaurant, Plein Air Garden Café, offers just that. Here, you will seemingly leave the city of Reading and be transported to a hidden French garden tucked away in the courtyard that is nestled between restaurants. A freshly delicate cuisine of salads, burgers and tartines is served beneath bright patio umbrellas. Have gazpacho in the garden room and enjoy the summer rain! To experience Judy’s on Cherry and the Plein Air Garden Café at lunch, call 610-374-8511 for reservations. This classy lunch spot boasts fine cuisine, wondrous surroundings, vegetarian offerings and mid-day martinis (just saying)!

Your Gateway to an Amazing World of Art 604 Penn Avenue West Reading, PA 19611 610-375-9122 www.artplusgallerypa.com

new hours: 12-7pm Weds-Sat. 10-4pm Sunday, 12-5pm Tues. Receptions every 2nd Friday 5-8pm.




Reading Hospital Road Run

Adds Half-MarathonTo This Annual Event Jessica Belzer


he annual Reading Hospital Road Run is getting even bigger! Literally. On October 16, 2016, the popular event will include a half marathon — the first all road in Berks County — in addition to the 5K and 1-mile fun run and fitness walk. The event raises money for projects that improve the health and well-being of people who work and live in Reading and the surrounding counties. Road Run participants will enjoy a scenic course around the outer edges of beautiful downtown Reading. Half marathon runners also will traverse Mount Penn, where PhilMar Photography will take photos as they race past the historic Pagoda.


Avenues Summer 2016

The event is sponsored by The Friends of Reading Hospital, an organization of dedicated volunteers who are passionate about improving the quality of healthcare in Berks County. The Friends hold fundraising events such as Road Run to benefit a multitude of healthcare programs, including HeartSAFE Berks County, which provides automated external defibrillator (AED) devices in locations throughout the community to improve the survivability of sudden cardiac arrest victims. To date, more than 500 AEDs have been placed throughout the county, including in first responder vehicles, schools, First Energy Stadium, the Berkshire Mall, and many places where large groups gather. Last year, The Friends donated 102 AEDs to local schools to replace expired units.

IN THE COMMUNITY The Road Run will be limited to 3,500 runners and walkers to ensure the safety of all participants. The half marathon begins at 8:30 a.m. at Rotary Park, and the 5K begins at the same location at 8:45. All runners must be at Rotary Park by 8:15 a.m. The finish line is on the 700 block of Penn Street in front of Santander Arena and DoubleTree Hotel Reading. The free 1-mile fun run/walk begins at 8:30 a.m. at DoubleTree/Santander Arena. Award ceremonies for the 5K race and half marathon will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel, 701 Penn Street, Reading. The race features instant result timing using the Jaguar disposable chip timing system, cash awards to top half marathon finishers, finishers medals for half marathon participants, high-tech wicking t-shirts, free parking for participants and spectators, and a post-race party.

We are a full service real estate company representing clients in Berks and Lancaster County. If you are planning to buy or sell your home, please consider Weikel Realty. 12A South Fifth Avenue West Reading, PA 19611 (610) 816-7404

www.WeikelRealtyGroup.com Chris J. Weikel REALTOR®/Broker (610) 914-3199

On Saturday, October 15, the day before the race, there will be a health and fitness expo, open to the public, and pasta dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading, 701 Penn Street, Reading. David L. Kline, Executive Director Promotions & Circulation, President WEEU, Reading Eagle, is this year’s honorary chair for the event. Diamond Credit Union is this year’s Tower Sponsor. Berks County has a big heart. It generously cares for the people who live and work in the community, and the Reading Hospital Road Run provides an opportunity for each of us to enjoy a day of health and community, all for a wonderful cause: Advancing Health. Transforming Lives. For details about the Reading Hospital Road Run, visit www.rhroadrun.com. For more information or to volunteer, please email friends@readinghealth.org or call 484-628-8477.

Megan Weikel REALTOR® (717) 779-3817

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Giving is Receiving Ron Rothenberger


ne of the greatest opportunities that a business can do is to give back to its community by getting involved with organizations and causes. Giving back may come in the form of volunteering your time and talents, supporting fundraising projects, or providing your business’s services as a donation. It has been said that when you give, you receive tenfold. As a member of a local Lions Club, I realize this to be true. Receiving comes in many forms: a hug from a mom or dad whose child just had their eyes tested, the camaraderie at the monthly meetings as we plan our next events, the energy felt when attending Regional Events and meeting other Lions. These are all just a handful of ways we receive by giving.

Getting involved shouldn’t end with the business or the employer. Time should be provided for employees to get involved with their own causes, and employers should make sure to allow ample time for them to attend meetings. I have noticed an interesting trend in the younger generation. They are genuinely interested in getting involved with the causes and organizations that matter most to them. They learn leadership skills by serving on committees and boards and create relationships that can lead to personal business opportunities. It becomes a growing and learning experience. One of the perks for these young leaders is that they find themselves being asked to serve on other, more prestigious boards, and bring to these organizations a fresh, young perspective. Both the organization and the young leader benefit from this tenfold.


