New restaurant bringing zest to south Bethlehem


Fine dining with a view to match is just one reason a local restaurateur chose to open a new location in Bethlehem.

Zest Bar and Grill is one of the new hot spots in the Lehigh Valley.

It's hard to tell what type of dining experience you're in for when you exit the elevator and head into Zest for the first time. Once inside, you can see why this one of the best views in the Lehigh Valley.

The restaurant is located on the rooftop of 306 South New Street in South Bethlehem.

Owner John Trapani says that wasn't the original plan.

"First we were looking at the first floor, and then we came and I'm like I've got to do it upstairs," Trapani said.

Trapani also owns Grill 3501 in South Whitehall, and he says views like this may enhance the dining experience of Zest, especially heading into the summer months. In one direction you see the SteelStacks, another the Hill to Hill bridge.

The staff is hoping customers don't get lost in the view high above the Christmas City. The food has been creating a buzz as well, with innovative ingredients and eye-catching presentations.

"Presentation is huge. Some plates are built a lot higher to get peoples' attention walking through the dining room to entice other guests that wouldn't normally order that to try it," Chef Justin Cogan said.

Cogan says a must-try dish, if you dare, is the bone marrow appetizer-bones, roasted, warmed under a broiler, until golden brown and topped with black truffles.

"This is something that is a little out of the comfort zone. Trying to get people involved and try new things," Cogan said.

Other dishes include the cast iron prime strip and the signature dish, sea scallops, a dish so popular the restaurant is currently going through 60 to 70 pounds of scallops a week.

The entree is served with a parmesan risotto, rosemary-lemon vinaigrette, baby arugula, and a burnt onion puree, a dish where the views and food please the eye and palette.

"You feel special because of the views that are presented by the city. I really believe that, big city dining in Bethlehem," Trapani said.

Recommended for you