Best of the Lehigh Valley 2014

photo by alison conklin

 

More than 2,000 readers of Lehigh Valley Style voted in 113 categories. We counted all the votes to provide you with the MOST DEFINITIVE list—because only LVS readers know BEST!

 

Best Gluten-Free Menu: Vegan Treats

(above) No animal products? No gluten? No problem. Danielle and her bevy of masterful bakers at Vegan Treats whip up desserts that look more like miniature works of art than pastries. They’re so pretty, you’ll hate to tear into them just to satisfy your nagging sweet tooth—but you will, anyway. After all, do you really want to go one more day without plunging your fork into the legendary Peanut Butter Bomb? 

vegantreats.com

 

photo by alison conklin

 

Best Coffee Shop: The Joint

You can’t even fathom starting a workweek without it—that first cup of coffee of the day.  Whether you like your on-the-go joe traditional, poured-over, cold-brewed or whipped into a cappuccino, The Joint is up to the challenge. This small but hip haven for coffee connoisseurs is tucked away near Bethlehem’s Sun Inn Courtyard. There’s sustenance, too, in the form of soups, salads and sandwiches, and don’t miss the yogurt and oatmeal bar to complete your morning pick-me-up. 

77 W. Broad St., Bethlehem | 610.419.9237

 

photo by donovan roberts witmerBest Place for Wine Lovers: 

Corked Wine Bar & Steak House

One of the newer restaurants in town, Corked Wine Bar & Steak House, has a name that says a lot about the intention of its executive chef and owner, Joe Grisafi, to not only serve the best in contemporary, sophisticated cuisine, but to provide a place that speaks to the passion of the wine lover. With its Napa Technology wine machines, patrons are served everything from a tasting to a full glass, so they can try new wines with ease. And with such an accomplished wine list, they can also enjoy something new with every visit.

515 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.625.9463 | corkedwinebar.com

 

Best Cheesesteak: Brass Rail

If you grew up here, this was your first cheesesteak.

Allentown | brassrailrestaurant.com

 

Best Hoagie With All The Fixings: Primo Hoagies

It starts with great bread and gets better from there.

Various area locations | primohoagies.com

 

Best Bread That is Totally Worth the Carbs: Egypt Star Bakery

Brick-oven delicious for over 80 years.

Various area locations | egyptstarbakery.com

 

Best Hot Dog: Yocco’s

Time-tested, tasty and still a favorite of people who have left the area. 

Various area locations | yoccos.com

 

 

photo by donovan roberts witmer

 

Best Pizza by the Slice: Westgate Pizza

Hey, paesan- looking for a taste as big as Rome? Leave the passport at home and make tracks for the Westgate Mall in Bethlehem. Westgate Pizza prides itself on being a tried-and-true pizza restaurant that’s been cranking out the good stuff since 1972. Pizza purists will appreciate the plain pie with cheese, while more adventuresome eaters might appreciate the Sicilian crust. So go ahead and take a bite. Your taste buds will thank you. 

2275 Schoenersville Rd., Bethlehem | 610.865.1393 | westgatepizzarestaurant.com

photo by alison conklin
 

Best Cupcake You’ve Ever Tasted: Blondies

Red velvet cheesecake. Boston cream pie. Triple chocolate chunk. Yes, sugar rush junkies, you’ve died and gone to heaven. Blondies in Catasauqua turns your most sinfully delicious desires into decadent cupcakes. And now, with a new food truck, Blondies is taking its mouth-watering show on the road including its most popular, the peanut butter black bottom cupcake.

Two area locations | blondiesfood.com

 

 

photo by olaf starorypinski

Best Sushi: Sogo Fusion Lounge

Sogo Fusion Lounge joined Easton’s popular and growing Restaurant Row in 2006 and has been the place to go ever since for the freshest sushi and other Asian specialties served in a lively and sophisticated atmosphere. Menu favorites continue to be crispy mouthfuls of the tempura-based Monkey Roll with its three spicy sauce variations and the Mango Shrimp or Chicken entrée with generous chunks of flavorful mango in a sweet succulent sauce over rice.

237 Northampton St., Easton | 610.250.0198 | sogoeaston.com

 

photo by olaf starorypinskiBest Outdoor Dining: Ye olde Limeport inn

It may be a tad off the beaten path, but the drive through Center Valley to Limeport is definitely worth it when you wind up on the patio of the Ye Olde Limeport Inn. This historically handsome property has been home to countless happy hours and dinners al fresco, offering a menu of contemporary American cuisine that is kicked up a notch to deliciously nosh worthy. Try the Lobster & Corn Fritters with Grapefruit Aioli or the House Smoked Pulled Pork BBQ served on a brioche roll with an icy cold one and enjoy all the outdoors has to offer on the lovely and latticed patio.

