When the Works at Wyomissing opened in 2003 it was a playground for adults, an abandoned textile factory turned into two-story bar, restaurant, and game room. The upstairs bar doubled as a nightclub on weekends where local bands and DJ’s kept the crowd on the dance floor until closing time. The game room below was open until 11:00. Here, adults turned into big kids again, trying to amass enough tickets to buy a lava lamp or pizza oven. A smaller bar downstairs featured acoustic performances, and the main restaurant was a home for casual fine dining.
In the last few years, however, everything has changed. Gone is the upstairs restaurant, replaced by Ballocity, a Chuck-E-Cheese-like ball pit and maze. The game room is populated by whiney little kids. The restaurant is more casual than fine dining since Building 24 opened next door. And, everything, including the downstairs bar, closes at 9:00 pm.
The only thing that hasn’t changed is the quality food. The Works still delivers the same quality food that they always have. One of the highlights on the menu is this “healthy” offering, the towering taco salad. A giant bowl made of crispy taco shell is filled with fresh lettuce, red peppers, and grilled chicken, and topped with a Mexican cheese blend. And, it is definitely towering, measuring almost a foot around, and standing almost as tall.
The Works also features their signature molten iron chili, which uses pulled pork instead of ground beef. The chili is excellent on its own—just enough heat to go with the sweetness of the tomato base and not too many beans—but the Works uses it in a multitude of dishes, including to top off an order of Slag Pile Nachos (an appetizer for four that features nachos topped with lettuce, melted cheese, jalapenos, and just about everything else in the kitchen) and the Scrap Pile Burger, a ¼ pound hamburger patty grilled your way and covered in chili, cheese, and sour cream.
The Works has a long menu that does include a couple misses. The menu features build-your-own pizza. If you’re looking to take the family out for pizza, you can do better by going to one of dozens of pizza shops in the county. If you want an individual pizza, you’re better off ordering a pepperoni roll appetizer which is packed with more flavor for the same price.
No trip to the Works is complete without dessert. Some of the best dessert in Berks County is found here. The Peanut Butter pie is the perfect blend of chocolate of peanut butter, the ice cream sandwich features chocolate and vanilla ice cream smothered between two gigantic fresh-baked cookies (and is occasionally topped with a Hershey kiss, sprinkles and/or M&M’s, depending on who’s manning the kitchen that night).
But the real treat is the Black and Tan Tower, a massive concoction that can feed at least three people. The base is a still-warm brownie oozing with melting chocolate chips. A hefty scoop of vanilla ice cream sits on top. Then comes my personal favorite, the blondie—a chocolate chip cookie in bar form. Next is a scoop of chocolate ice cream, capped off with another triangle-shaped brownie. It is then covered by dollops of whipped cream and a pool of chocolate syrup large enough to drown a small child (and depending on who is in the kitchen, a smattering of M&M’s). The monstrosity is held together with a wooden skewer.
Entrees run between $10-$20. Burgers and fries are between $8-$10. Desserts are $5.00 and up, but the dessert menu doesn't list prices so be sure to ask your server before ordering.