Spending most of his childhood working in his father's Bethlehem pizzeria, at 12 years old Domenico “Mimmo” Lombardo aspired to one day transform a bank into a restaurant. And so he has.
To help his son achieve his childhood dream, Stefano Lombardo, owner of Stefano’s Pizzeria, in 2011 bought the vacant Bank of America on 12th and West Broad streets in Bethlehem and turned it over to his son.
Today, Domenico Lombardo is the owner and executive chef of what is now The Mint Gastropub, a restaurant that has become a popular spot in the three years since opening. Recently, it unveiled a remodel that includes echo-resistant partitions to reduce noise and more bar seating.
“I find it beneficial to let my guests know that I am constantly reinvesting in my business and always searching for a cooler and interesting way to do things,” Lombardo said. “This is a living, and not just a honey pot.”
He closes the Gastropub each August during Musikfest, the annual 10-day music festival in Bethlehem. Instead of vacationing during that time, Lombardo instead had the restaurant remodeled.
The 3,000-square-foot restaurant seats 108 inside, including the bar, and 24 outside. There also is an outside lounge off the bar that seats a few more.
The bar initially had 13 seats, and with the remodel, seven were added. In addition, four draft beers were added, and an update to the bathroom doors and host stand was included in the new look.
“It still has an eclectic interior,” Lombardo said. “But, I wanted to warm up the bar a bit; I’m calling it a modern saloon look.”
Because he wanted to retain most of the original structure of the bank, the restaurant has marble floors, big glass windows, stone walls and a hard ceiling.
And with that come noise and echo. So a partition coated with acoustic tile was added to divide the dining room from the bar.
In addition to the remodel, the restaurant is debuting its fall menu and new bar menu this week, Lombardo said.