1505 Limeport Pike, Coopersburg | 610.967.1810 | limeportinn.com

 

photo by alison conklinBest Girls Lunch: Sweet Memories

Shhhh… this place is so good you will even see guys in there! What brings everyone to the table at Sweet Memories is the delicious, freshly prepared menu that changes daily. And if you can imagine what it would be like to have a mom who is also a chef cooking for you every day, that’s how good the food is. In fact, chef and mom Jamie is in the kitchen everyday and her two daughters are on hand to serve you. Not to mention the reasonable prices, the cozy, colorful atmosphere and desserts in that massive pastry case! Make a reservation; this place is swamped on the weekends.

180 Main St., Emmaus | 610.967.0296

 

Best Doughnuts: Mary Ann Donut Kitchen

Apparently no one knows how to make one of these most craved of handheld confections better than Mary Ann. 

Allentown

 

Best Cheesecake Without the Trip to New York: Carnegie Deli at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem

We dare you to finish this luscious slice of New York-style cheesecake all by yourself.

Bethlehem | pasands.com

 

Best Juicy Burger: Wert’s Cafe

Hands-down delicious, the Wert’s signature burger is pre-stuffed with mushrooms and onions.

Allentown | wertscafe.com

 

Best Crispy French Fry: Horns

Fresh-cut by hand, daily. Try them with chives, truffle oil and sea salt.

Bethlehem | hornsfood.com

 

 

photo by colin coleman

 

Best Diner Breakfast: Diner 248

Diner 248 isn’t your granddad’s diner. It prides itself on its martini and beer selection as much as it does its assortment of burgers, wraps and desserts. But that doesn’t mean the place hasn’t mastered the essential diner staple: breakfast fare. Grandma’s French Toast and Pop Pop’s Pancakes are just the thing to chase away those hunger pangs until 2 p.m. any day, or go big with the Belly Buster or Lumberjack. Bloody Mary or Mango Mimosa chaser, anyone? 

3701 Nazareth Rd., Easton | 610.252.4300 | diner248.com  

 

photo by donovan roberts witmer

Best Burrito: Cali Burrito

Cali Burrito in Allentown’s West End gained popularity quickly since opening a few years back with its California-fresh take on Mexican that was a whole lot more tasty than they grab-and-go offerings we’re used to. They kicked up the heat for sure by adding healthy options including using locally grown organic tofu in their vegetarian dishes. Stop by and build your own rice bowl and even start your day with a sizzling breakfast burrito—a spicy way to start the day.

3104 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 610.351.1791 | caliburrito.com

 

photo by donovan roberts witmer

Best Hometown Barbeque: Grumpy’s Bar-B-Que Roadhouse

Gotta grab a Grumpy’s! Grumpy’s Bar-B-Que Roadhouse is becoming a local legend for its lip-licking sandwiches, piled high with select cuts of pork and beef rubbed with secret-recipe seasonings and placed in a hickory-wood cooker. Imagine how good this tastes after a good old-fashioned slow cooking and served up with some orange citrus poppy seed coleslaw and crispy Roadhouse fries. You’ll also want to indulge in their slow hickory-cooked spareribs or rosemary-rubbed prime rib special served on Fridays and Saturdays only. This is no fast food barbeque, fo sho!

3000 Mauch Chunk Rd., Allentown | 610.769.4600 | grumpysbbqallentown.com

 

photo by alison conklin

Best Bar Food: P.J. Whelihan’s Pub & Restaurant

When you’re ready to get rowdy and the belly is growling, make the trip to a local P.J. Whelihan’s Pub & Restaurant. They serve up some awesome and ice-cold Bloody Marys in a big ol’ draft mug and are a destination of choice when it comes to burger combos, zesty apps and, of course, their Loaded House Nachos.

Various area locations | pjspub.com

 

Best Place for Wings: Keystone Pub & Grill

They pack them in for wing nights at this popular area pub. Try ‘em sweet and spicy.

Various area locations | keystonepub.com

 

Best Place to Buy Fresh Seafood: Northampton Seafood Market

Stop by and “sea” why readers rave about this neighborhood market.

Northampton  | northamptonseafood.com

 

Best Place to Grab Dinner on the Way Home: Thai Thai II

Try some pad thai; a true treat for the family and a nice change from typical takeout.

Bethlehem  

 

Best Business Lunch: Apollo Grill

If you don’t impress your client, the appetizer menu at Apollo will.

Bethlehem | apollogrill.com

 

 

photo by alison conklin

 

Best Waiter/Waitress: Lee Minnucci, Molinari’s

What’s on the agenda tonight? Whether it’s date night, a corporate dinner or an outing with friends, count on Lee Minnucci at Molinari’s to look after all the details. He says he loves doing what he does, and it shows. He’s too classy to spill the details on his wealth of tipping stories, good or bad, but he will tell you that getting a grazie mille from his regular customers means the world to him. So cross your fingers that you end up at his table the next time you’re chowing down.

