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Easton riding restaurant boom

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 04 2013 05:54:58 AM CST

Easton restaurant boom

EASTON, Pa. -

Looking for a bite to eat? If so, you might want to check out Easton. The city's restaurant boom is getting even bigger.

The Super Bowl marks a yearly tradition at Pearly Baker's Ale House.

"This is the 18th annual chili cookoff," said manager Josh Vogel.

The crowds packed in Sunday, but they didn't always come. Downtown Easton was dead when Pearly's opened here two decades ago.

"Nada, there was nothing else going on," said Vogel.

Not anymore.

"We are undoubtedly experiencing a renaissance here," said Alison Miers with the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Today, new, upscale restaurants surround Center Square.

"Portuguese, Italian, they're able to get a burger, a good micro brew," sid Miers.

And new ones are opening all the time, like Mesa Modern Mexican on South Third Street.

"It's authentic Mexican with a modern twist," said manager Cara Capobianco.

Mesa was started by the owners of Bethlehem's Tapas on Main, who decided it was time to expand east.

"We came down to Easton, kind of looking for another venue," said Capobianco.

"So what is it about Easton that's driving this restaurant renaissance?

Vogel credits the flood of newcomers.

"The influx of people from New Jersey and New York just coming in," he said.

Miers said the city is also marketing its tourist attractions better.

"We have the Crayola Experience; we have the State Theatre," she said. "So people are coming to Easton for the experience -- to dine, to enjoy our retail shops."

But restaurants also credit the city itself.

"The past couple of years they've really been doing their best to kind of bring new businesses, as well as restaurants," said Capobianco.

It's a burgeoning restaurant scene almost as hot as the chili.