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Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

The four of us decided to skip out of town up a mere three miles up Route 209 and have dinner at Macaluso’s Restaurant, even though it was a Friday night and we didn’t have a reservation.

Macaluso's Restaurant Jim Thorpe PAHowever, we were greeted by a nearly-full parking lot, and then, going inside, we saw that the two dining rooms were full. What to do?

We decided to simply eat at the bar. Besides, we were starving and beers were necessary, too.

So we ordered a bit of a cross-section. One of us had a sausage sandwich and skamutz (a kind of Italian cheese), there were two meatball and skamutz sandwiches, and I went with an entrée, the Chicken Parmesan.

Macaluso's Restaurant Jim Thorpe PAMacaluso’s has been serving excellent Italian food since before Jim Thorpe had lots of restaurant choices and was really a trail-blazer in this regard. After all these years, it’s still the hangout of choice of local politicians and residents, and is an exceptionally pleasant surprise for visitors.

Not only was the food excellent – I set upon my chicken parmesan ravenously, meanwhile sipping a couple of brews (I noticed my friends did the same with their meatball and sausage sandwiches) but in the process, we had a great time at the bar and got to avoid the weekend rush in the dining room.

Macaluso's Restaurant Jim Thorpe PAAnd the bill for all four of us (including a couple of rounds) was only $90. That just doesn’t happen in the city.

Their website is really nice, too. Check them out at http://macalusosrestaurant.com.

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Zoraida Rivera Joins Broadway Grille as Executive Chef

By Nancy Zeigler

She has sautéed with Alain Sailhac at LeCirque and parboiled with Jacques Pepin at the French Culinary Institute.  She has broiled, baked and braised for thousands of hungry customers at some of the top restaurants in the world.

But now she’s here.  Zoraida Rivera is cooking in Jim Thorpe.

Zoraida Chef at Broadway GrilleThe Broadway Grille & Pub in Jim Thorpe recently hired Zoraida as their new Executive Chef, and she’s already cooking up a storm, changing the menu and infecting the staff and customers with her passion for cooking and food.

So, how did a woman with such a rich history in New York’s culinary scene end up in the tiny town of Jim Thorpe, PA?

Born into a highly creative family in Puerto Rico, Zoraida always dreamt of cooking. “I think I was born with a skillet in my hand,” she said, laughing.  As a child, she collected recipe books and cooked for her family.  “My mom was a horrible cook, so I have no idea where this passion came from.  Certainly not from her,” she says, rolling her eyes.

After attending college in the States and getting her bachelor’s degree in communications, she moved back to Puerto Rico to work for Viacom.  Meanwhile, her passion for food tugged at her heart.  She had no idea one could attend culinary school to become a chef, because she didn’t even know such a school existed.  But when she found out, the proverbial light bulb went off.  That was it.  She quit Viacom, packed her bags, and headed to New York City.

Zoraida Chef at Broadway GrilleAfter getting a job as a grocery store cashier, she attended the acclaimed French Culinary Institute at night.  In the early days, her evening and weekend cooking and banquet gigs were supplemented by day jobs – including a stint as a Spanish and history teacher — so she could make ends meet in Manhattan. Eventually, she ditched the day jobs and moved further up the culinary ladder, working in big name places and under mentors from LeCirque, Lutèce, Water’s Edge, Windows on the World and Le Parker Meridien.

After the devastating terrorist attacks of 9/11, Zoraida decided to move to quiet eastern Pennsylvania.  While living in Bushkill, she spent days exploring the back roads of her new home state and eventually stumbled upon Jim Thorpe.  “I fell in love with the town immediately. I couldn’t believe it. I said — this is where I’ve got to live. I wanted to be able to walk down the street for a newspaper or a cup of coffee, just like New York, and not have to hop in a car.  It was the perfect little spot.”  Months later, she bought a house in the historic district of town.

Zoraida Chef at Broadway GrilleAfter several executive chef positions in Pocono restaurants, she eventually settled into a corporate job with a huge food service and facility management company, where she managed multi-million dollar accounts.  “I enjoyed it and probably could have stayed there comfortably forever,” she said.  But that wasn’t to be.

A few months ago, her old friend Pat Cleary, the Broadway Grille’s General Manager, lured her into the kitchen, just to try things out.  She came in to do some prep work and check out the operation.  Suddenly, the old fire in her soul was burning again.  “I was shocked.  I thought – wow, I haven’t felt this way in a long time.  This is where I’m supposed to be.  Not at a desk, not ordering, not budgeting. Just cooking. This is what I’ve been missing.”

She decided to take the leap back into the kitchen.

It was a long, well thought-out decision.  “Every time I came here to the Broadway Grille, I felt really good.  I started thinking about what I could do here.  I said I’d have to be crazy not to take a chance.  I don’t want to be 80 years old with regrets, wondering –what if?”

“I kept thinking what my mentor, Jacques Pepin, drilled into my head. He said ‘stick to the basics, return to the basics.’  I had gotten away from the basics for so long.  It was such a joy to come back to just cooking.”