322 E. 3rd St., Bethlehem | 610.625.9222 | molinarimangia.com

 

photo by donovan roberts witmer

 

Best Ice Cream—You Could Eat a Gallon Of: The Bethlehem Dairy Store

I scream, you scream, we all scream for… The Bethlehem Dairy Store. Ice cream savants have been flocking to what is also known as “The Cup” on Linden Street for a scoop or two of the good stuff since the 1930s. Vanilla is still the top seller, but, if you’re craving a sweet treat with a little more pizzazz, it might be worth holding out for seasonal goodies like teaberry, rum raisin or peanut butter—the most mentioned in our survey. Best of all, the ice cream is made fresh two to three times a week. Maybe you should go two or three times a week?

1430 Linden St., Bethlehem | 610.691.8422 | bethlehemdairystore.com

 

Best Food Truck You Wish Was in Your Back Yard: photo by colin colemanTrixie’s Treats

The only thing better than a bakeshop is a bakeshop that comes to you. Trixie’s Treats bills itself as Allentown’s first mobile treats truck. “Trixie,” also known as Tracey Mathews, comes from a long line of bakers. Her cupcakes, decorative cakes and other mouth-watering goodies are made with ingredients like European butter, Belgian cocoa and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, ensuring that every customer is a satisfied customer. Let Trixie treat you to a French Toast with Candied Bacon cupcake, or a Banana Fluffernutter, and you’ll see what all the fuss is about.

610.504.9914 | trixiestruck.com

 

photo by colin colemanBest Frozen Yogurt: Menchie’s

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. It’s just one sweet decision after another when you enter the frozen yogurt heaven called Menchie’s. Choosing your yogurt flavor is just the beginning, and you should choose wisely because it provides the incredibly creamy base for the smorgasbord of tempting toppings they offer. Go healthy with a fat free base and top with fresh fruit or go as decadent as you dare at Menchie’s, smothering your chocolate chip cookie dough yogurt with hot fudge and whipped cream. This delicious decision is yours alone!

Various area locations | menchies.com

 

photo by hub wilsonBest Sweet Shop for Classic Candy or Chocolate: Josh Early Candies

Josh Early Candies has filled many an Easter basket and Christmas stocking with hand-rolled chocolates and other specialty items since the early 1900s. The secret to this family-owned success story is a sweet one—never deviating from their original and now time-tested recipes. Forever favorites include their dark chocolate nonpareils, milk almond bark and creamy, luscious peanut butter cups. Stop into one of their two area locations and smell heaven today.

Two area locations | joshearlycandies.com

 

Best Special Occasion Cake: Granny Schmidt’s Bake Shop

If you can dream it, Michelle Quier can bake it.

Whitehall | grannyschmidtsbakeshop.com

 

 

 

Best Happy Hour Spot: Blue Grillhouse

Had a crappy week at work? Escape to the patio and bar at Blue for the legendary happy hour specials and its cool crowd appeal.

Bethlehem | bluegrillhouse.com

 

Best Cheap Eats: Stahley’s Family Restaurant & Sports Bar

Pocket-friendly prices since 1968.

Allentown | stahleys.com

 

Best Local Brewery: The Bethlehem Brew Works

This place is “hop-solutely” the best when it comes to its locally brewed beer. Cheers!

Bethlehem | thebrewworks.com

 

Best Beer Selection: Porters’ Pub & Restaurant

With more than 100 imports and microbrews, it could take some time for you to try them all. A beer lover’s “ah-ha” moment.

Easton | porterspubeaston.com

 

 

photos by colin coleman

Best Trainer to Kick Your Butt at the Gym:

Obe Roundtree

Full Circle Training

Whether the thought of signing over your physical fitness to a personal trainer intimidates you or stimulates you, stick with Obe Roundtree of Full Circle Training and one thing you’ll never be is bored. Roundtree says his boot camp program is unique in that it never repeats a workout. And this former football and track and field star understands that fitness is a mental challenge as well as a physical one, so while he is looking to “pump you up,” Round-tree also wants to inflate your self-confidence.

 

Best Fitness Class to Whip You Into Shape: The Powerhouse Class

Full Circle Training

Leave your leg warmers and shake weights at home. This is serious fitness business.

3894 Courtney St., Bethlehem | 484.550.9083 | myfullcircletraining.com

 

photo by alison conklin

 

Best Non-Gym Workout: belly drills

The Gas House Dance Hall

The whirl of treadmills. The clang of weight machines. The thwack of tennis balls, basketballs and racquetballs. Maybe you love getting your sweat on at the gym. Maybe you don’t. For those who fall in the latter category, The Gas House Dance Hall offers several workout opportunities that don’t feel like work. Belly dance or hula hoop your way to a healthier you, and leave all of those gym rats in the dust.

