From The Sayre Mansion, we took a quick three-minute drive across the Lehigh River and into the Historic District for a lunch time break along Main Street Bethlehem. Even during the week, the area is buzzing with activity. When the weather permits many restaurants offer sidewalk café style dining that fits the old-world vibe of Main Street Bethlehem. Today we chose the cool industrial style and pub food of Fegley’s Brew Works, a fixture on the corner of Main and Broad Streets.
Parking is at a premium, so we opted for the ease and affordability of the Walnut Street Public Parking Garage. From there it’s just a block and a half jaunt to the restaurant with plenty of window shopping to occupy your time. The family-owned business pays tribute to Bethlehem’s history in the steel industry and the region’s working-class culture through its décor and menu. It’s obvious from Fegley’s motto, “Family run, urban made and fiercely independent,” the owners wholeheartedly embrace the pull yourself up by your bootstraps mentality that has served generations here so well.
What to Order
The menu is stacked top to bottom with comfort food faves. Expect to find steelworker’s chili, beer battered fish and chips, pulled pork sandwiches, buttermilk chicken and whiskey burgers, just to name a few satisfying options. We went with the highly recommended Bavarian Pretzel appetizer, which is served with beer and cheese soup for dipping. The soft pretzel sticks and velvety dip did not disappoint! Going all-in on the cheese theme, we ordered the Brisket Grilled Cheese (another customer favorite) and the Sunrise Grilled Cheese. The brisket is house-smoked and shredded, topped with pickled jalapenos, Fegley’s own stout bbq sauce, sauteed onions, aged cheddar and served on toasted brioche. It is the definition of comfort food. Sunrise Grilled Cheese is everything you want from a breakfast sandwich and more. It has Cooper cheese, fried egg, apple cider bacon and is served on toasted brioche. Although there are salad and lighter fare entrees, you don’t come here to stick to your diet.
What’s on Tap
Fegley’s has also established itself as a top-notch craft brewer. Inside the restaurant you are surrounded by the giant fermenters and ageing barrels used to make the signature pours. Flagship selections on tap include the Always Sunny Pale Ale, Amber Lager and Steelworker’s Stout. There are eagerly anticipated seasonal brews too such as Blueberry Belch, Devious Imperial Pumpkin and Rude Elf’s Reserve.
Walk it Off
After our hearty lunch, we decided to take the long way back to the car and strolled down Main Street Bethlehem. It’s easy to see why this stretch of road has been dubbed Restaurant Row. Italian, tapas-style, Thai, Mexican, Spanish, a French Bistro, Polish deli and vegan restaurant are all right here. In between there are boutiques, gift shops and specialty stores, one as charming as the other. If you have time, go inside, and enjoy some much-deserved retail therapy. If not, make a mental note to come back and enjoy popping in and out of the shops along Main Street Bethlehem. Historic Bethlehem Welcome Center is a hub for visitors. Many of the historic walking tours leave from the storefront here and there’s also an information desk and delightful gift shop chock-full of souvenirs and locally made gifts and food.
What’s in Store
Our lunch break this afternoon led us to the Moravian Book Shop. A landmark on Main Street Bethlehem, it has the distinction of being not only the oldest bookstore in America, but the oldest continuously operated bookstore in the world! When the shop opened in 1745, America was still known as the Colonies. Today the store is under the purview of Moravian University and does double duty as the college’s bookstore. However, visitors will be relieved to still find a thoughtfully curated collection of books from every genre and iconic Moravian and Bethlehem-themed merchandise. The store is immense and wandering through the displays of Moravian stars, Christmas ornaments, home décor, children’s toys and yes, books, is a pleasure. We dare you to walk out without taking home some unique find.
Right next door is the Chocolate Lab. With a name like that how can you not check it out? Your curiosity will be rewarded with the aroma of handcrafted chocolate and the enviable task of choosing something to try. The display cases feature irresistible treats like coffee cups, hand-dipped butter cream, peanut butter balls, truffles and sea salt caramels. Everything is made on site daily and beautifully presented. You can pair your chocolate with a hot drink. The shop serves fresh roasted coffee, tea, hot chocolate and a double mocha espresso that’s out of this world. After ordering a coffee and some treats to enjoy later, it was time to wrap up our lunch break along Main Street Bethlehem.
Where to Stay
Whether you’re on a timetable or free to have a leisurely day, Main Street Bethlehem has much to offer. You can take the short drive or leave your car here at The Sayre Mansion and stretch your legs. The shops and restaurants of the Moravian Historic District are within walking distance of the mansion so you can spend as much or as little time as you like exploring. There’s so much to see, and taste, you may just have to plan a return trip! Check availability and book your stay today. Don’t forget to request a free vacation guide, for even more ideas of ways to spend your days in Lehigh Valley.