The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Carl’s Corner Gets New Owner

Photo courtesy of Ben Bovard.

Carl’s Corner Steaks and Subs is no longer for sale. A change in ownership occurred last weekend, when Michael Bartz, the regional manager for the local youth sports photography company Bishop Photo, purchased the beloved local eatery.

Bartz assures both customers and employees alike that the shift in ownership will have little impact on the day-to-day operations of the business.

The plan is to keep on running the business as it’s been run for the last thirty years,” Bartz said. “There are no plans to change anything. The menu is going to stay the same, the prices will stay the same. That’s at least for the first three to six months.”

The sale puts to rest customer fears that Carl’s would close, prompted by former owner Cindy Weintraub’s announcement last July that she was selling both the Bethlehem and Nazareth locations. At the time, Weintraub reassured the community that this was not the case.

“We will hope to find new owners that will carry on the Carl’s tradition, value, taste, and friendly service!” Weintraub wrote in a Facebook post last year. “Selling does NOT MEAN CLOSING!”

The popular cheesesteak joint has been around since the 1990s, when it was originally J’s Steaks and Subs, owned by Carl and Betsy Souders. The shop passed into the ownership of Weintraub in 2018 after she learned that the Souders wanted to retire.

“The main reason for buying it … was basically for David, my son,” Weintraub said. “People with disabilities and special needs — they age out of the school system and education system at the age of 22. And David loved coming here, and Matt [Mr. Weintraub] also enjoyed eating here as well.”

For individuals like David Weintraub, who is autistic, career opportunities are limited. In buying Carl’s, Weintraub sought to create a space for her son and other people with disabilities so that they could have the opportunity to have a job locally.

“[Having David] working with me [at Carl’s], we felt that he’d be safe and happy and looked after,” Weintraub said. “And he knew the staff already. Even if I wasn’t going to be there, I knew no one would ever mistreat him.”

The space, however, was not accommodating for people like David, mainly due to the close quarters that employees have to work in at Carl’s. Weintraub’s original plan was to buy the property adjacent to the store and create more space. But the property was not for sale, and so Weintraub came up with a new plan to rent a larger location in Nazareth to better accommodate workers with disabilities. 

While the Nazareth location did eventually open, Weintraub met no shortage of challenges along the way. She had a brain aneurysm and stroke in early 2020 and recovered only to deal with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Deemed by the city of Bethlehem to be an essential business, Carl’s Corner remained open for the duration of the shutdown, and the store was flooded with customers from all across the Lehigh Valley.

“It turned into chaos,” said Weintraub. “But we managed the chaos, I would say.”

Weintraub admitted that at a time when she should have been recovering, she was forced to take on more than she should have. Health issues cropped up, eventually forcing her to cut her involvement at the store. This past year the added stress of running a business sent her to the hospital. 

“I couldn’t keep risking my health,” said Weintraub. “The fact of doing it every week or every day, there’s bills that have to be paid, there’s problems that arise … I had to decide what to relinquish.”

Even though she has sold the business, Weintraub has also stated that she will continue to be involved at Carl’s Corner. “I would like to come and visit and know that it’s still here,” said Weintraub. “I would like to still continue to be here. Be on the phone, or register, or wherever I’m needed.”

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  • B

    BarbFeb 17, 2024 at 11:21 am


  • N

    Nicholas GirouFeb 2, 2024 at 2:42 am

    Awesome work Ben, so happy to see you advancing successfully!

  • S

    Sara McClellandJan 26, 2024 at 12:18 pm

    Nice article, Ben! Thanks for the update on Carl’s.