The Morning Call (Sunday)
Good Jakes, good timing
Savor Greek specialties, other international fare at new Coopersburg restaurant
Tuesday is National Baklava Day, and whether you’re craving the decadent flaky pastry or another Greek treat such as a gyro or spinach pie, a new Coopersburg restaurant has you covered.
Good Jakes, which opened a few months ago at 13 S. Main St., offers a wide variety of American and international fare, including burgers, brick-oven pizza, Philly cheesesteaks and eggplant Parmesan with spaghetti.
The full-service restaurant is owned and operated by Greek-born Angelo Loucareas, a chef with nearly 40 years of culinary experience, specializing in Mediterranean dishes like jumbo shrimp stuffed with crab meat and other seafood platters.
Loucareas began his career as a restaurateur in 1982 on the Greek island of Rhodes. Over the next couple of decades, he also operated restaurants in the United States — first in Connecticut and then in Florida. Good Jakes is his 13th dining establishment.
“Our food is made-from-scratch using authentic ingredients, including olive oil from my hometown in Greece and oregano from my current home garden in Springtown,” Loucareas said.
Loucareas, who also teaches tennis on the side, is connected to Coopersburg through his life partner, Brenda Gutshall Kotroutsos, a Springtown native and direct descendant of George Bachman, one of Coopersburg’s early settlers, who owned the former Seven Star Hotel on the same borough site in the 1700s.
Kotroutsos handles bookings for Good Jakes’ musical acts, typically
performing on Sundays, and she also sings with her own band, Waterfront Blue.
The restaurant is connected to the Coopersburg Fire Company Social Quarters, a private club featuring a full bar and pool tables, with proceeds from the rented dining space benefiting the fire company, Kotroutsos said. Customers also may order drinks from the club once they are signed in as guests.
“If you support the restaurant, you’re also supporting the fire company,” she added.
Good Jakes, offering catering, takeout and delivery (through Grubhub), is named after the moniker given to early 20th century New England firefighters, who stayed cool under pressure while using street-corner alarm boxes to send fire-related Morse code messages via a telegraph system. The term is derived from “J-Key,” stemming from the military J-Series telegraph keys that many World War I veterans-turned-firefighters were familiar with using.
Menu highlights include such appetizers as macaroni and cheese bites, fried pickles, pierogies and pizza fries; salads including Greek, grilled chicken, meat lovers and tuna; hot sandwiches like crab cake, chicken Parmesan, California cheesesteaks and fish filet paninis; and dinners such as broiled haddock, fried clams, fish and chips and ziti with meatballs.
Good Jakes, which offers outdoor dining on a porch or in a tent in the parking lot, is open noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Info: 484-720-0004; goodjakes.com.
More foodie finds
Staying on the topic of new restaurants, Dublin Pub & Grill, an Irish pub serving shepherd’s pie and other tastes of the Emerald Isle, will open 3 p.m. Monday at 394 N. Broad St. Ext. in Upper Nazareth Township, according to owner Sean Gall. The building previously housed other restaurants, including Mivajo’s and, most recently, Stonewood Tavern.
Gall, a Nazareth native, has more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, including bartending gigs at Lehigh Valley establishments such as the old Crocodile Rock Cafe and Sterling Hotel in downtown Allentown, The Pub on Main in Macungie and Madeline’s in Fogelsville.
“There’s pizza everywhere,” said Gall, a 1989 graduate of Nazareth Area High School. “I thought there was a need for a nice, quaint and homey Irish pub — a place where everyone’s welcome!”
Dublin will serve Irish dishes such as battered-to-order fish and chips, shepherd’s pie (traditional and vegan) and Irish nachos, featuring fried potato wedges, shredded corned beef brisket and house-made beer cheese.
Other menu highlights will include such appetizers as Bavarian pret-
zel bites and battered-on-site calamari, specialty burgers and cheesesteaks, tater tots with various toppings and entrees including black diamond steak and hot open-face turkey and roast beef platters.
A bar will serve a variety of wines, cocktails and beer, including draft selections from popular Irish breweries such as Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s and local producers like Funk, Saucony Creek and Weyerbacher.
Gall, whose grandmother was born in Ireland before moving to Northampton, overhauled the Upper Nazareth building to include an open-concept layout and newly painted facade. A former takeout area is being converted into a children’s arcade, expected to debut within a month.
Other entertainment will include 10 televisions, a jukebox and live weekly programming, including trivia and open mic nights. Info: 610-759-0760.
Speaking of pubs finding new life, Seemsville Pub& Grille, which temporarily closed in March 2019 following a destructive fire, will reopen Nov. 24 in a newly constructed building on the same 3819 Seemsville Road property in Allen Township, the owners announced in a post on the business’ Facebook page.
