Lehigh students were not the only ones preparing for new life on the South Side this semester. Three new restaurants have opened on East 3rd Street with the hopes of serving the Lehigh community and those in the area. Opening and establishing businesses during a pandemic has posed significant challenges, but each remains optimistic.
Dinky’s Ice Cream Parlor and Grill: ‘Where you always leave with a smile’
Dinky’s Ice Cream Parlor and Grill at 312 E. 3rd St. Suite 102 opened on June 22, 2020, with hopes of bringing a ’50s diner environment to the South Side. After starting their business in Bangor, Pennsylvania, owners Jill and Norman (also known as “Dinky”) Matthews wanted to expand.
“When we drove past [Bethlehem], we knew this is where we had to be,” Jill Matthews said, who worked previously as a teacher before opening their family-owned restaurant.
Only a five-minute walk from campus, Dinky’s is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and offers Doordash delivery service as well as online ordering. To draw Lehigh students, Dinky’s accepts GoldPLUS and plans to offer a 10 percent discount on Tuesdays between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The Matthews have been owners and managers for the past eight years at their Bangor location and have continued to serve American classics such as milkshakes, burgers, fries and various vegan and non-dairy options. Beyond their menu, Jill Matthews said that the restaurant aims to be a place for students “to eat, listen to the free Jukebox, hang out with their friends, and have a good time.”
The Flying V
The Flying V, located at 201 E. 3rd St., opened its doors on Aug. 1 in South Bethlehem. This Canadian poutinerie sits six minutes away from campus. The restaurant offers a perfect weekend dining option, open Thursday to Sunday from noon to 2 a.m.
With a remarkable story of success, owner Matt Vymazal and his wife, Christie, reside in North Bethlehem after meeting in college years before.
“We were a tent and traveled for two years and had the food truck for a year, but always wanted a restaurant,” Matt Vymazal said.
Before opening on the South Side, this couple’s savory poutine was celebrated and enjoyed at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, New York, as well as the 2019 New York City and USA Today Wine and Food festivals.
In addition to poutine, this reputable restaurant has expanded its menu to serve “Canadian fusion,” which includes their poutine burrito as well as Sunday brunch, with their spin on chicken and waffles.
Despite challenges presented by the pandemic, Matt Vymazal is staying optimistic about the future they have ahead.
“We offer a chill place, that’s our vibe,” he said.
Now open on East 3rd Street, Hi-Pot is operating seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The new Taiwanese restaurant is a five-minute walk from campus and offers dine-in and takeout for all.
This chain restaurant currently has four other prosperous locations and decided to expand in South Bethlehem when it opened its doors on Aug. 21.
With an abundance of Taiwanese options, Hi-Pot allows its customers the freedom to choose their own pot, spice level and type of rice.
“We specialize in Taiwanese hot pots with different ingredients, meats, and ramen, as well as serve bubble tea and various desserts,” owner Michael Zhuo said.
Despite this unprecedented time, the three restaurants have begun to establish themselves as exciting new options, all with the hopes of providing fun and food for the Lehigh and Bethlehem community.