Photos by Colin Coleman
Decisions, decisions. You make a ton of them every day about where to spend your hard-earned cash. And lucky for you, you live in the Lehigh Valley, where options abound in everything from entertainment to pet care to personal grooming. In fact, the plethora of possibilities can be intimidating, and that’s where your opinion counts. This year you cast over 8,000 votes in Lehigh Valley Style's second annual “Best Of” survey. These are the people and places that literally wined and dined you, gave you stellar service or otherwise dazzled you in some way so you would come back for more.
They’re simply the best.
Best Sangria: Tapas on Main
Tapas is their name, and tapas is their game: lamb meatballs, garlic shrimp and sweet potato puree are just a few of the mouth-watering, small-plate specialties on the menu at 500 Main Street in Bethlehem. But what good is a savory snack without something satisfying to wash it all down? That’s where another Tapas claim to fame comes into play: the restaurant’s homemade sangria will do the trick nicely. Offered by the glass or by the pitcher, in a lineup of ever-changing seasonal flavors, it’s a drink that’s as good as any dessert.
500 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.868.8903 | tapasonmain.com
Best Bartender & Best Mac and Cheese: The MINT Gastropub
If you belly-up to the bar at The MINT Gastropub, you may be lucky enough to place your mixology needs in the very capable hands of Craig Cressman. He’s been whipping up cocktails for thirsty patrons since the restaurant opened in 2011, but he’s been behind the bar for much longer than that. Cressman says he doesn’t have a signature drink, but pick your poison and he’ll invest the time to make sure he gets it right. And there’s no snake oil for sale on his watch; Cressman says he’ll never try to sell anyone who pulls up a stool to his bar something they don’t want.
Another reason to hit The MINT: They also scored this year in the Best Mac and Cheese category. Try any of The MINT’s more than half a dozen variations, like truffled lobster, mushroom or Maryland crab, and you might be persuaded otherwise. Chef and owner Domenic Lombardo says the recipes pay homage to the way his mother used to make the dish for him and his brothers as children. So, even though it may not be your mother making the mac at The MINT, rest assured that a pinch of maternal influence is on the list of ingredients.
1223 W. Broad St., Bethlehem | 610.419.3810 | bethlehemmint.com
Best Hibachi: Komé
Family fun night at the Promenade Shops starts here!
The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley | 610.798.9888 | komerestaurant.com
Best Cheesesteak: Brass Rail
Who hasn’t indulged in this savory and hearty handful of heaven?
3015 Lehigh St. | Allentown | 610.797.1927 | brassrailrestaurant.com
Best Hoagie with All the Fixings: Primo
Simply put, it’s the Cadillac of hoagies.
Various area locations | primohoagies.com
Best Grilled Cheese: Mitzi’s Table
This cute new spot with Betty Crocker appeal offers a four-cheese, Texas toast version of Mom’s melt-y classic.
3650 Nazareth Pike | Bethlehem | 610.730.1670 | mitzistable.com
Best Hummus: Soumaya & Sons Bakery
Their homemade creamy hummus is the perfect compliment to their baked fresh daily pita bread.
264 Fullerton Ave., Whitehall | 610.432.0405 | soumayasonsbakery.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Cheesecake Without the Trip to New York: Cheesecakes…by Chester
If a cheesecake worthy of Big Apple bravado is what your stomach seeks, skip the hefty Lincoln Tunnel toll and stay local. Cheesecakes…by Chester can deliver the goods, and then some. Owner Roy Shuler (Chester is his middle name, and the name of his late father) says divine intervention inspired him to take the plunge and start the business in 2012; it’s an appropriate beginning for an endeavor that now churns out 11 flavors like Signature Strawberry and Audaciously Apple Cinnamon, all of which are downright heavenly.
610.428.0354 | facebook.com/cheesecakesbychester
Photo by Donovan Roberts Witmer
Best Ice Cream You Could Eat a Gallon of: The Bethlehem Dairy Store (The Cup)
Summertime in the Lehigh Valley just wouldn’t be the same without a frosty-cold cone, shake or sundae dripping in hot fudge from this line-out-the-door, worth-the-wait little place.
1430 Linden St., Bethlehem | 610.691.8422 | 2 Campus Sq. (at New & Morton Sts.), Bethlehem | 610.865.4360 | bethlehemdairystore.com
Best Bread That is Totally Worth the Carbs: Egypt Star Bakery
It’s not just Whitehall-ites flocking to Egypt Star for their hearth-baked Vienna, rye and pumpernickel varieties. This place draws crust lovers from both counties with their locations in Allentown, Whitehall and Coplay.
3 area locations | egyptstarbakery.com
Best Crispy French Fry: Chickie’s & Pete’s
Crinkle cut, perfectly seasoned and cheesy side sauces make this your favorite fry.
701 Hamilton St., Allentown | 484.273.4507 | chickiesandpetes.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Pierogies That Taste Like Your Grandmother Made Them: Black Forest Deli
You could roll out and stuff your own, but why would you when Vica and Mama have this authentic taste of the Ukraine down?
745 W. Union Blvd., Bethlehem | 610.865.3036 | bethlehemdeli.com
Best Frozen Yogurt: Menchie’s
Self-serve goodness that you can mix on your own from 16 flavors and top with a buffet of creative toppings.
3 area locations | menchies.com
Best Burrito: Cali Burrito
Because sometimes you just need that fresh taste of California expertly rolled in a tortilla stuffed with chicken, beef or veggies and served with a smile!
3104 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown 610.351.1791 | caliburrito.com
Best Taco: Geakers
If you can’t get out to try one of these zesty handfuls at their convenient Bethlehem Township location, maybe you can catch these guys this summer as they embark on Geakers Taco Tour.
3531 Freemansburg Ave., Bethlehem | 610.419.4869 | geakers.com
Best Juicy Burger: Wert’s Café
Wrap both hands around the bun tightly so you get a little bit of everything with your first bite of the burger that’s been bringing ‘em back for more than 40 years!