The pub, offering 16 draft beers, 30 televisions and pub fare such as burgers, cheesesteaks, chicken wings and nachos, opened in October 2017 in a 19th century building that over the past few decades also has housed other bars and restaurants, including the Seemsville Inn, Seemsville Tavern and Old Carriage Tavern.
It’s operated by husband and wife Michael and Seham Hanna, who also run the 9-year-old 1760 Pub N Grille in Trexlertown with another restaurateur family.
The new pub, with seating for around 100 customers, will offer a rectangular bar (seating temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions) and a menu very similar to its original one, with additions including a “BBQ trio” ($21), featuring a half rack of ribs, an 8-ounce chicken breast and three grilled shrimp with signature barbecue sauce and two sides; and a 12-inch, lightly fried “monster taco” ($10) featuring seasoned
beef or chicken. Info: 610-837-1442.
Another delicious tidbit: XGOLF Lehigh Valley, a 10,000-square-foot golf-themed sports bar and family entertainment center, is expected to open in February or March at 80 Kunkle Drive in Palmer Township, according to a news release.
The building previously housed a handful of restaurants, including Don Pablo’s Mexican Kitchen, Tilted Kilt and, most recently, TheCaskTaphouse
XGOLF Lehigh Valley, featuring seven golf simulators with state-of-theart technology, is part of a national franchise, XGOLF America, that’s being brought to the Lehigh Valley by franchise owners Robert and Robin Barlow.
Founded in 2015, the Los Angeles company has 25 locations, each featuring golf simulator bays with automatic ball feeders, high-definition projectors, high-performance 3-D graphics, preci
sion sensor systems, sophisticated swing analysis and 93 of the world’s most popular golf courses.
The Palmer location will feature a 40-seat bar with 18 draft beers and televisions. Golf lessons, leagues, club fitting and open play will be available.
It will follow the debut of another area golf-centric venue, The Sweet Spot, which opened last year at 2805 Lehigh St. in Allentown.
Also in the Easton area, Green Via Co. Downtown, specializing in organic cold-pressed juices, smoothies and more, is expected to be up and running in the Easton Public Market in early January, my colleague Jennifer Sheehan recently reported.
It is the second venture for Jackie and Wilson Rueda, of Bangor. The duo owns Green Vida Co., the flagship that opened in 2018 in Bangor, and then moved in 2019 to Forks Township.
The market venue will be a smaller
version of their Forks location, offering many of their most popular items including signature organic cold-pressed juices and nut milks; smoothies and smoothie bowls; and salads. They’ll also make signature toasts, such as The Avocado Toast, breakfast sandwiches made with local pastured eggs and vegan and gluten-free items.
I’ll finish with a couple of plant businesses that are taking root in the Lehigh Valley.
First, The Curious Plantaholic, a plant shop and boutique specializing in locally sourced houseplants and carnivorous plants, on Oct. 30 held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Nazareth Economic Development Commission at 45 E. Belvidere St. in Nazareth.
Owner Jennifer DeLorenzo, of Moore
Township, has loved plants since an early age as she did not always have a stable home and plants helped her feel more comfortable, according to a message on the business’ website.
At her new shop, she sells more than 50 varieties of houseplants, including alocasia black velvet, cala the a white fusion, neon pothos, peperomia “Frost” and pink anthurium. Customers also can shop other plants such as hoyas, succulents and cacti, along with locally made pots, soils and macrame items.
DeLorenzo, who studied environmental science with a focus on conservation in college, is knowledgeable about the different types of soil and environments that are suitable for various plants. Info: 610-905-2495.
Another budding plant business is Steel City Plant Co., offering pet-friendly potted houseplants, soil, gifts, grow lights and “all things necessary to excel at plant parenthood,” according to a news release.
Clark Home Group, known for its award-winning brands Domaci and Christmas City Shoppe, will provide Steel City Plant Co., founded by Bethlehem native Angela DelGrosso, with access to a network of national suppliers already cultivated by owners Derrick and Warren Clark.
Initially, Steel City Plant Co. is operating as a three-week, pop-up shop, selling items Thursdays through Sundays in November at Downtown Bethlehem Association’s “Christmas Huts on Main” in historic Bethlehem.
Plans are in the works for a future brick-and-mortar partnership with Clark Home Group’s Domaci Flea brand, which features vintage home goods and curiosities.
“It was a growing frustration, as a plant parent, to have such limited access to plants,” said DelGrosso, who also serves as senior vice president of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce. “From Bethlehem, it could take 25 to 30 minutes to get to the nearest greenhouse, which sometimes wouldn’t even have potting soil, and definitely didn’t have decorative pots.” Info: steelcityplantco.com.
Retail Watch, appearing every weekend, keeps track of retail and restaurant news in the Lehigh Valley. Contact Ryan Kneller at 610-820-6597 or firstname.lastname@example.org.