One recent weekend afternoon the fam and I decided to hit up Bethlehem Brew Works for a light bite. We shot for baby naptime, so we could see how the place stacked up to a sleeping infant/car seat scenario.
Bethlehem Brew Works is at both the fortunate and unfortunate corner of Broad and Main in downtown Bethlehem. It's a fortunate location because of its high visibility. It's an unfortunate location, however, because on-street parking is at a premium in the immediate vicinity and the parking behind the restaurant is metered. The rear parking deck is also a little cramped and difficult to navigate when other cars are attempting to do the same. That said, we chose the lesser of two evils and parked in the back.
1. The wheelchair lifts and aisles. To make your way to Brew Works from the rear parking deck, there are a few sets of stairs to traverse. Luckily there are two wheelchair lifts, one from the parking lot to the covered walkway into the building, and one to get down into the Brew Works. The hallways inside the Main Street Commons building were large enough to maneuver the whole clan without interrupting traffic flow. Bonus!
2. Carseat slings. For those of us toting a sleeping infant, the option of a carseat sling is invaluable. They had ‘em in spades, along with regular high chairs.
3. Changing stations. For dads traveling with little ones, I was very happy with the changing station in the men’s room. So was my wife.
So What Did We Eat?
Appetizers: Classic Chili, French Onion Soup, Caesar Salad
The Classic Chili was absolutely delicious. I am always a fan of using beer (especially stout) with proteins. It creates a wonderful chili broth, not to mention adding a luscious, dark color to the dish. There is definitely some spice to the chili that stays with you too. If you like chili you will love the Brew Works Classic Chili.
Ahhhhh, the French Onion Soup. Definitely dead-on for the cheese-lover in your family. Multiple kinds of cheese melted in excess, draping to the plate below. But when spooning down the heart of the cup, up came this delicious, beefy broth. It was rich and smooth and had lovely slivers of onion in it. This soup is on top of my list for French Onion soups I have had. Though I only had a little. My wife wasn’t giving it up easily.
Unfortunately, the Caesar Salad was a no-go. Both overdressed and oddly sweet, I’m guessing that without the anchovies to balance the sweetness/saltiness ratio it just didn’t happen. We passed on the rest of the salad and held off for dinner.
Dinner: Grilled Pesto Chicken Sandwich (special of the day)
I’d like to take a moment to eulogize the chicken that gave its life for the sandwich. The grilled chicken was a little pinker than I thought was healthy, but we forged ahead, hoping that it was 'just us.' Well, we forged ahead till the bottom piece of bread fell apart because of the oil slathered on the chicken as the pesto base. The pesto itself was too oily to enjoy, and the basil just didn’t have the flavor a summer version would have. I know it’s my fault for ordering an off-season item, but as the special of the day I thought they knew something I didn’t. The pepper jack cheese was just a last-ditch effort to add a flavor profile that wasn’t a good idea to begin with. And I think I got one sad, roasted red pepper stuck under a wedge of cheese. I’m thinking I’ll stick with chili from now on.
And of course, you can’t go to Brew Works without having some of their (fermenting right next to us) beer. Except I did. What can I say? It was a slick drive home and I was on driving duty. But I’ve imbibed at Brew Works before, and I can say the selection is both extensive and tasty.
Despite some of the refreshing options available, like meatloaf and grilled chicken, my oldest decided, by a flip of the coin, on the Chicken Fingers and Fries. They were what you’d expect: breaded chicken and thin-cut fries. We tried to convince him (for the sake of research) to sub garlic mashed potatoes or veggies, but he wasn’t budging. We also handed him a side house salad with the ever-popular bottled ranch dressing. H2O and lemonade were what the oldest had to drink. The good news is that thanks to the Brew Works menu there are many opportunities to vary your kids' dining options, so maybe you’ll have more luck than I did.
TOTAL BILL: $28.05 + tip for 2 adults and 1 kid
Parking/Perks: 4 out of 4 stars
Grown-up Food Review: 3 out of 4 stars (misfire on the chicken and salad, but great alcohol selection and starters)
Kids Food Options: 3.5 out of 4 stars (good standard options with room to customize)
Total (based on the mathematical mean): 3.5 stars
DAD MOSTLY DIGS IT!!
Editor’s note: Dining Dad will now be reviewing restaurants from a variety of locations in our area. If you have a suggestion for a restaurant to visit, please let Upper Saucon Patch editor Elizabeth Rich know by e-mailing her at Elizabeth.Rich@patch.com. We’ve now included a rating system at the end of every review.