515 N. 18th St., Allentown | 610.439.0951 | wertscafe.com
Photos by Alison Conklin
Best Cupcake You’ve Ever Tasted: Blondies
She’s done it again. “Blondie” (Rebecca Zukowski-Gillespie) and her band of merry bakers in Catasauqua have worked their way into the hearts and stomachs of Lehigh Valley Style’s most discerning dessert devotees for the second year in a row. Chances are, if you dream it, she can bake it—and top if off with a handful of jimmies. With flavors like Blueberry Stuffed French Toast, Apple Danish and Chocolate Lava Bomb, don’t be surprised if you go a little weak in the knees. And if you're looking for gluten-free baked goods, Blondie's is the place to be, too!
333 Front St., Catasauqua | 610.443.1741 | blondiesfood.com
Best Food Truck You Wish Was in Your Backyard: Taza Truck
Looking to chow down on some fresh Egyptian cuisine? Taza’s got you covered. From wholesome vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free main dishes to delectable desserts, you better catch a bite from this tasty truck before it zooms away. Check their website for their convenient neighborhood locations.
610.442.1769 | thetazatruck.com
Best Place for Wings & Best Beer Selection: Keystone Pub
This dual-category winner not only serves up a variety of melt-in-your-mouth wings, including a feisty Asian Tang on their special Monday and Tuesday wing nights, its two-locations have innovated taking home their awesome selection of craft beers in the form of their quart-size “crowlers.” Not quite a “growler,” not a typical can of beer either, the crowler is the perfect way to enjoy your favorite New Holland Paleooza at home!
3259 Easton Ave., Bethlehem | 610.814.0400
1410 Grape St., Whitehall | 610.434.7600 | keystonepub.com
Best Bar Food: P.J. Whelihan’s Pub
P.J.’s has been packing them in around here with their great prices, massive menu and awesome atmosphere for some time now.
3 area locations | pjspub.com
Best Pad Thai & Best Gluten-Free Menu: White Orchids Thai Cuisine
There’s no joking around at White Orchids when it comes to Pad Thai—this is the real deal. And because many of their noodles are made from rice, they can offer suggestions to gluten-free diners. Just ask!
The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley | 610.841.7499 | whiteorchidsthaicuisine.com
Photo by Donovan Roberts Witmer
Best Bloody Mary to Cure Your Hangover: 3rd & Ferry Fish Market
Red rover, red rover, we call Mary over! A glass filled to the brim with Old Bay vodka mixed with 3rd & Ferry’s secret Mary Mash recipe makes for a marvelously refreshing concoction served with some generous garnishes.
56 S. 3rd St., Easton | 610.829.1404 | thirdandferry.com
Best Hometown Barbeque: Grumpy’s Bar-B-Que
Saucy, zesty, spicy and slow-cooked to perfection pretty much says it all when it comes to the pork, beef or chicken magic on a bun created here!
3000 Mauch Chunk Rd., Allentown | 610.769.4600 | grumpysbbq.net
Best Hot-Dog: Yocco’s
Only the sauce is still a secret at Yocco’s. This legendary taste of the Valley is a must-munch lunch for many a hot-dog lover!
6 area locations | yoccos.com
Best Pizza by the Slice: Mario’s
No matter what your heart desires, Mario’s already has a slice whipped up for you to devour.
851 Main St., Northampton | 610.262.0550 | mariospizzanorthampton.com
Best Doughnuts: Mary Ann Donut Kitchen
You probably haven’t had a real doughnut until you’ve enjoyed one of Mary Ann’s.
1601 W. Liberty St., Allentown | 610.439.9985
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Vietnamese Pho: Pho #1
A steaming bowl of pho was the perfect antidote to those bitterly cold days and nights of this past winter. For those who have never indulged, pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup that comes in many variations. Whatever the recipe, you’d expect nothing less than perfection from a place that bills itself as “#1,” and, by all accounts, the unassuming Pho #1 on Allentown’s Union Boulevard delivers.
1500 Union Blvd., Allentown | 610.432.1218
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Sushi: The Other Fish
Southside Bethlehem’s loss was the north side’s gain when The Dancing Fish relocated to Broad Street and was reborn as The Other Fish in 2007. Current owner Matt Reichard bought the business two years later, and diners have packed the snug, unpretentious sushi house ever since. Reichard says many employees have worked together for more than a decade; they love what they do, and it shows. “We're always looking for new things to try and different influences we can incorporate into our menu,” he says. One of their more unique creations includes crushed-up Fritos. But even if raw ain’t your thing, don’t think The Other Fish can’t hook you. You’ll find a variety of cooked rolls on the menu, too. One thing that is a rarity: leftovers.
59 E. Broad St., Bethlehem | 484.821.1370
Best Place for Wine Lovers: Corked Wine Bar & Steakhouse
Swoon over their impressive wine list and choose to buy a bottle, tackle a tasting or relax with a full glass.
515 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.625.9463 | corkedwinebar.com
Best Stick-to-Your-Ribs Comfort Food: The Bayou
This southern-inspired kitchen aims to serve you a creative take on classic New Orleans cooking.
702 Hawthorne Rd., Bethlehem | 610.419.6669 | dat-bayou.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Nachos: Chicken Lounge
It’s hard to get nachos wrong in their most basic form: pile chips, cheese and your choice of trimmings on a plate, then stick that plate in the microwave for 60 seconds, and voilà! But when nachos are done right—really right—they put any attempt at a homemade microwave masterpiece to shame. The Chicken Lounge in Allentown is known for its nachos (they’re listed as “famous” on the menu), and rightfully so. Their twist on the finger food classic uses Doritos instead of regular tortilla chips. The rest is a glorious mountain of Monterey Jack cheese, refried beans, guacamole and more. And, perhaps as an homage to its name, the restaurant offers chicken—not beef—as an add-on option.
3247 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 610.439.1707
Best Vegetarian: Shankara
Chef Wendy Landiak is all about satisfying your stomach with local, organic and vegan ingredients.