Avenues Summer 2016

IN THE COMMUNITY Let’s not forget about the publicity that being involved in a charity can offer. There is always an opportunity to sponsor an event where your business can be recognized by both members of the organization and those attending the event. The internet has also made it possible to show that your business is supporting a cause by sharing photos of your involvement and sharing information about upcoming events and fundraisers. By letting your friends know online that you and your business are involved, you’ll be amazed at how involved those people will become by sharing, liking and commenting on your posts. It’s another way to give back and at the same time receive. Giving back will have a strong effect on your business by helping to build strong relationships with your existing customers and can help you discover new customers. A 2010 study of Cone Communications showed that 85% of consumers have a better outlook on businesses that give to a charity. Giving doesn’t need to end with you. Plan to get your customers involved by doing your own fundraising efforts. It could simply be choosing a week where you share an awareness about your favorite organization. Since being involved in the Lions Club, we could have a week where we focus on collecting eye glasses or baseball caps.

Ron Rothenberger ron@risquote.com 610-406-5827

Sean Wyandt sean@risquote.com 610-406-5827

Iris Dalia Pantoja iris@risquote.com 610-406-5827 Se habla español

We provide personal and commercial coverage.

“As a member of the Lions Club I know that when I’m standing there selling Kauffman’s BBQ chicken, the money we raise is helping people in a third-world country to receive the help they need for their sight. By giving back, you truly receive tenfold.” What does giving back do for you personally? Those business owners and employees who are involved in supporting a nonprofit or a good cause are more energetic, focused, action-oriented people. You have the ability to make a difference.

101 South First Avenue | West Reading, PA 19611 | Ph: 610.375.8581 | Fx: 610.375.4102




Community Banks Remain Key to Local Economy Scott Gruber, President and CEO, Tompkins VIST Bank


ummer is almost here and the warmer weather promises to attract even more people to businesses and restaurants in West Reading.

When I drive down Penn Avenue and see all the commercial activity, I’m reminded that small businesses are the drivers of the U.S. economy. I’m also proud to be head of a community bank that is devoted to supporting small businesses.

A community bank is, by name and definition, dedicated to helping customers in their local areas grow and prosper. And at a time when many local banks are being acquired, I thought this would be a good time to highlight the benefits of small business banking relationships for small business owners.

Second, community banks and their cadre of local team members treat their customers as individuals, friends and neighbors, and not numbers. Like the team members at Tompkins VIST bank, community bankers take the time to get to know small business owners, and learn when their financial situation changes or when they need other complementary services, such as insurance or wealth management that may be provided within the community bank organization. In that case, a community bank approach often lessens the anxiety of meeting new vendors, and the associated administrative tasks, by introducing the customer to experts from affiliated businesses. Finally, like most banks, community banks support the philanthropic needs of our communities. However, from the top of our organization to the bottom, every team member is inspired when they hear community members say that they see our Tompkins VIST Bank employees everywhere – on community boards, at business and professional meetings, and helping out at fundraising events. To echo that fact, we were recently humbled to receive BCTV’s first Community Building Award, created this year to honor a Berks business for its commitment to the local community.


whisky wine & food

the finest

622-624 Penn Ave. West Reading, PA 19611 www.winedowncafe.net


First, community banks are typically locally headquartered and provide local decision-making and personalized service – features that are becoming increasingly rare on the local level. When a consumer or business has an immediate need for a loan or other financial service, a community banker understands that a prompt decision and turnaround can be crucial.

Avenues Summer 2016

Banking is a relationship business. People do business with people they know, like and trust. We’re proud to say that many small businesses – the drivers of our local economy - have entrusted us to help them grow because we are “large enough to serve them but small enough to care.”


Mural corridor is shaping up Jason Brudereck, Director of Communication, Berks County Community Foundation


est Reading is about halfway to its goal to create 18 murals as an outdoor art gallery stretching along Cherry Street from Fourth to Seventh Avenues.

More than 50 volunteers, about half of whom were students, donated more than 300 hours and about $7,500 worth in labor to create a recent round of three murals, which were funded through grants from the Berks Art Council, the Wyomissing Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Greater Reading Young Professionals Community Engagement Fund of Berks County Community Foundation and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. Neighborhoods that are unique and cool attract great residents and businesses, said Christin Kelley, West Reading Main Street Program Manager. Research has shown that people want to live in walkable neighborhoods that feature diversity, culture, charm and character, Kelley said in a report to the Community Foundation about a grant that paid for part of the project. The project involved students and the general public in the process to spread the word and to expose the students to socially-acceptable ways of self-expression instead of turning to graffiti. The West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation dedicated the new additions at 416 Cherry St., 536 Cherry St. and 23 S. Sixth Ave. late last year. Now, in warmer weather, more people are walking to see them.

Photo above: “Sea Spirit” by artist Alan Cernak on the side of a home at 536 Cherry Street. It’s a reproduction of a painting on the wall of Japan’s Fukae Shrine. lovewestreading.org



Shops, Restaurants, Parades, Carnivals, Festivals, Dancing, Concerts, and Community Events.

