Johnny’s brings brand to arena zone

Date: Jan 03, 2015

In a sea of new downtown Allentown restaurants, Johnny's Bagels & Deli won't have to fight hard to make a name for itself.

That's because the eatery, known for its signature New York-style, hand-rolled and kettle-boiled bagels, is a Lehigh Valley hallmark, having opened its first location on Main Street in Bethlehem 15 years ago.

The bagel business boomed, debuting additional Christmas City shops at 3 Asa Drive (Lehigh University campus) in 2006 and 2339 Schoenersville Road (Westgate Mall) in 2009.

Its first Queen City outpost at 640 Hamilton St. (across from PPL Center) held a soft opening Dec. 26.

"We are extremely excited to be a part of Allentown's revitalization," owner John Zohir said. "This could be the first of a couple locations here."

The 65-seat eatery, which began construction in October 2013, not only has the name recognition in its arsenal for success, but it also boasts a fast-casual concept that is ideal for center city residents, workers and visitors on the go.

Customers can order from an expansive menu that includes burgers, wraps, paninis, subs, salads and sandwiches. Breakfast items such as omelets, pancakes and home fries are served all day.

There's a dish named after each of Zohir's six children: Maryam's Jazzy Burger, the Noury Melt, Jennah's Funky Chicken panini, the Spicy Jameelah vegetarian specialty and the new Twin Toast (French toast) — named after his 8-month-old twins, Aleena and Iman.

Of course, Johnny's main draw is its bagels. There are more than 20 varieties, including popular selections such as blueberry, cinnamon-raisin, everything, honey grain, pumpernickel, sun-dried tomato and veggie. Prices range from 89 cents for a single bagel to $9.99 for a baker's dozen.

Zohir, of Allentown, and his 12-person staff also prepare bialys (call in advance to order), which are round, chewy rolls similar to bagels and popular in Jewish communities.

Several new dishes representative of Allentown include the Hamilton Melt (corned beef, pastrami and turkey with melted Swiss cheese, cole slaw or sauerkraut, Russian dressing and spicy mustard) and Phantom Filler (grilled roast beef, turkey and ham with melted cheddar cheese, fries, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and spicy mayo).

Additionally, there are rotating soups such as French onion and lobster bisque; baked goods such as muffins and crumb cake; and new specialty drinks such as the X-Treme Energy (made with dates, milk, honey and almonds) and Lime Filli (made with fresh mint and lime).

Johnny's, which offers catering, is open 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with hours often being extended for arena events. Info: 610-439-1122 or

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Retail Watch keeps track of new store, restaurant and bank development in the Lehigh Valley. Have a question about a retail construction project, store opening or chain you'd like to see come to the area? Contact reporter Ryan Kneller at 610-820-6597 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Retail Watch appears every Sunday.