After less than a year of business in downtown Bethlehem’s renovated Moravian Book Shop, Dave’s Deli & Gelato has called it quits.
The book shop, known as the oldest continuously operating book store in the country, won’t be without a food option for long though.
Randevoo, a popular Lehigh Valley food truck serving made-from-scratch, Asian-influenced cuisine, is expected to open its first brick-and-mortar location within a few weeks in the space that is shared with Lost Tavern Brewing at the 428 Main St. book shop, Randevoo owner Zach Umstead said.
Umstead, who launched the food truck 2.5 years ago, had been looking to open a brick-and-mortar location for a while and heard from the owners of Hellertown-based Lost Tavern, where he regularly parked his food truck, that there would likely be an opportunity to open at the Moravian Book Shop.
Umstead, a 2007 Northampton Area High School graduate who studied at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in Pittsburgh before doing an externship at a fine dining restaurant in Colorado, is planning some new spins on Randevoo favorites such as sushi, steamed buns and wontons, for the book shop location.Mazda's first-ever CX-30 crossover SUV combines the toughness of an SUV with a supple, flowing beauty that stands out in a crowd.
“It was a no-brainer in my eyes,” Umstead said. “I love working with the Lost Tavern guys, and they have a great following. Also, I feel like my food pairs well with all of their fun new beers. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for me.”
“We’re really excited because Zach’s energy and spirit alone are amazing,” said Kenny Rampolla, Lost Tavern’s vice president of sales and marketing. “But [Zach’s] also looking forward to doing things with our beers — launching regularly rotating items that pair nicely with our offerings. It’s very exciting and refreshing.”
He is planning to add a sushi bar where the former deli counter was and feature rotating fresh seafood selections weekly.
“On top of the normal menu, I’d create 3-5 seafood specials each week from the fresh seafood that comes in,” explained Umstead, noting he’s looking to create more of a “restaurant vibe” in the space. “It could be sushi, tuna, whole yellowtail, different types of salmon, shellfish — everything.”
The menu will be split up into hold and cold items, with cold items including shrimp ceviche, vegetarian and soy-glazed roasted pork lettuce wraps, a shrimp tempura sushi roll with Hawaiian spicy ahi on top and a sesame peanut ramen salad with your choice of vegan sesame tofu, grilled chicken or grilled shrimp.
There also will be drinks such as Vietnamese iced coffee and desserts such as a ginger pineapple upside down cake with vanilla ice cream.
On the hot side, Umstead is planning pork steamed dumplings with a vegan option, Korean short rib steamed buns with pickled jalapenos and onions and “some sort of hot noodle bowl.”
“My first idea was beef tenderloin carpaccio with pickled shiitake mushrooms, carrots, Thai basil — the whole works,” Umstead said of the under-development noodle bowl.
Umstead is aiming to craft a menu comprised of at least 25% vegan and gluten-free items. All menu items, including the steamed buns and sriracha and sweet chili sauces, will be made from scratch.
“We’ve heard a lot of great things about Randevoo and their interesting menu items from people all over the Lehigh Valley,” said Bryon Grigsby, president of Moravian College, which owns and operates the book shop. “Everyone at Lost Tavern Brewing is very excited to work together with Zach and his team to provide an amazing experience for the guests of both businesses.”
After opening at the book shop, Randevoo will continue to operate its food truck throughout the Lehigh Valley, Umstead said.
In addition to Hellertown’s Lost Tavern, the truck visits other local craft beverage destinations such as Funk and Yergey brewing companies in Emmaus and Tolino Vineyards near Bangor.
Umstead launched the food truck a few years after moving back to the Lehigh Valley from Colorado.
“[I] stayed in Colorado working in 2 other fine dining places and decided I could be a ski bum my whole life but wanted to make a move for something bigger and be closer to home and family,” he said.
Dave’s Deli, which has had a presence in the Bethlehem area for more than 26 years, on Sunday closed its Moravian Book Shop location.
The outpost, serving sandwiches, soups, flatbreads and more, was a second stint for owner Dave Hall, who briefly operated a location at the book shop about 10 years ago.
The business continues to operate its location on Stoke Park Road in Hanover Township, Northampton County, where gift cards and sandwich cards can be redeemed.
“We would like to thank all our loyal customers, and hope you will continue to visit us at our 310 Stoke Park Rd, location, which offers free parking, eat-in, take-out & deliveries,” a Monday message on the business’ Facebook page reads.
“We’ve been having discussions with [Dave’s] over the past few months and Dave decided he wanted to focus his time and energy on the Stoke Park location,” Michael Corr, director of marketing and communication for Moravian College, which runs the book shop, said in a written statement. “They were a great partner and we’re glad they were on board with all of the revitalization of the book shop that happened in 2018 and 2019.”
Morning Call features reporter and Retail Watch columnist Ryan Kneller can be reached at 610-820-6597 or email@example.com.
To read this article posted on the Morning Call website visit here. Moravian Book Shop shake-up: Popular food truck opening brick-and-mortar location in former Dave’s Deli space