201 E. 3rd St., Bethlehem | 484.330.6405 | balasia.net
Best Place to Buy Fresh Seafood: Northampton Seafood Market
How about some halibut? This place boasts the largest selection of freshly caught seafood in the area.
109 Lilac Ct., Northampton | 610.262.3333 | northamptonseafood.com
Best Place to Grab Dinner on the Way Home: Wegmans
Hot and cold food bars, fresh produce, wholesome groceries, endless possibilities.
3 area locations | wegmans.com
Best Business Lunch Location: Apollo Grill
The sophisticated bistro that started Bethlehem’s Restaurant Row never disappoints with its modern décor, extensive cuisine options and top-notch service.
85 W. Broad St., Bethlehem 610.865.9600 | apollogrill.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Waitress/Waiter: Hassan DeJesus, Gio Italian Grill
Consider yourself lucky if you see Hassan DeJesus approaching your table at Gio Italian Grill in Macungie; you can be sure you’re in good hands for the afternoon or evening. How will you know it’s him? It’s all in the smile. “Some say it’s infectious,” he says. And DeJesus has a lot to smile about. He’s been with Gio for more than seven years, and, he says, he’s loved every minute of it. He prides himself on getting to know his customers so he can provide an answer that’s more than just guesswork when he’s asked to make a personal recommendation for a hungry patron. And, perhaps most importantly, DeJesus never overstays his welcome. “A good server is there whenever needed, but never overbearing,” he says. “Present and attentive, without hovering.”
6465 Village Ln., Macungie | 610.966.9446 | gioitaliangrill.com
Best Place for a Special Occasion Cake: Easton Baking Company
Find out what generations of Eastonians already know; this place bakes the best—and we mean cakes and tomato pie!
34 N. 7th St., Easton | 610.252.6343
Best Breakfast: Billy’s Downtown Diner
Owner Billy Kounoupis is known for creating a breakfast menu that can have you eating as healthy or as decadently as you please. Either way, it’s delicious.
10 E. Broad St., Bethlehem | 610.867.0105
840 Hamilton St., Allentown | 610.432.5484 | billysdiner.com
Best Sweet Shop for Classic Candy or Chocolate: Josh Early Candies
Fresh handmade chocolates from 100-year-old recipies.
4640 Tilghman St., Allentown | 610.395.4321
3620 Nazareth Pike, Bethlehem | 610.865.0580 | joshearlycandies.com
Best Local Brewery & Best Casual Date Place: Bethlehem Brew Works & Allentown Brew Works
Our area’s first family of brewing—the Fegleys—captured awards in two categories this year: Best Brewery and Best Casual Date Place. Most likely because of their tasty and fun menu. It’s safe to say they know a thing or two about handcrafted signature brews and ales.
569 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.882.1300
812 W. Hamilton St., Allentown | 610.433.7777 | thebrewworks.com
Photo by Jamie Cabreza
Best Coffee Shop: Quadrant Book Mart and Coffee House
Why simply toss back a cup of joe when you can toss back a cup of joe and bury your nose in a good book at the same time? Easton’s Quadrant Book Mart and Coffee House offers both luxuries to regulars who’ve fallen in love with the place, and to newcomers who are lured inside by the charming and inviting storefront just a few strides away from the city’s bustling Centre Square. As if that’s not enough, the Quadrant is also a café. It’s true one-stop shopping for the body, the mind and that part of your brain that’s screaming for a caffeine jolt.
20 N. 3rd St., Easton | 610.252.1188 | facebook.com/quadrantbookmartcoffeehouse
Best Girls' Lunch Location: Sweet Memories
An ever-changing menu and a ginormous mouthwatering dessert display case—need we say more?
180 Main St., Emmaus | 610.967.0296 | sweetmemories180.blogspot.com
Best Happy Hour Spot & Best Outdoor Dining: blue grillhouse
Unwind with a glass of wine at the bar, or sip a specialty-crafted cocktail on the most pleasing outdoor patio around.
4431 Easton Ave., Bethlehem | 610.691.8400 | bluegrillhouse.com
Best Cheap Eats: Stahley’s Family Restaurant & Sports Bar
This is just the best little neighborhood place to please your pocket and your taste buds.
1826 Hanover Ave., Allentown | 610.433.2468 | stahleys.com
Best Tapas/Small Plates: Ocean
Truffled French fries, vegetable spring rolls, oven-baked flatbreads—it’s time to enjoy little dishes with big flavor.
235 Ferry St., Easton | 610.559.7211 | ocean235.com
Photos by Alison Conklin
Best Fitness Class to Whip You Into Shape: Afterburn, LivenUp
LivenUp Health & Fitness’ Afterburn class is the gift that keeps on giving for anyone who’s tired of walking (or jogging) through the same paces at the gym. According to LivenUp Coach Whitney Derrico, participants will not only burn up to 1,000 calories per hour while busting a move at the gym, but will continue to burn fat and calories up to 48 hours after the workout is complete. They’re also sure to get well acquainted with kettlebells, sleds, jump ropes and other tools of the exercise trade. But first-timers shouldn’t feel intimidated: superhuman strength is not a prerequisite for any of the Bethlehem fitness club’s programs.
57 S. Commerce Way, Suite 140, Bethlehem | 610.625.4484 | livenupfitness.com
Best Non-Gym Workout: The Gas House Dance Hall
Offering a wide range of dance classes that are sure to “shimmy shake” you into shape.
311 Front St., Catasauqua | 610.443.0707 | thegashousedancehall.com
Best Trainer to Kick Your Butt at the Gym: Heather Gidusko, Sweat Like A Girl
Her 30-day fitness challenges and hardcore training sessions are guaranteed to give you the smokin’ bod you’ve always wanted in no time.
