TAMAQUA, Pa. – Lovers of cats and coffee have a new destination to enjoy both in Schuylkill County.
Coal Cats Cafe, a cafe featuring local adoptable cats, held a grand opening Nov. 16 at 209 W. Broad St. in Tamaqua.
Husband and wife owners Ron and Kim Chamberlain established the business to find loving homes for as many cats as they could.
“We are lifelong cat lovers,” Ron said. “For many, many years, we’d take in rescues at our house. We currently have three cats [Myles, Mader and Lincoln] at home along with 12 foster cats at the cafe.”
The Lehigh Township couple partners with local nonprofit Starting Over Animal Rescue, or SOAR, which provides shelter to neglected and abandoned animals and facilitates high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter services for feral, stray and house pets.
The cafe serves as the cats’ foster home until their forever homes are found. This means that none of the cats are caged, and they are able to roam around the cafe’s den during quiet hours.
Typically, they can be found sleeping in the cafe’s window or on a comfy chair.
“People can come in, purchase a cup of coffee and take it into our cat den for 45 minutes,” Ron said. “There’s no pressure to adopt a cat. They can simply hang out with them while sipping their favorite drink.”
The Chamberlains spent several months renovating the Broad Street space, adding cat trees, wall shelves and other resting and climbing apparatus, Ron said.
They also implemented a coal mining theme, complete with a life-size mine cart, mine shaft wall mural and corrugated metal ceiling.
“We did that theme because in the old coal mining days, the miners had horses that would bring up the carts of coal,” Ron explained. “Of course, they’d house the horses in barns, and in the barns, they’d have cats to minimize the rodents and keep the horses healthy.”
The theme extends to the drinks’ names, which include anthracite (hot coffee), dynamite (iced coffee), canary (cappuccino) and driller (double espresso). A hot coffee starts at $1.75 for a 12-ounce cup.
Customers also can enjoy other specialty drinks such as lattes, macchiatto, hot chocolate and hot and iced teas, along with packaged snacks such as candy, chips and cookies.
“The community has been extremely supportive of us,” Ron said. “We’re bringing smiles to people’s faces and forever homes to cats in need. In our first six weeks, we’ve already had six adoptions, and four more are set to take place soon.”
Coal Cafe Cafe, open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, also features a gift shop selling cat treats; accessories such as beds, toys and collars; and cat-themed gifts such as drinkware, jewelry and magnets.
A “Photos with Santa” event, where customers can bring their furry friend to visit Santa, will take place noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27. The cost is $5 for people only, $10 for people and one pet and $20 for people and two or more pets. Register: coalcatscafe.com.
From one animal-named business to another, family-friendly restaurant Flying Pig Tavern & Tap is expected to open in late December or early January at 1313 Center St. (former Tocci’s Tailgaters Pub & Grill building) in Bethlehem, co-owner Billy Kounoupis said.
Kounoupis, who owns and operates Billy’s Downtown Diner in Bethlehem and Easton, has partnered with two of his cousins, Tim Kalavruzos and Chris Kolovos, to renovate the space and open the new tavern.
It will be a second location of the business, which Kalavruzos debuted earlier this year in Bordentown, N.J.
Between the three cousins, they operate around 20 restaurants and banquet/catering facilities in Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
The Bethlehem Flying Pig, with seating for around 100 customers, will offer a full bar with 15 draft beers along with made-to-order dishes, including appetizers, 10-inch pizzas and entrees such as thick-cut pork chops and never-frozen seafood dishes.
In addition to readying the Flying Pig’s Bethlehem outpost, Kounoupis also is working on a new location of Billy’s in Allentown’s West End.
Just in time for Super Bowl parties and cozy winter get-togethers, The Aging Moon, a business specializing in premium cheese boards, is expected to open its first brick-and-mortar shop in late January on Mechanic Street in south Bethlehem, near Bonn Place Brewing Co., owner Abby Hudock said.
Hudock established the business (named after her dog, Luna) three years ago as an online venture, delivering cheese boards to Lehigh Valley homes, companies and private events.
“I worked in a corporate grocery store’s cheese shop for several years, and once COVID hit, I decided I would do it for myself,” Hudock said.
The shop will offer pre-made cheese boards, blocks of cheese and other items such as olive oils and jellies. Info: agingmoon.com. Read full story.
From Bethlehem to Allentown, La Bicicleta Arepa Bar, a Venezuelan restaurant that debuted in September 2019 at 12 S. Eighth St. downtown, is planning to open a second location within the next few weeks at 708 Union Blvd. (former Luna’s Bakery & Cafe building) on the city’s East Side, co-founder Humberto Canelon said.
