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The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Restaurant Review: Keystone Pub

Came for the Food, Stayed for the Food
Photo by Joel Hendricks.
Photo by Joel Hendricks.

Anyone who lives in the Bethlehem area has surely heard of Keystone Pub, or at least driven past it. Located at the intersection of Willow Park Road and Easton Avenue, the restaurant has stood as a staple of Bethlehem ever since 1806.

Starting out as an old mill, the building was eventually converted into a hotel in the 1950s. This hotel, named the Butztown Hotel, was a gathering spot for many visitors and locals alike. The owner, Howard Searfass, would play poker with his friends while the bar accommodated the many guests that would come through the doors. It wasn’t until the early 2000s when the hotel finally became the Keystone Pub that Bethlehem knows and loves.

The name “pub” might be a little off-putting for people, but let me assure you that this restaurant can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Some of my fondest memories as a child were coming to eat here with my family. The bar itself is on a completely separate floor from the restaurant, so there’s no need to worry about bringing the entire family.

Keystone Pub has won a multitude of awards for its wings, and that’s for good reason. I would argue that Keystone Pub is a contender for the best wings in Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley. So many times, the texture of wings can feel slimy and gross to eat, but Keystone Pub wings never run into that problem. The crunchy outside coupled with soft and perfectly cooked chicken on the inside never fails to get my heart dancing and my stomach singing. 

The sauces themselves are also incredibly savory. I’m a big fan of their hot sauce, but a couple of my friends tell me that honey BBQ and garlic Parmesan sauces are to die for as well. Take it from someone who has been eating here my entire life, chowing down on these wings is a surefire way to get some dopamine released into your brain.

Don’t sleep on the other menu items, though! The certified Angus beef (or veggie, should you wish) burgers are not only juicy but can be cooked and customized to your preferences. For example, the Keystone burger comes with BBQ sauce, but I always ask for mine without (I’m a pretty picky eater). The staff are super accommodating and are always happy to make substitutes at your request. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad experience with the staff here. Whoever does the hiring is really good at their job!

What would be a Pennsylvania restaurant without the famous cheesesteak? I mean, Keystone is literally in the name of the restaurant! Well, I’m happy to report that cheesesteaks absolutely meet the Pennsylvania standard, and then some! With such stiff cheesesteak competition in the area, Keystone Pub is able to stand its ground and deliver a yummy, and especially cheesy, experience.

Other menu items include a massive taco, A BBQ pork sandwich, and even crab cakes. My mom is a big enjoyer of the salads offered here, and I honestly couldn’t blame her. Anytime she orders a buffalo chicken salad, I can feel my mouth watering. The appetizers have such items as pub fries smothered in cheese and bacon, and soft pretzel nuggets with a nacho cheese dipping sauce. To be frank, I could order only appetizers and be satisfied with my meal; that’s how good they are. You can catch me munching on the pub fries any time I come here to eat.

Not only does Keystone Pub have great food; it also fosters a great environment. The atmosphere is incredibly welcoming which always gets me in the mood to eat. While I’ve only had a chance to eat at the Bethlehem location, there is another one located in Whitehall, and I’ve heard that they are just as delicious. 

No matter what you’re craving, Keystone Pub has it. I’m so glad I’ve had the chance to grow up with it right here in Bethlehem.

Rating: 9 spicy wings out of 10

Bethlehem: 3259 Easton Ave, Bethlehem, PA 18020 

Whitehall: 1410 Grape St., Whitehall, PA 18052

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