Reading’s youth provide ideas for future of Penn Street Jason Brudereck, Director of Communication, Berks County Community Foundation


hen young people in Reading envision the future of Penn Street, they see a bustling streetscape with attractions and activities similar to the city’s neighbor to the west, West Reading. They want interesting retail stores, tempting restaurants, and a more inviting atmosphere overall, just as can be found in West Reading.As Penn Avenue has flourished in West Reading, Penn Street could be poised to do the same in Reading.

Those are the results of a survey of 500 students and young adults who live in Reading. The survey regarding their impressions and ideas for Penn Street was conducted by nine students from I-LEAD Charter School as part of a paid internship program with Berks County Community Foundation. The I-LEAD students were Alyssa Acosta, Crystal Arguinzoni, Cherry Candiau, Cheyenne Davis, Ashley Diaz, Alexa Mejia, Carlos Morales, Elizabeth Pena, and Stephany Pimentel.


Avenues Summer 2016

Respondents were asked to answer a series of questions in their own words. “We wanted to gather different perspectives from different people in an effort to bring great ideas together,” Diaz said. The students recently presented the survey to a group of Greater Reading community leaders. As a result, Reading Downtown Improvement District officials scheduled follow-up meetings with the students to learn how they can work together to make their ideas reality. The Community Foundation plans to use the students’ insights to better connect to young people in the region so that they can be informed about events on Penn Street, such as the second season of the Downtown Alive free concert series that runs from June to October this year. Information about that series can be found at www.downtownalivereading.com.

The students who completed the survey ranged in age from 14 to 24. When asked what they like most about Penn Street, the students cited stores and food, with Sneaker Villa and Subway mentioned most often.

“Other cities that have pursued this strategy have seen greater private investment in their downtowns,” Murphy said.

In general, students saw great potential for the street that has historically served as the main commercial district for Berks County. When asked what type of store they would open and manage on Penn Street if given the opportunity, the top responses were clothing stores, shoe stores, restaurants, food stores, and salons. When asked what existing store they’d like to see open on Penn Street, popular clothing stores such as Forever 21, Rue 21, Hot Topic, and H&M were mentioned most often. GameStop and shoe stores such as Foot Locker were also frequently mentioned. When asked what restaurant they would add to Penn Street, students suggested a variety of ethnic cuisines, particularly restaurants reflecting their own heritage. When asked what activities they would like to see happen on Penn Street, the students most often cited parades, carnivals, festivals, dancing, concerts, and community events in general. Staging events and arts programming on Penn Street showcases how vibrant our community’s urban core can be, said Kevin K. Murphy, Community Foundation president.

That’s why the Community Foundation is funding various arts programming on Penn Street, including the Downtown Alive concert series, and the Reading Fire + Ice Fest, which returns to Penn Street for a third time Jan. 13 and 14, 2017. Part of that strategy also included a recent $10,000 grant from the Hawley and Myrtle Quier Fund of the Community Foundation to Penn Street Market so that it can add four evening markets on First Fridays in June, July, August and September. This year’s farmers’ market will run for 18 weeks starting June 2 and will have more local farm vendors, artisan foods, local restaurants and new local artists and craft vendors. The market is also embarking on a fundraising campaign to raise a dollar-for-dollar match of a $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation’s Quier Fund. Respondents in the students’ survey showed a commitment to the future of the city and a desire to help improve it. When asked if they would be willing to make a difference in Reading, 70 percent said yes. The most encouraging responses came from the question: “Do you think that change can happen in Reading?” Three-quarters, or 75 percent, of the respondents said yes. “Yes,” said one respondent, “because it starts with me and I want to change Reading.”


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r e m Sum SUMMER ON THE AVENUES //// events

Call ahead or visit websites for latest dates, showtimes and admission info.

Blue Man Group

on the avenues

Thursday, June 9, 2016, 7:30 PM Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading, PA santander-arena.com Blue Man Group is comedy, theatre, rock concert and dance party all rolled into one. The Blue Man Group theatrical tour showcases classic Blue Man favorites, along with brand new content. Now approaching their 25th year of creativity, this artistic group is continually updating and refreshing Blue Man shows with new music, fresh stories, custom instruments and state-of- the-art technology.

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band

Sunday, June 12, 2016, 7:30 PM Santander Arena 700 Penn Street, Reading, PA santander-arena.com While some accused Ringo Starr of being a clumsy drummer, many more agreed with George Harrison’s assessment: “Ringo’s the best backbeat in the business.” And while many in the wake of the Beatles’ breakup predicted that Starr would be the one without a solo career, he proved them wrong. Not only has he released several LPs (the first came out before the Beatles disbanded) and hit singles, but he’s also the only Beatle to establish a film-acting career for himself outside of the band’s mid-’60s movies.

Guitar-a-Rama Presented by Berks Country Fest Sunday, June 12, 2016, 12:00 PM Scottish Rite Cathedral 310 Seventh Ave, Reading, PA berkscountryfest.com A trio of Grammy winners highlights the second annual Berks Country Fest. Laurence Juber, a former lead guitarist for Paul McCartney’s Wings, teams with David Cullen and Will Ackerman for an amazing afternoon of guitar music!


