I’d had a long day, arriving in town for a 9 a.m. meeting with another writer/blogger, and then it was on to Musikfest in Bethlehem with a contingent from Pottstown. By the time we got back into town, and I dropped someone off at their house and finally finished yakking (so much to talk about!), I was all talked out and needed a good, quiet meal to refresh me for the 90-minute drive back across the Delaware to New Jersey.
As I sat at the light at Penn and King Streets, there was practically an aura emanating from the Funky Lil’ Kitchen, and I figured the time was now: I was finally going to treat myself.
It was fairly early and there was just one couple there, sipping wine and chatting with the waiter. I got a table in the window, and the waiter must have sensed my hunger because he immediately brought over a small bowl of spicy peanuts, Funky Lil’ Kitchen’s own blend, and they took the edge off.
I took in the decor – decidedly Pottstown-chic, with Mrs. Smith pie tins on the walls, a very large utensil-clock on one wall, and a partial wall-sculpture of utensils that screens the kitchen from the dining room. I didn’t ask what music was coming through the speakers, but it was – absolutely – way funky cool. The waiter delivered my appetizer of white beans, celery, red onions and cherry tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar on bruschetta, and my strength started to come back. If only I were there with my husband and a crowd of friends!
When I looked out the window then, I finally focused on what was directly across the street – a phone booth. A man was using the phone in the phone booth. Remember those? I hadn’t seen one in years. Then I zeroed in on the building – Bell Telephone – and immediately had a flashback…
My best friend from high school, Karen Brennan, and I were working for A.S.K. Cleaning Service in the summer of 1981, after our freshman years at college. I’d had an offer to be a nanny for a family on Martha’s Vineyard, but in the end, I chickened out without even asking my parents, and came home instead. None of us really knew anything about Martha’s Vineyard, not really. I had vague notions of extremely wealthy, idle people, who would only make me uncomfortable anyway. Besides, who would want to play with kids on a beach all day and get paid a boatload of money, when they could safely scrape gum off the bottoms of desks all summer?
Okay, so Karen and I had been assigned to clean the offices in the Bell Tel building before people got to work. I think we had to be there at 5:00 a.m. On the particular day I have in mind, no sooner did we get into the building than we ensconced ourselves on a sofa in the employee lounge, which had a T.V. It was July 29, 1981, and Lady Di was about to become Princess Di over in London within the hour. Young, beautiful Diana – only a year or two older than we were – was marrying into the Royal Family, in a real, live, televised fairytale. We watched in awe as the pomp unfolded, two American Cinderellas holding out hope for our own Prince Charmings, while literally clutching mops and dust rags. By 6:20, they were married, we watched for a few more minutes, and then went to swab the floors of the dark, eerie, windowless cable room downstairs.
But I digress… flash forward almost three decades…
Across the street from that episode of “character-building,” I was very fortunate on a recent evening in August 2010 to be able to indulge in Chef Michael Falcone’s sautéed salmon cake with pineapple salsa on a bed of basmati rice. It was an exquisitely refreshing summer combination. I had no room for dessert, although I was impressed with the dessert menu, which was written on a large green bottle that the waiter held in front of me (chalk up another point in the “funk factor” column.) But you know I will be going back soon for “Mom’s Chocolate Cake.” I opted instead for a milky-smooth cappuccino, which gave me the final boost I needed to propel me on my way.
I am so glad I didn’t wait any longer to try out this fun and inventive restaurant in downtown Pottstown. You don’t have to be royalty for your culinary dreams to come true!
1) I just Googled “Pottstown-chic” and the phrase doesn’t seem to exist, so I want credit for coining it.
2) Thank you KBM for the details and the trip down memory lane!
Hours: Dinner (Tuesday-Saturday) 5:00-9:00
Address: 232 King Street, Pottstown, PA
Reservations: Highly Recommended
Dress: Smart Casual
Credit Cards: Visa, MC, AMEX & Discover
Parking: Public lot & on street (the lot across the street is now privately owned! Thanks for the heads-up from reader Jeff Leflar!)
I LOVE FLK!!! Great Post. I’m a vegetarian and even though they may not have a veg. item on the menu they always make me something amazing with fresh local produce. It makes me want to go there soon!
Hmmm, gum scraping instead of Martha’s Vineyard?
I wonder about you sometimes Repko.
Actually, I have yet to make it to Martha’s Vineyard. But think of it this way: It’s 1981. I’d never gone on an overnight vacation with my family while growing up (6 kids, Catholic school, 1 breadwinner.) I’d been out of Pottstown for just 9 months. I knew of the Vineyard’s reputation, vague murmurings among well-to-do classmates, but so what? This is the kind of thing I have to explain in my memoir, otherwise, it really makes no sense. I get that. I do.
FLK is a great place! We need more like it! Tx for the memories 🙂
Great article Sue!! Funky is a favorite place. The food is always awesome! Truly Philadelphia quality dining in the suburbs! Michael is a fantastic chef and one heck of a nice guy.
Cool memory of the royal wedding. I was living in Lancaster then and remember getting up in the middle of the night to watch it. Hard to believe it has been almost 30 years since their wedding!
Glad you made it to Funky 🙂
By far, the best restaurant in Pottstown. Created a niche in a town that hardly knows or appreciates really fine cuisine. But people will come out to P-Town to eat here – a destination. Let borough council think about that and our potential. Low income housing doesn’t create an economic draw.
JH: Thanks for reading and joining in. I’m with you, but I think things are moving in the right direction on many, many fronts. Hopefully, the fruits of those labors will be evident sooner rather than later.