Here’s a look at what’s happening around the area.
LEHIGH VALLEY/UPPER BUCKS
Bam! And just like that, Emeril Lagasse’s name was taken off two restaurants at the Wind Creek Bethlehem casino. Emeril’s Chop House is now the Chop House at Wind Creek, and Burgers and More by Emeril has been renamed Urban Table. The casino’s in-house culinary team will run the restaurants. Lagasse, the celebrity chef, is known for his restaurants, television appearances and charity, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation.
The Brass Rail is set to close for good Saturday. The Lehigh Street, Allentown, restaurant will be demolished to make way for a Royal Farms convenience store. “The Rail” opened in Allentown more than 90 years ago and tradition holds that it introduced the cheesesteak sandwich to the city. The Brass Rail’s Hamilton Street location closed in 2001.
A space-age Dunkin’ has opened at 1174 MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township. The upgraded Dunkin’ (the name Dunkin Donuts switched to in 2019) has a tap system, a drive-thru lane for mobile app customers and digital kiosks for ordering. The “next-generation” Dunkin’ outlet also has beverages not found at the chain’s other coffee and doughnut shops.
The parent company of Dunkin’ is Inspire Brands, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol QSR. The Whitehall restaurant will hold a grand opening celebration on June 18.
Bowery Farming has opened its newest indoor farm on former Bethlehem Steel land. Bowery’s Bethlehem farm is on Feather Way near Interstate 78 on former industrial land. New York-based Bowery grows crops such as herbs and lettuce in a controlled, pesticide-free environment, with plants in stacks from floor to ceiling.
Community Bike Works is expanding to a new site on Spruce Street in Easton and to a spot near Franklin Park in Allentown. The Allentown-based organization teaches youngsters to fix used bicycles, which they get for free for completing the program.
HNL Lab Medicine is opening at Mt. Bethel Plaza and holding a ribbon-cutting Thursday. The events start at 11 a.m. at 2165 Mt. Bethel Highway in Upper Mount Bethel Township and conclude at 1 p.m. HNL provides laboratory services. Patients may check in online, though HNL says no appointments are needed and wait times are usually less than 15 minutes.
The event is free, pre-registration is recommended via the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce website.
Bojangles, a popular quick-serve restaurant chain that specializes in Cajun-seasoned fried chicken, will open its first Lehigh Valley area location – and just second in Pennsylvania, officials say.
It will be in a building taking shape at 85 S. West End Blvd. (Route 309), Quakertown, according to Ganaway Contracting, which is building the structure. The site – across the road and slightly south of John’s Plain and Fancy Diner – previously held another building that was home to various restaurants over the years, including, most recently, Tom’s All American BBQ which opened in 2019. Ganaway said construction started on March 16, and is expected to be completed by Aug. 1.
Bojangles is a contestant in the so-called “chicken wars,” the battle for market share in the chicken-sandwich market. Its menu includes hand-breaded bone-in chicken, boneless chicken, fried and grilled chicken sandwiches and Cajun chick filet served between biscuits. Side orders include fries, dirty rice, Cajun pinto beans, macaroni and cheese, and more. Salads and family meals are also available, and biscuits and breakfast items are sold all day.
Bojangles was founded in North Carolina and has 780 locations. Pennsylvania’s first Bojangles is in Muhlenberg Township, Berks County.
Honeygrow, a Philadelphia-based fast-casual restaurant that specializes in stir-frys, salads and its signature better-for-you sweet treat, honeybar, opened its new location in Quakertown on Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with founder and Chief Executive Officer Justin Rosenberg. The eatery, at 69 N. West End Blvd. at Quakertown Shopping Center, will create 45 jobs.
Honeygrow is a technology-forward fast-casual restaurant, with customers placing orders on its app or in-restaurant kiosk. Curb-side pick-up and delivery also is available through the app and third-party delivery partners. Honeygrow opened its first restaurant in 2012 at 16th and Chestnut streets in Philadelphia. Its 27 locations now span from Boston to northern Virginia and west to Pittsburgh.
The Fine Wine & Good Spirits store in Quakertown is moving across the street for a few months to make way for renovations. The Quakertown Plaza liquor outlet next to Joanne Fabric closed May 30 for renovations and will reopen later this year. Until then, a temporary wine and liquor store will be open across Route 309 in the Trainers Corner Shopping Center.
Wyomissing Restaurant and Bakery has changed its ownership and leadership, but kept it in the family. Usman “Oz” Chaudhry said he and his brother, Rizwan “Riz” Chaudhry, on Wednesday took over ownership of the eatery at 1245 Penn Ave. from his cousin, Hamid Chaudhry. Oz Chaudhry said he and his brother have worked with Hamid Chaudhry since 2008, helping him manage three Dairy Queens at in Kenhorst, in Exeter Township, and in the Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing, as well as the Lukoil gas station at Fourth and Penn avenues in West Reading and the Mustang Grill restaurant in Kenhorst.
The restaurant, open 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, is known for its weekday breakfast buffet and daily and weekend brunch buffets. It also offers takeout specials, including fried chicken. Oz Chaudhry said there will not be any immediate changes at the restaurant.
A longtime mainstay Italian restaurant on Route 222 that faced being closed because it found itself in the path of progress has been given a road to the future by township zoners.
