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Liquor license transfers to get public hearing in Bethlehem

By Len Righi, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Oct 04 2012 05:44:10 AM CDT
Updated On: Oct 04 2012 07:34:23 AM CDT
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

Bethlehem residents will be soon get a chance to sound off about the transfer of two liquor licenses, one to a planned bar-restaurant-lounge on the South Side, the other to a planned wine bar and restaurant on the North Side.

City council decided Tuesday night to hold hearings on both license transfer requests at its Oct. 16 meeting.

The South Side business would be at 217 Broadway and open early next year, if a company called Envy can acquire a license from P.F. Chang's China Bistro in the Summit at Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem Twp., Northampton Co.

Envy owner Greg Salomoni said he has not decided on a name for his business -- he's considering Broadway Social. But Salomoni is sure of the layout he will use in the building, which was once the Lehigh No. 1 Fire House as well as a bar called The Firehouse. "The first floor will have the bar and restaurant that opens onto the street and a fenced-in patio on the side of the restaurant, and the second floor will be a lounge-bar with a private VIP room," Salomoni said.

Salomoni said he will be leasing the space for his business from a corporation, and that his menu "will be a little bit more upscale than bar food." He also said he is planning to present live entertainment and deejays on various nights. "It's a great space, with 14-foot ceilings," Salomoni said, "and the possibilities are endless."

Salomoni, who lives in Palmer Twp., Northampton Co., said members of his family have been involved in the restaurant business for 50 years in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. One of his family's ventures is Mama Nina's at 546 Main St., Bethlehem, said Salomoni, adding that he owned and operated Belissimo's at 13th and Tilghman streets in Allentown from 1999 to 2003.

On the North Side, the owners of the proposed Corked wine bar at 515 Main St., Bethlehem, are trying to acquire a license from Crystal Jade Inn Inc., of Hanover Township, Northampton Co., which was used at the former DaVinci's Italian Ristorante in Hanover Twp.

One of the owners, Giuseppe "Joe" Grisafi, who runs the Roma Ristorante and Taste of Italy restaurants in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, has said he wants to offer more than three dozen different kinds of wines and continental cuisine in the space that until 2008 was the home of the Morning Call newspaper's Bethlehem bureau.

In other business, council sent a zoning code amendment to the planning commission that would bar tattoo parlors and pawn shops from corner lots in medium- and high-density residential districts. The amendment also forbids alcohol sales and foods for sale from being fried on the premises.

In response to a question from Mark Southard, owner of the Kalat Art and Carpet Gallery at 425 Wyandotte St., city engineer Michael Alkhal told council that parking will be restored on the east side of Wyandotte Street, between Broadway and East 4th Street, as soon as the state Department of Transportation signs off on the plan, which the city submitted about a month ago.

Alkhal said after the meeting that there has been no parking along that stretch of Wyandotte for at least nine years.

James Stetler informed council of a new traffic hazard at the busy Center Street and Bridle Path Road intersection.

He said a home owner planted arborvitae on the part of his property that borders Bridle Path Road, "and now a seven-foot wide roadway is only six feet wide." Stetler also said then home owner "stuck angle irons in the ground to blow people's tires out."

A group of residents from the 800 block of Bridge Street told council that a man might be illegally using his home as a half-way house or homeless shelter. One resident said the kind of people the man is bringing into his home has caused fear in the neighborhood. One resident said police were called to the man's home when he was seen choking a woman on his front porch on Sept. 26.

Council member Michael D. Recchiuti said the police department is going to be following up on the problem.