The Morning Call (Sunday)

Good Jakes, good timing

Savor Greek specialtie­s, other internatio­nal fare at new Coopersbur­g restaurant

- Ryan Kneller

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

and Grill.

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.

Budding businesses

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 retailwatc­h@mcall.com.

 ?? RYAN KNELLER/THE MORNING CALL ?? Good Jakes owner Angelo Loucareas poses with his partner, Brenda Gutshall Kotroutsos, inside the dining room of the newly opened Coopersbur­g restaurant.
RYAN KNELLER/THE MORNING CALL Good Jakes owner Angelo Loucareas poses with his partner, Brenda Gutshall Kotroutsos, inside the dining room of the newly opened Coopersbur­g restaurant.
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 ?? GOODJAKES PHOTOS ?? Good Jakes, offering a variety of American and internatio­nal fare, opened a few months ago at 13 S. Main St. in Coopersbur­g.
GOODJAKES PHOTOS Good Jakes, offering a variety of American and internatio­nal fare, opened a few months ago at 13 S. Main St. in Coopersbur­g.
 ??  ?? Gyros with french fries.
Gyros with french fries.
 ??  ?? Grilled chicken salad.
Grilled chicken salad.
 ?? RYAN KNELLER/THE MORNING CALL ?? 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.
RYAN KNELLER/THE MORNING CALL 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.

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