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Monday, February 8, 2010

The whole enchilada: Tortugas serves best authentic Mexican around

COLLEGEVILLE — Around here, there are plenty of local hot spots to frequent for good, authentic Italian, Asian and Pennsylvania Dutch food. But where do you go to satisfy your hunger for authentic Mexican? Tortugas Mexican Eatery, of course, located at the MarketPlace at Collegeville Shopping Center, 305 Second Avenue.

“We are the best Mexican food around,” says owner Cathy Hvazda who takes great pride in the quality of their ingredients and homemade sauces. “Everything is fresh made to order, and nothing comes out of a can. All sauces are made from scratch and our chips, salsa and guacamole are made daily.”

The area’s eaters seem to agree with such sentiment, having voted it “Best Mexican” the past three years in The Times Herald.

And like any good Mexican eatery, the kitchen cooks up much more fare than just nachos, burritos and quesadillas. The hefty menu also includes a number of tasty delights made with fresh seafood, huevos (eggs), pollo (chicken), mexican sausage and carnes (beef).

Hvazda says their most popular dish is the Creamy Chipotle Chicken, a grilled chicken marinated in their trademark chipotle sauce (a smokey jalapeno cream sauce), served over rice with a side of beans and flour tortillas.

Other specialties include their Chipotle Shrimp, Carne Asada and Pescado Acapulco which is fresh catfish marinated in lime and cilantro, served with lettuce, tomato, rice and sauteed veggies.

To get some extra Mex for your buck, the Platos Combinados menu lets you make your own meal by choosing any two or three main items and filling them with your choice of fillings, all for a low price.

The menu also features a number of entremesas (appetizers), sopas (soups), ensaladas (salads), sandwiches, burritos and quesadillas.

Hvazda opened the restraurant nine years ago because she thought the area was in need of a good Mexican place. At the time, her sister was already running a successful Tortugas in Princeton, N.J., which has now been open for 18 years.

The dining room can comfortably accommodate large parties and is BYOB. They also provide take out service.

Phone 610-489-0600 or go online to for their full menu.

Tortugas is open for dine in and take out seven days a week, located at the MarketPlace at Collegeville, 305 Second Avenue, Collegeville. Hours are Mon. thru Thurs., 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. (lunch) and 5 - 9 p.m. (dinner); Friday, 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. (lunch) and 5 -10 p.m. (dinner); noon - 10 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.

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Bravo Pizza thrives on serving quality ingredients, variety

POTTSTOWN - Bravo Pizza, located at Pottstown’s Suburbia Shopping Center, 40 Glocker Way, offers a little something for everyone with their excellent selection of specialty pizza.

But it’s not the variety so much as the quality that makes the Italian restaurant stand out from the rest. Customers often rave about the fresh ingredients Bravo tops their gourmet pizzas and sandwiches with, especially the cheeses.

One of the finest examples is the chicken buffalo pizza, topped with finger-smacking hot sauce and bleu cheese. It’s baked on thin crust in a brick oven, and is delightfully non-greasy for a slice of pizza so tasty.

Because Bravo features a great selection of their specialty pizzas and other items at the counter display, it’s easy, and enjoyable, to chow down on a variety of pizza at once. Why not have a slice of of Chicken BBQ Pizza with your Bianca Pizza (topped with American cheese, mozzarella, ricotta, provolone & romano)?

The variety of quality toppings and brick oven crusts are certainly Bravo’s strength, but they also offer basic Neopolitan, Sicilian and stuffed pizzas.

Bravo’s stromboli and calzone menu is just as equally matched, offering a variety of options all customizable with Bravo’s long list of toppings. All personal sized ‘bolis and calzones are $5.49 and all larges are $15.99.

All hot subs and steak sandwiches are served on fresh, foot-long hoagie rolls. Options include mushroom, green pepper, pork steak and buffalo chicken cheese steaks as well as the cheese steak special which includes mushrooms, sweet peppers, fried onions, pepperoni and american cheese. They also serve chicken, meatball, sausage and eggplant parmesan sandwiches.

