Category Archives: Food

Bethlehem City Council considers putting the (hot) dogs to sleep

Update: Bethlehem City Council has ruled in favor of a compromise measure regarding street vendors and Easy Weenies. Easy Weenies will be allowed to operate  between the hours of 6am – 4am Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday though Wednesday Easy weenies will be open from 6am – 6pm.

Easy Weenies business license is up for renewal and that will be acted upon at a meeting scheduled for March 20. By all accounts there doesn’t look to be an issue with renewal and it is expected the license will be granted.

There’s trouble sizzling in Bethlehem these days as city council prepares to decide the fate of a popular street vendor. At issue is whether or not the outdoor Easy Weenies hot dog cart should be allowed to continue their late night/early am operations.

Easy Weenies has been catering to the hungry masses on Bethlehem’s Southside for about two years, offering extended late night hours on weekends. Often Easy Weenies remains open as late as 4am due to the demand from customers exiting the area pubs, Lehigh University students and folks heading home from or heading to work. Never one to turn away a hungry patron, owner/chef Michael Hernandez remains open until everyone has been served.

The issue is the fact that the Easy Weenies business license states they can only remain open until 2:30am on weekends. Easy Weenies has been filling late night/early morning bellies for some time without issue until a neighboring business lodged a complaint. The local business finding fault is a nearby pub that bills itself as a place “where fun people meet and party.” But apparently fun people quickly become a lot less fun and the party is over when it involves hot dog vendors.

While I know that rules are rules and I suppose on paper Easy weenies should pack up their cart and move along by 2:30am, I am not sure why the bar has an issue with Easy Weenies operating after they (the bar) have closed their doors for the night. Easy Weenies complements their existing establishment by offering a dining destination once people exit their place of business.

Although I cannot speak for them, I suspect they have a deeper issue with Easy Weenies and may feel that the street vendor is siphoning food sales from their operation throughout the evening. If that is the case then the pub should look into creative forms of competition or a menu change rather than an attempt to shut down a fellow small business person.

Easy Weenies has found a niche market in an area dotted with late night bars and anchored by a major university. I can only imagine the ruckus on the Southside if Easy Weenies were forced to promptly stop serving the large crowds that begin to form shortly before bar closing time and swell by 2:30-3am. Let’s face it, when people go out to drink they become very hungry as the evening draws to a close, and one only needs to look at any diner or WaWa to see that the food and snack business spikes between the hours of around 2am – 4am on weekends.

Easy Weenies provides a benefit to the community at large by offering an option for nourishment to hungry locals returning home after a night of over-indulgence. Being able to grab some late night munchies while walking back to dorms and nearby residences means less folks deciding to get in their cars driving around in search of quick, tasty food. That alone should be a major reason for city council to consider extending Easy Weenies operating hours.

More than a hot dog vendor, Michael Hernandez is an unofficial ambassador on the SouthSide. Each day just before 11am he arrives at his designated spot in front of an abandoned church at 15 W. Fourth Street and begins to set up his mobile cart up for business. The wide expanse of sidewalk and the concrete church steps provide a welcoming natural environment for outdoor dining.

In the past mobile food carts were referred to as push carts but nowadays these sophisticated carts featuring full grills are hauled to their respective locations via trailer hitch and motor vehicles. Michael delivers his cart using his battered but faithful Ford pickup truck.

It takes only a few moments to get everything in place and set up; grill heated, umbrella extended, napkins and condiments ready on the counter and coolers filled with ice and refreshing A-Treat soft drinks.

As the grill is heating up, passersby stop to say hello to Michael and place their orders. It seems like Michael knows everyone, greeting them by name as they walk by or gather around his cart. Functioning as a modern day town square, the locals gather to catch up on the goings on in town and nearby business owners venture over to grab a quick lunch and exchange pleasantries. Michael is never too busy to have a conversation with anyone or to entertain the neighborhood youngsters who appear fascinated by him and his cart. He has even enlisted some of the local children in the past to dress up in “Weenie” costumes and act as enthusiastic mascots, which they in turn find to be a thrilling way to spend a lazy summer day.

I first encountered Easy Weenies last year following a salon appointment at the incredible Eskandalo. I was pondering my afternoon lunch options when I spied Easy Weenies setting up shop across the way. A NY native and lover of street cuisine, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out his offerings. I ordered a couple dogs and feeling daring decided to ask Michael’s suggestion for a topping other than my usual plain with ketchup. He recommended barbeque sauce with cheese whiz, and that has since become my go-to topping.

