His name is Adam Cocuzza, and he is the co-founder of Say Cheese, Nitro Bar, West Reading Motor Club, noodl, and West Reading Restaurant Week. Now that is a mouthful, no pun intended.
After graduating high school and moving to California, he had his first kitchen job at the California Conservation Corps. When he came back to Pennsylvania around 2004-2005, he trained as a butcher at a local butcher shop and deli, and then he moved on to become a bar back, and server at some local restaurants. Quickly thereafter he decided to go to college to pursue restaurant management in Philadelphia, while becoming the General Manager at Philly Sushi Restaurant, Haru. He graduated The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in 2009 and would soon move back to the Reading area to open his first restaurant with his family.
Say Cheese! opened August 8th, 2012, and quickly became a local favorite with its cheese shop feature near one hundred varieties of cheeses, plus local honeys, jams, jellies, olive oils, crackers, and more. Eventually they would buy the 416 Penn Ave building, and extensively renovate it in its entirety, even being given the “Townie Award” from the State of Pennsylvania for their renovation efforts. 416 Penn is now home to Nitro Bar, which opened August 13th, 2019, and features local automotive history from Berks County, while serving a modern bar take on Pennsylvania Dutch inspired food and hosts local live bands every Tuesday from 8:30-10:30.
He hopes to open the West Reading Motor Club in the future, which will be an upscale dining experience on the first floor of the 416 Penn building. It too will pay subtle homage to the building’s rich automotive history, having been founded as the West Reading Motor & Hardware Co. in 1913. Soon to come will also be “noodl” a fast casual ramen shop, expected to open later this fall, located at 428 Penn Ave.
At Nitro Bar, they serve: Drunken Mussels, Nitro Burger, Amish Style Pretzels, Potato & Scallions, upscale drinks, craft beers and much more but if you are in a cheesy mood, than you can stop by Say Cheese they serve items like Bacon Tomato Grilled Cheese, Tuna Melts, Cheese, Charcuterie Plate, Smoked Salmon, Drinks & Cocktails. If you like Japanese food hang tight for noodl restaurant is coming soon.
Congratulations to Adam for not only living his dreams but also, making great meals and concepts for our community and especially for giving life back to old buildings in West Reading while still staying true to their original first breaths. At Palo Magazine we embrace diversity and with all these different restaurants & options diversity is exactly what Adam is bringing to us here in West Reading. Currently all Adam’s Restaurants are “On the Ave” in West Reading, Pa and all within walking distance of each other. Make sure to support his businesses.
*Say Cheese! Restaurant & Cheese/600 Penn Avenue
*Nitro Bar/416 Penn Ave
*Noodl (Coming Soon)/428 Penn Ave
Rosa J. Parra, Palo Magazine