311 Front St., Catasauqua | 610.443.0707 | thegashousedancehall.com

 

 

Best Nutritionist: Angie Fenstermaker

Angie's Way

When you’re seriously ready to live a healthier lifestyle and look amazing, this is the woman to call.

angiesway.net

 

Best Health Food Store: Queen’s Nutritional Products

One of the first and most well stocked markets for the healthy person in you.

Allentown | queensnutrition.net

 

Best Yoga Studio: West End Yoga Center

A warm and welcoming atmosphere awaits at this mother-and-daughter-owned studio for yogis of any level. Namaste.

Allentown | weyogacenter.com

 

Best Cross-Fit Training: CrossFit Advanced

Their motto is “Look Great Naked” and who doesn’t want that?

Easton | crossfitadvanced.com

 

Best Gym for Socializing: LA Fitness

The crowd here is definitely into staying fit and meeting new people.

Various area locations | lafitness.com

 

 

photo by alison conklin

 

Best Women’s Boutique for the Latest Trends: Sage

Fashionistas, here’s some—well, sage advice: the breath of fresh air you’re looking for in your wardrobe is at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley. Sage is a boutique that offers diverse lines of shoes, clothing and accessories meant to empower the fashion-forward wearer. Funky? Yes. Trendy? Absolutely. Cookie-cutter? Never. The owners promise an experience as unique as you.

The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley |  610.798.7900 |  sageboutique.com

 

photo by alison conklin

 

Best Consignment Shop to Score Designer Labels: Designer Consigner

Located conveniently on Main Street in Bethlehem is a gem of a place where you’ll find life and style’s little luxuries—once removed. Only the best gently used and previously owned goods make it onto the rack and shelf of Designer Consigner. Mother and daughter purveyors Gail and Alexandra Fly know what the real deal is, only stocking verifiable finds from the likes of Louis Vuitton, Prada and Chanel at a fraction of the original price.

453 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.419.0913 | designerconsignerboutique.com

 

photo by olaf starorypinskiBest Accessories Retailer: BoutiqueToGo

Any fashionable individual knows that you are not properly dressed until you are properly accessorized. Elena Pascal, owner of BOUTIQUETOGO in Allentown, knows how to find and stock the finishing touches that take your ensemble from flat to fabulous. From DVF handbags, to Chan Luu bracelets, to Missoni scarves, you’re sure to look good from head to toe after a stop at BOUTIQUETOGO.

522 N. 19th St., Allentown | 610.437.1663 | boutiquetogo.com

 

 

photo by colin colemanBest Men’s Haircut: American Male

Before the term “man-scaping” ever became part of the vernacular, American Male was offering all the personal care services available to women in salons on the menu of male services that men can expect from their area barber. Local entrepreneur Tom McCormack recognized early on the trend of offering a better-than-barbershop experience and seized an opportunity to snatch up one of these popular franchises. So guys, if you want a little off the top and a manicure, now you have a one-stop shop.

316 E. 3rd St., Bethlehem | 610.625.4053 | americanmale.com

 

Best Source for Men’s Custom Clothes: The London Shop

Well-dressed men in the Valley have been patronizing this place for decades.

Easton | thelondonshopofeaston.com

 

Best Place to Buy Fine Jewelry: Bixler’s

The local legend in fine jewelry sales for more than two centuries.

Allentown | bixlers.com

 

Best Salon for the Perfect Mani-Pedi: Artisans’ Salon and Day Spa

Treat yourself to the signature pedicure here—so worth it!

Emmaus | artisansdayspa.com

 

Best Consignment Shop for Unique Household Finds: The Elephant’s Trunk

It’s like a treasure hunt for your home.

Emmaus | etrunk.org

 

photo by colin coleman

 

Best Hairstylist to Make You Look Like a Million Bucks: Jayson Morgan

j.morgan Salon & Home

To whom do you entrust your lovely locks when it’s time for a new or updated ‘do? J. Morgan Salon and Home co-founders Jayson Morgan and Jamie Thomas know you have a lot of options. Pick them, and they promise they’ll make it worth your while. They say they strive for the salon to be a place that you want to be, not a place you have to be. Even if you’re not in the market for any snipping or clipping, stop by the blow dry bar to have a glass of wine and let Jayson primp and prep you for a big night out on the town.

252 Spring Garden St., Easton | 610.258.3480 | jmorgansalon.com

 

photo by alison conklin

 

Best Waxing There & Everywhere: Skin Clinic Wellness and Waxing Boutique

If only Steve Carell had known about the Skin Clinic Wellness and Waxing Boutique. His titular character in The 40-Year-Old Virgin would have been wise to entrust his follicle-friendly chest to the very capable Laura Parker and Terry Clark. They promise a hair-removal process that’s as painless as possible; Laura says the boutique uses a very high-end wax that’s developed especially for sensitive skin. They do facials, too, for premium pampering post-waxing or whenever your best feature needs a little pick-me-up.

