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Carrie Havranek

writer-editor-cook-baker

Retro Food Love at Mitzi's Table

carrie

mitziswindow
mitziswindow

In case you are wondering, Mitzi does indeed refer to a real person. Mitzi's Table, a vibrant retro spot from beloved local food luminary Susan Roth (NCC culinary program, formerly of Susan's Catering in Nazareth) and chef husband Matt, is an homage to Matt's late mother. Serving breakfast and lunch on weekdays and weekend brunch, Mitzi's Table (and old-school diner counter, for that matter) offers comfort foods from around the world, rendered with an updated, fresh spin and local ingredients whenever humanly possible. Mitzi's opened about a month ago. On a recent weekday lunch hour, it was jammed. And for good reason. Mitiz's is the kind of place that's tinged with just the right amount of nostalgia; the Americana, vintage kitchen knickknacks behind the counter is evocative but not overwhelming, steering very clear of kitsch. It makes sense, because Mitzi's is retro in vibe but not in its execution. You may be able to take home some rice pudding (her recipe, naturally), order Coke in a glass bottle, or a side of baked beans (also her recipe), but you'll also find duck confit flatbread and four different versions of fries, ranging from classic and Old Bay to honey chipotle and parmesan and garlic. Furthermore, how many places have a menu that lists Philly roast pork with broccoli raab on a genuine Amoroso roll, followed by fish tacos with a sriracha slaw, a Kentucky Hot Brown and then a Vietnamese banh mi? (The latter is veg-friendly: order with tofu or roast pork). For breakfast, you're going to encounter items such as biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles, a daily quiche selection, house granola with Greek yogurt, but then you will also find vegan-friendly tofu scramble and a seriously updated rendition of creamed chipped beef, with wild mushrooms (Huh?!). While I was there, I tested out their black bean and quinoa burger, and picked a house salad as my side (the house dressing is a tangerine balsamic; oils and vinegars come from Seasons). See what I mean? You can have a lot of fun here, and I haven't even talked about desserts.

mitzisvegburger
mitzisvegburger

You'll want to get here early, because they don't take reservations (call ahead if you have a big party, though) and the soft turquoise -and-red colored place seats about 40-50. If you've lived here long enough or traveled here frequently, you know this already about breakfast places. And you likely know the Lehigh Valley is suffering from a serious dearth of breakfast joints; I can think of fewer than ten, not counting diners. The customary waits at places like Jumbars, the Quadrant, Billy's and now, Mitzi's, are indicators that we haven't even begun to saturate this particular market. (I can't speak for Griddle 145; I haven't been there.)

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I agree, which is why I often cook it for dinner. Now if these diner-like places would just stay open for dinner, too, then they'd really be tapping into an underserved market around here. C'mon, people: We're the third-largest metro area in the Commonwealth, and we're growing. We can support this. Let's do it. Breakfast for dinner. Brinner is a winner.

Mitzi's Table,  3650 Nazareth Pike, Bethlehem, PA, 610-730-1670; Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, breakfast 8-11; lunch 11:30-3; Saturday-Sunday brunch 10am-3pm.