Owner John Trapani and Chef/Owner John “JP” Pukanecz have teamed up to open this exciting new restaurant in South Side Bethlehem. ZEST brings a new twist on some of the award-winning flavors of its Lehigh Valley sister restaurant, Grille 3501, such as the crispy lobster risotto appetizer, sea scallops, and filet, along with a few carryovers like the crab and mango spring rolls appetizer, crispy sesame chicken dumplings appetizer, and short ribs entrée. The chef will, of course, introduce a selection of original dishes available exclusively at this innovative new eatery, like the Pork Cheek and Veal Rib Chop. One must-try appetizer is the Crab Tempura, featuring large, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of lump crab, tempura fried and served with celery root and a colorful array of pickled vegetables. Likewise, the marinated tuna (instead of tartar) embraces diverse flavors of sesame, heirloom tomatoes, ginger, and cucumbers. Expect proven desserts like the flourless chocolate torte, seasonal cheesecake, and crème brûlée, along with new confections that are seasonal and more challenging for the palate. The fare at ZEST celebrates New American cuisine with a touch of approachable Asian flair blended with culinary influences from around the globe.


The restaurant’s moniker is more than just a clever name depicting great excitement and upbeat energy. The vibrant bar scene at ZEST centers on fruit-driven, well-balanced cocktails that are smooth and easy to drink. Look for the mango mojito, which relies on fresh mango puree for a fruity zing and other seasonal flavors offering a different twist on a signature favorite. Fresh muddled blackberries and fresh raspberry puree (made in-house) create other memorable cocktails. ZEST will serve up traditional and on-trend, high-end cocktails on request—as well as an extensive wine list and a strong selection of beers, with a solid focus on local craft brews—serving up something for everyone. The bar’s main philosophy leans on libations that stand the test of time while changing seasonally to stay current with recognizable, drinkable drinks.


On the rooftop floor of 306 South New Street, an energetic restaurant and bar puts down roots in the heart of Bethlehem’s South Side Arts District. A vast rectangular bar paired with expansive high-top seating offers ample space for large and small parties to socialize while the corner lounge area on the corner of the building leaves room to unwind. Evening hours give way to gorgeous views of the city lights amid a black night sky, readily visible from the high-top tables and indoor/outdoor, four-season balcony seating. The building itself carries its own character, connected to the adjacent parking garage by a stunning walkover glass bridge.


What do you like most about running your business here in the Lehigh Valley?

We were lucky to have opened Grille 3501 17 years ago when the area was being developed with the surrounding neighborhoods behind us. We are grateful to have gained some great loyalty in this area. We’re looking forward to opening ZEST at a similar time in the development in the South Side of Bethlehem with some exciting things that are coming up in that part of Bethlehem. Our chef visits some of the local farms, trying different vegetables and ingredients and building and honoring relationships that evolve.

What sets ZEST apart from other businesses in the area?

The view! Being on the sixth floor with two sides of the restaurant made completely of glass—there’s nowhere else you’re going to be able to see directly over the Fahy Bridge, across the north side of Bethlehem, to City Hall, with the Steel Stacks to the East, and you can get a great view down 3rd Street and see the fireworks from Sand Island.

Can you share any exciting plans you have in store for the coming months?

With the New Year ahead, we’re going to start to kick off in-house events. We’ll also open it up for private dining, which we aren’t necessarily opening up right away. We have two dining areas that can be completely private or used for dinner service. The bigger area holds 40 people and the smaller one holds around 25. There are also multiple other spaces that can be booked for semi-private events including the best corner in the restaurant as a small cocktail party and the enclosed balcony with sliding doors. We won’t have that open until spring, but you’ll have access to a partially enclosed balcony.

What is the inspiration behind the name ZEST?

The name comes from the dictionary definition for zest—which is great enthusiasm and energy. That’s the driving force and why we’re opening the restaurant where it is. We can’t wait to be open!


306 South New Street

Littleneck Clams


  • 1 dozen littleneck clams
  • 1/4 of a white leek
  • 4 sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 8 heirloom cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • Cooking oil
  • 2 oz heavy cream


Cook the leeks and mushrooms in a pan with oil. Add the clams and deglaze the pan with white wine. Reduce the liquid by half and add 2 oz heavy cream. Reduce by half again; add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 1-2

Mango Mojito


  • 2 oz. rum
  • Muddled lime and mint
  • Fresh mango puree*
  • Splash of club soda
  • Crushed ice


Fresh Mango Puree Recipe
* Cut two ripe mangoes into large chunks. Blend the mango chunks with three tablespoons of simple syrup. This renders a full cup or cup and a half, depending on size of the mangoes. This batch is enough to make three to four drinks. 

Mango Mojito Recipe
Muddle the lime and mint. Add crushed ice and pour in the rum and fresh mango puree. Top with a splash of club soda. 

Serves 1

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