We both ordered burgers from the long burger menu: Sue a Wert’s Cheeseburger, Bruce an Alyssa’s Barbecue Cheeseburger. Bruce hoisted the burger to his mouth and took a bite, whereupon this virtual Super Soaker of a hamburger took aim on his shirt and pants. These are among the juiciest burgers we’ve ever enjoyed! They also taste very good. The namesake burgers are stuffed with mushrooms and onions. You can also get burgers without the “Wert’s” prefix; these are unstuffed.
Good as the burgers are, they are not the highlight of a visit to Wert’s, in our opinion. No siree! That’s because Wert’s serves baskets of some of the very finest onion rings we’ve ever had the good fortune to enjoy. The mountain of fried onions arrives as an enormous tangle, hot, thinly sliced, freshly fried, and very lightly breaded. A basket of rings looks large enough to feed four generously; by the time our burgers hit the table the two of us just about dispatched the entire serving.
One more item worth mentioning: birch beer. The Lehigh Valley is crazy about birch beer. There are a few local brands, and they even enjoy the flavor in their locally made ice cream, which they call teaberry. This local preference spurred us to do a little research and we learned that teaberry, like wintergreen, is one and the same with birch beer. The key element of all three is methyl salicylate, which is produced by a number of different plants.
Anyway, back to Wert’s. They used to serve a brand of birch beer, on tap, called Patt’s. Most birch beers we’ve seen are the color of root beer or, like Connecticut’s Foxon Park, clear. Patt’s birch was golden, decidedly less sweet than many others, and somewhat less toothpasty in flavor, too. It was quite unique. Alas, Patt’s is no longer made. They now have white (clear) birch on tap, we’re guessing from Kutztown Bottling, just a few miles away. It’s good, but we do miss Patt’s.
Wert’s is the kind of locally popular casual eatery that we particularly enjoy (truth is, anyplace in Allentown that is popular is LOCALLY popular, Allentown not being one of the major vacation spots of the East). It’s not quite a diner; it’s more like a “family tavern,” a restaurant style with which we’re quite familiar from our time in upstate New York; the kind of restaurant where even a platoon of red hat ladies would be comfortable dining on Wert’s burgers and onion rings while quaffing white birch beer.515 North 18th Street Allentown PA 18104 610-439-0951 Wert’s Cafe’s Website Wert’s Cafe on Facebook