Zoraida Chef at Broadway GrilleAnd she’s cooking up a storm already at the Broadway Grille. She and the other kitchen staff are busy making their own creamy mozzarella that they infuse with herbs and other flavorings.  They’re curing wild salmon.  They’re making their own sausage, because they can’t find the exact flavors required for the dishes.  “I’m strong-minded and strong-willed in the kitchen,” Zoraida explains.  “At the end of the day, things have to be done right. It’s an art.  If it’s just a job, it shows.  Cooks have to cook with love.”

Zoraida’s passion has transformed the Broadway Grille’s new menu, which debuts over Memorial Day weekend.  “We’ve kept some of the favorites on our menu, but I’ve added quite a few new dishes, many of which will change seasonally,” Zoraida said.

“The new menu features tastes of places I’ve visited all over the world, such as a hibachi parrillada, which is an Argentinian-style mixed grill for two people.  It’s loaded with many kinds of meat and a chimichurri sauce.”  Other new menu highlights include a Z Maki sushi roll, martini ceviche mixto, salmon gravlax, chicken mango kebabs, vegetable curry, a new Mediterranean salad and antipasti, several new pasta dishes and entrees, new chicken wing sauces and a few new burgers.

“And, we’ve even added lobster to the menu, which will be available seasonally.  It’ll be alive when it’s delivered here, so you can bet it’s fresh!” Zoraida said.  “We’re also adding a few new sandwiches, wraps and cheese boards for late night dining at the bar after the kitchen has closed, which I know customers have asked for.”

The kitchen staff is excited to work with her, and Pat Cleary, the Broadway Grille’s General Manager, is thrilled to have her on board.  “She’s so talented, and she’s got such great energy.  It really is contagious. We’ve been growing by leaps and bounds since we opened, but Zoraida’s definitely going to take this place to a whole new level.  It’s really exciting.”

Zoraida Rivera’s got big dreams for the Broadway Grille.  “I want to put this place on the map.  I want to be on the TV shows, in the magazines.  I want it to be a destination restaurant.”

With an attitude, passion and talent like that, she can certainly make it happen.

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Jim Thorpe Thursday Date Night 

The Jim Thorpe Chamber of Commerce hosts Thursday Evening Summer Date Nights all summer long!

Jim Thorpe Thursday Date Night

Summer evenings are lovely in Northeastern PA, and residents and visitors alike will enjoy a midweek night out, so we are adding some great things to do in addition to visiting our great restaurants, pubs, and shops. Every Thursday night at least one of our attractions will offer evening hours.

Details on specific events here!

 

For dinner options, click here, and check with the Opera House about their Performance Card, which gets you 10% to 20% off your food bill (in addition to getting you a 20% discount to shows) – you can order yours online!

Drawings will be held for a $50 Gift Certificate from The Broadway Grille and a $50 Performance Card from the Opera House, which offers residents and visitors 10% to 20% discounts at most downtown restaurants. Boxes for the drawings can be found at participating establishments.

Jim Thorpe Thursday Date Night

More events will follow as the summer progresses. There is also free parking after 5PM!

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A Race Street Northern Italian Bistro

Editor’s Note: (5/20/2012) Too bad. The Blackbread is closed and up for sale – someone is moving on from the restaurant business. Looking forward to something interesting here from whomever buys the property – this is a really great spot on Race Street!

It was only a year ago we returned from Italy, marveling at the simplicity and tastefulness of the food – whether it was from one of the ubiquitous neighborhood pizzerias, or someplace a bit fancier, tucked into a sidestreet.

That’s how we felt after an evening at the Blackbread Cafe, located on Race Street, in one of Jim Thorpe’s 1845 brick rowhouses. Actually, it’s two, stitched tastefully together. My brother and sister-in-law had just come in from Chicago, and the warm atmosphere felt perfect for a pre-Christmas dinner.

Blackbread Cafe in Jim Thorpe PAPresently a BYOB, the Blackbread staff was still well-versed in how to present a nice bottle of wine, even though we brought it, and they did it without any hint of stuffiness. The place is fun!

We started off appropriately enough with an Italian bruschetta of ripe summer tomatoes, fresh garden basil, and garlic.  The four of us set upon that, and the night was on. It set us up perfectly for our delicious crabcakes appetizer, drizzled with a snappy, pleasing sauce. Smiles all around.

Blackbread Cafe in Jim Thorpe PAThen it was time for entrees, and here’s what we tried: Chicken Trieste, Salmon, Penne California, and an evening special – gnocchi with vodka sauce. It seemed like a nice sampling of what the chef could do, and he passed our very unofficial test with flying colors. The chicken – hearty, tasty, but not too much. The gnocchi – great texture, and with the complement of a little sauce, just excellent flavor. Same with the salmon and penne: delicious.

OK, bravo!

Blackbread Cafe Jim Thorpe PAWe were pretty well satiated and at first declined dessert, but thought about it a bit more. We were glad for that. A lovely sorbet arrived, enveloped in lemon, along with a fine, not-too-sweet cake.

But the highlight was the tableside preparation of Bananas Foster. And it wasn’t just about the show: the sauce was just right, the slivered almonds a great touch, and the bananas not at all overcooked.

