A shared ownership of her first restaurant dissolved along with her marriage, as she states “I needed a project”. . .and found a beautiful old building that “needed” a loving touch. So goes the union that occurred in 1985 when she bought the building and began the much needed restoration of the space now known as Gracie’s 21st Century Café which finally opened November 21st, 1988.
She describes her work and that of the people who work with her as a great responsibility. “After all”, she says,” we’re fueling their containers, not just filling the stomach but also nourishing the soul” . “I know that it’s not just what you eat, but how it’s grown, how it’s handled and prepared, and above all having caring hands to prepare and bring it to your table.”
“The farm-to-table theme is a new catch phrase, however at Gracie’s it’s what’s been done for nearly 25 years. “We’re so fortunate to have a plethora of organic farmers in Berks County and the surrounding area.” It has become a very homogeneous relationship by supporting the farmer since we use their wonderful healthful produce and bring these beautiful pieces to the table for our guests.”
Since Gracie’s opened, there has been a tremendous positive change towards healthier lifestyles and the food available to us has followed the demand. “People are far more educated and interested in what they are eating, where it’s grown, and how, and on a whole they are making healthier choices. Guests can find organic beef, free range chicken and wild caught fishes at Gracie’s, as well as a an entire menu for the vegetarian and vegan diner.
The Catering bloomed from her dining guests’ requests, becoming nearly half of the gross business and grows every year. “Bringing the same creativity, quality and freshness to the off premise and in house catering arena has contributed strongly to repeat clients and the growth we’ve enjoyed,” she says.
Gracie and her sous chef, Andrew Madden, are in constant creative mode with new selections every season as the harvest comes in. The menu changes often throughout the year with weekly homemade pasta on Thursdays and the ‘very’ popular Blue Plate Special on Wednesday nights. times a year. “Our guests have come to know and trust us,” she said. We find once a guest has had their palate excited through the flavors of our cuisine they become “Lifers” at the restaurant as it is such a unique dining experience as well as eclectic atmosphere where one can unwind, enjoy and relax.
It’s important that we make it our business to assist guests with dietary requests and restrictions so that they can relax and enjoy dining out with friends and family. Since all of the selections are cooked to order, special requests and requirements are not a problem and always satisfied.
It is said that food cooked with love and life’s natural bounty is healthier and more easily digested. It is an interesting idea based on the knowledge that everything vibrates on a frequency and that our bodies vibrate at a higher frequency (healthier) when we exhibit positive emotions. Foods also vary in their vibrational frequency and some medical practitioners (Ayuvedic) believe that the frequency of the emotion is transferred to the food. Gracie Skiadas has experienced this to be true and makes it work within her business. “I am truly blessed doing what I love, creating, and preparing for wonderful guests who appreciate all that we have to offer.”
The restaurant showcases 4 beautiful dining rooms, each with a cozy fireplace that our guest can enjoy fall thru winter. One of our dining areas is a Tapas Lounge, for cocktails or wine and tapas menu for relaxing in a cozy environment. We also offer outside music on the patio Spring thru summer with local musicians, jazz, classics, and even at times some reggae. The dining rooms are each unique in color and style and reflect the eclectic taste and imagination of Gracie Skiadas. One can pick their location to suit their style or occasion. “Guests are attracted to and feel the positive energy here,” she added
Cooking classes are a ‘hot topic’ at Gracie’s as guests retire to her kitchen and learn how to prepare some recipes from the menu and new recipes in creation, meeting new friends and other food enthusiasts. Offered in the fall, and early winter “We all have a great time. The format is demonstrations, with tastings of at least three recipes that are printed to take home. Wine pairing during the classes makes for a very fun evening.
Gracie’s 21st Century Café and Scott Rothenberger’s PLACE have teamed up once again to create a night of fun for a wonderful cause…
Amazing LIVE Island & reggae music, dancing under the stars, exciting raffle prizes and sensational food all benefiting The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Your $ 85.00 ticket includes a table side appetizer sampler of Island favorites, sumptuous Caribbean Food Stations, and titillating Island desserts. There will even be a cured goat there for you to sample.
Advanced Ticket purchase for the event, can be made through a link on our web site