In downtown Reading, a new farm-to-table cafe thinks local

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One of the latest exemplars of the downtown Reading renaissance opened its doors last month, offering farm-to-table dining, coffee and a new central gathering spot.

Wild Sage Coffee & Kitchen is a labor of love for Jessica Weixler, who spent a year rehabbing the vacant historic building on Washington Street.

“Natural light and green space were really important to me,” she recalls. “When I found the location for Wild Sage I knew it was the place. The way the sun hit the facade, the space for outdoor seating, the historic features — I fell in love with it. I made a priority of preserving and restoring what I could, like the white oak floors, the mantle, a small portion of the original brick walls. Things that I added were carefully handcrafted. 

“One of the biggest features is our live-edge bars,” she continues. “I got them from a local sawmill and finished them myself. One of our lights is made from an antique beam, the faces of the counters are recycled pallets and the barn lights throughout are antiques as well. “

photo: Life Story Photography

The rest of the building — which houses two apartments and an office — is also back in use.

According to Pamela Shupp, president of the Greater Reading Economic Partnership, Wild Sage adds to downtown’s growing food cachet.

“Greater Reading has a deep commitment to its agricultural tradition and footprint, best exhibited by the large number of direct farm-to-market stands and farmers’ markets located throughout the community,” she explains. “The most recently established farm market is located on Penn Street in the City of Reading, providing direct access to fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables and farm products.”

That access to amazing products and “an energy that was exciting” drew Weixler to downtown Reading as she developed her concept.

“From the beginning I planned to create a cafe/bistro style restaurant,” she explains. “The food is sourced locally, we know our purveyors, and we share a commitment with them to quality food that is good for the body and soul. The menu is reflective of what is in season, some flavors native to the area and some creations that explore new combinations.” 

Wild Sage serves breakfast and lunch selections along with a full coffee bar.  

“[The cafe] is a welcome addition to the growing number of interesting culinary experiences [in downtown Reading] including pop-up kitchens,” says Shupp. “There is a real desire to have these experiences in historic buildings and urban environments, and Wild Sage checks all the boxes.”

ELISE VIDER is news editor of Keystone Edge.

All images by Life Story Photography.

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Region: South Central

Entrepreneurship, Explore PA, Features, Food & Drink, Reading, Reuse/Rebuild, Travel