Avenues Summer 2016

SUMMER ON THE AVENUES The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 7:30 PM Thursday, June 16, 2016, 7:30 PM Friday, June 17th, 2016, 7:30 PM Saturday, June 18, 2016, 7:30 PM Sunday, June 19, 2016, 3:00 PM Genesius Theatre 153 North 10th Street, Reading, PA

Da Ponte

Friday, June 17, 2016, 8:00 PM Saturday, June 18, 2016, 8:00 PM Sunday, June 19, 2016, 2:00 PM Friday, June 24, 2016, 8:00 PM Saturday, June 25, 2016, 8:00 PM Sunday, June 26, 2016, 2:00 PM WCR Center for the Arts 140 N 5th Street, Reading, PA virtualberks.com/ readingtheaterproject/ The Outrageously True and Charmingly Infamous Life of that Glorious Jewish Catholic Priest, Genius Librettist who Inspired Mozart-of-All-People, Master of Italian Literature and Bringer-Of-It to America, Toothless Businessman, Pennsylvania Resident, Superb Lover of (All) Women, and So Many Other Topics and Situations.

Celtic Woman

Saturday, June 18, 2016, 7:30 PM Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading, PA santander-arena.com Both an accomplished recording ensemble and a one-ofa-kind performing collective, Celtic Woman celebrates Ireland’s rich musical and cultural heritage, utilizing the country’s finest musical talents and epic stage production to present a uniquely inspiring experience.

Dino Day

Monday, June 20, 2016, 12:00 PM Reading Public Museum 500 Museum Road, Reading, PA readingpublicmuseum.org Celebrate the first day of Summer at RPM with their new dinosaur exhibition, Dinosaurs Around the World: Passport to Pangea! Travel back in time on a dinosaur adventure and tour an Earth very different from today — a time before the continents as we know them existed, when lush landscapes covered Africa and greenery was the norm in Antarctica. With advanced animatronics, a multilayered narrative, fossils, authentic casts, cutting-edge research, and immersive design elements, you’ll experience the Age of Reptiles as it comes to life! Exhibit continues through October 2, 2016.

James and the Giant Peach Junior

Reading Community Players Friday, June 24, 2016, 7:00 PM Saturday, June 25, 2016, 3:00 PM Miller Center for the Arts 4 N 2nd Street, Reading, PA racc.edu/MillerCenter Based on one of Roald Dahl’s most poignantly quirky stories, James and the Giant Peach Jr. is a brand new take on this “masterpeach” of a tale. Featuring a wickedly tuneful score and a witty and charming book, this adventurous musical about courage and self-discovery is destined to be a classic. Join James and his insect friends as they take a magical, musical journey on their special giant peach. The mysterious, outrageous characters and tunes are sure to make you tap your feet, clap your hands and laugh out loud!

Independence Day “Red, White & Blues” Concert

Monday, July 4, 2016, 7:00 PM Reading Public Museum 500 Museum Road, Reading, PA readingpublicmuseum.org



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Lindsey Stirling

Friday, July 15, 2016, 8:00 PM Santander Arena 700 Penn Street, Reading, PA santander-arena.com Lindsey Stirling is one of the biggest artist development breakthrough stories in recent years. A classically trained violinist, Lindsey has created a new music world where the romance of Celtic folk music and modern classical meet the infectious energy of dance and electronica. On stage, Stirling moves with the grace of a ballerina but works the crowd into a frenzy, “dropping the beat” like a rave fairy.

Jim Gaffigan: Fully Dressed

Sunday, July 17, 2016, 8:00 PM Santander Arena 700 Penn Street, Reading, PA santander-arena.com Actor, writer, producer, Grammy nominated comedian, New York Times best-selling author, top touring performer, and multi-platinum selling father of five, Jim Gaffigan won’t be donning his birthday suit this summer as he packs up the tour bus and hits the road with his family for his live “Fully Dressed” arena and theatre tour.

Berks Opera Company Presents: Otello

Friday, August 12, 2016, 7:00 PM Sunday, August 14, 2016, 3:00 PM Miller Center for the Arts 4 N 2nd Street, Reading, PA racc.edu/MillerCenter

Don’t Miss! Second Fridays on Penn June 10, July 8, August 12

The second Friday of every month is a special time on the Penn Corridor. Take a ride (or a walk) on Penn Street in Reading, or Penn Avenue in West Reading and Wyomissing, and take advantage of everything the Corridor has to offer.


Avenues Summer 2016

Avenue Art June

A summer season of inspired local art begins on Penn Avenue June 17 & 18 with a new plein air painting competition in conjunction with Art on the Avenue. This event welcomes artists to spend a day or two painting in situ anywhere in West Reading---think people action, urban architecture, trees and stream. Saturday night will culminate with an exhibit, awards, and gala party at 520 Penn Avenue. For more information go to www.pleinairwestreading.com. Of course, there will still be opportunity for artists from 3 years old and up to paint a silk sun-catcher or miniature canvas at the Art Plus Gallery tents on June 18, when Art on the Avenue attracts the whole family.