I didn’t return to Easy Weenies for another 6 weeks, but Michael immediately remembered my order without my saying a word. That’s impressive especially when you consider the amount of customers he serves on a daily basis. I was already sold after the first bite but now I was a fan as well.

Michael and his Easy Weenies hot dog cart provide outstanding street fare in addition to great conversation and a friendly smile which I’ve yet to see fade. He treats all comers with respect and is genuinely interested in what they have to say whether it is local scuttlebutt, sports talk or just shooting the breeze. All are welcome from the homeless and marginalized to the young children or the executive pulling up to the curb in an expensive sedan, he considers everyone equal and worthy of his kindness and time.

Whenever I stop at Easy Weenies, I gain more than an enjoyable and inexpensive lunch or a happy stomach; I witness the purest form of neighborhood and community and while I know I can’t put ketchup or cheese on that, I really wish I could take it to go.

Easy Weenies deserves to be open late and I hope you will sign an online petition that is available here. As of publication the petition is up to 176 signatures with the goal being to get 2000 names. Please take a moment and sign it, he also is circulating a petition from his location in Bethlehem.

The Morning Call has covered the Easy Weenies story and you can read about it here, here and here.

I also want to add that Easy Weenies is not just for carnivores, they also serve delicious veggie dogs and veggie burgers.

Bethlehem City Council is scheduled to address this issue on Tuesday, March 6, 2012

All photographs courtesy Deb Boylan, menu courtesy Easy Weenies

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Starters Pub and Lehigh Valley Rollergirls partner in Dine to Donate event

Great food and the Lehigh Valley Rollergirls are two of my favorite things, now I (and you) have an opportunity to feast on some tasty pub fare while benefitting the LVRG. Dine to Donate is a unique fundraising partnership between local Starter’s Pub chain and the Lehigh Valley Rollergirls. The more you eat, the more you give.

Starting March 1st and continuing through April 30, 2012 stop by any of the three Starter’s Pub locations and grab a bite to eat. Starters will in turn donate a percentage of your total check to the Lehigh Valley Rollergirls. Dine any Sunday thru Thursday and they will donate 10% (excludes alcohol, tax and gratuity) and 5% Friday and Saturday (again excludes alcohol, tax and gratuity). Dine to Donate vouchers cannot be combined with any discount coupons.

You MUST (sorry for shouting, but I want to make sure you hear me) present this voucher upon paying your check. If no voucher is presented the rollergirls will not receive the donation (and that would be a cryin’ shame), so don’t forget to print off a few for yourself and your friends and keep them in your car or wallet, you never know when the urge for some delicious pub grub will come over you.

Starters is a fun sports bar with ample large screen TV’s showing your favorite sporting events, they also have delicious beers on tap and outstanding burgers, sandwiches, wings and fries in addition to many other popular American Pub classics.

Starters has three distinct locations in Bethlehem within easy access of major roadways. Visit the Starters website for locations, menu selections and event information. Now get out there and eat!


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Filed under Dining Out, Food, Lehigh Valley Rollergirls, Out and About, Sports

Deborah Naugle cancer benefit to be held at Fairview Fire Co. February 4th

A benefit concert is slated for Saturday, February 4, 2012 at Allentown’s Fairview Fire Co.  The proceeds from this fundraiser will go toward assisting Deborah Naugle, sister of local music photographer John Bedics.

Deb has been battling stage four cancer which started in her kidneys and has since spread to various parts of her body. Several well known area bands have donated their time to this cause. The bands that are currently slated to perform are:

 

Beyond Eden

Social Call

Charlie Brown & The Notorious Groove

The Birds Of Prey

In addition to live music there will also be food, raffles and a 50/50 drawing. A donation of $5 is requested at the door (that’s only $1 a band).  To learn more about Deb’s story please read the following which was written by her brother John:

Deb Naugle’s Story

Debbie is a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother. She is a beautiful person with a beautiful soul who has been fighting her battle with cancer and this is some of what she has been through since she was diagnosed with cancer.

Deb’s story started in March of 2009 with a cold and abdominal pain. She went to the hospital and after several tests that is when they found a mass on her right kidney.

April of that same year surgeons performed a nephrectomy (kidney removal) and Deb was told that they had gotten everything and she would need no further treatments.