76 N. 4th St., Easton | 610.515.9038 | skinclinicpa.com

 

photo by colin colemanBest Salon for Cut & Color (Women): ReVive! Hair Salon

Your hair is your crowning glory and we all know what happens when a bad hair day sets in. ReVive! Hair Salon of Allentown knows that, too. Their motto is “For the Love of Hair” so their goal is to have you walking out of there feeling confident and beautiful. We have all seen the difference that can occur when you upgrade your look with a great cut and color. When you’re ready for your transformation, Amanda and her team are ready for you!

3900 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 484.664.2929 | reviveloveshair.com

 

Best Men’s Shave to Keep It Tidy: Jimmy’s Barber Shop

Get your good old-fashioned, hot-towel shaves here.

Allentown | jimmysbarbershopallentown.com

 

Best Spray Tan to Fake a Week in the Caribbean: Organic Tans Lehigh Valley

The feel-good, look-great tan that never looks fake.

Allentown | organictanslv.com

 

Best Makeup to Have You Feeling Runway Ready: Lauren’s Makeup Designs

Need to look photo perfect for your next special occasion? Lauren Bennett is your girl!

Allentown | laurensmakeupdesigns.com

 

Best Facial For Radiant Skin: Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa

Choose from a menu of many great facials at reasonable prices.

Various area locations | handandstone.com

 

 

photo by donovan roberts witmer

 

Best Roadside Farmstand: Scholl Orchards

Located on a busy stretch of Route 512 in Bethlehem, it could be easy to overlook the little roadside stand known as Scholl Orchards. A family-owned business since the 1950s, Scholl’s—once discovered—is definitely the place you’ll go back to time and again for the just-picked fresh experience of an apple off a tree. The rustic and well-kept roadside stand will keep you coming back, too, with its array of produce—everything from peaches and plums, to eggplant and heirloom tomatoes—and even fresh flower bouquets. It’s a virtual feast for the senses on Center Street.

3057 Center St., Bethlehem | schollorchards.com

 

photo by elaine wyborski

Best Family-Friendly Afternoon Outing: Lehigh Valley Zoo

Kids everywhere love animals and LV kids are especially lucky because their parents can provides tons of live animal fun by taking them to the Lehigh Valley Zoo. So whether your kids like furry friends like prairie dogs or prefer feathered friends and tortoise types, they can get a good gander of all of these at the 29-acre children’s zoo. The fun-focused facility also offers educational programs with summer camps, scout programs and after-school adventure programs.

5150 Game Preserve Rd., Schnecksville | 610.799.4171 | lvzoo.org

 

 

 

photo by christina georgiou

Best Seasonal Farmers’ Market: Easton Farmers’ Market

Ever wanted to “shake the hand that feeds you”? Come on down to the Easton Farmers’ Market on Centre Square and you can do just that, while stocking up on homegrown goods and one-of-a-kind local wares. With roots that can be traced all the way back to the 1750s, the city’s farmers’ market is the longest, continuous-running open-air market in the U.S. It’s a producer-only market, meaning that all the items presented for sale are grown or produced by the person selling them. Bring your appetite and your curiosity to this oasis in the middle of Easton’s bustling downtown, and chances are you won’t leave empty handed.

eastonfarmersmarket.com

 

Best Romantic Overnight Stay: The Glasbern Inn

Rustic, warm and romantic, this is definitely the place to book a suite with your sweetie.

Fogelsville | glasbern.com

 

Best Pick-Your-Own Orchard: Strawberry Acres

You can’t get any fresher than when you seasonally pick your own.

Coplay | strawberryacres.com

 

Best Golf Pro to Help You Work on Your Game: Mark Csencsits, PGA

Stop slicing and take strokes off your average with this seasoned pro.

lehighvalleygolfpro.com

 

Best Country Club You Wished You Belonged To: Saucon Valley Country Club

The grass IS greener at SVCC, one of the largest private clubs in North America.

Bethlehem | sauconvalleycc.org

 

 

photo by alison conklin

 

Best Place to Buy Art: Santa Bannon Fine Art Gallery

That “big city” art gallery you’ve been looking for isn’t a bus ride away: it’s in the heart of Bethlehem. The Santa Bannon Fine Art Gallery at the Banana Factory takes itself seriously, and that’s a good thing. As owner Santa Bannon will tell you, it’s all about the art. You won’t find “tchotchkes, jewelry or knick-knacks” here. You will find the work of an eclectic mix of artists who run the gamut from local upstarts to internationally known virtuosos. A stroke of genius for sure!