Throughout June, you can view the intricate art quilts by member Martha Ressler in the new Featured Artists Wing at Art Plus Gallery. Her move from Pittsburgh to Berks County is reflected in the landscape themes; most works incorporate objects she finds on walks and photographs she reprints on fabric.You can’t miss the humor, nor this artist’s lifelong skill with fabric and thread. Sharing this exhibit space are the whimsical ceramics of guest artist Angela Shope. Elsewhere on the Avenue, Café BOLD will feature the digital creations of photographer Jay Ressler in June, and Art Plus members’ exhibit Boating is at West Reading Tavern.


Art Community Outreach: Works will be shown in Art Plus Gallery during the month of July 2016. The art pieces will included paintings, digital art, and SoulCollage®. Please come visit the variety of works this collection has to offer. Also on Penn Avenue, the exhibit Far and Wide: Landscapes from the Chesapeake to the Coast of Maine, features Russell Slocum at Café BOLD in July. In 2014, Russ turned a lifelong hobby into becoming a fulltime landscape painter. He also enjoys local vistas, painting plein air in oils, sometimes directly with the palette knife, but he also uses pastels and acrylics.


Member jeweler Marilyn Pounder will be featured at Art Plus Gallery, her original polymer clay creations and seed bead jewelry, sharing space with the watercolors of guest artist Cheryl Elmo. ‘Meet the artists’ receptions will be held Friday, August 12 at both Art Plus Gallery and Café BOLD.

The Café BOLD exhibit features paintings by Art Plus member Keith Rentschler. Keith has found recent retirement the opening to start painting big. His large acrylics graced the DoubleTree lobby in May; smaller works will be shown at BOLD in August. He enjoys letting his imagination run wild with color, but is also masterful in capturing unusual light effects in a landscape. Farther down at 1291 Penn Avenue, Wyomissing, Saylor House will be displaying a variety of works by Art Plus artists through the summer. Art Plus Gallery 604 Penn Avenue West Reading, PA 19611 www.artplusgallerypa.com 610-375-9122

Saturday, June 18th 11am. – 6pm. 500 – 700 Blocks of Penn Avenue, West Reading The community shares a collective desire to support the local arts on such a great level- which is why for over twenty years, Art on the Avenue has been a summer celebration in West Reading! Traditionally held the third Saturday in June, Art on the Avenue invites a variety of artists to the hub of arts and culture in Greater Reading – where main street Penn Avenue becomes a walking showcase of live music, fantastic food, entertaining performances and a celebration of art in every way. This summer, a season of inspired local art begins on Penn Avenue June 17 and 18 with a new plein air painting competition in conjunction with Art on the Avenue. This event welcomes artists to spend a day or two painting in situ anywhere in West Reading.

Come join us in West Reading for the 22nd Annual Art on the Avenue!

Music Schedule

Berks Country Music Fest Partner Main Stage - Sponsored by Midnight Swan Entertainment 1:00pm – The Hackensaw Boys 2:00pm - Caroline Reese Solo 2:30pm - The Jauntee 4:00pm - Caroline Reese Solo 4:30pm - The Fallen Troubadours Community Stage - Hosted by Matt Cullen 11 am - Acoustic Carrot 12 pm - Jake Joyce 1 pm - The Push 2 pm - Stone Soup 3 pm - Kim and Paul from Vuja De



e r A s l a i n n e The Mill ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

What Does this Mean for Economic Development? Aaron Gantz | Greater Reading Economic Partnership


as anyone else heard the word “Millennials” recently? This word lumps a large group of people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s into a group people are paying A LOT of attention to as of late. Why should we care about this group of late teens to early 30 somethings?

According to the PEW Research Center, Millennials will be the nation’s largest living generation. This group has already surpassed Generation X. While painting groups of people with broad brush strokes is not a personal favorite, there are some serious implications for the way we approach workforce and community & economic development. What Do Millennials Want? Now that Millennials make up a growing portion of the current and future workforce, companies have to work in what Carine Clark, CEO of MaritzCX, calls the “war for talent.” This segment of the workforce is looking for more than a job title and a paycheck.

What are they looking for? • Prioritizing lifestyle • Want work/home/social lives fully integrated • Care about sustainability and environment • Desire for optional modes of transportation – public, biking or walking (AKA car optional) Why Should Economic Developers Care? Traditionally economic developers are competing for companies based on location, costs, incentives and utility capacity. It is now safe to say we are also competing for talent. Companies are still going to keep a close eye on their bottom line, but they also need to have the ability to attract and retain talent. The importance of location will not only revolve around access to markets and costs, but also their ability to pull in talent. Does the talent want to live in the selected community? This lifestyle “thing” will continue to bubble to the top. From a community and economic development perspective this information helps to prioritize local development activities. If putting off redevelopment or creating amenities that enhance quality of life have been put on the backburner – time to start moving things forward. The focus on lifestyle, access to amenities and multiple modes of transportation emphasizes the importance of placemaking. Placemaking is a multifaceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. What qualities make a great place? • Safety • Attractiveness • Recreational and social amenities • Access to various modes of transportation The concept of Main Streets is critical in placemaking. Good news! West Reading and the Penn Ave. corridor have been working to create a sense of place for more than a decade. The commitment to Main Street and Elm Street programs is evidence of the community and business owners working to create what we know and love about the West Reading area.


