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Work underway to reopen landmark restaurant in Allentown

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 28 2014 03:17:45 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 29 2014 09:50:19 AM CST

A landmark restaurant in Allentown is being reborn.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A landmark restaurant in Allentown is being reborn.

The Shanty in the 600 block of North 19th Street has sat vacant for years. Now, workers are busy, hopeful its doors will open in time for the west end's St Patrick's Day festivities.

The Shanty's new owners said they wanted to give the landmark an updated look while keeping some of the things that made it memorable.

The Shanty many people remember before the restaurant closed in 2005 featured a green and tan awning with a sea horse.

The building has since changed hands a few times. Workers are now bringing the landmark restaurant back to life.

"We are going to have exhibition cooking. We are going to have the salad bar. The vibe is going to be very similar," said Ron Pickering

Pickering and Joe Tatasciore, owners of the Sunset Grille in Upper Macungie Twp., Lehigh Co., leased the space and are partners in the culinary adventure, although for the last few months, they said it's been nothing but new plumbing, electrical and tile work.

It's a feast of construction, using a lot of the restaurant's original mahogany and replicating its trademark mirrors over the bar.

"This is going to be back where our dish area is, and instead of taking our dishes and glasses out through the kitchen entrance, this is going to be a pass-through," said Tatsciore.

Over the next few weeks, crews will put up sheet rock, install the bar and get things ready for a mid- to late-March opening

And if you are wondering what's on the menu, just ask Pickering, who used to be the Shanty's head chef.

"We are going to try to touch on some of the things from the Shanty that people might remember," said Pickering.

That includes the Shanty's saltine-breaded shrimp.

There will also be awnings to go with the Shanty's new sign.

Rich Kontir, the owner of the property, said he's talking to several prospective tenants for the other side of the building, where TC Salon briefly set up shop, and he said the Hess's chandelier that hangs in the entrance is for sale.