25 W. Third St., Bethlehem | 610.997.5453 | santafineart.com

 

photo by donovan roberts witmer

 

Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests: Downtown Bethlehem

Cobblestone streets, historic structures, varied retailers and a tasty restaurant row make this the place to be when you want to impress out-of-town guests.

Bethlehem | downtownbethlehemassociation.com

 

Best Dog Park: Bethlehem Dog Park

Your precious pooch will enjoy sniffing others and making new friends along the banks of the creek.

259 Illick's Mill Rd., Bethlehem | bethlehem-pa.gov/parks

 

Best Place to Stock Up on Stogies: Famous Smoke Shop

They don’t have the word “famous” in their name for nothing. Discerning cigar aficionados know that Famous Smoke Shop of Easton and it’s equally touted adjacent eatery Leaf Restaurant, Cigar Bar & Lounge, are the places to find the finest label cigars and accessories for the aficionado lifestyle. Plus, you can enjoy the experience right on site, have an exceptional meal and completely indulge your passion for cigars with others who share it.

90 Mort Dr., Easton | 610.559.1336 | leafcigarbar.com

 

Best Public Course to Work on Your Swing: Bethlehem Municipal Golf Club

Conveniently located and open to all, this course offers its fair share of challenges.

Bethlehem | bethlehemgc.com

 

Best Scenic Bike Trail: Ironton Rail-Trail

More than nine miles of looping trails make this a great place to take the bike and the family.

traillink.com/trail/ironton-rail-trail.aspx

 

Best Park to Have a Picnic: Trexler Memorial Park

Trexler Park has a beautiful pond and plenty of other spots along Little Cedar Creek, where you can dine on a blanket and make some memories.

Allentown

 

Best Park for Walking/Jogging: Lehigh Parkway

Six-plus miles to enjoy leisurely walks or more ambitious jogs past the covered bridge and Little Lehigh Trout Nursery.

Allentown

 

Best Cooking Class to Learn New Tricks: Northampton Community College

Is there something you’re dying to make? NCC has a class for that!

Bethlehem | lifelearn.northampton.edu/modules

 

Best Festival for People Watching: Celtic Classic Highland Games & Festival

Watch men in skirts and people eating haggis at this fun festival celebrating Celtic culture held every September. Sláinte!

Bethlehem | celticfest.org

 

Best Beer and Food Festival: Musikfest

Get your “mugs up”, cobs of corn and kabobs at this 10-day eat-yourself-silly fest where music meets eats on Main Street and beyond.

Bethlehem | musikfest.org

 

Best Annual Charity or Social Event: The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Snow Ball

Tuxedos and sequins abound at this signature event of the winter social season.

lehighvalleychamber.org

 

 

photo by thinh phan

 

Best Nightclub to See and Be Seen: The Broadway Social

This is an absolute no-brainer! Since opening in the fall of 2013, The Broadway Social has been the place to be not only for their exceptional dinner menu, but for late-night shenanigans unheard of in this area for some time. In fact, you never know quite what to expect on any given evening, but it IS a given that you will have fun! With a reputation like that you would bet they would be packing in the singles ready to mingle, so bring on the dancing girls and electric saxophone for a night best forgotten. Wink!

217 Broadway, Bethlehem  | 610.868.2555 | thebroadwaysocial.com

 

photo by alison conklin

 

Best Place to Impress Your Date: Bolete

The owners at Bolete Restaurant and Inn have certainly created a cottage industry for romance in their cottage-like restaurant on Seidersville Road in Bethlehem. Owner and chef Lee Chizmar is credited with one of the most talked about farm-to-table menus in the area and was certainly among the first to offer this highly desirable and delicious option locally. Gents, leave your cell phone in your pocket and savor this no-rush dining experience with someone special.   

1740 Seidersville Rd., Bethlehem | 610.868.6505 | boleterestaurant.com

 

photo by alison conklin

 

Best Place for a Casual Date: Tapas on Main

Have a great conversation starter served right to your table when Tapas on Main serves your meal authentic Spanish style (in smaller bites packed with savory flavor) ideal for feeding someone by hand, should you be so inclined, on that casual date. Try the Papas a la Francesa, or hand-cut potato fries with manchego cheese, drizzled with truffle oil—maybe just the perfect savory morsel for the task.

500 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.868.8903 | tapasonmain.com

 

Best Local Musician/Band: The Aardvarks

The band with great a following, a fun show and a name you just can’t forget.

theaardvarks.net

 

Best Venue for Live Theatre: The State Theatre Center for the Arts

Curtain calls abound at this beautifully renovated Beaux Arts-style theater that’s been an anchor in downtown Easton for almost a century.