Two weeks later Deb developed a pulmonary embolism and had to be placed on anticoagulant therapy.

August 2010 she developed a cold and pain in her remaining kidney. Doctors performed a series of tests and discovered she had a shadow on her lung.

They recommended she have a biopsy and she discovered she had cancer in her lymphoids.

She received different courses of treatment; the first of which was Interleukin 2 (IL-2) therapy. It is an aggressive form of chemo that requires you to be in the hospital for five days. This treatment is administered every eight hours through a picc line which is inserted through the arm.

Side Effects of this treatment are; weight gain and Reiter’s Syndrome (chills, shakes, nausea dry skin). Treatment was originally supposed to continue for four weeks, but after two weeks Deb was told it was having no effect. The doctors discussed other options.

Deb began taking the chemotherapy drugs Sutent for a year followed by Afinitor which caused severe mouth sores. She later developed a swollen eye and doctors then decided to perform a brain scan. The results of the brain scan showed that the cancer had now metastasized to the brain.  The Oncologist described it as akin to seeds spreading from dandelions.  

Deb is currently receiving radiation treatments that run from Monday to Friday, this course of action will run for three weeks and will conclude on February 6. Then the doctors will evaluate her condition and make a decision on how to proceed.

Several bands are on board for the February 4th benefit as well as many caring individuals who plan on making donations of gift baskets, gift certificates, food and more.

A donation of any kind from your organization will do a world of good for someone who has suffered so greatly for so long. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for anything you can give. Thank you and God bless.

–John Bedics

Donations can be made to Deborah Naugle

PO BOX 4246

Bethlehem, PA 18018

The Fairview Fire Co. is located at 927 S. Seventh St, Allentown, PA18103

John Bedics – Showgun Photography

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ArtsQuest’s Oktoberfest at SteelStacks in pictures

The first annual Arts Quest Oktoberfest has wrapped up for this year. Held at the new SteelStacks campus on the Southside of Bethlehem, this event ran from Sept 29 – Oct. 2 and Oct. 6-9, 2011 and featured a variety of German themed activities, music and of course beer.

Our photographer Joe Robinson did a wonderful job capturing the spirit of the festivities. Enjoy the slideshow and we’ll see you next year at Oktoberfest.

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Copyright All rights reserved by jolemite_99

ArtsQuest: http://www.artsquest.org/

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Filed under Culture, Festivals, Food, Music, Out and About

Allentown’s America on Wheels 4th Annual Jamboree featuring the Lehigh Valley Rollergirls

(Graphic: America on Wheels Museum)

This Saturday, September 17th from 10am – 4pm Allentown’s America on Wheels transportation museum will host their 4th Annual Road Jamboree. This event will kick off with a cruise down historic Hamilton St in Allentown starting from Wert’s Café and arriving at the museum (registration begins 7:30am at Wert’s).

After you finish your cruise along Hamilton, check out the Lehigh Valley Rollergirls who will be distributing information on their upcoming bout, selling derby swag and performing skating demonstrations to the delight of all. Fast cars and rollergirls, what a winning combo!

Be sure to stop by the Hub Cap Café for some ice cream while you are there. Early birds will get the cone, as the first 100 people will receive FREE ice cream. The Hub Cap Café is celebrating their grand opening and the décor is authentic 1950’s soda shop Americana. In addition to your free ice cream cone (if you are one of the lucky 100), why not share an ice cream soda with your honey, or perhaps enjoy a hot dog off their menu. Prices for items range from $1.75 to $5.00 so even the most miserly can afford a date at the Hub Cap Café! Pop a quarter in the 1950’s era jukebox and do the twist to burn off all those delicious goodies you ate at the soda shop counter.

Other activities include a Mack Truck Touch, Fibreglass Technology seminar and events for the children. Dust off your poodle skirt, squeeze into your letterman jacket and we’ll meet you at the Hub Cap Café!

The America on Wheels Museum is located at: 5 N Front St. Allentown, PA 18102

For more information on the 4th Annual Road Jamboree and the Hub Cap Café please visit the America on Wheels Website: http://www.americaonwheels.org/visit/hubcapcafe.html

Wert’s Café is located at 515 N. 18th St. Allentown, PA 18104   http://www.wertscafe.com/

Lehigh Valley Rollergirls: www.lehighvalleyrollergirls.com

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