Okay, one more post related to October’s NYC trip. On our way back from the city, my wife and I swung through eastern Pennsylvania to visit her Grammie. She lives in a very rural area, close to Reading, and nearly every time we visit, we go to Kauffman’s BBQ Restaurant. Kauffman’s (sometimes just referred to as “the chicken place”) is near and dear to our hearts because it serves straight-up comfort food, but even more so because it makes us think of Pop-Pop. He passed away a couple years ago, and this was one of his favorite spots. I still remember the first time we ever went, about six years ago. He was very dedicated to showing us the process of ordering, what to order, and how to maximize your bowl at the salad bar (hint: don’t put too much lettuce in it).
So needless to say that, while Kauffman’s isn’t fancy by any means, it’s still a very special experience when we visit. The building itself sits on a winding country road, a few towns away from where Grammie lives. That part of eastern Pennsylvania, Berks County, is a series of small, old towns with German names. Driving through that country, you come over a hill outside Bethel and suddenly there’s Kauffman’s, with its long, low building aside a wide parking lot, miniature golf course (I’m not kidding), and a big fiberglass chicken out front.
I mentioned that we also know Kauffman’s as “the chicken place,” right? Well, before you even get to the menu, you’re treated to a view of racks upon racks of roasting chickens. They turn slowly under the heat, dripping their juices down onto each other and the rows of skewered potatoes lined up underneath.
On our last visit, Grammie told us that Pop loved seeing these because he once used this same equipment years ago when he ran a poultry shop in Philadelphia.
Kauffman’s is run cafeteria style. A wall-sized menu hangs on one side of the large entry room.
Then you step through a small door into a long, thin hallway. You grab a tray and order pretty much directly from the kitchen. Although Kauffman’s serves steaks and fish and sandwiches, the real feature is the chicken. You can order a 1/4 or 1/2 chicken. The platters come with a potato, rolls & butter, plus a run at the salad bar.
Once you order, you’re given the proper cup for your drink (depending whether you ordered soda or just water), you get your roll and butter plus your bowl for the salad bar, and then you take a number for your meal and find a seat in the expansive dining rooms.
Soon enough, they call your number and your chicken is ready.
Look at this beautiful plate of comfort food! Roasted chicken! Fresh rolls! Macaroni salad! Potato filling (aka mashed potatoes and gravy)!
On this visit, I decided to mix things up and order the chicken croquettes, which are shredded, breaded, fried, and covered in gravy. Again, nothing’s fancy, but the food and – more importantly – the company is the ultimate in comfort.
If you’re in the area and you want to visit:
Kauffman’s BBQ Restaurant (Facebook)
33 Gravel Pit Rd. (map it!)
Bethel, PA 19507
Open Wed-Fri, 4-9p; Sat & Sun, 11a-9p