Easton | statetheatre.org

 

Best Movie Theater to Watch the Newest Releases: Carmike Theater at The Promenade Shops

Catch a great movie and maybe even a bargain in one of the shops.

Center Valley | carmike.com

 

Best Place to Watch an Independent Film: Civic Theatre

The little-theater-that-could—Theater 519, across the street—provides a community-friendly viewing environment.

Allentown | civictheatre.com

 

photo by colin coleman

 

Best Bartender Who Knows Your Signature Drink: Thomas Gillen

Grille 3501

Sure, sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. But if only Thomas Gillen knows your name, you’re still in pretty good shape. This master mixologist has been whipping up adult beverages of all varieties at Grille 3501 for 11 years. Sure, he makes a mean martini, but he’s quick to point out that his true forte is customer service. He has a tribe of regulars who he’s proud to entertain not just as patrons, but also as friends.

3501 Broadway, Allentown | 610.706.0100 | grille3501.com

 

 

Best Concert Venue with the Hottest Acts: Sands Bethlehem Event Center

Offering a wide selection of great shows and headline entertainment year-round, with indoor parking options and a world-class casino, there’s no reason to be bored anymore.

Bethlehem | sandseventcenter.com

 

Best Place to Dance: Vision Bar at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem

Finally, a dance floor with some room to spread out and really break it down.

Bethlehem | sandseventcenter.com

 

Best Place to Watch the Game: Copperhead Grille

Both LV locations of Copperhead Grille have the biggest screens and more of them than anywhere else. Enjoy some items from their awesome appetizer menu while you wager who will win.

Two area locations | copperheadgrille.com

 

Best Radio Station: B-104

Where Top 40 rules, playing today’s hits and only the hits.

b104.com

 

Best Dive Bar You Love to Hate: Ripper’s Pub

This clandestine corner bar has been a staple where Guetter meets Broad Street for as long as we can remember. Its dark ambiance is perfect for encounters on the “DL.”

Bethlehem

 

Best Bar Ambiance: Melt

Setting the standard for cool in the Valley since it opened in 2006 in The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley.

Center Valley | meltgrill.com

 

Best Local Radio Personality: Sam Malone
CAT Country 96

Thousands of Valley listeners make Sam their man in the morning for non-stop country hits.

catcountry96.com

 

Best Local TV Personality: Eve Tannery
WFMZ-TV

Mornings are always a little sunnier when Eve’s perky personality and smile help start your day.

wfmz.com

 

Best Venue to Throw a Big Bash: Bear Creek Mountain Resort & Conference Center

Picturesque views and expansive gathering areas make this the place to celebrate when you like to party large.

Macungie | bcmountainresort.com

 

photos by kelly planer photography

 

Best Party Caterer: Simply Smooth

Whether they are pulling together the look and tastes of Moravian Academy’s annual gala or setting the table for an intimate dinner with friends, you can count on Simply Smooth Events of Distinction, Allentown, to have the menu and provide the ambiance that will have attendees asking, “Wow, who catered this event?” Now going on 25 years in business in the Valley, Simply Smooth’s Laurin Fegley remains the familiar face behind the great plates. Cheers and congratulations, Laurin!

1524 Linden St., Allentown | 610.434.3900 | simplysmooth.com

 

Best Repair Shop To Fix Your Heirloom Bracelet: Northampton Coin & Jewelry

Trust your most valuable pieces for repair to Sarah Schaffer and staff who carry on her family’s grand tradition of fixing the irreplaceable.

Northampton | northamptonjewelry.com

 

Best Painting & Wallpaper Services: Ryan Amato Painting

If your walls could talk they would ask for Ryan themselves.

ryanamatopainting.com

 

Best Home Remodeler: Rusnak Construction

It’s your room, only better with this detail-and design-oriented home remodeler.

rusnakconstruction.com

 

Best Home & Garden Center: Neighbors Home & Garden Center

From the stuff that you need to keep out the bugs, to the stuff that you want to make your yard and patio the envy of the neighborhood, this upscale center has it all.

Hellertown | neighborsgarden.com

 

Best Home Repair Service: Caddoo Home Improvements

Need a home improvement? No one CAN do it like Caddoo!

Wescosville | caddoohomeimprovements.com

 

Best Auto Shop for Your Domestic Car: Automotive Electrical Service

Is your car making that noise again? Stop procrastinating and bring it in for an honest estimate.

Bethlehem | autoshopwebpower.com/aes

 

Best Auto Shop for Your Foreign Import: JCL Automotive

Specializing in BMWs, there’s nothing foreign about fixing your car when you bring it into JCL.

