As the construction of the hockey arena in downtown Allentown moves forward, it has already given birth to what maybe soon known as the region's restaurant district. Thirteen restaurants are proposed for Hamilton Street, between Fifth and 10th Streets and bordering areas. These new eateries will join forces with a slew of established locales, such as Brew Works and Cosmopolitan, to form a bloc of dining choices unheard of for the Lehigh Valley.
The proposed restaurants will offer a good mixture of eating choices; there are two diners, two sports bars, in addition to several cafes, as well as upscale establishments to be housed in the new office buildings developed in conjunction with the hockey arena.
While some think that these different places will flood the markets causing all to suffer, others see them as necessary to Allentown's downtown revitalization program. With hundreds of added residents in the area due to modern apartments being built; nearly two to three thousand workers in the new office buildings; and tens of thousands potential visitors due to future entertainment venues, J. B.Reilly, CEO of City Center Investment Corp. believes the key to rejuvenation is ensuring people remain in the downtown section. Having this type of restaurant selection is necessary to that piece of the puzzle.
The variety of food choices gives the city a more urban environment which is needed to attract the 20-30 years old patrons, and restaurant selection is crucial to this generation which dines out at least 2-3 times per week.This armed with a more upscale shopping and varied entertainment should make Allentown's sidewalks full again.