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Hatching a Neighborhood Favorite: The Speckled Hen Cottage Pub & Alehouse

By Paul Rowe

In Reading, PA, The Speckled Hen serves up hearty country dishes and ale in the tradition of the British Isles.

The egg was laid in 2002 when owner Judy Henry bought a parcel of land containing two restaurants - each with a completely outfitted kitchen. The first of these restaurants became Judy's On Cherry, a local favorite for Mediterranean cuisine.

While Henry got Judy's up and running for the first two years, the historic log cabin known affectionately as Widow Finney's remained shuttered. That all changed when Henry shifted her creative energies to what would become The Speckled Hen Cottage Pub & Alehouse. "By 2004, it just seemed that the time had come to breathe a new life into this remarkable old space," says Henry.

As one would expect, the menu features pub classics that go perfectly with a good brew. The Shepherd's Pie is made with lean ground beef, onions, and carrots covered in a wholesome, buttery mash, while the Fish & Chips boasts tempura-battered fresh Alaskan cod with fries and homemade tartar sauce.

But the Speckled Hen goes beyond the British Isles. From classics like "The All American Burger" featuring savory barbeque, sizzling bacon, gooey cheddar cheese, fresh lettuce, ripe tomato, and shoestring fries, to innovative gems like "The Tropical," a burger sporting grilled pineapple, black bean salsa, guava barbeque sauce, and Spanish Manchego cheese, the pub keeps it interesting.

"The salmon is my favorite, any way we prepare it. Our Limoncello Roasted Chicken is to die for," says Henry. "And for lunch, our Greek salad with local tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, and feta in lemon oregano vinaigrette always makes me feel healthy and satisfied!"

Appetizers aren't lost on the menu either. Fries dusted with garlic and Parmesan cheese are served up with a zesty pesto mayo dipping sauce. For those seeking something authentic, the Crispy Scotch Egg - a hard-cooked egg encased in sausage and fried in a pool of whole grain mustard - does the trick.

On Friday nights from 7-10pm, Henry pulls in local musicians to provide live entertainment. With two working fireplaces, tavern tables with upholstered benches, a wooden bar, and a radiant red walled parlor with cozy appointments, The Speckled Hen is the perfect spot for grabbing a good meal and chatting with friends.

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About The Author

Paul Rowe is a graduate instructor of writing and master's student of Literature at...

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