ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Plans for a new center city restaurant were shared with Allentown City Council Wednesday night, which helped the project along by unanimously approving an inter-municipal liquor license transfer for it.
The unnamed establishment will be at 612 Hamilton St., which is known as the Schoen's building.
It was described as an upscale, American bistro restaurant ---"American cuisine with some European inspirations" – by Atty. Theodore Zeller, who represented the owners before City Council.
But he also said it will "not have that type of polish" as the Cosmopolitan restaurant in center city or Melt in Upper Saucon Township's Promenade shopping complex.
Zeller said it's going to be a place "where a suit like me is going to be very comfortable or a guy wearing a Phantoms jersey also is going to be comfortable."
He promised the restaurant will be family friendly and "one of the most attractive restaurant spaces we have downtown."
The owners were identified as Brown Brothers Restaurant Group, LLC, of Allentown.
Jeff Brown, co-owner of the business, told council: "We're excited to be a part of the downtown revitalization. The restaurant's an important part of this puzzle. We're looking forward to moving forward."
Brown told council he would love for the restaurant could be completed by Sept.1, "but we're not rushing it. It's more important that we get everything right."
He later indicated if the place can't open before winter, the opening might be delayed until next spring.
The interior was been gutted and "is far from a fit out," Zeller told council.
He noted the direction those interior plans take will depend on the place getting a liquor license.
Zeller said only 15 of the restaurant's 225 seats will be at the bar.
He estimated the business will be at least 60 percent food, 40 percent alcohol sales.
"I like the idea that you only have 15 bar seats," said council member Daryl Hendricks. "I think it will be a great asset to the downtown."
Council vice president Ray O'Connell thanked the family for investing in Allentown, adding: "I look forward to stopping in your restaurant. I will take one of those bar seats."
An additional 40 seats will be outdoors in nice weather, said the lawyer.
No one opposed the license transfer during a public hearing that was held before council approved it.
If the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board approves the inter-municipal transfer application, the license will come from the Beef House, Inc., 1358 Catasauqua Road in Bethlehem.
Zeller said the restaurant will be open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays but may stay open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. He said there will be no live music.
He said a parking lot with public green space will be next to the building and more parking is behind it.
The restaurant will be on the street level of the building, which Brown said his family owns. He later said tenants on the upper levels will be Trifecta Technologies and Shane Patrick Associates, a construction management firm.