Morty’s Steaks in Emmaus wants to be your new cheesesteak spot

When the Brass Rail on Lehigh Street closed in June, it left a void.

The beloved restaurant was known for many things, but chief among them were its famous cheesesteaks.

David Maiatico wants to fill that void a bit with his latest attempt, Morty’s Steaks, at 332 Main St. in Emmaus. The restaurant has taken over space in what was once the Licensed 2 Grill.

This is the third operation for Maiatico, which owns the popular David Italian Market a few doors down Main Street as well as the Allentown Farmers Market.

The menu is simple: Cheesesteaks (beef or chicken); hot dogs; fries and pierogi.

And while it’s nothing fancy, the restaurant prides itself on using top quality ingredients. Pierogies, for example, come from Papa Sarge’s in Bath, served fried and crispy.

But it’s the cheeseteaks they hope will earn the highest praise. Restaurant manager David McAdoo said they have a signature sauce thinner than the red sauce most people in the Valley like on their cheesesteaks.

You can get cheesesteaks with a variety of cheeses – from traditional Whiz to provolone and American.

If you don’t like cheesesteaks, you’ll want to check out the beef hot dog varieties, including the Chicago, which is inspired by the Windy City favorite. It features mustard, relish, sports peppers, tomato, onion, pickles, and celery salt on a poppyseed roll. There’s also the Texas Tommy, which is a dog wrapped in bacon, stuffed with cheese, and fried with mustard, onions, and chili.

Morty’s Steaks hours of operation: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Chain of convenience stores Leaf through plans to open its last location in South Bethlehem.

The chain plans to build its last store on East Fourth Street. This will be the second Sheetz in town, with the other at 3201 Schoenersville Road.

Sheetz is known for its popular “made to order” menu, where customers can order any of Sheetz’s personalized specialty beverages or food items 24 hours a day using a touch screen.

Information: www.sheetz.com.

I posted earlier this week about a large project in the works on 45 acres in Lower Macungie Township.

Downtown Lehigh Valley – a project by Jaindl Land Co. – is proposed for land bordered by Schantz Road, Interstate 78 and Route 222. The parcel consists of property formerly owned by Eastern Industries as well as open farmland.

It is very early in the process but a sketch of a plan filed with the town planning office includes:

  • A 12,500 square foot retail grocery store
  • A 35,000 square foot flagship retail space
  • A commercial space of 20,000 square feet
  • A 14,000 square foot retail entertainment space
  • A 15-acre “outdoor recreational entertainment space”

The plans are on the agenda of the township planning commission for its next meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday. We will continue to follow the progress of this project.

Since I started writing the Retail Watch column, many readers have contacted Fiamma Italian Grilla popular restaurant near Bethlehem that was forced to cancel nearly 250 Valentine’s Day reservations earlier this year due to a fire.

The good news: It’s about to reopen, the owners say.

Owner Joseph Jurkivo said the restaurant at 2118 Schoenersville Road in Hanover Township, Northampton County, is waiting for kitchen equipment to arrive and then undergoing further inspections.

Once this step is complete, they can start the restaurant, hire staff, and order food.

“We’re shooting hopefully shortly after Thanksgiving. That’s our best-case scenario,” Jurkivo said.

For the last: facebook.com/FiammaItalianGrill/

Trek Allentown Bike — which closed its 1728 Tilghman St. location in mid-September — moved to its new store at 935A Airport Center Road in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.

The store is open to customers and, according to its social media posts, there will be a grand opening later. The store specializes in offering the latest products from Trek and Bontrager, as well as service and tune-ups for bikes of all brands. Trek Bicycle Allentown is near Golf Galaxy and Mattress Firm in the mall, which also includes Target and Sam’s Club. This is one of two Trek Bicycle stores in the Lehigh Valley: the other is at 126 Bushkill St., Easton.

More information: facebook.com/TrekBicycleAllentown

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Grocery, a national chain of high-priced supermarkets, is now open at 1401 Allen St. in Allentown, the fourth store in the Lehigh Valley. The other three locations: 4628B Broadway, in Tilghman Square Mall, South Whitehall Township, 2451 Nazareth Road Suite, Palmer Township; and 70 N. West End Blvd., Quakertown.

Grocery Outlet carries many of the same brands as traditional stores, but at lower prices. The company has more than 400 locations in California, Idaho, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Added an item just outside the valley for those of you who love craft beer. Brewery Van Locations opened a new bar at 211 W. Walnut St., Perkasie.

pronouncedVan Looz,” the diner offers a hefty list of New England IPAs and British staples, including bitters and ESBs.

Opening hours: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Information: vanlieusbrewing.com or email [email protected]

Every week since I took over this column, I’ve received the best emails from savvy readers who have shared tips from all over the valley. Keep coming! If you see a business or restaurant open or close, let me know. Email: [email protected]

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