311B Industrial Dr., Nazareth | 610.207.4682 | sweatlikeagirl.com
Best Nutritionist: Angie Fenstermaker
Calorie counting and fad diets have no place in Angie Fenstermaker’s universe. If you want to be a part of it, go ahead and ditch the scale, too. Her approach to helping people get healthy isn’t defined by a simple number; instead, it’s a shared journey to a better physique and a deeper understanding of true “clean eating.” Fenstermaker’s commitment to her clients runs deep (she says she answers their texts and emails all day long), but the rewards are mutually beneficial: “As I am encouraging them to make better choices, it motivates me to continue be a role model and to practice what I preach,” she says.
Best Health Food Store: Queen’s Nutritional Products
Because you are what you eat.
1450 Pennsylvania Ave., Allentown | 610.691.6644 | queensnutrition.net
Best Yoga Studio| Easton Yoga
From improving your forward fold to unleashing your inner warrior, there’s a class here designed for yogis of any level.
524 Northampton St., Easton | 610.923.7522 | eastonyoga.com
Best Cross-Fit Training: Crossfit Advanced
It’s not just a fitness class; it’s a life changer.
3601 Sullivan Trl., Easton | 610.829.1070 | crossfitadvanced.com
Best Gym for Socializing: LA Fitness
Because gossiping while on the elliptical makes the workout just fly by.
1515 Mauch Chunk Rd., Allentown | 610.432.7330
340 S. 25th St., Easton | 484.541.4020 | lafitness.com
Best Gym for Working Out: O2 OxyFit Gym
Leading a healthier lifestyle is a lot easier when you put these guys on your team.
6480 Alburtis Rd., Macungie | 610.391.0040
6900 Hamilton Blvd., Trexlertown | 484.232.5158 | oxyfitgym.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Place to Buy Fine Jewelry: Susan Bella Jewelry
Some artists work with clay; others dabble in oil paints or watercolors. But Susan Bella Linski’s medium of choice is gold, silver and gemstones. She grew up in the jewelry business (her family owned Lehigh Jewelers) before striking out on her own in 2009. Her knowledge of all things ornamental cements her status in the big leagues of bling: she can design it, make it, fix it and help you maintain it. And Linski prides herself on stocking her shop with quality pieces for every occasion, whether the wearer is bound for a red carpet event or pairing the purchase with jeans and a t-shirt.
1746 W. Allen St., Allentown | 610.434.8001 | susanbellajewelry.com
Best Spray Tan to Fake a Week in the Caribbean: Lorena Bravo Organic Tans & Beauty Bar
Lorena provides airbrushed bronzed skin in under 30 minutes. No vacation required.
1752 W. Allen St., Allentown | 610.821.8888 | organictanslv.com
Photo by Jacqueline Agentis
Best Source for Men’s Custom Clothes: Rogues and Regs Custom Clothiers
Gentlemen, it’s time to up your game when it comes to your style. You don’t want to be “that guy” in the ill-fitting suit. Proprietor and menswear expert Aaron Houtsch is here to help build your wardrobe essentials and give you the look that says success!
544 Hamilton St., Allentown | 484.893.0583 | roguesandregs.com
Best Women’s Boutique for the Latest Trends: Sophistikate
Keeping lavish ladies looking stylish has been an effortless mission for Kate Falasca since opening Sophistikate in 2010. With upscale designer apparel and chic accessories all under one roof, there’s no need to make a trip to the big city to get your hands on all the latest trends. This classy boutique also recently introduced an eclectic collection of children’s clothes fit for the Valley’s trendiest tots.
574 Main St., Suite 100, Bethlehem | 610.865.2235 | sophistikatebethlehem.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Consignment Shop to Score Designer Labels: Twice Chic Boutique
It’s never the same shopping experience twice at this consignment boutique famous for all the fabulous labels found there.
129 N. 3rd St., Easton | 610.297.4242 | twicechicboutique.com
Best Store for Your Favorite Accessories: BOUTIQUETOGO
When your friends ask, “Where did you get that fabulous handbag?” you know exactly what to say. Owner Elena Pascal offers the styles and brands that you just can’t find anywhere else.
522 N. 19th St., Allentown | 610.437.1663 | boutiquetogo.com
Best Gift Shop: Moravian Book Shop
Finding the right gift for that special someone won’t be hard in this eclectic shop brimming with books, indigenous knick-knacks and a yummy candy counter! And rumor has it that there will be another location next year!
428 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.866.5481 | moravianbookshop.com
Best Bridal Boutique: Bridals by Sandra
Most Lehigh Valley brides say “I do” to a trip to Sandra’s right after they get that ring. It’s the area’s source for all things bridal.
56 East Lawn Rd., Nazareth | 610.759.5156 | bridalsbysandra.com
Best Place to Buy Unique Home Décor: Gail Gray Home Furnishings and Design
It's an inspirational showroom for the home you aspire to have.
The Pomenade Shops at Saucon Valley | 484.223.3301 | gailgrayhome.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Salon for Women’s Cut & Color: ReVive!
“ReVive” isn’t just a name, it’s way of doing business for Amanda Lenz. Her salon in South Whitehall Township specializes in glamorizing and galvanizing clients worn weary by the stresses of everyday life. “We have created a warm and inviting atmosphere, with the intention of having a safe haven for our clients to retreat to,” says Lenz. Clients (ReVive caters to both men and women) can expect to be pampered while they’re primped, with an array of refreshments and bonus extras, like complimentary paraffin hand treatments. And Lenz makes sure she and her staff always bring their “A” game: “All of our stylists continue their education through monthly classes,” she says.
3900 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 484.664.2929 | reviveloveshair.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Waxing There and Everywhere & Best Eyebrow Artist: Skinterest
A facial faux pas? It happens. A well-intentioned hairdo, turned hair don’t? Been there, done that. But…of all the possible beauty-related mishaps, is there anything more unfortunate, more wince-inducing, than a waxing gone wrong? If a past experience has driven a wedge between you and the waxing table, put your fears to rest at Skinterest in Easton. Partners Catrian Schutzer and Chelsea Cornelius say they’ve heard all the horror stories, so they pride themselves on making the experience as enjoyable as possible.