La Bicicleta specializes in arepas — grilled cornmeal patties — that are cut open and packed with a variety of ingredients.
Customers choose from protein options such as chorizo, shredded beef and avocado chicken, before picking other fillings such as sweet plantains, gouda cheese, black beans and homemade sauces. Info: 610-871-0809. Read more here.
More meaty options
From arepas to cheesesteaks, the newly opened Morty’s Steaks in Emmaus is serving up the hot sandwiches whatever way you want.
First, you choose your protein (beef or chicken), followed by your size (8- or 11-inch), cheese (Cooper, American, provolone or Whiz) and onions (grilled or raw).
The last step – and arguably the most crucial one – is picking your style. The eatery offers a few distinct options, including Philly, “The Morty” (Morty’s signature sauce and pickles), California (lettuce, tomato, onion and mayonnaise) and pepper steak (sweet peppers and sauce).
Other menu highlights include specialty hot dogs, pierogies from Papa Sarge’s in Bath and desserts such as sugar cookies and brownies. Info: 267-416-6789. Read full story.
About five miles west of Morty’s, Wayback Burgers, an international burger chain billing itself as “America’s favorite hometown burger joint,” is planning to open its newest area location on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 5585 Hamilton Blvd., Suite A, in Lower Macungie Township, franchisee Shivang Shelat said.
Another Wayback Burgers eatery is coming to 2185 W. Union Blvd. in Bethlehem (former Long John’s Silver site), but a company spokesperson did not immediately return a message seeking more information on that location.
The 30-seat Lower Macungie restaurant, in the Shepherd’s Corner shopping center, will supplement other area outposts on Southmont Way in Bethlehem Township and Route 309 in Schnecksville. Read more.
Airport Shopping Center
Holiday shoppers will find three new tenants in the Airport Shopping Center’s lineup in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.
First to join the mix was Trek Bicycle Allentown, which reopened in its new digs at 935-A Airport Center Road (next to Mattress Firm) in late October.
The business, which previously operated at 1728 Tilghman St. in the city, offers the latest products from Trek and Bontrager, service and tune-ups for bikes of any brand and advice about riding in the Lehigh Valley.
Next to debut was Buff City Soap, offering delightfully scented, plant-based soaps that are handmade daily in the chain’s stores, which the company calls “makeries.”
The chain held its grand opening Friday, Nov. 25, at 942 Airport Center Drive (former SneakerKing space), next to Kay Jewelers.
In addition to handmade soap bars, Buff City also sells foaming hand soaps, bath bombs, whipped body butters, body scrubs, shower oils, beard balms, laundry soap and more.
Another “makery” is coming soon to 218 N. West End Blvd. in Quakertown.
Also opening in the shopping center is Wingstop, a fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in cooked-to-order chicken wings.
The eatery will hold a grand opening with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce 10:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 1824 Airport Road (former Firehouse Subs space).
Texas-based Wingstop offers traditional and boneless chicken wings along with chicken strips, available in 11 flavors, chicken sandwiches and sides such as fresh-cut, seasoned fries. Read full story here.
Bucks, Monroe and Warren counties
Shoppers in search of affordable clothing and accessories have a new destination in Quakertown.
Maimie’s Closet, a new consignment store and fashion boutique selling lightly used, brand name apparel, held a grand opening Nov. 18 at 308 W. Broad St.
The store has jewelry and racks of coats, boots, and even locally handmade items.
“I like to shop. And I like clothes. And I know lots of other people do too. And in these times, everybody’s going back to thrifting and realizing how cool that is again. And we’re bringing that back to Quakertown,” said shop proprietor Maimie Asay. Info: 267-308-4347.
From clothing to coffee, a Dunkin’ restaurant held a grand opening celebration Nov. 19 at 174 Harvest Lane in Pocono Summit.
Founded in 1950, the coffee and baked goods chain has more than 12,600 restaurants in 40 countries. Info: dunkindonuts.com.
Lastly, as my colleague Jeff Ward recently reported, the Sally Beauty store at Pohatcong Plaza will close next month as part of a corporate cutback that was announced after a decline in income and a forecast for a net sales decline.
The company cited inflation and supply problems when announcing the closing of 350 stores on Nov. 10.
The Pohatcong beauty-supply retailer will close Dec. 9, an employee said Tuesday.
One week after that, a Sally Beauty distribution center in East Norwegian Township, Schuylkill County, is due to cut 57 jobs.
Seven other regional Sally Beauty stores in the area will remain open, according to employees. Those stores are in Bethlehem, Whitehall Township, East Stroudsburg, Quakertown, Palmer Township, Reading and Stowe, Montgomery County. The status of those stores was not confirmed by Sally Beauty’s corporate office. Read more.