Cold sub options include Italian, ham & cheese, salami & provolone, cheese, tuna & cheese and turkey & cheese.

Pasta dishes include spaghetti, baked ziti, lasagne, ravioli, manicotti, chicken parmesan, chicken alfredo, eggplant parmesan, spaghetti with clams, penne alfredo, penne vodka sauce, chicken marsala, sausage scaloppini and more.

Sides include hot or BBQ wings, cheese fries (mozzarella or cheddar), brushetta, chicken fingers, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, rice balls stuffed with meat sauce and mozzarella cheese and more.

Salad options include Italian garden, Italian pasta, Cajun chicken pasta, Greek, antipasto, tuna, buffalo chicken and more, with a choice of dressing.

Bravo is also proud to help out in the community. They currently run a program with Owen J. Roberts where 10% of their profit every Wednesday and Sunday go to the school’s swim club.

They also offer an extensive catering menu for personal and business gatherings, specializing in birthdays, luncheons and other special occasions.

Bravo Pizza is located at Suburbia Shopping Center, 40 Glocker Way, Pottstown and is open seven days a week for eat in, take out and delivery. Hours are 10 a.m. - 9:30 p.m., Monday thru Thursday; 10 a.m. - 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sunday. Call 610-323-8003.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fine Fixin’s Deli takes bite out of recession, offers $4 hoagie

POTTSTOWN — While the economic recession has forced some eateries to hike up their prices, Fine Fixin’s Deli choose to do something a little different to face down the recession. Instead, they cut the price of their trademark hoagie down to $4.

“We offered the $4 Hoagie to help our customers during these tough times,” said owner John Lettiere who manages the shop with wife Ellen.

The Lettieres opened the deli — located at 16 S. Keim — four years ago because Ellen likes to cook, and it was a dream they had always wanted to pursue together.

And just because the hoagie is now a bargain, doesn’t mean Fine Fixin’s got cheap on their fixin’s. In fact, they are just as locally renowned for the quality and freshness of their ingredients as they are their bargain hoagie. They use Corropolese Bakery rolls - fresh as can be from Limerick, Boar’s Head Meats, and their soups and salads are homemade.

The menu is packed mostly with standard deli-sandwich fair, but certainly isn’t limited to it. Platters, finger-smacking wings, gourmet pizzas, breakfast sandwiches and a number of sides such as their homemade boardwalk-style French fries and onion rings help round out the menu. They also sell a limited selection of grocery items for added customer convenience.

Hoagies are made to order with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a choice of American, Provolone, or Swiss cheese. Regular additions like salt, pepper, oil, vinegar and oregano are available upon request. Choices for the $4 hoagies include ham, italian, tuna salad, three cheese, or vegetarian. Turkey ($5.50), Chicken Salad ($6) and Roast Beef ($6) hoagies are also available.

Cheese steaks, clubs, burgers and wraps round out the rest of the menu, as well as a number of cold and grilled sandwiches, such as grilled cheese & bacon, the tuna melt, and the Haddock sandwiche. Other speciality sandwiches include a meatball parmagiana, as well as ruebens and grinders.

Inside seating is available, and they also deliver to all businesses and homes in the Pottstown area. Party trays, catering service, as well as hoagie & pizza fundraisers are available upon request.

And why stop there? The Lettieres are also fixin’ to soon open a second eatery on High and Franklin streets, called Scoopsters, which will feature 18 flavors of ice cream, eight flavors of true Philly-style water ice, gourmet hot dogs, and of course, the $4 hoagie. Take that, recession.

Fine Fixin’s is located at 16 S. Keim Street, Pottstown and is open seven days a week for dine in, take out, and delivery. Hours are: Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Call 610-323-0180.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

LOU'S TOO: Home is where the zep is

TRAPPE — From Philly’s cheese steak to Norristown’s zep, there is no shortage of pride and tradition around here for a good, hearty sandwich.