And if it’s bombshell brows that you seek, Schutzer can help with that, too, having also won in the Best Eyebrow Artist for On-Point Brows category. Schutzer says she was born to shape eyebrows. It’s a skill she first picked up in middle school, when she worked her magic on her friends with a pair of mini-tweezers, and perfected over time.
11 N. 3rd St., Easton | 610.258.1702 | skinterestskincare.com
Best Salon for the Perfect Mani-Pedi Experience: Evolve Salon & Spa
Indulge in their signature Aveda nail treatments infused with aromatherapy—go ahead, you deserve it.
The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley 610.791.7700 | evolvesalonspa.com
Best Makeup Artist to Have You Feeling Runway Ready: Makeup by Roxy
Go for gorgeous for any occasion with Roxy and her professional team of mobile makeup artists.
484.764.1769 | makeupbyroxy.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Hair Stylist to Make You Feel Like a Million Bucks: Jayson Morgan
Best Men’s Haircut: J.Morgan Salon & Home
We’re not surprised that this fab salon and its owner, Jayson Morgan, received twice the recognition this year, as all their stylists have had the chance to learn from the best.
252 Spring Garden St., Easton | 610.258.3480 | jmorgansalon.com
Best Facial for Radiant Skin: The Skin Clinic Wellness & Waxing Boutique
Where dull and dry skin meets its match. Radiate youth and health with their ultra-pampering facials for women, men and teens.
76 N. 4th St., Easton | 610.515.9038 | skinclinicpa.com
Best Men’s Shave to Keep It Tidy: American Male
Yes, guys want to look great, too! To get it, they go to American Male for the best-quality grooming experience keeping them feeling great and looking even better.
316 E. 3rd St., Bethlehem | 610.625.4053 | americanmale.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Seasonal Farmers’ Market: Easton Farmers’ Market
Just the longest-running farmers’ market in the country! Come to Easton Centre Square on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons in spring and fall.
Centre Square, Easton | eastonfarmersmarket.com
Best Roadside Farm Stand: Scholl Orchards
This family-owned orchard has it all, from produce, flowers, to apple cider—just take your pick!
3057 Center St., Bethlehem | schollorchards.com
Best Golf Pro to Help You Work on Your Game: Mark Csencsits, PGA
Get golf-ready with a group or private lesson, and let a pro teach you to shave some points off your average.
Best Public Golf Course to Work on Your Swing: Bethlehem Golf Club
This 18-hole championship golf course will give you all the practice you need to perfect your approach and nail your form.
400 Illicks Mill Rd., Bethlehem 610.691.9393 | bethlehemgc.com
Photo courtesy of Blue Mountain
Best Outdoor Activity: Blue Mountain
Skiing and tubing in the winter, zip lining and mountain biking in the summer—no matter the season, there’s always something exciting happening at Blue Mountain.
1660 Blue Mountain Dr., Palmerton | 610.826.7700 | skibluemt.com
Best Park for Walking/Jogging: Trexler Memorial Park
Embark on a brisk walk or jog along these idyllic, winding pathways.
Best Scenic Bike Trail: D&L Trail
A charming trail that will keep you feeling energized and inspired on that blissful afternoon bike ride.
Best Place to Buy Art: Santa Bannon Fine Art Gallery
Continuously rotating exhibits in all different mediums, this eclectic gallery features works from renowned artists.
Banana Factory | 25 W. 3rd St., Suite 93, Bethlehem | 610.997.5453 | santafineart.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Adult Sports League: Lehigh Valley Sport & Social
Whether you’re hoping to relive your glory days as your high school’s star softball shortstop, or simply to kick back with some friends for a casual round of cornhole, Lehigh Valley Sport & Social invites you to get in the game. Formed in 2008, the adults-only (age requirements are either 18+ or 21+) sports league has grown to nearly 35 leagues and 300 total teams. And there’s no off-season: there are a variety of offerings for athletes of all abilities, all year long.
Best Christmas Tree Farm: Unangst Tree Farms
Whether you chop your own or pick from pre-cut selections, chances are you’ll walk away with the best tree in the batch.
7317 Bethlehem-Bath Pike, Bath 610.837.7531 | unangst-treefarm.com
Best Country Club You Wish You Belonged To: Saucon Valley Country Club
850 acres of unsurpassable social and recreational activities.
2050 Saucon Valley Rd., Bethlehem 610.758.7150 | sauconvalleycc.org
Best Trivia Night: Braveheart Highland Pub
Raise a pint and battle your besties on Tuesday nights with a rousing round of trivia from 8 to 10 p.m. Sláinte!
430 Main St., Hellertown | 610.838.6555 | bravehearthighlandpub.com
Best Place to Stock Up on Stogies: Cigars International
Bold or mild, the variety at CI is sure to please with every puff.
535 Main St., Bethlehem 610.419.2076 | 4078 Nazareth Pike Bethlehem | 484.895.3933 | cigarsinternational.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Cooking Class to Learn New Tricks: Northampton Community College
Ready to conquer a new exotic dish or nail an old favorite? Chances are you'll find a class for it at Northampton Community College. Expand your horizons with Thai food or zesty Irish fare while learning from their top chefs and culinary masters.
3835 Green Pond Rd., Bethlehem | 610.861.5500 | northampton.edu
Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests: Downtown Bethlehem
With its selection of fine restaurants, unique boutiques and historic charm, your guests are not only bound to be impressed, they’re bound to make return visits.
Best Party Caterer: Catering By Karen Hunter
From weddings to birthday parties and everything in between, you know a Karen Hunter-catered affair when you taste one!
107 S. Main St., Coopersburg | 610.770.1300 | karenhuntercatering.com
Photo by Katja Kruppe
Best Culinary Event: Bacon Fest
Bacon cupcakes, bacon cocktails, bacon costumes—this is one big bacon bonanza! After attracting a crowd of nearly 55,000 in 2014, it’s safe to say that Easton’s Bacon Fest has successfully enhanced the cachet of other culinary events, such as the annual Garlic Fest. Who doesn’t love to pig out on high quality “farm-to-table fare” while shopping for crafts in Easton’s historic Centre Square? This year's event will be held November 7 and 8.
