It’s official! As of Oct. 12, Allentown has a brand new restaurant, Jay’s Local, replacing Cafe Frais, which closed last fall. Open weekly from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., this new restaurant is everything you could ever ask for.
Right in the backyard of Muhlenberg College, this small family-owned restaurant caters both to the relaxed nature of the suburb in which it’s located and to the rushed life of its college neighbors.
Jay’s Local is named after owner Lyell Scherline’s late father Jay Scherline, who was a personal injury lawyer of Scherline and Associates. Lyell Scherline works with his mother Lorrie Scherline and his best friend Matt Feehan. Along with naming the restaurant after his father, Lyell Scherline and his family also have photos of Mr. Jay Scherline adorning the walls as tribute to him.
Lyell Scherline, who works in real estate, bought the building with Feehan with the end goal of establishing a restaurant there, but had no idea on what they wanted it to look like or what food they wanted to serve. They had decided to present their basic plan to an Innovation and Entrepreneurship class here at Muhlenberg College and to have the students pitch ideas for what they wanted the restaurant to be.
“One team of students wanted it to be a night-club, and one team asked for it to be open till 5:00 a.m., neither of which we could accommodate because we have to be courteous to the families in this neighborhood, but we were able to work with a lot of the requests we were given,” said Scherline. Scherline explained that most of the menu items were student’s ideas and that the low prices were also determined by the students.
Scherline is especially proud of his long list of eleven local vendors that cater his restaurant, which he displays for all to see. “People don’t know much about Allentown and all the amazing things it has to offer, so I try my hardest to only get ingredients from local vendors to promote and advertise how amazing Allentown is,” Scherline said.
Along with being a neighbor of Muhlenberg, Jay’s Local’s walls are also decorated with old photos of life at the College. “We had empty wall space that we didn’t know what to do with, so we reached out to the people in charge of the Muhlenberg archives and asked for some old photos. We have plans to change them out each season, so in winter we’ll have photos of the college covered in snow, and around May we’ll have some old graduation photos,” said Scherline. Each photo displayed also has a small description underneath to explain it.
The menu includes a variety of foods and beverages, including a Bacon Maple Cinnamon Roll, their Local Salad and a selection of smoothies. Jay’s Local is also very conscious of special diets. Their grill and blender are safe for those with gluten allergies, and there are also many vegan and vegetarian options. Additionally, their cutlery are eco-friendly to minimize waste.
When asked what their plans for the future are, Feehan replied, “We plan to have different groups come to perform for our customers. We actually have the Chaimonics from Muhlenberg coming to sing on Monday, Nov. 4 at 7:00 p.m.”
So when you have the chance, you should go pop on over to 2301 Liberty Street, grab yourself a milkshake, play a game from the game corner and take in the warm environment that is Jay’s Local.