Lou’s Too in Trappe, located at 732 W. Main St., is no stranger to this storied tradition, and if you grew up scarfing down zeps in Norristown, you know why. For the past seven decades, the original Lou’s of Norristown is largely responsible for popularizing the zep, a simple but locally adored variation on the common hoagie with no lettuce and just one meat.

Enough salami to cover a foot of wide, golden-crusted roll, enough provolone to cover the salami, thumb-thick chunks of raw onion and slabs of tomato across the whole thing. Add oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste. Hot pepper relish if desired. And that’s it.

“You take any Norristown kid from the ’50s and you give him now, 50 years later, a zep,” said Jerry Spinelli , 68, a children’s book author and Norristown native in a recent Associated Press article, “and he will be transported back to his hometown.”

Owned by the same family — the Alba’s — Lou’s Too pride themselves in transporting people back to their childhood and home town as well. With a similar menu featuring dozens of zeps & other satisfying sandwiches, and the same strong family-oriented atmosphere, Lou’s Too is every bit as good as the original.

“Our goal is to treat everyone as family,” said Michael Alba who operates the store with wife Margaret and their sons Louis and Charlie. “And to build a relationship that transcends generations.”

The zep menu is undoubtedly Lou’s bread and butter (er, salami and provolone to be exact), but that shouldn’t stop folks from digging deeper into the menu. Lou’s Too serves up dozens of other satisfying sandwiches like cheese steaks, burgers, clubs, grilled cheese, chicken or egg salad and much more. They also make their own meatloaf, chili, meatballs, chicken, egg and tuna salads.

They also feature salads, pasta specials and have a vegetarian sandwich menu.

Breakfast is served Monday thru Friday from 9 - 11 a.m., Saturday from 8 - 11 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. The menu includes french toast, pancakes, eggs & omelettes, and a number of their signature sandwiches.

As for the zeps, they come in four sizes (round roll, medium, large, or half-large) and include the Chix Salda, Ham, Steak, Burger, Turkey Burger, Tuna, Beef, Turkey, Mix Cheese, Provolone Cheese, Genoa Zep, or the infamous Gut Buster.

And for those who still like lettuce on their hoagies, try Lou’s Special which comes packed with provolone, genoa salami, cappacola, tomatoes, onions, oil, oregano and lettuce.

Lou’s Too is open for dine-in and take-out seven days a week, and is located at 732 W. Main St. in Trappe. Hours are 9 a.m. - 8p.m., Mon. - Fri.; 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., Saturday; and 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday. The entire menu is available for take-out. Call 610-831-1248.

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GOOD SPORTS: The Bear's Den in Boyertown

BOYERTOWN — There isn’t a place that offers a better taste of Boyertown than The Bears’ Den.

Located at 133 S. Chestnut Street, the unique community landmark is a cozy, sports memorbilia-themed restaurant — its walls lined with old photographs, jerseys and newspaper clippings from Boyertown’s long, storied sports history.

“The name speaks for itself,” says Kelly Frain, who owns the restaurant with husband Dennis. “There are bears everywhere!”

The Den will be celebrating it’s third anniversary this January.

“We loved the idea of a sports-themed restaurant all about the history of Boyertown,” said Kelly.

But it’s not just the eatery’s walls that celebrate Boyertown. The Den boasts outstanding customer service and is open to host any fundraiser or event that benefits the community, including a number of fundraisers they do with Boyertown School District.

And just like the decor, the menu is a grand slam too, offering a tasty assortment of mouth-watering sandwiches, hoagies and paninis. as well as salads, sides, pizza and items from the fryer.

All deli sandwiches are $5.95 grilled or cold and include the Roast Beef Special, Corned Beef Special, Turkey, Ham, and the popular Reubnen which is corned beef, swiss, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on your choice of bread.

Panini sandwiches are all grilled and served on tasty ciabatta bread, including the Grilled Chicken, Tuscany, Milan, Veggie and Caribbean.

Hoagies can be ordered medium or large and include the Italian, American, Turkey, Grilled Ham & Cheese, Cheese, Tuna or Roast Beef. And customers can add the Den’s own homemade hot peppers or sweet peppers for an extra 50 cents.