Best Romantic Overnight Stay: The Glasbern Inn
Romance rules at this rustic retreat with the picturesque views in nearby Fogelsville.
2141 Pack House Rd., Fogelsville | 610.285.4723 | glasbern.com
Best Pick-Your-Own Orchard: Strawberry Acres
Why settle for anything less than handpicking all your seasonal favorites?
1767 Clear View Rd., Coplay | 610.262.1890 | strawberryacres.com
Best Pumpkin Patch for Fall Festivities: Grim’s Orchard & Family Farms
Bask in the fall season by hopping on a hayride and wandering through the apple orchard.
9941 Schantz Rd., Breinigsville | 610.395.5655 | grimsgreenhouse.com
Best Park to Have A Picnic: Jacobsburg State Park
With miles of rolling terrain, this peaceful and serene park is the perfect place to cozy up on a blanket or hike to your heart’s content.
835 Jacobsburg Rd., Wind Gap | dcnr.state.pa.us
Photo by Ben Stank
Best Local Comedian Who Tickles Your Funny Bone: ManDudeBro
Want a good belly laugh? Then turn to the four talented kings of improv. Each of ManDudeBro’s shows is inspired solely by improvisation, so no two performances they provide are the same! Embark on the weirdest—and funniest—journey you’ll ever experience.
Best Place to Impress Your Date: Bolete
Spoil your date with a six-course chef’s tasting menu, paired with a seasonal cocktail or bottle of wine to top off a truly unforgettable farm-to-table dining experience.
1740 Seidersville Rd., Bethlehem | 610.868.6505 | boleterestaurant.com
Best Annual Charity or Social Event: Miller-Keystone Cruise Aboard the Lifeline
Serving as the only blood provider for 26 hospitals in 12 counties, this independent not-for-profit community organization is dedicated to saving as many lives as possible.
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Concert Venue With the Hottest Acts: Sands Bethlehem Event Center
This conveniently located center has certainly become the place to be and never fails to provide a great backdrop for concert-goers’ Facebook event postings. The Event Center sold over 200,000 tickets to shows in 2014 according to Pollstar. Best of all, this year it will be the site of our own Best of the Lehigh Valley party!
77 Sands Blvd., Bethlehem | 610.297.7400 | sandseventcenter.com
Best Place to Dance & Best Nightclub to See and Be Seen: Vision Bar
And just steps outside the Sands Event Center you will see why its companion venue Vision Bar was crowned the Best Place to Dance and the Best Nightclub to See and Be Seen. If you haven't been there, check out their aerialists on Cirque Saturdays.
77 Sands Blvd., Bethlehem | 610.297.7410 | vision.sandseventcenter.com
Best Venue for Live Theater: State Theatre Center for the Arts
With old-fashioned, classic theater-style décor, rich history and a continuous lineup of various genres of entertainment, you’re bound to find a live show that excites your spirit and ignites your imagination.
453 Northampton St., Easton | 800.999.7828 | statetheatre.org
Best Theatre Group: Civic Theatre
Civic Theatre productions are known for their rich performances and talented actors.
527 N. 19th St., Allentown | 610.432.8943 | civictheatre.com
Best Movie Theater to Watch the Newest Releases: Carmike, Promenade
Comfortable and clean, plus this movie theater comes equipped with state-of-the-art screens, luxury seats and a fresh selection of classic refreshments in the lobby.
The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley | 610.709.8635 | carmike.com
Photo by Jonathan Davies
Best Free Entertainment: ArtsQuest Levitt Pavilion
Music brings people together and it should be enjoyed without a cost. That’s the way philanthropist Mortimer Levitt thought when he founded a national non-profit to provide free concert sites across the county. We are lucky to have one of them right here in Bethlehem.
101 Founders Way, Bethlehem | 610.332.1300 | levittsteelstacks.org
Best Place to Watch an Independent Film & Best Venue to Throw a Big Bash: ArtsQuest
From unconventional indie flicks to foreign film series to the world’s favorite cult classics, this cinematic hot spot has got the hookup for all film buffs wanting to catch the latest movie screenings in the area. Looking to host a large gathering? ArtsQuest also took home the gold for Best Venue to Throw a Big Bash!
101 Founders Way, Bethlehem | 610.297.7100 | artsquest.org
Best Place to Watch the Game: Copperhead Grille
With an abundance of enormous flat screens in place throughout the Copperhead’s two Valley locations, you’ll have the best conditions for watching your sport of choice.
1731 Airport Rd., Allentown | 610.403.4600
5737 Rte. 378, Bethlehem | 610.282.4600 | copperheadgrille.com
Photo by Lori Smith
Best Local TV Personality: Eve Tannery
This girl is as sweet and smart as she is pretty! Tune in mornings to WFMZ’s Channel 69 News at Sunrise to see Eve do her thing!
Best Radio Station: B-104.1
Hit the button for B-104 for all the hits, all the time.
Best Local Radio Personality: Becca and Malone
This time the team of Sam Malone and Becca Lynn walks away with the prize for their lively morning show on Cat Country 96.
Best Festival for People-Watching & Best Food and Beer Festival: Musikfest
While you’re checking out the fest-goers and enjoying that frosty mug keep in mind this is also one of the most prestigious music festivals in the country.
Best Local Musician/Band: Craig Thatcher Band
This is the ultimate feel-good local rock band that really needs no introduction.
Best Singles Scene: The Broadway Social
The social scene for young singles ready to mingle starts here!
217 Broadway, Bethlehem | 610.868.2555 | thebroadwaysocial.com
Best Dive Bar You Hate to Love: Ripper’s Pub
Simple: Jukebox, cold beer and great burgers.
77 W. Broad St., Bethlehem | 610.866.6646
Best Bar Ambiance: The Bookstore Speakeasy
Travel back in time as you sip on Prohibition-era cocktails and soak up the whimsical style of this 1920s speakeasy.
