Archive for category entertainment

Easton’s Oak Steakhouse has an opening date and a star chef

It’s been a long time coming, but the city’s newest restaurant is ready to debut.

You want to eat dinner at the remarkable new Oak Steakhouse in Downtown Easton?

It will be formally open 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. July 5, with an extra hour of dining added on weekends, owner Mike Gjevukaj said Thursday afternoon.

It is currently open for training as about 30 people a night are being served by the staff of 45, headed by Executive Chef Heather Williams, of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” fame, and Ocean Chef Ryan Kor, Gjevukaj said as he relaxed with a beer and wearing a cowboy hat on the second floor of his three-story showplace.

Once open for reservations-only in July, there will be two seatings a night with a menu that offers “all the great cuts of steak and a lot of seafood,” he said.

Oak can hold 128 people and the rooftop likely won’t be open until after 8 to avoid the summer’s heat in the glassed-in area. It’s a place for small plates and a drink, Gjevukaj said previously.

Although Oak has several bars and chilled bottles of wine pretty much everywhere — there are more than 1,000 on site — those seats at least initially will only be open for diners.

It’s not a place to walk in and have a drink. It’s a place that only offers a dining experience — and a future weekend brunch, he said.

Heather Williams Oak SteakhouseOak Steakhouse Executive Chef Heather Williams, who was a finalist on Gordon Ramsey’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” says she really wanted to work in Downtown Easton and thinks she’s found the perfect place. (Tony Rhodin | For lehighvalleylive.com) 

Several of the rooms will be available for private parties, including one with a huge table and an in-house-designed chandelier in the wine cellar.

Gjevukaj, his bother Bekim and others — both in the family and out — have sought out the best advice available on creating an “old, traditional, classic steakhouse,” he said.

Don’t look for nouvelle cuisine at 323 Northampton St. It’s not on the menu, Gjevukaj said.

They’ve spent the past two weeks coming up with “our own Oak Steakhouse sauce,” he said.

“We’re pretty confident in our Oak sauce,” he added.

The staff is mostly local and “the demand is high” for a job at Oak, Gjevukaj said.

He wants his staff to be happy and he hopes management “creates a pretty good environment for them.”

He’s still not talking prices.

“It’s on the high side,” he said, adding the menus are just about ready, but still need a good edit. “You’re going to get great service, great quality and we’re going to provide you a great time. It’s affordable, but I don’t want to scare them.”

The design of the place — with its oak tree near the front door, it’s huge oak-themed chandelier above the entryway, it’s signature sliding-roof third floor and basement steak-aging and beer-cooling rooms — has created a buzz even before anyone tasted the steak.

And its remarkable rags to riches story of the February 2016 storm, the building collapse, the new steel skeleton and everything that’s come after — inducing the reuse of much of the wood for the former structure — is well known by now.

“This place has exceeded my own expectations,” he said as he stood next to the iron and glass front doors, with a frosted Oak making no doubt as to where you are.

Easton restaurant has an oak tree

A woman visiting actually teared up when first arriving, saying it was “‘so beautiful,'” he offered. The response overall to his second restaurant in the city — he’s long owned River Grille on the other side of Centre Square — has been “overwhelming,” he said.

But there’s one thing not to do when you visit Oak.

“I’m offended when someone says it belongs in New York,” he said. “The city has enough. It belongs in Easton. If I had to pick anywhere in the world for Oak to be, Easton’s the spot.”

  • Call 610-559-5510 for reservations. During the “very soft opening” training period, don’t be surprised if you’re turned down. And once July 5 arrives, don’t show up without a reservation. You won’t get it. At least for now, Gjevukaj said. Oak will be closed this Friday night for a fundraiser for the Easton Ambassadors, which quickly sold out, he added.

Tony Rhodin may be reached at arhodin@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @TonyRhodin. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

All you need to know about Phillipsburg’s Ole Towne Festival

The annual event marks 30 years this weekend.

Phillipsburg’s annual festival is 30 years Ole.
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Go-karts zip through SteelStacks campus in inaugural grand prix (PHOTOS)

Close to 30 teams participated in Sunday’s SteelStacks Grand Prix in Bethlehem.

Watch video

A venue that in less than two months will be filled with the sights and sounds of Musikfest on Sunday offered visitors a vastly different set of sights and sounds. 

The SteelStacks campus in Bethlehem was converted into a half-mile racing track for the inaugural SteelStacks Grand Prix. The event was being billed as a way to celebrate Father’s Day and featured close to 30 teams competing in go-kart races on the makeshift track. 

Lehigh Valley Grand Prix and ArtsQuest were the organizers. 

The track winded through PNC Plaza, offering racers a straightaway that allowed them to reach speeds of up to 40 mph. 

The top teams from the preliminary rounds advanced to a finals race with the winning team taking home trophies created by the Glass Studio at ArtsQuest’s Banana Factory. 

Food trucks, a car show presented by Chevy 21 and a Mario Kart video game tournament inside ArtsQuest Center were among the other offerings at the event. 

Nick Falsone may be reached at nfalsone@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickfalsone. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

Rain puts brakes on Easton’s 1st cruise night of season

The cruise nights are held on the third Saturday of each month.

Easton’s first cruise night of the summer season will have to wait.
Because of the wet weather outlook, the city c…

SteelStacks turning into a racetrack on Father’s Day

Go-kart teams will race through a half-mile track at PNC Plaza at the Bethlehem entertainment complex.

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LV brewers team up with local Habitat chapter

The House That Beer Built fundraiser is a coupon book that is redeemable at several area breweries.

Habitat of the Lehigh Valley has partnered with Lehigh Valley Brewers Guild f…

Belvidere High School prom 2017 (PHOTOS)

Belvidere High School students celebrated their prom at the Stoudsmoor Country Inn.

Belvidere High School students held their prom Sunday at Stroudsmoor Country Inn in Strou…

Warren Hills Regional High School prom 2017 (PHOTOS)

Warren Hills Regional High School students celebrated their prom at the Stroudsmoor Country Inn.

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Watch the trailer for the Lehigh Valley-made ‘Getting Grace’ (VIDEO)

The movie trailer was posted on Facebook Monday.

Last summer, a film crew descended on the Lehigh Valley for the filming of Bethlehem native Daniel Roebuck’s independent mov…

This comedy legend will show ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ in Easton

The State Theatre will host the Monty Python member in September.

This could be your chance to find out where to get a shrubbery. 
John Cleese, the comedy icon and fou…