Zanette’s Nazareth Grill opened on May 23 of this year, although some customers still call it by the eatery’s original name from more than 15 years ago, the East Lawn Dairy Bar.
Although it’s gone through a few name changes over the years, the heart is still the same; the new owner, Mike Zanette, kept the entire menu of the restaurant’s last incarnation, Choida’s Grill & Chill. But he’s made a few improvements that he said locals are eating up.
“We have a new Asian salad… with crunchy noodles and Mandarin oranges,” Zanette said. “It’s a big hit right now.”
Also among the additions are fried Oreos, priced at two for $1.29. Zanette got the idea from carnivals and fairs, and according to him, they’re gaining popularity fast.
Cheesesteaks have always been a big seller at the small grill, ever since it was Joe’s Steak Shop in the nineties. Zanette upgraded the type of beef that was previously used, and created a new sauce. He says that the cheesesteaks are easily the most in-demand choice on their menu.
Nazarenes, he said, have been delighted with the new operating hours -- open every day of the week -- particularly because of the summer heat and the restaurant's choice of 24 soft-serve ice cream flavors. The most preferred local flavor, he said, has been the homemade raspberry.
The grill is Zanette’s first entrepreneurial effort, although he’s always wanted to strike out on his own. While growing up he worked at the now-defunct Hartman’s in Belfast, where he learned to make ice cream.
“I needed something I could count on,” said Zanette. “I always told myself I’d own an ice cream place someday.”
And speaking of ice cream, Zanette has two more menu additions for the local football fans. He created a Blue Eagle sundae in honor of Nazareth, which sits in a waffle cone (to resemble a bird’s nest) and is topped with a chocolate medallion in the shape of an eagle.
However, due to the number of grill employees that hail from nearby Pen Argyl, he also created a Green Knight sundae, topped with a chocolate knight.
“Come football season, we’ll do a rivalry, [and] keep score of what we sell more of,” he joked. Zanette is from Nazareth.
Zanette’s Nazareth Grill is at 208 East Lawn Road. The grill is open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 10pm, and on Sunday from 11am to 9pm.
The restaurant accepts all major credit cards, and offers free wi-fi. Diners can take out or eat in at one of eight tables. Stop down for some fried Oreos, and come football season, enjoy a Blue Eagle sundae and score one for Nazareth.
Author’s note: My apologies to my alma mater, Pen Argyl High, for that last line. Go Knights.