The Den’s trademark cheese steaks (made with sauce and onions) are also quite popular among guests. Other steak sandwiches on the menu include buffalo steaks, chicken cheese steaks, pepperoni cheese steaks and mushroom cheese steaks.

Special hoagies include the Twinburger Hoagie, Cheese Steak Hoagie, Pepperoni or Mushroom Cheese Steak Hoagie or the Meatball Parmesan.

Half-pound and quarter-pound burgers are also available, as well as hot dogs, grilled cheese, peanut butter & jelly, pizza, stromboli and even nachos with cheese.

The fryer menu includes Chicken Fingers, French Fries, Cheese Fries, Gravy Fries, Mozzarella Cheese Stix, Breaded Mushrooms, Breaded Veggies, Pierogies and wings.

The Bears’ Den is located at 133 S. Chestnut Street, Boyertown and is open six days a week. Hours are Sun. 11:30 a.m. - 8 p.m., Mon., Wed. & Thurs. 10:30 a.m. - 8 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. and closed Tues. Call 610-367-2422 for more information.

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Monte Carlo Pizza & Family Restaurant celebrates one year in Gilbertsville

GILBERTSVILLE — The Bonsignore family has spent more than 30 years in the business serving up savory Italian-styled food and delicious, mouth-watering pizza. Early November, marked the family’s one year anniversary at their 1885 Swamp Pike location, Monte Carlo Pizza & Family Restaurant.

And how did they ring in the anniversary? By giving back, of course. During lunch time, Monte Carlo dished out a free slice of pizza and drink to all police and fire fighters who stopped in for a bite.

“Thanks to all customers, new and old,” said Fabrizio Bonsignore, who is helping nephew Joseph Bonsignore to run and eventually take over the restaurant. “Our mission is to get better every day and to provide the best food and service around.”

So far, so good. Monte Carlo has quickly made a name for itself as the place to go for pizza in the area.

“We specialize in any kind of pizza, especially gourmet pizzas,” said Joseph, who recommends their chicken fajita and buffalo chicken pizzas. “Quality and service are really important to us. We would like every customer to experience great taste.”

With an excellent, well-rounded menu that includes Italian-styled dinners, a wide variety of sandwiches, subs, wraps & burgers, and - of course - pizza, Monte Carlo offers plenty of great taste for customers to experience.

“Our goal is to provide customers with the best food at the best prices around,” said Joseph. “It’s top quality food in a friendly, inviting atmosphere.”

The pizza menu is the heart of their offerings, including Neopolitan, Sicilian and white pizzas. The popular combination pizzas include Margherita, Vegetarian, Hawaiian Style, Meat Lover’s, The Works, Buffalo Chicken, BBQ Chicken, Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Bacon Ranch, Chicken Fajita, Beef Fajita, Philly Cheesesteak and a Taco Pizza. Most pizzas are available as a small 12” or large 16”. Plain and Sicilian are also available by slice.

As good as the pizza is though, customers are short changing themselves if they don’t explore the rest of the menu.

Monte Carlo serves small and large subs and clubs, hot and cold. Cold subs include the classic Italian, Capicola & Cheese, Roast Beef & Cheese and more. The Hot Sub menu includes a number of favorites including the Sausage Italiano, Pizza Steak and the mouth-wateringly good Deluxe Cheesesteak, which comes loaded with mushrooms, green peppers, onions, pepperoni & cheese.

Salads, clubs, wraps, calzones, burgers, stromboli (try the Deluxe Boli with ham, salami, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers & mozzarella) fill out the rest of the menu, along with side orders that include fries, wings, mozzarella sticks, jalepeno poppers and more.

Monte Carlo’s is open for dine in and pick up only, seven days a week, and is located at 1885 Swamp Pike, Gilbertsville. Hours are 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Monday to Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Call 610-326-4501 for more information or to place an order for take-out. Family package coupons are currently available in their take-out menu.

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