Marvel Ranch – Then & Now

Marvel Ranch
Pictured in 1972
Marvel Ranch
Google Street View 2020

Marvel Ranch is a restaurant located on the northwest corner of 4th & Penn Street in Reading. It opened in 1959 as a breakfast and lunch joint where many Berks natives have enjoyed a hot meal for the past 60 years. The establishment has changed hands over the course of its existence, but the mantra has remained the same: “Come eat where we know your name”.

Marvel Ranch was opened by the late Gus Thomas and he operated it until 1969. Kenneth Shugars owned it from 1969 to 1979. Roger Bermel, an employee at Marvel Ranch 1970s, bought it in 1979. Roger’s daughter Cheryl has owned and operated it since the mid-1990s. Marvel Ranch is still open between the hours of 5:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. daily.

Many assume that the origins of the name “Marvel” stem from the meaning of the word; to be filled with wonder or astonishment. Their menu items may have that effect on one’s tastebuds, but it was actually originally named after Gus’s wife, Marvel Thomas.

Born and raised in Berks, I am fascinated by the style, design & culture of the mid-late 20th century. I started this website to research and build a collection of the places, things and stories I have heard about my entire life. Read more here.

7 Replies to “Marvel Ranch – Then & Now”

  1. Great post. An institution. President Obama stopped here. Suddenly I want a California Cheeseburger….Or better still, a “Mess.”

  2. It has been two or three years since I have stopped in for breakfast. And, I considered doing so a few moths ago when I stayed at the Doubletree when our power was out. But, the “free” breakfast with my hotel reservation dissuaded me. Will make a point to visit them again! By the way do you know the name & history of the somewhat similar diner near the corner of S. 4th & Franklin? It is closed now for several years.

  3. A Penn Street institution along with the Crystal Palace. Best burgers in town. It was also the backdrop of a Candid Camera segment featuring a Reading cop named Al Paris directing traffic.

  4. Nice bit of info. I remember wanting to eat there when I was a kid because of their 1/4 pound hamburger sign. Didn’t get the opportunity until later, but it has been a pretty good place to dine.

  5. When I worked at the Reading Eagle I used to eat at the Marvel ranch almost every day! Absolute best burgers!!!!!

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