By Jennifer Sheehan, Of The Morning Call
The Lehigh Valley has its share of local sports rivalries.
And arguably two of its most famous are based in Easton — Easton versus P'burg (high school football) and Lafayette versus Lehigh (college football).
"When I think of sports in Easton, I think of the rivalries," says Matthew Cochran, who was born and raised in the city that's home to the Red Rovers and the Leopards.
So it's no wonder Cochran and his business partner, David Madochick, chose to name their new sports bar and nightclub Rivals in celebration of those classic annual contests.
The restaurant is just off Centre Square at 5 Lehn's Court, grouped near other top dining spots and watering holes in Easton (and in the former site of Club Beyond).
Cochran says he and Madochick looked at sites for a restaurant nationwide.
But he heard from a friend about an available site in his home city — the one he and his partner ultimately chose for their venture.
"I always loved the building," Cochran said. "The layout was awesome."
Cochran and Madochick, a Salisbury Township native, saw a need for a sports bar in downtown Easton.
Now they have a great spot for any sports fan looking to watch the game. The bar and restaurant area is equipped with 16 screens including a 5-by-8-foot HD projection screen and a massive wall with eight TVs.
"Whenever you sit you can see a TV," Cochran said.
While it's a sports bar, it's a family-friendly one that Cochran hopes will attract hungry visitors from nearby Crayola Experience. A kids "little league" menu is available featuring pizza quesadillas, mac and cheese bites and fluffer-nutters. Live music for kids also is planned.
For adults, the menu features classic sports bar fare, such as wings, which are offered in 20 different sauces.
For those who are trying to keep to a New Year's resolution, there are also wraps and salads.
Around 11 p.m., Rivals kicks into nightclub mode, featuring DJs from New York, the Jersey shore and Philly, as well as live music.
"Every night is different," Cochran said.
Hours are 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; and noon to 2 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, call 610-392-2932 or visit http://www.rivalseaston.com. They're also on Facebook.
Now for some exciting news for our readers who have been eagerly anticipating the grand opening of the new Golden Corral at the former Chi Chi's restaurant at the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township. Amanda M. Johnson, director of mall marketing and business development, says the buffet-style restaurant will open to the public at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
Other news in Whitehall: A YoFresh Yogurt Cafe will be opening in the spring on MacArthur Road. It will be the second franchise for Theo Aranki. The self-service yogurt shop (guests come in, choose a flavor and toppings and pay by the weight) will open next door to the SaladWorks we wrote about recently in Retail Watch (2401 MacArthur Road). It's where Blockbuster and Staples used to be at MacArthur Road and Schadt Avenue.
A lot of us have been wondering what's planned for the former Bob Evans on Lehigh Street in Allentown. It's the last vacant spot in the corner that's home to the Tilted Kilt restaurant, Turkey Hill and Dan Schantz Greenhouse. Rodizio Grill, a Brazilian steakhouse chain, will open its 13th location there in the spring, (hopefully March) according to Steve Cihylik of the Frederick Group, the real estate firm involved in the deal. The restaurant is slated to be bumped out 1,500 square feet on the I-78 side and the interior will be renovated.
Rodizio is known for its 3-foot skewers of grilled meats carved table side, large gourmet salad bar, homemade desserts and specialty beverages. We'll keep working on this one and let you know when there's a specific opening date. If you can't wait and need to know more, visit the chain's website at http://www.rodiziogrill.com/about-us.
Cihylik also tells us that Dollar General has an agreement to lease a 12,000-square-foot building at 18th and Tilghman streets in Allentown. The site used to be home to Haldeman Ford. Dollar General hopes to open in the spring.
Liquid Layers Hair Salon has opened at 960 Broadway, Bethlehem. It offers everything from a basic haircut to a full head of extensions, as well as makeup applications, waxing, manicures and pedicures. For more information, call 610-625 2727.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. And we're back on Twitter @callretailwatch. Retail Watch appears every Sunday. Follow breaking news on our new Lehigh Valley Restaurants blog, themorningcall.com/restaurants.