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Restaurant opens in The Gateway building; rooftop dining slated for spring

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(Contributed)
A view from the corner lounge at Zest Bar and Grille, a restaurant with a rooftop seating area that recently opened in South Bethlehem.
(Contributed) A view from the corner lounge at Zest Bar and Grille, a restaurant with a rooftop seating area that recently opened in South Bethlehem.

A restaurant with space for rooftop dining opened last week in a $20M office complex.

The creators of Grille 3501 in South Whitehall Township opened a second restaurant, Zest Bar and Grille, occupying 5,500 square feet on the sixth floor of The Gateway at Greenway Park, 306 South New St. in Bethlehem.

Anthony Trapani, manager, said the restaurant opened Jan. 2 for dinner only, starting at 4 p.m. but will begin adding lunch hours, which start at 11 a.m., on Jan. 14.

“Overall, we feel pretty good about how it’s going the first week,” Trapiani said.

Zest offers what Trapiani describes as New American cuisine, with interior seating for about 240 people and 290 seats once the outdoor dining area opens on the rooftop. Trapiani said it should open in the spring, weather permitting.

From there, guests can view the Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces at SteelStacks, the Hill-to-Hill and Fahy bridges and other areas of the city’s Southside.

“Just having that view from the sixth floor was a key,” Trapiani said. “We feel it was the right time to open a second location.”

A 600-space parking deck connected by a multiple-story glass walkway also proved critical in choosing the site. Trapiani said the restaurant validates parking for patrons.

Trapani, a Lehigh University graduate, is hoping to capitalize on business from students and faculty at the nearby college and potentially hire students looking for work.

So far, the restaurant has 55 employees.

Trapani’s father, John Trapani, is the owner, and John “JP” Pukanecz is executive chef/owner.

The food is similar to the Grille 3501 menu and includes appetizers, seasonal salads, entrees and desserts, plus a variety of beer and wine.

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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