After losing a few restaurants at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Lehigh Valley Mall continues to find ways to fill empty spaces.
A well-known Allentown café will be relocating to the upper level of the Whitehall Township shopping center by early February.
Almost vegan Pescatarian Café, which opened in July 2020 along West Liberty Street, is now moving into a room that was previously housed by Subway next to Macy’s. Anthony Alexander from Allentown owns the restaurant with his wife Nadia Alexander. They closed the location in the city on December 1st. The Alexanders wanted a place with more pedestrian traffic, said Anthony Alexander.
The couple decided to open the business when Anthony Alexander said it was always difficult to find dishes in other restaurants that would suit their nutritional needs. While Anthony Alexander is strictly vegan, Nadia Alexander is Pescatarian, which means that she eats fish.
At Fast Vegan Pescatarian, customers get the nutrition they need while avoiding unhealthy, highly processed foods, said Anthony Alexander. The menu includes a variety of Pescatarian, vegan and plant-based dishes.
“Our café is a bridge for those who want to live vegan or for pescatarians who need healthier seafood and at the same time dairy-free and soy-free food,” said Anthony Alexander.
The cafe, he added, also has a goal of helping those who want to stop eating meat and start eating fish. Guests then have the option of eating fish along with the vegan options on the menu if they so choose.
Food that does not contain fish contains either plant-based or high-alkali ingredients – everything is 100% soy and dairy-free. For example, the Alexanders could use coconut cheese or sour cream made from chickpea mayonnaise.
There are things like “The Land Bowl Salad,” which is served with kale, onion, peppers, kalmata olives, coriander, cucumber, and ginger dressing with parmesan cheese (made from walnuts); “Vegan Pizza”, which contains a raw tomato crust, Seamozzarella cheese (made from sea moss), vegetable sausage, red sauce, herbs, onions and peppers; and the “Chickpea Alkali Platter,” which features grilled mushrooms, steamed kale, and wild black rice with chickpeas.
There are also vegan breakfast staples such as “wild blueberry pancakes”, which are made from ancient grains and wild blueberries, accompanied by vegetable sausage and scrambled chickpeas; “Ancient Grits”, which are made from quinoa grits, mung bean eggs, and seaweed salmon cake; and a “hot buttered spelled toast sandwich” that contains “beyond sausage” and scrambled eggs made from avocado and tomatoes.
There are also a variety of vegan desserts and organic smoothies such as the “Lehigh Valley Bliss”, which is made from goji berries, bananas, blueberries, agave and coconut water; “Juneteenth” made from mango, lime, banana, coconut milk and agave; and “The Alexander’s” made from strawberry, sesame moss, hemp seeds, agave and coconut water.
When asked what was popular at the Allentown location last year, Anthony Alexander said lehighvalleylive.com Regulars can’t get enough of the “Almost Wing Platter,” which is fried mushrooms that look like chicken wings and are tossed in a barbecue, buffalo, or sweet chili flavor along with two sides. Fish lovers also enjoyed the “Pescatarian Salmon Sliders”. Both will be made available at the Whitehall site, he said.
The Alexanders also expect to offer weekly “top secret” specials. Prices are affordable, with most groceries ranging from $ 5 to $ 16. Smoothies are $ 5 for a small one and $ 8 for a large one.
The café is also hiring. Positions include cook, dishwasher, server and bussing assistant, according to the Company’s Facebook page.
Anthony Alexander’s family has been in the hospitality industry for decades. His mother, Rashena Burroughs, currently owns three restaurants – Blueberry Vegan Cafe; The Zucchini Bar; and Aqua Phit Water Bar – in Newark, New Jersey, where he is a native. Anthony Alexander helped out in his family businesses as a teenager after graduating from high school, while Nadia Alexander attended fashion school and earned an associate degree.
“Being able to cook is a family gift,” said Anthony Alexander.
There are future plans, potentially opening a second location in Lehigh Valley, with the Alexanders targeting the thriving dining scene in downtown Easton.
“Downtown Easton is like the new place for foodies,” said Anthony Alexander. “We love the variety of restaurants and the outside setting.”
The café in Lehigh Valley Mall is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Mondays to Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Mall lost Ruby Tuesday and Frites, a Belgian-style French fries restaurant, at the start of the pandemic. Italian restaurant chain Bravo! The Cucina Italiana was also initially closed shortly after the Lifestyle Center closed in March 2020, but has since reopened under new owners. Additionally, Shake Shack opened just before the New Year’s, next to Dave & Buster’s, a restaurant and entertainment center that opened in October 2020.
Please subscribe now and support the local journalism YOU trust and trust.
Pamela Sroka-Holzmann can be reached at [email protected].