While having lunch at Cafe 59 today I happened to speak to the owner Chris Connolly who told me that he was in the process of opening a new restaurant across the street in the former Atmosphere @ 62 (Fiddleheads) location. He mentioned that in order to make the corner space work he was going to have to reconfigure the interior - that mainly includes connecting the two sides of the space together by extending the bar across the restaurant in the shape of a large 'U', and taking down the large wall in the middle. "Up until this point it looks as if the past operators have added on additional space to the original storefront," Chris told me. "Without planning for the way spaces are supposed to flow. Now there will be a bar that literally connects the dining room and the cocktail area... we're also removing the hanging (architectural) elements that are supposed to create a cozy restaurant - instead they take away from the great high tin ceilings. The interior is already cozy enough."
The concept of Madonna's (that's what Chris wants to call it), will be that of a casual Italian food joint. "It's going to be homemade Italian food, all from scratch, and we're planning on making our own bread. Allentown has enough upscale restaurants - 'Allentown' likes being casual. It's the laid back Italian eateries that have been operating in the city for a long time, and for good reason. We'll have seating at the bar, at the cocktail tables and in the dining room. We'll be bringing back the patio and we'll have a full liquor license. It'll be called Madonna's - part Virgin Mary and part gay bar [laughing]. It's being designed for the people of Allentown. We'll have small plates, a manageable kitchen, a heavy wine list, and no dead space. We're replacing the old floors and getting rid of anything that says "Tiki"."
Madonna's is scheduled to open by September (corner of Allen and Franklin).