To top it all off, owner Mark Pawlitchek availed us of some complementary dessert wine – again not too sweet, and just an outstanding finish to an excellent meal. The Blackbread is understated and relaxed, much like its Northern Italian cousins.

Check it out – open Thursday through Sunday during winter.

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From the Desk of Executive Chef and General Manager Zachary Michael Pelliccio:  

Wishing you warmest greetings as you gather to celebrate the upcoming Holiday season. My first year at Flow as Executive Chef has been amazing and I would like to start by thanking everyone, including my friends and family, who have visited Flow this year. I would also like to extend special thanks to the small family farms that have supplied Flow so well this year.

FLOW: Buy Fresh, Buy LocalI have made a lot of great friends and contacts that will last a lifetime.  Moving from Philadelphia to the Jim Thorpe area was a big step in my life and my career, all of you have made me feel very happy in this decision.  The restaurant staff is the happiest and most helpful group of people I have ever worked with, and their hard work is key to  the restaurant’s success.

Joan Morykin, co-owner of Flow, has helped me with every detail each step of the way, and her contributions are immeasurable.  Victor Stabin,  has helped design every inch of the building and provided the unreal setting.  Along with his artwork, it completes the perfect ambience of the restaurant.  Without their full support, advice, and friendship none of this would have been possible for me and Flow would not have had the popularity, the critic acclaim, and the overall success we achieved this year.

So to give a gift of sorts and to thank everyone for their support, I am extending an invitation to you to join us for a dining experience like no other in the area: a 10 Course Chef’s Tasting Menu for our New Year’s 2012 celebration.  Main entree options include Short Ribs (beef), Quail (game), Halibut (fish), or a Vegetarian option for only $85 per person.

I wanted to design a menu that let you experience some classics and also some items you may never get to taste again.  There will also be a recommended, chef selected wine and beer pairing for the Chef’s Tasting Menu.  There are four seatings: Friday, December 30, at 5 pm and 8 pm and Saturday, December 31, at 5 pm and 8 pm, to allow for a maximum amount of availability.  Our full bar will be open both nights, featuring over 50 hand selected microbrews.

If you would like to reserve your tickets please e-mail us at jmorykin@verizon.net or call 570-325-8200 for availability, and to purchase tickets.  Please call as soon as possible to be guaranteed your optimal time. It is a first come, first serve basis. Reserve your seats today.

I would love for everyone to experience this event!

Ciao

Executive Chef Zachary Pelliccio

About Chef Zachary Pelliccio

Raised on a farm in Lancaster, PA, Chef Pelliccio’s parents taught him about hard work and farm fresh food.  He started his culinary career apprenticing under chef Anthony DiStefano.  Later, he attended The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Philadelphia, and started his Philadelphia culinary career at Patou Restaurant working with Exec Chef Patrice Rames.

Pelliccio followed chef Colin Thompson to the famous farm-to-table restaurant Farmacia, where he worked with other renowned chefs such as Jesse Fellows and Kevin von Klause.  Pelliccio’s career continued to other Philadelphia institutions such as Barclay Prime and Public House at Logan Square, where he reunited with DiStefano.

Chef Pelliccio has remained loyal to supporting small, local farms and his inventive, bold yet simplistic style has brought a wonderful renaissance to Flow’s menus.

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Various restaurants in Jim Thorpe have risen to the challenge of a tricky economy by offering lots of excellent specials to attract patrons – Jim Thorpe’s Broadway Grille and Pub being one of them.

Broadway Grille Daily Specials

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Flow Restaurant Jim ThorpeWe’ve noticed lots happening at Flow Restaurant these days.

First of all, there is the new Executive Chef, Zach Pelliccio, who has turned the establishment into a gastro-pub style restaurant featuring an extensive selection of great microbrews and a food menu on which all of the food is purchased from local, organic farms.

Their new menu items include fall-off-the-bone Short Ribs, Sea Scallops, Vegetarian Pot Pie as well as numerous other lunch items, appetizers and entrees.
Flow Restaurant Jim Thorpe, PA

They still feature their popular tapas-style dining on Sunday nights, which includes $8 small plate versions of our regular menu entrees. They’ve also made available private rooms for special occasions and parties.

A big addition to the atmosphere is due to the fact they feature entertainment on a weekly basis. Every Wednesday night brings the talented John McLaughlin (not that one) singing and playing acoustic guitar from 8 to 11. Entertainment every Friday night is accompanied by drink specials and the acts range from talented local musicians, including Phil Stahl each Friday of every month, to Comedy Night, featuring nationally touring comedians, on the last Friday of each month. Flow Restaurant Jim Thorpe, PA

You may be aware of the adjacent Stabin-Morykin Gallery run by artist Victor Stabin with his wife Joan Morykin. His book Daedal Doodle, containing 26 alliterations and matching illustrations one for each letter of the alphabet, has now been published and is available for purchase at Flow and online.

Have a look at www.flowjt.com and for reservations call (570) 325-8200. For more about Mr. Stabin’s artwork and Daedal Doodle visit www.victorstabinprints.com.

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