Avenues Summer 2016

Coming !

The sense of safety, walkability, unique shops, restaurants and annual events is what continues to make the Penn Avenue corridor successful. There has been a ton of business activity on Penn Ave. in West Reading – with no signs of it slowing down.

Welcome to the Neighborhood: • Sharp Dressed Man (new location!) – 408 Penn Ave. • Sweet Ride – 542 Penn Ave. • Creative Vibes – 548 Penn Ave. • Rice Modern Thai – 615 Penn Ave. • Let’s Taco Bout It – 616 Penn Ave. Coming Soon: • Benchwarmers – 400 Penn Ave. – June 2016 • Penn Avenue Salon and Spa – 430 Penn Ave. • East Ridge Outfitters – 635 Penn Ave. – End of May 2016 • El Morro Café – 36 N. 6th Ave. – May 19th 2016 So, What Does This Mean for the Future? As an economic developer I am so excited about this conversation. This shifting in approach is forcing the field to evolve. We have the opportunity to move outside traditional job creation and “making

deals” to working with our partners focused on cultivating redevelopment opportunities, Main Streets and partnering on talent attraction and retention strategies. We are all in this together! I would love to talk to you further about MILLENNIALS and economic development – feel free to drop me a line at Aaron@ GreaterReading.com or send me a tweet @acbader19. Full disclosure: I am a Millennial, born in 1986 and want these “lifestyle” amenities too! I am so fortunate to call the West Reading/Wyomissing area my home in Berks County, PA! I can walk or bike to work, I can walk out of my home to an awesome park system, grab a drink at a craft beer house (Hey, Barley Mow!), and pick any number of great places for awesome grub.


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s d n e r T n o i h s a Summer F FASHION TRENDS

W at VF Outlet Keri A. Branch Marketing Manager, VF Outlet

e are in the full swing of spring, as I write this, and I can’t help but look forward to the warmer summer months ahead. For me, that means bringing out my favorite summer sandals & sundresses, warm days spent beachside, and lots of time spent outside with friends and family. Mother Nature really knows how to get us in the mood; lining the streets with her best and brightest buds, that seem to have mystifyingly burst into blooms overnight. There are soft beautiful cherry blossoms, richly colored tulips, and the smell of lilac just starting to bloom. And each day as I walk the few blocks to my favorite coffee spot, I know I begin to find myself wearing brighter colors and walking with a little more purpose and pep in my step. I hope by sharing some of the following summer trends that you will be inspired to try something new, and walk, wherever it is you are going, a little more confidently.

The spring season was filled with bold colors and feminine styles from designers, and this has helped to shape the trends for the upcoming summer season. One trend we are seeing has been dubbed “The Cold Shoulder,” and one thing’s for certain, this look will definitely keep you cool as things heat up this summer. It is hard to find a designer that hasn’t incorporated a shoulder baring crisscross halter, cool cut out, or an off the shoulder look into their seasonal lines. This cut out trend has an especially fresh new approach for summer - some designers have even combined a cut out shoulder and sleeve creating an almost halter effect. You can see a similar style in coral from VF Outlet, in the photo at the bottom inset. The cut out trend can also be seen in some new and surprising places like around the midsection, fun slits on the lower back, or along the sides of some of your favorite silhouettes. These little surprises are meant to flatter, showing just a touch of skin without being too revealing. By doing this, designers are adding just the right amount of sexy to freshen up tried and true styles, such as the peasant shirt or peplum shaped top, taking them from beenthere-seen-that last season to Va Va Voom! Denim is a staple for a lot of us, however, it may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when thinking of summer. That hasn’t stopped designers from showing denim this season in the form of dresses, shirts, and playfully patterned shorts and capris. This fabric favorite was not only seen in new lighter washes and weights for the warmer summer months, but we also saw surprising new uses for it which included structured sheath dresses, sophisticated seersucker and floral printed trousers, and distressed capris and shorts. Two of our favorite trends, graphic prints & frayed hems, can be found in the Juniors, Misses, and Women’s departments of VF Outlet. There are floral prints, stripes, polka dots, anchors, and many 24