336 Adams St., Bethlehem | 610.867.1100 | bookstorespeakeasy.com
Best Local Blogger: George Wacker
It’s true, this man has a way with words. Check out his blog and chat back at:
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Place to Buy Your Pet a Birthday Gift: The Dining Dog & Friends
Even your pooch would probably agree, there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned, home-cooked meal. The Dining Dog & Friends serves up only the best freshly made treats and dinnertime delights that are whipped up at its on-site bakery and kitchen in Allentown. They’re made with “human” ingredients that are safe for animal consumption. Pet owners even have the option of creating signature, customized diets for their furry friends. With culinary creations such as banana peanut butter cake and meatloaf with applewood smoked bacon, you might catch your mouth watering, too.
3245 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 610.351.9333 | facebook.com/thediningdog
Best Pet Boarding: Cold Nose Lodge
Book a room for your pup in one of their luxury boarding suites, each equipped with a spacious bed for the coziest stay while you’re away.
235 W. Penn Ave., Alburtis | 610.965.3647 | coldnoselodge.com
Best Pet Groomer: Leader of the Pack
Specializing in all grooming needs, your pampered pooch will be treated like royalty in Leader of the Pack’s award-winning grooming salon.
6346 Farm Bureau Rd. | Allentown | 610.366.8282 | lopci.com
Best Daily Pet Service: No Worries Pet Sitting
Behind every busy pet owner, there’s a dependable pet sitter on hand.
908.319.3324 | noworriespet.com
Best Dog Park: Bethlehem Dog Park
Undoubtedly the best cold-nose zone in the area!
259 Illicks Mill Rd., Bethlehem | bethlehem-pa.gov/parks
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Tattoo Shop: The Quillian
Steve Lemak is more than just a tattoo artist. The owner of The Quillian Tattoo in Allentown says he often considers himself an ambassador to anyone exploring the option of getting ink or a piercing, whether that person is a first-time customer or a regular patron. The Quillian has been around since May of 1994; it moved to its present location on N. 19th Street in Allentown two years later. Lemak and his team of artists can boast of an impressive body of work, but, Lemak says, it’s the opinion of the person in his chair that matters most. “It's more important that the owner of the tattoo wears it well, and the tattoo captures their intent,” he says.
614 N. 19th St., Allentown | 610.770.7587 | thequillian.com
Best Place for Special Occasion Flowers: Phoebe Floral & Home Decor
Flowers at the peak of freshness for any occasion.
2102 W. Hamilton St., Allentown | 610.434.9587 | phoebefloral.com
Best Party Planner: Catherine Gretta Affairs of Distinction
Have your party your way, but have Catherine plan your day!
484.764.7819 | catherinegretta.com
Photo Courtesy of LIV.Interiors
Best Interior Designer to Re-Imagine Your Living Space: LIV.Interiors
Sophisticated, cozy, breathtaking: just a few words to describe your newly decorated home once LIV.Interiors gets ahold of it.
60 W. Broad St., Suite 99b, Bethlehem | 610.866.6696 | livinteriorsllc.com
Best Auto Shop for Your Domestic Car: Reph’s Complete Auto Repair, Inc.
Once Reph’s works their magic on your vehicle, you’ll be sure to have them on speed dial.
102 S. 2nd St., Coplay | 610.261.0777 | rephscar.com
Best Auto Shop for Your Foreign Import: JCL Automotive
If you want your beloved BMW or other import brand in good hands while it’s in the shop, choose JCL.
70 Main St., Hellertown 484.851.3390 | jclautomotive.com
Best Person to Call When Your Computer Crashes: Computer Troubleshooters
Thank goodness, the answer to all your technology needs is just one phone call away.
2158 Ave. C, Suite 205, Bethlehem | 610.866.2828 | ctbethlehem.com
Best Wardrobe Alterations: Sew On & So Forth
Because you should never underestimate the power of expertly tailored clothing.
91 E. Broad St., Bethlehem | 610.867.7144
Photo Courtesy of Basement Builders
Best Home Remodeler: Basement Builders
Since 2004, Basement Builders has been remodeling unwelcoming dungeons into beautifully customized finished basements. See them also for whole home transformations for any budget.
4310 W. Saucon Valley Rd., Coopersburg | 610.791.4225 | basementbuilderslv.com
Best Home Repair: Kirk Wagner Home Improvements, Inc.
Your go-to fix it guy for repairs and home improvements of any kind.
2503 Kesslersville Rd., Easton | 610.253.2097
Best Painting and Wallpaper Services: Ryan Amato Painting
All your painting needs, covered.
215 W. Saint Joseph St., Easton | 484.821.7112 | ryanamatopainting.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Jewelry Repair Shop: Timothy Richard Fine Jewelry Design & Repair Studio
Whether it’s your grandfather’s watch or the pearls your wore on your wedding day, the professionals at Timothy Richard know how sentimental a piece of fine jewelry can be so they fix it in house and take the utmost care to see that your family heirloom can be handed down for generations to come.
520 N. 19th St., Allentown | 610.435.2470 | timothyrichardjewelry.com
Best REALTOR: Gail Hoover
Looking to sell your home in record-breaking time and for a great price? With over 20 years experience, Gail’s got your back.
4789 Rte. 309, Center Valley | 610.791.4400 x1953 | gailhoover.com
Best Home and Garden Center: Ross Plants & Flowers
Providing you with a full-service florist, gift shop and retail greenhouse—say hello to the Valley’s top botanical destination.
2704 Rte. 309, Orefield | 610.395.5193 | rossplantsandflowers.com
Best Guy to Mow Your Grass: Rice’s Lawn Service
Keeping lawns looking fresh since 2001.
