Lehigh Valley

Emmaus restaurant named one of top 100 brunch spots in America

EMMAUS, Pa. - A Lehigh Valley restaurant has a prestigious honor to add to its menu.

Emmaus' 187 Rue Principale was named one of the 100 best brunch spots in the country by OpenTable.

"You can close your eyes and point to something on the menu and it will be good," customer Frank Mastroianni said.

"They have French toast. Really good stuff on the menu," customer Gail Boyd added.

Ten million reviews on 24,000 restaurants nationwide were considered.

"To have a good brunch have to have both breakfast and lunch items that are interesting to a wide variety of people," owner Mitzy Cullen said.

Cullen said the menu includes lamb burgers, crepes and a good cup of coffee.

"All of our coffee is French press," she said.

The three-year-old French-inspired restaurant is just one example of options now on the menu for Lehigh Valley foodies.

From Emmaus to Easton, Bethlehem and Allentown, Michael Drabenstott explores the Lehigh Valley food scene in his monthly NPR radio show, "The Inside Dish."

"The number of restaurants has exploded, the variety of restaurants has exploded," he said.

Drabenstott was on 69 News at Sunrise: Weekend Edition back in January.

"I think people are realizing there's a lot more flavors they can explore," he said.

Lehigh Valley chef Heather Williams came in second on Hell's Kitchen. She is one of three local chefs to be on the national cooking show.

French restaurant Bolete has won numerous awards and has also been named as a top 100 restaurant by OpenTable.

The food scene also extends well past restaurants in the Lehigh Valley.

"We are living in one of the most fertile areas in the country. The soil here is just great," Drabenstott said.

Leah Nichols is the director of dining services at Rodale, which pushes for organic, sustainable, grown food.

"We've got people roasting coffee, cambuchia, jams, jellies, anything you can think of you can find locally," she said.

Nichols said 85% of Rodale's food needs can be bought locally, compared to just 25 percent five to 10 years ago.

At 187 Rue, where 80 percent of its food is local, the latest results are a taste of success.

"It's real because I know the patrons did appreciate what they received here," Cullen added.

Bon appétit.

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