Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hawthorne House Rises From the Ashes

Hawthorne House Bar & Grill, located at 702 Hawthorne Road in a quiet Bethlehem neighborhood, will re-open in the next two months. That's according to its new owner, Tom Williams of Allentown's Cityline Construction. A fire restoration specialist, Williams acquired this old watering hole after a 2009 arson. The bar's former owner, John Margetis, has been accused of setting the building ablaze after a bank foreclosed.

Williams asked Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board on June 22 to approve 6 outdoor tables fronting Hawthorne, in addition to 6 outdoor tales at the rear. He also sought approval of a 12 1/2' x 14 3/4' addition for a restroom. He'll need it, too, as he plans to offer twenty different types of beer on tap.

"We're trying to make this a little bit of an attraction so people will come there," explained Williams. Zoner Ken Kraft questioned whether the noise might disturb neighbors, but Williams responded there would be no outdoor music and agreed to close by 11 PM on weekends.

Neighbor Dean Guth was concerned about outdoor seating right along Hawthorne Street, but seemed mollified by Williams' pledge to erect a 3' high fence. Kraft was also satisfied when Williams told him he'd charge moderate prices. "The price of the beer determines the kind of crowd you get," opined Kraft. "If you have 80 cent beers, you get nuts."

Kraft added he is very familiar with the Hawthorne House.

Chairman Gus Loupos asked Williams to work with the community, and was assured by the Allentown businessman that he "has a good rapport with all the neighbors."

Williams' request for an expansion was unanimously granted.

In addition to a bar, zoners heard a request from a childcare center. Stefko Daycare, located at what was once a massage parlor at 2017 Stefko Boulevard, is already open from 6 AM to 11 PM, Monday through Friday. Operator Anna DiConstanzo told the board that many of her customers want her to remain open on weekends, too. She explained that a child care subsidy, offered by the state to low-income families, will only be paid to one daycare.

Zoners unanimously agreed to allow DiConstanzo to extend her hours. Building owner Ronald Stauffer, who appeared with DiConstanzo, told zoners the entire block is commercial and most of the businesses there are already open all week.

In other business, zoners also unanimously approved a request by Brian and Stephanie Bertsch for an all-season sun room at 2158 Drury Lane. Although the covered patio will encroach on a side yard setback, it will still be 16' from the sidewalk and will be shrouded by a privacy fence.

Finally, zoners heard from Nick Bozakis for the third time in a year. Owner of the popular Nick's Pizza on Main Street, Bouzakis owns several surrounding properties with garages and apartments, including what may have been a stable for police horses at 64 West Spruce Street. Represented by Attorney Jim Holzinger, Bouzakis asked zoners to approve a 5-bay garage at the site, topped off by a 2-bedroom apartment. Two of those garages would go to the tenant, and the remaining three would be for storage.

What made this proposal attractive to zoners is that the site triangle increased from 5' to 19' under Bouzakis' plan, increasing safety on the road. "We feel it is a hige improvement, and I'm proud to be part of it," said Holzinger.

Zoners unanimously approved a special exception.


Anonymous said...

This just in:

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- A member of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives found himself on the wrong side of the law Wednesday night.

Representative Joseph Brennan was arrested in Bethlehem for driving under the influence.

Bethlehem police said he was arrested at the Wawa in the 700 block of East Broad Street just after 7:30 p.m.

According to a statement released on Brennan's behalf by the House Democratic Caucus, Brennan returned to Bethlehem after the House finished for the day Wednesday. He said he then drank alcohol and drove to his district office to answer constituent letters and e-mails.

michael molovinsky said...

this is at least the third bar that williams has purchased, including the well known cannon's in allentown. his MO is to lease and then sell the property. the neighbors shouldn't take too much stock in his "plans" on how he will operate the business.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am very dubious about Williams.