610.597.1796 | riceslandscape.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Party Place for the Girls: Out of Our Minds Art Studio
There’s nothing like the sight of a child’s little hand and growing mind at work. You’ll find plenty of that going on at the cute, colorful studio with the catchy name in Macungie called Out of Our Minds. Owner Angela Faidley plans a calendar full of fun, artistic activities for boys and girls all year long. You can even explore painting with your child in a Mommy and Me class, or choose from several themed painting-on-canvas options. Faidley also connects the dots with morning and afternoon session options that can be joined to create a full day-camp experience with a lunch period in the middle. All supplies and lunches are included in the class fees. So the next time you ask yourself what you can you do for your little girl’s next birthday or what you’re going to do to keep your creative son busy and happy this summer, you know a colorful and creative option.
65 Lea St., Macungie | 610.762.5694 | faidley.net
Best Party Place for the Boys: BounceU
Because bouncing from one inflatable station to the next makes for the greatest birthday bash ever—and burns off lots of consumed sugar!
3 area locations | bounceu.com
Photo courtesy of Wildlands Conservancy
Best Kids Day Camp: Wildlands Conservancy
Get ready to explore the outdoors and soak up the summer all season long while learning about environmental stewardship. This summer’s camps will be held at Monocacy Park and Pool Wildlife Sanctuary and are among the most popular camp options offered by Wildlands Conservancy. From toddlers to teens, each camp offers an experience as unique as every child!
3701 Orchid Pl., Emmaus | 610.965.4397 | wildlandspa.org
Photo by Elaine Wyborski
Best Family Friendly Afternoon Outing: Lehigh Valley Zoo
Spend a day with the fam running wild and visiting exciting exhibits at this 29-acre local treasure.
5150 Game Preserve Rd., Schnecksville | 610.799.4171 | lvzoo.org
Best Kids Clothing Store: Dreyus Kids
Brand name trends from around the world, all packed under one roof.
22 N. 3rd St., Easton | 610.829.8022 | dreyuskids.com
Best Kids' Consignment Shop: Bears Repeating
With high-quality resale children’s clothes, toys and furniture at such affordable prices, you will keep coming back again and again.
7617 Hamilton Blvd., Trexlertown 610.398.7187 | bearsrepeatingpa.com
Best Baby Boutique: Ju-Ju Monkey
Specializing in cloth diapering and healthy natural baby care.
4755 W. Tilghman St. | Allentown | 484.809.9662 | ju-jumonkey.com
Best Childcare: Career Institute of Technology Tech Tykes Early Learning Center
Where professional childcare meets hands-on education.
5335 Kesslersville Rd., Easton | 610.258.2857 | citvt.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Catching up with Shane Burcaw
Since learning about him last year just before we rolled out our first-ever Best of the Lehigh Valley issue, we have been big fans of the founder of Laughing at My Nightmare, Shane Burcaw. His Bethlehem-based organization raises awareness of and funds for those afflicted with muscular dystrophy and its spectrum of diseases. It seemed only natural at the time that we would donate the proceeds from our Best of the Lehigh Valley event to Laughing at My Nightmare because Shane is certainly the BEST at inspiring people to approach even life’s most difficult challenges with humor.
This year, we were excited to tell Shane that a portion of the proceeds from future BOLV events would go to Laughing at My Nightmare, and we asked him to indulge us with some updates on what he has been up to since graduating from Moravian College and starting his career as a writer last year.
Since graduating from Moravian, you started blogging for The Morning Call. What has that experience been like?
The Morning Call has been amazing to work with! They are in full support of helping me share my story. And I’ve seen tremendous results. One of my articles was picked up by The Huffington Post and went viral, which was awesome. Whenever I leave my house, it seems that a stranger who reads my columns approaches me. I’m so thankful that The Morning Call has been such a receptive host for my story.
What do you miss about college?
The daily cheese fries. Also, seeing my friends every day. But mostly the cheese fries.
Your book, Laughing at My Nightmare, has been shortlisted for an Excellence in Non-Fiction Award from the American Library Association. That has to be incredibly rewarding for you. How did you feel when you heard that news and what new books might you have in the works?
I didn’t know what the award was at first, honestly, but once several people told me it was a “big deal,” I realized what an honor it was. This whole journey with my first book has been incredibly eye-opening, as I learn the ins and outs of the publishing industry. I love it. I’m currently working on a new book—fiction—but it’s still very early in that process.
Who is the most interesting person your career has introduced you to this year?
My brilliant, hilarious, talented and beautiful
girlfriend, Anna, whom I met at one of my speaking engagements that she attended.
What has the last year been like at Laughing at My Nightmare?
We’ve been crazy busy! Every day is a new adventure. We recently launched a new program called No More Nightmares, which helps people with muscular dystrophy get the medical and adaptive technology they need. We completed the first grant under this program a few weeks ago, purchasing a specialized bed for a young girl with congenital muscular dystrophy in Hellertown. We also have our third annual 5k coming up on June 20. You can register to run on our website, laughingatmynightmare.com.
What does the year ahead look like for you?
I’m trying to see how many speaking engagements I can fill my calendar with before my brain explodes. We have some exciting speeches coming up in Boston and San Francisco!
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love traveling. My girlfriend and I recently went on a little trip to Ocean City, Maryland and Virginia Beach. It was terribly cold, but we had a great time.
Who inspires you in your own life?
Recently, my brother has been discovering his passions for environmental conservation and biology during his second year at Lock Haven University. Watching him grow from a high school kid with no idea what he wanted to do, to hearing him tell me with excitement about his plans to go on to grad school after undergrad has inspired me to always keep following my passions.
Who is your comedic hero?
I’m a big fan of Steven Wright. I love his dry humor and wittiness.
Three things people don’t know about me are...?
One, I like my coffee with extra cream and sugar, and I always start my morning with one cup of coffee, followed by a cup of tea. Two, I’m determined to attempt stand-up comedy some day. Three, my favorite sport is soccer. I’m a big fan of the Philadelphia Union.
Meet Shane and help raise funds for Laughing at My Nightmare by attending Cirque du Style
June 18 | 6–9 p.m. | Sands Bethlehem Event Center | Tickets $30 at lehighvalleystyle.com
By Amy Unger, Lisa J. Gotto & Rachel Fernandez