Avenues Summer 2016

more - almost too many for you to choose from. We are also seeing frayed denim shorts. Why do we love this trend? It puts us in that laid back mindset, reminiscent of carefree summer days spent on the porch sipping lemonade or playing in the yard with family. What we know for sure is that this summer there will be a denim for everyone and any occasion, and you’ll find that reflected in the selection at VF Outlet (see top photo). One other trend is a fresh new take on tye-dye that is simple, yet sophisticated, and all grown up. Imagine it, on the runway, as a seductive slit-to-there shirt, in large scale on a mesmerizing sheath dress, or layered in long sleeves over a maxi. The look is

so sophisticated it’s only on second glance you find you have to stop and ask yourself – “Wait, was she wearing tye-dye?” We are seeing this in very wearable styles that are not only comfortable and familiar, but also fresh and fabulous in chic colors of the season as seen in the photo opposite left, found at VF Outlet. I hope, like me, you are entranced by these new trends and I encourage you to try something new this season. You’ll never know how many compliments are waiting for you until you get it off the hanger and onto you. Wishing happy shopping to the fashionista in all of us!






glass of wine is often remedy for a stressful day. It can also be symbolic of a fun night shared amongst friends. Well, at Winedown Café, you can simultaneously enjoy a tasteful night out on the town with the calming feel of a cozy night in.

On a damp, unseasonably cold April night, stepping through the café door provided an immediate sense of warmth and tranquility. The refined bar area is first to catch your eye with wrap around seating, distinct pendant lighting and tall wooden casings exposing assorted alcohols and unique wine glasses. Tucked further back behind the front high-tops and open, coalesced bar area are tables and booth seating, whose orientation suggests a nice setting for an intimate night out. We were seated at the last table, where four of us sat comfortably without too much noise from the back kitchen. Our waitress lit the two small table candles giving us visuals of the menu’s fine print, while guiding us through the upscale snacks, café fare and wine categories, featuring titles like “Whites with Zing,” “Dessert Wines” and “Sweet!” For anyone like myself who is far from a wine connoisseur, this was a very helpful feature. I eventually decided on the Moscato Piquitos Valentino, whose description included aromas of honey, peach and fresh melon, seemingly perfect for a post-dinner treat. The two other ladies accompanying me chose a Zifandel and Melbec Bodega Cuarto Domino, both of the “Fun Loving Red” family. Our fourth guest went the beer route, choosing the English Brown Ale: Nut Brown. The waitress brought out three wine glasses and a tall, spout-like glass for the Ale, which was a nice alternative to a traditional pint. Looking to satisfy our sweet tooth, we chose to share the Beemster Classic cheese plate with caramel and butterscotch flavors, as well as the Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake, which immediately received approval from the waitress. 26

Avenues Summer 2016

The cake was flawless. The generous, moist helping was covered in a melted toffee coating with chocolate sauce artistically drizzled from one edge of the plate to the other. It was sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with a strawberry for the type of presentation that was almost too good to eat. The taste certainly didn’t disappoint either as the rich flavors in each bite made us increasingly less willing to share. With a number of other items on the menu that caught our eye from salads, sandwiches and flatbreads, we are keen on returning to Winedown for more than a post-dinner treat. Its unique atmosphere is a refreshing change to your typical restaurant bar which is always a nice option to have in the area. At the very least, you have to stop in for that cake! Winedown Café 622 Penn Ave. West Reading, PA 19611

GNA RISTORANTE By Nicolette Miller


nown for their traditional Italian pizza, GNA provides quite a distinctive dining atmosphere than your typical mom and pop pizza shop. The crowded parking lot and whizzing Penn Ave traffic are easily forgotten once you step inside this classic Italian retreat. Full-height wine racks and large murals of vineyards and old country villages share the walls with sprawling grape vines terrace replicas.

The bar area better fit our mood for the evening as we were seated at a high-top table enjoying clear visuals of multiple TVs. With just a few steps, we were transported from the classic streets of Italy to a mid-sized, casual sports bar decorated with old trophies, jerseys and beer paraphernalia. Two totally different atmospheres, plus a convenient carryout area accommodate the dining preferences of every Italian food lover. Whether you’re overwhelmed by the number of menu options or not, you can appreciate the well-written details of each dish and GF/Heart Healthy/Vegan identifications to help narrow down your selection. However, once the server introduced the extensive, enticing pizza specials, she sold me on their White Broccoli Pizza, which I complemented with a small Hot Veggie and Cheese Sandwich. The rest of my tablemates settled on a Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak, the Vegetable Calzone, Cheese Ravioli Dinner and Tuna Melt with an added side of Asparagus, drizzled in balsamic. There were no complaints about our service. Everything from our waitress’s tone and demeanor was friendly and her attentiveness never let our waters go unfilled or questions unanswered. She willingly granted our pesky requests for specific games on TV and didn’t forget to remove unwanted olives or tomatoes from our orders. Overall, the family-owned restaurant lived up to its reputation of delicious traditional Italian for a formal dining experience to those just looking for a large cheesy slice and basket of wings. My family opted out for dessert, feeling too full from our generous proportions, but the carryout area displayed a variety of cannolis, peanut butter pie and chocolate cakes that may deserve a separate trip of their own. GNA Ristorante 421 Penn Avenue West Reading, PA 19611 610-376-1155







troll the West Reading Farmer’s Market and discover its ever-evolving qualities. In the span of a single decade, what started with a few vendors grew wonderfully to dozens of sidewalk stands selling locally produced goods. Now celebrating its 10th annual year, the West Reading Farmer’s Market has quickly become a source for southeastern PA’s finely cultivated finds. In the peak of the season, it’s worth the trip to Greater Reading to stroll the outdoor walking community and discover farmers and vendors alike who are willing to educate the community on their products’ origins and best practices. As a destination, the West Reading Farmer’s Market offers a wonderful mix of outdoor leisure, entertainment, shopping, dining and education. It’s the perfect Sunday ritual to fuel the week ahead.

