March 6, 2012

Peanut Bar

It isn’t too often that I end up in Reading, PA, so when I found out that’s where work was taking me, I took this opportunity to see who had some great wings for me to try out. In my quest, I found a place called Jimmie Kramer’s Peanut Bar which has appeared on the Travel Channel and also has received multiple awards for having the Best Wings in Berks County. Sounds like my cup of tea, so I got my nut cracker and headed on in to this historic establishment.

The first thing that I noticed as I walked in the door were the peanut shells all over the ground. It seems that this place is known for patrons tossing the complimentary peanut shells on the bar floor. Not only is the shell litter expected, it’s actually encouraged, so I ordered a beer and began making a mess to honor this tradition.

The feel of the bar was reminiscent of an old school soda shop with the bartender welcoming me in wearing a nice suit and saying things like “excellent choice, sir, coming right up.” I was extremely excited because this was the first time that I had been in a bar that honored these old traditions, and it made me feel like I was a part of its history. And part of its history were these all too famous wings that have been plastered all over the place as the six times Best of Berks Winner, so I felt ready to be a part of that too.

Aside from the Garlic Herb variation, the restaurant only serves one style of Buffalo. So that is what I ordered, and my taste buds were excited with the expectation of the six time awesomeness. However that excitement was extinguished rather quickly when the plate arrived. The wings at first glance looked like they were dry and had no sauce on them. Typically, I expect to see orange or red coloring indicating a Buffalo Sauce has been doused on top, but not in this case. When I got closer, I realized that they were covered in sauce, and yet still remained pale in color. The sauce was very oily, almost translucent, and when I moved the wings around in the blend, it summoned up a foamy head. This put me on edge because I tried a lot of strange concoctions, but I firmly believe that no buffalo sauce should ever FOAM. However, I was hungry and I have found hidden gems in worse places, so I dug right in to see what these wings had to offer.

Short answer, not much. They were nice and crispy and the meat was tender, but the size of these things were pretty puny. The sauce, though scary at first, had a little twang to it that put a smidge of flavor into the dish. It reminded me of the Thousand Island-like Burger King packet I tried with the Fast Food tasting. Needless to say, I began to question how these wings could possibly be mistaken for the best of anything. They were not the worst wings that I have ever had, but if I return it would be for the intellectual conversation with the bartender and nostalgic atmosphere… definitely not the wings.

To sum it up, the Peanut Bar was a fun stop with an excellent feel and even more excellent service. But if they earned the title “Best in Berks” for over six years, then it is safe to say that I probably don’t need to try any other place for great wings in this county.  With a claim like that, the wings better have backed it up, but unfortunately they didn’t.

Peanut Bar
332 Penn Street, Reading, PA 19601
(610) 376-8500