Eat Like an Egyptian, an Egyptian cuisine business run by Tim and Hala Bonner, is relocating its Easton location to a larger space on New Street in South Bethlehem.
Hoping to open their restaurant in the near future, the Bonners first got the inspiration to open a food truck in 2013 by watching the Food Network.
The Taza Truck opened in 2014 when Hala, who is Egyptian, quit her job working in New York City. Tim shortly followed his wife by resigning from his position as head of Lehigh’s English as a Second Language program.
“It was almost like our little mid-life crisis, like, ‘Let’s do something totally different,'” Tim said.
The success from The Taza Truck allowed the couple to open The Taza Stop in a small space in the Easton Public Market. They have since outgrown this location, creating a new restaurant, Ka’moon, in Philadelphia, and are in the process of moving The Taza Stop to a location two blocks from Lehigh’s campus.
Tim said that although the food truck is successful, there has been a boom of new food trucks since the creation of The Taza Truck, with about 40 trucks in the Lehigh Valley. Food truck owners in the Northeast also have the challenge of being primarily a six-month business due to winter weather. Tim said The Taza Stop has and will provide “more stability year-round.”
“I love trying new restaurants around campus,” Gustav Masch Jimenez, ’21, said. “I have had Taza before, and it’s delicious. I’m excited for another new cuisine and restaurant to be near Lehigh.”
One of Eat Like an Egyptian’s most important values is incorporation with and repayment to the community. For the opening of each new restaurant and then multiple times throughout the year, Eat Like an Egyptian chooses to donate to a nonprofit.
For the upcoming opening of the new restaurant, customers can choose to participate in Pay it Forward, where extra meals are bought by customers, and then a receipt of these meals are posted on the wall. For someone who needs food to receive a free meal, extra meals are bought by customers for people who need food to receive free meals, and the receipts are posted on the wall.
“This is one of the things we are trying to do to connect to the South Bethlehem community and Lehigh students,” Tim said.
Tim said the restaurant’s largest portion of clientele in the Lehigh Valley comes from Lehigh faculty, staff, and students and Bethlehem residents who are customers at their truck, which frequents the Farrington Square farmer’s markets.
Tim said with the new location, they are aware of the business and housing changes in South Bethlehem.
“The gentrification of the South Bethlehem area has been a point of conflict at times between locals and Lehigh University members,” said Zach DeLuca, ‘21. “I think it’s a great idea for incoming businesses to support the local community in some way.”
The Taza team now has a group of 10 staff members and hopes to keep growing. Opening a larger restaurant in Bethlehem will help expand the business from their truck, Tim said.
The Bonners hope to someday open new trucks or restaurants throughout the Northeast. For now, they are focused on finishing their New Street location.
“We are taking it one restaurant at a time. We just want to open each one and make sure each is successful,” Tim said.