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?
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
Best 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
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
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
Best 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
Best 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.
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
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
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
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.
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: Trixie’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
Best 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
Best 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:
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
When you’re seriously ready to live a healthier lifestyle and look amazing, this is the woman to call.
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
Best 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
Best 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
Best 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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
Best Local TV Personality: Eve Tannery
Mornings are always a little sunnier when Eve’s perky personality and smile help start your day.
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.
Best Home Remodeler: Rusnak Construction
It’s your room, only better with this detail-and design-oriented home remodeler.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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