If you find yourself wondering where the greens from your salad came from or the chicken on your plate was raised, and would prefer them to be sustainable, here are five cool Lehigh Valley restaurants for local food.
by Carrie Havranek
We are lucky here in the Lehigh Valley, with a robust Buy Fresh Buy Local program, dozens of small farms dotting the landscape for 100 miles in any direction, and a growing sense that it’s important to know where your food comes from. This spans the gamut, from the fast-casual BurritoWorks, the Mex-American arm of the Fegley family’s BrewWorks, to vibrant farm-to-table restaurants such as Bolete or Flow. We have many road stands and small markets selling fresh produce that’s been as minimally messed with as possible, not treated with pesticides even if it’s not “organic,” as that certification takes years and is costly. Without further ado, here are five cool places for local food.
1. Glasbern Inn, Fogelsville
The Glasbern has been working at this farm-to-table effort for a while now, and most of the food you will eat either as an overnight guest, wedding attendee (they do lots of weddings here—the grounds are beautiful), or a diner in their main dining room or pub, comes from the farm onsite. They raise Berkshire pigs, Scottish highland cattle, free-range chickens and Katahdin sheep. The Glasbern’s farm is not certified organic but its practices are in keeping with the principles behind organic by remaining pesticide, herbicide, hormone, and antibiotic free. 2141 Pack House Road, Fogelsville; 610-285-4723.
2. Horns, Bethlehem
Late last summer, Horns opened its doors to reveal a rustic looking interior. Chalkboards line the walls, detailing the provenance of its menu ingredients, along with a glossary of key terms that illuminate its mission: serve local, sustainable and/organic food, whenever humanly possible. Walk up to the counter, place your order and take a seat at one of the long wooden tables. There’s plenty to choose from right now that’s local and delicious, whether that’s cheese and yogurt from Klein Farms in Easton, beef and poultry from Indian Ridge in Lancaster, seasonal greens from the Seed Farm in Emmaus, from Hedrick Family Farms, and more. Whatever you order, don’t forget to quench your thirst with the herb-infused lemonade. 123 West Fourth Street, Bethlehem; 610-867-5818.
3. Jumbars, Bethlehem
A neighborhood favorite, Jumbars is known for its delicious jam, grilled sticky buns, and all kinds of scrumptious breakfast (and lunch) fare served in a bright, friendly setting. And Jumbars, a vendor at the Historic District Market, buys as much local food as possible. Manager Emily Hoffert says food is sourced from Padula’s Potatoes in Bath, and purchase sour cherries, peaches, and apples from Scholl Orchards. “I shop at local farmer’s markets as often as I can once we get into the full swing of the growing season,” she says. They’re part of Bethlehem’s summer restaurant week promotion, running through June 30. 1342 Chelsea Avenue, Bethlehem; 610-866-1660.
This new-ish restaurant (opened in November) serves authentic Italian fare the way it’s eaten in Italy: with fresh, seasonal ingredients that are (mostly) sourced close to home (you can’t compete with San Marzano tomatoes, though, says chef Mike Joyce, so those are always going to be imported for sauce.) Look for ricotta cheese from Keepsake Farm in Nazareth on the crostini appetizer, and greens and watercress come from Lettuce Alone in Breinigsville. Liberty Gardens in Cooperburg supplies spring onions, beets, garlic, tomato, zucchini flowers, turnips, herbs, and more greens. In the near future, you can expect pork from Breakaway Farms and chicken eggs and livers from Happy Farm. Everything else they can make from scratch (foccacia, pasta, gelato, sorbetto), they do. Molinari’s, 322 East Third Street, Bethlehem; 610-625-9222.
5. Two Rivers Brewing Company, Easton
If you haven’t been to Easton in a while, you’re in for a real treat, especially in about two months. That’s when the doors to the former Mt. Vernon Ale House at 6th and Northampton Streets, which have been shuttered since 2004, will open up to reveal a lovingly restored brewery and farm-to-table restaurant serving gourmet gastropub fare. (The brewery part will come a little bit later but there will be beer, don’t worry!). Troy and Cathy Reynard (of the Cosmic Cup), along with longtime friends Brad and Judy Nelson, bought the property at a sheriff’s sale and have been sinking time and money into the project ever since. “We feel if we are asking people to drink our locally produced beer, we have an obligation to pair that beer with local food,” says Troy Reynard. You can expect produce from Reeder Farms in Easton; pork, beef, and eggs from Breakaway Farms; and goat dairy goodness from Cranberry Creek Farm in Cresco. Bacon lovers, you’ve been warned: there will be a bacon board. 542 Northampton Street, Easton; no phone yet.
Where is your favorite place to go out for a locally-sourced meal?