Bethlehem's Bed Head offers homestyle vegan brunch options for the Lehigh Valley
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Looking to indulge in a delicious brunch without worrying about meat, eggs or dairy?
Bed Head Vegan Brunch House in Bethlehem may have exactly what you’re looking for.
Just be prepared for some indulgent, savory, sweet, filling food — “We are not a stuffy health food store,” Bed Head’s website states.
- Bed Head Vegan Brunch House has opened its doors at 310 East Goepp Street in Bethlehem
- The cruelty-free eatery offers vegan versions of brunch staples including chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, and sourdough cinnamon rolls
- Bed Head will celebrate its grand opening from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22
From your classic breakfast burrito or biscuits and gravy to the deceptively simple vegetable and vegan cheese-packed Bed Head Hash, this new meat-, dairy- and egg-free eatery at 310 East Goepp Street in Bethlehem has a little something for everyone.
Chadwick Aufderhar, owner and operator of Bed Head, boasts years of experience in the vegan community, and a burgeoning passion for cruelty-free eats when it comes time to indulge in some hearty brunch. He said he hopes to spread that love for vegan food across the Lehigh Valley.
Aufderhar grew up as a vegetarian, building a strong familiarity with early, more basic meat substitutes like grains and vegetables.
In 2015, Aufderhar helped launch Allie's Vegan Pizzeria & Café in Spokane, Washington, where he lived at the time with his wife, Lauren Gilmore.
“That's one of those things where it's like, it's really simple. But just by making it fresh by hand every day, it's surprisingly good. It's not just like something you get out of a freezer, or something."Bed Head Vegan Brunch House owner and operator Chadwick Aufderhar
“We were, I think, the first vegan restaurant [in town]. There was a little vegan bakery, but we were the first all-vegan restaurant in town, and most people didn't really know where it was. We opened as like a café and pizza place, and we really didn't know what to expect, you know, like if people would take to it or not.”
Turns out, the idea was a hit. Cruelty-free biscuits and gravy and chicken (made of seitan) and waffles — part of the novel brunch Aufderhar would offer weekly — would often outsell regular menu items.
After a few years, Aufderhar and Gilmore moved to Bethlehem so Gilmore could pursue a post-graduate degree at Lehigh University. Unfamiliar with the area, Aufderhar was pleasantly surprised to find an already-established fanbase for quality vegan food.
“I was really pleased to see so many really great thriving businesses. I mean, having a business like Vegan Treats in town with such a great reputation, making such amazing products for so long, I think it helped people understand,” Aufderhar said.
So, why opt to establish an eatery focused exclusively on vegan brunch?
“Well, I have been obsessed with breakfast burritos all my life. But I guess maybe it started when I was in college, and I just, it's my favorite… I guess it's a ‘meal’ of the day. But the main thing is, I was working at Allie's Vegan Pizzeria & Café in Spokane, and when we first opened, we had a full sit-down brunch service that I created the menu,” Aufderhar said.
Unfortunately, the pandemic hit restaurants hard, forcing restrictions on seating capacity and dine-in options. Allie’s pivoted with the times, and Aufderhar introduced a grab-and-go option, dishing out those breakfast burritos and piping-hot cinnamon buns to an eager audience.
“I started doing it every week, once a week, and I just really enjoyed the fast pace. I really enjoyed the early hours, and I really enjoyed the menu. I mean, I love pizza. I'm sure if you've had Paranormal Pizza, they do an amazing job,” Aufderhar said.
“And, you know, I really enjoyed some of our other menus, but the brunch thing was just kind of like my wheelhouse. And so when we moved here, I was still traveling back and forth actually doing once a month, I was doing the grab-and-go brunch in Spokane, Washington because it was so popular. It just made sense for me to keep doing it.”
For diners who are new to the vegan brunch scene, there are plenty of options to explore at Bed Head. But no matter what, Aufderhar said, you definitely want to get a side of hash tots, a simple but savory staple item on the menu.
“That's one of those things where it's like, it's really simple. But just by making it fresh by hand every day, it's surprisingly good. It's not just like something you get out of a freezer, or something,” Aufderhar said, adding that the tots are a pivotal piece of the Bed Head Hash and the breakfast burrito.
Other savory dishes include the biscuits and gravy with scramble and hash tots, fried chicken biscuit sandwiches and the Goepp Street salad.
Feeling a little more sweet? Try the lemon or tiramisu waffles, or perhaps an amore waffle – featuring strawberry compote, dark chocolate ganache and white chocolate drizzle.
And don’t forget to get a cinnamon roll — or maybe six or 12 — to go.
It's all in the dough
Aufderhar is serious about his dough. He had his original sourdough starter mailed to him from Spokane to continue baking his fan-favorite cinnamon rolls when he and Gilmore made the move. It’s the same one he’s been using since 2015, and serves as the basis for every baked good he has produced since.
“That one's kind of close to my heart, because it's kind of my favorite part of the day, just by myself, you know, early in the morning, making the dough and rolling it out. And then it goes in the fridge for a day or two so they kind of cold ferment and get like a more complex flavor. And I mean, you just can't beat a cinnamon roll, and it seems to make everybody happy. It's the one item that really anybody can recognize and appreciate,” Aufderhar said.
And those indulgent dishes really do hit the spot, as Nishi Ifrit and Jake Roth said while sampling the biscuits and gravy and chicken and waffles on Thursday morning.
“This is really good… The spices on the fried chicken are just perfect,” Roth said.
“This reminds me of Florida’s biscuits and gravy, real southern biscuits and gravy,” Ifrit said.
Aufderhar said he hopes Bed Head’s close proximity to other landmark vegan eateries – VegOut, Vegan Treats, and, hopefully soon, the return of Paranormal Pizza – can create a corridor for vegans – and anyone else – to enjoy a variety of tasty sweets and savory treats.
As he thinks about tempting palates in Bethlehem and beyond with his new brunch spot, Aufderhar said it all goes back to those "veg-heads," the people who once took a chance on him and his brunch menu in Washington.
“They're some of some of the best people I've ever met, and they've made it possible for me to have a have a job and to do something that I love, and that's something that I want for everyone,” Aufderhar said.