Big happenings are underway in Allentown. Bar owner and restaurateur Mike Shatzel has made a purchase of properties that will forever change the face of Allentown. After years of trying to land the perfect building on Allen Street, Mike has not only picked up an existing restaurant (that will drastically change), he has also opened up the doors to additional buildings that will keep him busy for years to come.
First off, Mike has purchased the Quaker Bonnet Eatery and plans on turning the building into a unique burger destination. “I want to maintain the Allen feel of things – with a special grind from a local meat purveyor,” Mike told me. “I’ve been researching burger bars in other cities for a while. I want to come up with a custom concept… a hook – from the music to the overall look of the place. And yes, we will have at least one veggie burger on the menu. I’m hoping for 20 taps, and a wine list that will pair well with the burgers. Don’t be surprised if it’s a bit more rock’n roll (think Pixies-driven)… something that will fit perfectly with the rest of Allen Street.”
Next, Mike has acquired a building behind the Quaker Bonnet – an old carriage house with mansard roof, where he is intent on possibly opening a micro brewery… or a coffee roaster… once again a unique concept that will fit in with the rest of his business plans and the overall dynamic of the street. At this point he is entertaining various concepts, although it sounds as if the business will entail some sort of production for consumption.
The third building that Mike picked up is a beautiful house to the West of Quaker Bonnet, which currently houses a yoga studio. Plans for that building entail maintaining its current commercial and residential rentals – The Massage Studio has just renewed its lease.
Finally, and most exciting in my mind, is Mike’s acquisition of the historic meeting house to the East of Quaker Bonnet – a building that has been crying out to become a public space for years. Down the road Mike will be looking to open this as an establishment with its own unique identity, though Mike tells me that any idea that he has today could change tomorrow. Right now he has to concentrate on the burger bar and the carriage house, but some day the historic meeting house will be another unique concept that will mesh with the rest of the businesses in Allentown.
Rarely have we seen a set of purchases by a single entrepreneur that allows for such a promising vision to unfold. With a track record of Coles, The Blue Monk and The Liberty Hound, Mike is once again setting out to elevate an industry that is becoming more competitive each year.