Lehigh Valley

Two new South Whitehall restaurants to open this fall

Caramel Café & Wine Bar and Moe's Southwest Grill will set up shop in township

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - Food aficionados in South Whitehall Township will have the chance to sample offerings from two new eateries by this fall.

On Wednesday night, South Whitehall Commissioners voted unanimously to grant owner John Ross an inter-township liquor license transfer, which paves the way for the restaurateur to open the planned Caramel Café and Wine Bar at 3750 Hamilton Boulevard, across the street from Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom.

The 8,000 square foot space is the site of the former Mangos Coastal Cuisine, which closed its doors in November of  2012.

Ross said he will transform 5,700 square feet of the space into a 180-seat modern Mediterranean restaurant offering small and large tasting plates, an eclectic mix of foods and wine served by the glass, bottle or for tasting.

Thirty percent of the restaurant's sales will come from alcohol, according to attorney Mark Kosar, who addressed supervisors during the brief liquor license transfer hearing. The liquor license was transferred to South Whitehall Township from the city of Allentown and awarded to Ross, contingent on the $479.50 fee.

Ross owns and operates Caramel Café and Wine Bar locations in Warrington, Bucks County and Wayne, Delaware County.

Founded in Tampa, Fla., the wine bar's co-founder is Chris T. Sullivan, one of the founders of Outback Steakhouse.

Ross said the property will undergo "substantial renovation" before opening this fall. The restaurant will create about 50 new jobs.

Ross said he hopes to sub-lease the remaining 2,300 square feet of the building to an entity that will use it mainly in the daytime, since his restaurant will operate mostly during evening hours.

 Moe's Southwestern Grill to offer BYOB policy

Moe's Southwestern Grill, a popular Mexican food franchise, will offer a bring-your-own alcohol policy to its planned location at the Tilghman Street Shopping Center at 4650 Broadway.

South Whitehall Commissioners approved the extension of a preliminary/final approval Wednesday night to a land development plan for the new Moe's franchise, which will be located between the AMC Theater and the newly-built Univest Bank building.

Franchisee Yogesh Patel, who operated the Moe's Southwest Grill at 3211 Schoenersville Road in Bethlehem, said he is hopeful the restaurant will be open for business between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thirty employees are planned to staff the eatery.

Patel said the 4,100 square foot location will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and patrons will be allowed to bring their own alcoholic beverages into the restaurant, something that isn't currently allowed at the Bethlehem location.

Patel said he plans additional Moe's restaurants in the Lehigh Valley, including one in either Easton or Phillipsburg, N.J.

He said a fourth could be opened on Hamilton Boulevard in South Whitehall, near Dorney Park, depending on the business success of the other locations.

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