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Bethlehem restaurant known for viral pasta flights offers up fall comfort food

Stephanie Sigafoos
Sage Pumpkin Gnocchi - a ricotta gnocchi tossed in a homemade pumpkin cream sauce topped with Stracciatella cheese and pumpkin seeds - is on the fall menu at Pat's Pizza & Bistro in Bethlehem.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh Valley has a number of notable dining destinations, from Salisbury Township’s Bolete to Easton’s River Grille and a dozen other spots in between.

But one local eatery has quietly dominated the food scene this year with a menu full of scratch-made breads, appetizers and entrees – not to mention their pasta flights that went viral back in February, with choices like the classic but elegant cacio e pepe and a tortelloni alfredo piled high atop cutting boards (not bowls) and delivered straight to the table.

  • Pat's Pizza & Bistro in Bethlehem went viral earlier this year for its pasta flights
  • The restaurant is offering up a new seasonal menu for fall, featuring (what else?) pasta
  • The sage pumpkin gnocchi is one of five items on the new seasonal menu

Located inside a fully renovated former 7-Eleven on W Broad Street in Bethlehem, Pat’s Pizza & Bistro has challenged whatever perception diners might have if they knew the place as a convenience store. With its rustic tone and casual vibe, the restaurant is serving up high-caliber cuisine that makes reservations necessary most evenings.

The latest concept, a limited seasonal menu of robust fall flavors, will likely leave patrons exuding the excitement of knowing they’re dining at a real local hot spot.

Stephanie Sigafoos
Butternut squash bisque - a creamy butternut squash soup topped off with Stracciatella cheese and pumpkin seeds - is on the fall menu at Pat's Pizza & Bistro in Bethlehem.

Two notable appetizers on the autumnal menu are a not-to-be-missed butternut squash bisque topped off with Stracciatella cheese and pumpkin seeds, or battered cheese curds offering a light but satisfying crunch.

Stephanie Sigafoos
Cheese curds - squeaky with a light crunch and "offering a cheesy journey like nothing else" - are on the fall menu at Pat's Pizza & Bistro.

The Stracciatella – the stuff you’ll find inside Burrata cheese that’s not quite solid, not quite liquid but incredibly creamy – is a staple for chef Andrea Moretti. You’ll find it in every other item on the menu, from a Mortadella panino piled high on homemade focaccia or dolloped on top of a Pastorella pizza (derived from the Italian word pastore, which literally means shepherd).

Stephanie Sigafoos
This Pastorella Pizza - featuring pesto and fresh mozzarella on bottom, topped with thinly sliced mortadella, Stracciatella cheese and pistachio bits - is on the fall menu at Pat's Pizza & Bistro.

"We were so happy that one of our purveyors had these products, because some of it is not easy to find, or to be found. And I personally love it,” said Moretti. "I like that contrast… it’s all about trying to use the best contrast and offer the best flavors."

Moretti is particularly fond of the Mortadella, a famed Italian lunch meat composed of cured pork with little white bits of fat.

“What they do in Italy is they work everything and they grind everything very creamy and it’s ground very faint in a cold environment,” Moretti explained. “Every family, every user, has their own secret spice mix but Mortadella is young. It’s made and aged the minimum [time] required.”

Stephanie Sigafoos
This Mortadella Panino - featuring homemade focaccia piled high with imported slices of Mortadella, roasted red peppers, Stracciatella cheese and kale pesto and topped with organic arugula - is on the fall menu at Pat's Pizza & Bistro.

At Pat’s, the meat is nestled on the panino among roasted red peppers, the Stracciatella and kale pesto, topped with organic arugula. On the pizza, it’s folded among bits of pistachio and (you guessed it) melting white clouds of cheese.

But the entrée dressed to impress the most is the seasonal sage pumpkin gnocchi, which manager Anthony Vergar says can only be ordered from the fall menu (which means you can’t swap it into a pasta flight. Sorry!)

"It’s all about trying to use the best contrast and offer the best flavors."
Chef Andrea Moretti

While gnocchi is traditionally composed of flour, egg, salt and potato, this version is made with ricotta and tossed in a homemade pumpkin cream sauce that oozes fall flavor.

“The gnocchi is actually one of our fresh, frozen pastas,” Vergar said.

In this case, the pasta is dressed up nicely, with the Stracciatella and pumpkin seeds serving as the final touches to a photo-worthy presentation.

According to Vergar, the fall menu will be around for the next few months (lasting longer than our fiery foliage) as Pat’s continues to take advantage of prime seasonal ingredients.

What: Pat's Pizza & Bistro
Where: 1426 W. Broad St., Bethlehem
Call them at: 610-419-8100
Hours: Monday - Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. | Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. | Sunday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Reservations: Accepted, recommended for dinner

Have you spotted a seasonal fall menu or a standout seasonal dish in the Lehigh Valley? Tell us about it by emailing news@lehighvalleynews.com.