Art The

of Movement Meet us, June 18, at Art on the Avenue to see Pilates in motion.

every body body

PILATES PILATES a mindful approach to movement a mindful approach to movement

629 Court Street, Rear Entrance, West Reading, PA 19611 888-509-1063 everybody-pilates.com info@everybody-pilates.com 28

Avenues Summer 2016

Not every town has it this wonderful. Each Sunday morning, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., from May through November, the 500 block of Penn Avenue becomes an early morning block party of fresh food, friendly farmers, producer-only vendors, families, artisans and live musicians. In the bright funky quarters of this neighborhood, the market crowd moves through an openair atmosphere to marvel at the variety of organic vegetables, fresh produce, rustic flower bunches, and super selection of produced goods to fuel and inspire the week ahead. In an age of convenience over everything – we sometimes lose interest in the necessary grocery trips that provide fuel for the week. Here, the fresh, direct essentials that vendors provide at the market stir the soul of this community with enthusiasm, entertainment and inspiration. In the last decade, the West Reading Farmer’s Market (WRFM) has become a mini mecca of fresh, direct treasures. The marketplace is a strolling outdoor atmosphere where you can comfortably stroll the Avenue and load up on fresh products at the height of the season. The scene is a wonderful mix of families, children, adults, and pets that stop by the stage area and vendor stands to greet new faces or meet up with friends they may not have seen in a while. Plus, the entertainment package at the WRFM includes a variety of musical styles performed by local and regional musicians. Marketgoers can catch live music by original singer/ songwriters, covers, standards and classics in all sorts of genres like jazz, roots, Americana, pop, classic rock, blues, standards, covers, jam, bluegrass and folk. It’s the type of atmosphere that encourages and invites guest musicians to sit in with the featured musicians while children passing by the stage often will dance and play percussion with the musicians, too. “Each month we feature a local musician, duo, or regional band. Most weekends we have a solo or duo act performing,” says Matt Cullen, who grew up in West Reading and recently moved back to the area. Cullen volunteers for the West Reading Revitalization Foundation and Love West Reading to provide the music and stage production for the farmer’s market as well as the community stage for West Reading’s Fall Fest and Art on the Avenue. Having a musical and entertainment platform at the market allows visitors a warm welcome and pronounced gratitude for supporting the local community. This marketplace also serves as

an opportunity for musicians to sell their music and meet many people throughout the morning. The stage area is also where you hear upcoming event and activity announcements that let locals and visitors know about the community’s special happenings. The role that the WRFM plays in supporting the local economy and helping to reduce the distance of travel for farmers to provide their produced goods recently helped the WRFM earn approval for its membership to PA Preferred. The PA Preferred brand signifies that its market’s products are made and grown in Pennsylvania. Stop by the WRFM on a Sunday morning and visit the dozens of stores around the Avenues that are also open from Sunday hours, from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. or later. You’ll find the WRFM offerings allow shoppers to pick up a widespread load of goods, among brunch spots, breweries, fitness studios and adorable boutiques by the dozen. Look out for educational opportunities and stay tuned for 10-year anniversary celebrations, too!

2016 WRFM Mus

Jake Joyce - Originals ical Perfor mers and Covers Dave Hinkle - Origina and the Grateful Dea ls and Covers - classic rock, folk d K ris Keh r - O rig in als an d Cove rs - Ro ot s, Americana, Blues Ro ck , Pang ea Acoustic - Ac oustic Duo - Gratefu Classic Rock l Dead, Kim and Paul from Vu ja De - Acoustic Duo Classic Covers John Beacher- Singer/ Originals and Covers Songwriter - Featured on WXPN Local musicians and ba the WRFM should em nds interested in performing at comcast.net. Check ouail Matt Cullen at mcullen966@ entertainment dates an t the WRFM on Facebook for d weekly posts through season! the market lovewestreading.org


Sunday, October 16



5K Run • 1–Mile Fun Run/Fitness Walk

EXPERIENCE DOWNTOWN READING’S PREMIER HALF MARATHON, 5K AND 1-MILE FITNESS COURSE! The Friends of Reading Hospital are excited to offer a one-of-a-kind running experience with the 2016 Reading Hospital Road Run on Sunday, October 16! Participants will enjoy a beautiful scenic course in the city of Reading and Lower Alsace. Additionally, half marathon runners will traverse Mount Penn and sprint past the historic Pagoda as they race for cash prizes and glory! To register, view course maps, or to find hotel and parking information, visit www.RHroadrun.com.

All proceeds benefit programs funded by The Friends of Reading Hospital including HeartSAFE Berks County.

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