Sunrise Diner and The Bay Leaf in Allentown, PA- Reminded Why I Ran Away

I was recently in Allentown, PA, for A Cirque Du Soleil show, Toruk. The show at the PPJ Center was awesome. Yet driving through Allentown brought back memories from Freshman year in college. I spent a miserable year in Allentown, PA, for many reasons and one of those reasons is still true today. Food quality and diversity were not on par with the bigger cities then and still are not now. Here is an example of what I mean – Click here to view downtown Allentown’s food scene.

I was circling the downtown area; there were some decent looking and reviewed restaurants. We skipped Hook Seafood Restaurant & Grille Restaurant which looked the most promising from both the menu and decor. We stopped in at The Bay Leaf  since it appeared to have a good review. We were greeted by a waft of fried Chinese takeout food and a decor from the 80’s complete with dirty carpet and a juxtaposition of crisp and clean white table-cloth. It was very strange. My eyes and nose told me that this should be a cheap Chinese restaurant but it’s pretending to be otherwise. The host asked me if we had a reservation and then told me they were all booked!

My 12-year-old and I walked out of the restaurant confused, unsure why a restaurant that smelled and looked like that would be fully booked. Due to limited time, we settled at this roadside diner, Sunrise Diner on South 4th Street. We figured that we are in middle American and a diner is probably the safeties choice.Wrong again. This was my Sunrise Special of a generic cheese burger with Swiss and fries. The patty was limp.
My daughter had the chocolate chip pancake and a side of Canadian bacon. She could not cut into the bacon. She said that they dunk the bacon in grease and grilled it to a hard rock.    I guess this is what we deserved for paying $13 for a meal.

We hightailed it out of the diner barely eaten much of the food just as I did years ago as a young woman. Travelers – bypass Allentown, PA if you can.

This experience took place at

Sunrise Diner

1401 S 4th St
Allentown, PA 18103
Phone:(610) 797-2233

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I am a New Yorker who flies home to Taiwan in the Summer. I absolutely believe food is one of the most pleasurable things in life. Hence, my chronicle of anticipated glorious food experiences.

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