The Hamilton Kitchen & Bar

The Hamilton Kitchen & Bar

“If you build it, they will come.”  That iconic line came true in the movie Field of Dreams and it appears that it is coming true in downtown Allentown with the opening of the PPL Center.

Ground had barely been broken for the hockey arena when The Hamilton owner Donny Petridis signed papers for the site of his restaurant across the street. The old building had yet to be razed, making way for new construction that would change the look of 7th and Hamilton Streets for years to come. This, to say the least, was truly a leap of faith.


On our arrival, the hostess took our coats as we entered the bar, which sits about 24. There are surrounding dining tables and adjacent patio seating outdoors in warmer weather. It was really hopping early with people stopping in after work to mingle with pre-dinner revelers. The bar decor is sleek and a bit masculine but not overly so. There were three mixologists behind a shiny, darkly stained oak bar and Dan Gonzalez shook up a Cosmo for me, and a Manhattan for Tom, before we sat for dinner.

Donny Petridis stopped by to chat along with General Manager Jason Lonigro who had previously worked with Emeril Lagasse, both in New Orleans and at the Sands Casino. Petridis is truly excited about The Hamilton and it shows. His enthusiasm is endearing. He wanted to create an atmosphere where one would feel comfortable either in jeans or in a suit and I believe he has done just that. Although The Hamilton is upscale, it exudes not an ounce of stuffiness and makes everyone feel welcome.

We were shown to our table and friendly server Hillary was quick to bring the menus and ice water that server assistant Priscilla kept refilling from a chilled, old-fashioned milk bottle. There is no denying the Southern influence on The Hamilton’s menu, which we found delightful. Petridis, along with Lonigro and Executive Chef Drew Stark, have created a menu with no set price point. Its many options allow diners to sit and enjoy interesting choices from raw bar and snack listings in addition to flatbreads, soups and salads that are perfect for lighter appetites or for sharing along with a glass of wine. These are in addition to their full “Supper”
menu selections.

Tom and I chose starters from the evening’s specials. I loved my pureéd Chestnut Soup. It was rich and served very hot (making it even better) with just a hint of Chervil adding a unique flavor. Tom devoured his Grilled Octopus with Cannellini beans, fingerlings, celery and onions. This dish was delicious but very rich and could well have been his main course.

Scrumptious cornbread and the most amazing Popovers we have ever tasted were served with our appetizers.


However, there was more to come. On Jason’s recommendation, I chose as an entreé the Spiced Gulf Shrimp with Mississippi Grits, jicama slaw and pesto. What a great meal! The Hamilton has a “grits lady” in the Gulf from whom they get their grits, which are also used in their freshly-baked cornbread. I’m not a grits lover but these were exceptional. The shrimp were so fresh and grilled to perfection. The jicama added the crispy texture and the hint of pesto added interesting flavor to the grits. I loved this dish. Tom ordered the housemade Potato Gnocchi with pork ragu and fried sage. Tom declared it “a winner” and I agree. The gnocchi was firm and fresh and the pork ragu savory and delicious. Both entreés were exceptional and the portions very generous. We enjoyed a Simi Cabernet with our dinner that was served at a perfect temperature.

Although The Hami  lton is upscale, it exudes not an ounce of stuffiness and makes everyone feel welcome.

There are at least 18 other choices on the Supper menu that include Roasted Pork Chops with bourbon braised cabbage and grain mustard fingerlings; Chicken Pot Pie with root vegetables; and Fried Chicken with Kale slaw and biscuits. There is Salmon with parsnip puree, apple and Brussels sprouts salad; Seafood Stew and Seared Scallops with farro, cranberries and celery root in addition to five variations of steak.  Choices here are too numerous to list but, as you can see, there is something to whet anyone’s appetite.


Quite simply, The Hamilton Kitchen and Bar is beautiful. Everything was carefully selected, from the tile floors, well-spaced tables and leather banquettes to the brick and wooden ceilings. There was background music but the acoustics are good allowing for private conversations. The Hamilton is tastefully decorated with no expense spared.

Executive Chef Drew Stark stopped by to chat over coffee. A native of Delaware County, Stark graduated from Johnson & Wales and honed his talents at very fine restaurants including Oceana in Manhattan, Jake’s Restaurant in Manayunk and as Executive Chef for Paramour in Wayne. He is very excited about The Hamilton and it shows. Together with Donny Petridis and Jason Lonigro, they form an enthusiastic trio at this exciting new venture in
downtown Allentown. Roar-8758

Do try The Hamilton Kitchen and Bar. It is fun, friendly and beautiful to boot. Tom and I loved the food and we think you will find much on the menu that you will enjoy as well. The Hamilton is open every day. Call 610.433.3535 or visit: for hours, reservations and complete menu.

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