By Jennifer Sheehan, Of The Morning Call
The Champ wants you back in his corner.
We're talking about Easton's own former heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes, who has relocated his Champ's Corner Bar & Grill from W. Canal Street to 91 Larry Holmes Drive. Readers may remember that address because it once belonged to another of Holmes' endeavors, the Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant & Lounge.
Let's go back a moment and recap some of the history.
The Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant & Lounge was open for diners from 1995 to September 2011, when Holmes put the 18,000-square-foot building up for sale, listing it for $2.1 million. Holmes decided to sell the property because he was upset about the city's proposal to create a Neighborhood Improvement District in downtown Easton that would have increased his taxes. The district was later defeated.
Holmes then opened Champ's Corner in November 2011 at 228 W. Canal St., the site of his former gym. Holmes also moved his offices there. Champ's Corner was open at that address until October.
Now he's back at 91 Larry Holmes Drive. Holmes held a grand opening for Champ's Corner Saturday.
Champ's Corner will again be the place for Holmes' fans to meet him and see memorabilia from his boxing days.
"Nine out of 10 times you can catch me here," Holmes says of Champ's Corner. "It's my hangout."
(In case you don't know, Holmes was world heavyweight boxing champion from 1978-1985.)
Holmes says they run some of his old boxing tapes for fans to enjoy while they chow down on traditional sports bar fare like burgers and sandwiches. Steak dinners are also on the menu.
Angel East, Holmes' assistant, suggested trying the "champ burger" (two 8-ounce burgers with cheese of your choice, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and hot peppers). Wings are big at Champ's Corner, both traditional buffalo and "champ wings," which are breaded and deep fried. Wednesday is Wing Night at Champ's Corner; traditional wings are 45 cents apiece; champ wings are 55 cents 5-9 p.m.
As for the building, Holmes says it's still for sale, currently listed for $2.6 million.
Hours for Champ's Corner are: open at 4 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday; open at 11 a.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday.
Want to find out more? Visit http://www.larryholmes.com/Champs_Corner.html.
Moving from Easton to Emmaus, there's been a lot of talk about what's going on at 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Bethridge Toovell, senior director at Rodale, says the building will be home to Rodale's General Store. On Monday the shop will open for business and feature Rodale books and more at bargain prices, holiday gift items and organic floral arrangements. A grand opening will be held at some point in January. The shop will be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday. After that, the store will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will be closed on Dec. 24, 25, 31 and Jan. 1. Stay tuned for more details on this store.
At the Lehigh Valley Mall, The Walking Company and L'Occitane have opened. The Walking Company, a shoe retailer that sells many of the top brands including Keen and UGG, is on the mall's lower level next to Gordon Jewelers. L'Occitane, a skin-care store with a luxurious French flare, is in the Outdoor Shops in the former Solstice space next to Apple. Fye, which sells new and used CDs, DVDs and video games, has relocated from the upper level near Boscov's to the lower level near Macy's.
You can't talk about Whitehall without updating where things stand with the buffet restaurants. The new Golden Corral will open at the site of the former Chi-Chi's at the Lehigh Valley Mall in very early 2013. We'll keep you posted when we get a firm date.
So what's happening at Whitehall's Old Country Buffet? We found out the restaurant chain is modernizing to address some of the needs of its customers, spokeswoman Kampi Chaleunsouk says. Over the next year Old Country Buffet restaurants chainwide will be redesigned to feature more of a food court setup, Chaleunsouk says.
New stations will be added featuring different types of foods, including Italian and Asian.
The Old Navy on MacArthur Road has closed. Andrea Hicklin, a spokeswoman for the clothing retailer, says while that location closed this fall, a new one opened shortly after at 941 Airport Center Drive in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.
In Bethlehem, Westgate Optical, a fixture at the Westgate Mall more than 35 years, will be moving to the Gateway Professional Center on Westgate Drive in Bethlehem on Monday.
Jennifer Sheehan is temporarily filling in for Retail Watch reporter Irene Kraft. Retail Watch keeps track of new store, restaurant and bank development in the Lehigh Valley. Have a question about a retail construction project, a store opening or a chain you'd like to see come to the area? Email email@example.com. Retail Watch appears every Sunday. Follow breaking news on our new Lehigh Valley Restaurants blog, themorningcall.com/restaurants.