A rustic French bistro, a place dedicated to quality olive oil, and a welcoming brewery and restaurant line Main Street in North Bethlehem, appealing to a wide array of customers. Each of these restaurants influences the Lehigh and the Bethlehem communities in different ways, giving locals, tourists and Lehigh students plenty of options to choose from.
Fegley’s Brew Works, owned by Lehigh graduate Jeff Fegley, is a restaurant where consumers can see a brewery fully exposed as they eat and drink. Fegley said it is a family-oriented, welcoming and loud atmosphere. Brew Works was established when businesses in Bethlehem were disappearing during the time when Bethlehem Steel shut down.
“When we opened in 1998, there were not a lot of stores still in business,” Fegley said. “We impacted the public, but the public impacted us. We are thankful that we got to see the area come back to life.”
The restaurant was started by the Fegley family on April 15, 1998, when Fegley’s parents wanted to get back into the entrepreneurial field.
“The entrepreneurial bug got back to them and the idea was to do something different,” Fegley said.
Fegley said his older brother Rich also had a passion for brewing and brewed for years at home. The family hired a consultant to help them get started.
Fegley said it was easy for him to help out a lot when the restaurant first started.
“I was just graduating college,” Fegley said. “Lehigh did a great job preparing me for an entrepreneurial role.”
Brew Works is most popular on weekends. Fegley recommends eating the salmon and a short rib sandwich. The restaurant has recently made many item changes to incorporate healthier options such as veggie burgers and fried kale chips. Their beers are also sold throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Seasons Olive Oil and Vinegar Taproom
This family business, which was started in 2009, sells a variety of olive oils, vinegar and cheese.
Its owner, Tim Balshi, has been an olive oil importer and distributor for the past 15 years.
Balshi said he opened the business when the opportunity arose and took a risk to open it in Bethlehem, as he and his family were pioneers in the olive oil and vinegar industry. The products at Seasons Olive Oil can be found at restaurants nearby and in New York.
Balshi said Seasons Olive Oil and Vinegar Taproom has had a positive impact on the Lehigh Valley.
“We brought people’s attention to fresh olive oil… and improved people’s lives through healthy eating,” he said.
They also have an impact on Lehigh. Balshi said Lehigh parents enjoy coming during special weeks like Parent’s Weekend, and professors shop there as well. He said the business is grateful for the Lehigh support.
Balshi recommends his family reserve extra virgin olive oil. He also said he recommends trying the different kinds of cheese and olive oils from different parts of the world.
They also hold “lunch and learns,” where shoppers can educate themselves on olive oils. Balshi said they have many educational events, as well as olive oil tastings, so consumers know what they are buying before the purchase.
Tapas On Main
Tapas on Main opened in May 2011. Cara Paredes said her husband, Juan, had just moved to Bethlehem and were looking for a place to eat. The owner was looking to sell, and they thought it was the perfect place to start their own restaurant.
“Main Street in Bethlehem is one of the best locations you can have,” Cara said.
She said even though they own and manage three restaurants now, Tapas was always their front-runner and “baby”. She said many of the dishes on the menu are small and shareable because tapas means “small bite” in Spanish.
Cara said Tapas on Main has a bar crowd and is also upscale. You can order from either menu, Tapas or Cachette, at either place. So if you want the atmosphere of Tapas but want a coffee from Cachette, it is possible.
“I think it’s more unique now that you can order from either one,” Parades said.
She recommends albondigas de cordero, which are lamb meatballs, and she also recommends the mussels. She said the flatbreads and cheese platters are also good items to order as they are quite popular. The restaurant is only open for lunch and dinner times.
Tapas on Main has won some awards, including one for their sangria. They also have some special events such as live entertainment on the weekends. They also celebrate holidays like Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day.
Cachette Bistro & Creperie
Cachette Bistro & Creperie, which opened last February, is a French-inspired bistro that is connected to Tapas on Main. Before Cachette Bistro, Seasons Olive Oil and Vinegar Taproom was located there.
“When Seasons was going to move out of their space, we couldn’t not open there,” said Paredes, the regional manager of Tapas on Main, Cachette Bistro and Mesa Modern Mexican.
Parades said it is a nice addition to Bethlehem because it is a different style of food and appearance.
The establishment offers savory and sweet crepes as well as soups and salads.
Parades said every year they have been getting busier with their restaurants. She said the restaurants manage to be profitable without doing any advertising other than social media.
“We still see high sales, same customers, people coming back,” Parades said.
Cachette is regularly open for lunch and dinner, as well as for breakfast on the weekends.
She thinks it is a great addition to the town since there is no other place like it. She said the location was also perfect because it is connected to Tapas. The two places are connected by a walkway and share the same kitchen.