The Maxatawny Township Zoning Hearing Board on Tuesday voted unanimously to grant Valentino’s restaurant, which has operated more than 40 years at 15492 Kutztown Rd. (Route 222) outside Kutztown, variances from zoning ordinances regarding off-street parking, visibility at intersections and more. Without those variances, Valentino’s wouldn’t have been able to continue doing business, attorney Sal Folino, representing the restaurant, told the board. That’s because the restaurant will have a large part of its parking lot taken by PennDOT to replace the traffic-light intersection at Long Lane with a roundabout and to widen the roads. It’s part of a long-term project to add traffic lanes to the heavily-traveled Route 222 in Berks County, and to change several of its intersections to roundabouts, which PennDOT said is more efficient for handling voluminous traffic.
Valentino’s was built by the Folino family in the early 1980s after Rodolfo Folino and his wife, Lidia, immigrated to the U.S. from their hometown in Calabria, Italy, according to the restaurant’s website.
An Allentown developer is proposing a warehouse that could be Maxatawny Township’s largest, to be located just more than a mile from another planned warehouse that has drawn controversy. Township officials said the new plan faces an uphill battle — literally, with the property’s grading a significant question, but also because of multiple other concerns.
Plans for Maxatawny Industrial/310 Hilltop Road envision a 1,004,180-square-foot warehouse on 128.2 acres of what now largely is farmland on Hilltop Road — a narrow, sleepy country road just 0.6 of a mile off Route 222, near the Kutztown bypass.
The developer, 23 Max LLC of Allentown, says the project would have 200 employees, though notes on the township reviews of the plans note “that value appears low as compared with other warehouse and distribution facilities constructed in this regional area.”
23 Max submitted a preliminary subdivision and land development plan application to the township on March 31. The township’s planning commission reviewed it this month. Commission member David Sobotka said the project needs “several significant variances” from township zoning ordinances. Planning officials were told the plan includes widening Hilltop Road from the project to Route 222, but not up the road from the project, where it significantly inclines. Plans show trucks turning into and out of the warehouse driveways only below the incline.
After more than a year of construction, Lehigh Valley Health Network is scheduled to open its first hospital in Carbon County on Monday. Before it does, the new Lehigh Valley Hospital-Carbon will hold a community open house from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at the campus, at 2128 Blakeslee Blvd. Drive East (Route 443) in Mahoning Township, near Lehighton. The public will be able to take tours of the new facility, local food trucks, giveaways and entertainment for the whole family. The 100,578-square-foot hospital will officially open with a ribbon-cutting at 1 p.m. Monday.
LVHN-Carbon broke ground in December 2020. Billed as a “full-service community hospital,” it will have a 24/7 staffed emergency room and higher-level care including internal medicine. There will be two surgical suites, a special procedures room and an imaging department featuring CT, MRI, ultrasound and traditional X-rays. All 20 of its in-patient rooms will be private.
A health center next door will have a seven-bed infusion center, cardiac rehab center and a physical rehabilitation program. Lehigh Valley Physician Group practices will house its ENT, OB-GYN, cardiology, urology, GI, orthopedics, spine and general surgery practices at the center.
Kunai and Falguni “Pinky” Patel might seem to be going against conventional wisdom, choosing a downtown location for their new Shenandoah Pharmacy, which also is family-run rather than a chain. But government and business officials are glad they are and told them so during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.
Kunai Patel, who is a pharmacist, said the decision was easy. The location is inside a convenience store which the couple opened in 2013 when they first moved to the area from Reston, Virginia. Since then, they’ve opened convenience stores in Bangor, Hamburg, Stroudsburg, Ringtown, Scranton and Marietta, Lancaster County.
The building, at 33 N. Main St., previously was a Rite Aid, then a Dollar Bazaar and a One Stop convenience store before the Patels bought it.
A Dollar General store proposed at 201 Pottsville St. in Port Carbon, near the Mechanicsville line, came before the Schuylkill County Zoning Hearing Board on Wednesday. The board is expected to announce a decision at its next meeting July 6.
JLM Real Estate Investments, based near Schuylkill Haven, wants an exception to the required off-street parking. The request, if granted, would allow the store to have 34 parking spots instead of the required 45 for that area. The site, owned by Richland Properties, is a former industrial building next to a park and playground.
A Palmerton-area business that started in a garage has been acquired for $20 million. Chart Industries, a Georgia-based global maker of equipment for the cryogenics and gas industries, bought Fronti Fabrications, a family-run Carbon County business. Chart said the acquisition will expand its manufacturing capacity for equipment that handles extremely cold materials including liquid hydrogen and helium. Chart’s customer base includes the liquid natural gas (LNG) industry.
A remodeled Dunkin’ will be unveiled Monday at 400 Terry Rich Blvd. in St. Clair, Schuylkill County. This Dunkin’, a Bowers Donuts Inc. store, will hold a ribbon-cutting celebration starting at 10:45 a.m. The ownership will present a check to the Schuylkill YMCA during its opening.
Aviridi, a development-stage company that will use fermentation to create products used in the food, pharmaceutical and other industries, is expanding in Montgomery County. Earlier this year, Aviridi bought a Norristown property to serve as its headquarters, and this week, it acquired a 26,000-square-foot Pottstown building.