Hellertown | jclautomotive.com

 

 

photos by donovan roberts witmer

 

 

Best Interior Designer to Re-Imagine Your Living Space: Donna Wood

Stonewood Interiors

There’s nothing like the look of a room that has been pulled together by the right interior designer. Donna Wood of Stonewood Interiors of Emmaus is the right designer for many Valley residents with her excellent eye for detail and sense of style. Wood is known for her down-home Southern charm and the way she makes each customer feel special and understood. Stop by her showroom—it’s every bit as charming and inspiring.

173 Main St., Emmaus | 610.966.5005 | stonewoodemmaus.com

 

Best Dog Groomer: The Clip Joint

Because pets need pampering, too. Take your cats and dogs to this full-service salon.

Bethlehem

 

Best Pet Boarding: Cold Nose Lodge

If you have to be out of town and can’t bring your best friend with you, board him at Cold Nose. Their luxury accommodations and loving care will have your pet’s tail wagging even though you’re away.

Alburtis | coldnoselodge.com

 

Best Daily Pet Service: No Worries Pet Sitting

There’s no place like home! No Worries will come and care for your pet on his turf so he will only miss you, not meals, walks or daily smiles.

noworriespet.com

 

Best Florist for Special Occasion Flowers: Elysian Fields Specialty Florals

Visit Dale at Elysian for the most innovative floral designs north of the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Bethlehem | elysianfieldsflorals.com

 

Best Wardrobe Alterations: C.E. Roth Formal Wear

Because nothing beats a custom fit.

Allentown | ceroth.com

 

Best Person to Call When Your Computer Crashes: Computer Troubleshooters

Because being without your computer is not an option.

Bethlehem | ctbethlehem.com

 

Best Party Planner: Scott Rothenberger’s PLACE

From fab themes to décor, to seating and more, Scott makes your event the PLACE to be.

designbyplace.com

 

 


 

Best Attitude: Shane Burcaw

Around the same time we were compiling our “Best Of” feature, we learned about the mission of a young man from Bethlehem. If you are at all a consumer of the blogosphere, you may already be aware of him, too, and his amazing story of hope. Perhaps what is most amazing about Shane Burcaw is how he is accomplishing his mission—by laughing at himself.

At the age of 2, Burcaw was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) which, according to the Families of SMA (FSMA) website, “…refers to a group of inherited diseases of the motor nerves that cause muscle weakness and atrophy.” These weakened and degenerated muscles of the spinal cord compromise an individual’s daily activities such as breathing, crawling, walking, head and neck control and swallowing. The FSMA also cites the rare disorder occurring in approximately eight out of every 100,000 live births, and affecting approximately one out of every 6,000 to 10,000 individuals worldwide.

While others may stoically face this diagnosis for what it is, Burcaw has embraced it as his chance to show how even life’s toughest challenges are countered in the face of humor.

"I meant to tell a few funny stories and be done with it. Now humor is my career."

Through his tremendously popular Laughing at My Nightmare blog on Tumblr he started to humorously yet eloquently explain what his life is like and how he approaches each day. He created quite a following, about a half-million people to date, and from there he started a nonprofit “…to spread positivity and raise money for muscular dystrophy research.”

His nonprofit’s website, laughingatmynightmare.com, is now equally as popular and is giving people who experience adversity of any kind the courage to face it through humor and understanding.  

What’s next for Shane? Besides graduating from Moravian College with a B.A. in English this May, Burcaw is just about to see his first book published. When asked how life has changed since he started his blog, Burcaw responded that it has been an incredible experience.

“When I started, I never expected all this to happen. I meant to tell a few funny stories and be done with it. Now humor is my career. My blog has over half a million followers, I started a nonprofit to spread positivity, I wrote a book—which comes out in October—and I'm looking to my future with more excitement than ever before.”

Is it any wonder we think Shane has the best attitude?

laughingatmynightmare.com

 

Join Us!

Shane will be in attendance at this year’s Best of the Lehigh Valley event on June 14, so come out and say “hi.” Lehigh Valley Style will be donating a portion of the event proceeds to Laughing at My Nightmare.

7-10 p.m. | Hangar 3 | Lehigh Valley International Airport | Tickets: $25 at lehighvalleystyle.com | #bestofLV

 

Best Kids’ Clothing Store: Milk and Honey Kids

Get ready to “oooh” and “ahhh” because you won’t be able to get through this great place for pint-sized fashions and fun items without making some Mommy noises.

Allentown | milkandhoneykids.com

 

Best Kids’ Consignment Shop: Bears Repeating

Finer, gently used items and clothing for kids from infants on up. A great way to recycle things that your kids have outgrown.

Trexlertown

 

Best Party Place for Girls: Sweet & Sassy

Choose from one of nine sparkly theme parties and treat your princess like queen for a day.

Center Valley | sweetandsassy.com

 

Best Party Place for Boys: BounceU

Have your kids bounce off the walls here for a change. Numerous party package options that bring the fun.

Various locations | bounceu.com

 

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