DISHcover Lehigh Valley – Youell’s Oyster House
Video released on: May 27, 2014
Kim: Hi, I’m Kim. Executive Vice President at Discover Lehigh Valley. I’m a graduate of the CIA. No, not that CIA! The Culinary Institute of America. I’ve got the perfect recipe to uncover the best dining and dishes in Lehigh Valley. Let’s go!
Hi, I’m here at Youell’s Oyster House in Allentown. I’m joined by Christian Filipos proprietor of this restaurant and he’s gonna give us the dish on why you should check this place out.
Christian: Thanks for stopping in Kim. As you know we had a fire that destroyed the building.
Christian: And we had to start from scratch which gave us an opportunity to really provide a nice dining facility with all of the accouterments that we lacked before.
Kim: Well it looks absolutely fantastic. I was here before the fire, Christian and the place looks totally different to me. A lot of natural light’s come in. I love the view on the mezzanine level. What else has changed about the place?
Christian: Well, we have a limited footprint at this location. It’s a small lot in a residential neighborhood. So we’re restricted in size. We don’t have a lot more square feet than we did, we have a lot more cubic feet. So it’s a more open concept restaurant.
Kim: It’s beautiful. I love the bar area. The old bar was very closed in, I think, when you walked in the door.
Kim: This has really opened up.
Christian: We have a lot of patrons that like to eat at the bar and people have become a lot more curious about oysters, clams, mussels, and the like. Our staff is very knowledgeable and can provide them with the information.
Kim: Great. Well, I think we’re gonna taste a little bit.
Christian: Let’s check it out.
Kim: All right.
Christian: As you can see, it’s a beautiful view off the mezzanine to the outside and even down into the dining area.
Kim: I read somewhere that you used to have bees on your rooftop.
Christian: Sure the next time that you visit they should be visible right out those windows. We raised them and they provided us with honey that we sold at the restaurant.
Kim: So you use them in your cooking style?
Christian: Oh yeah, absolutely. In fact this week we have a honey infused menu week.
Kim: What are some of the favorite dishes of your patrons here at this restaurant?
Christian: Well, crab meat is a big one. Predominately people will order our lump crab meat dishes. We have jumbo lump crab meat served hot or cold with browned butter or cocktail sauce. We have a crab meat au gratin, crab meat with cheese. Crab cocktail and there’s crab meat in our combinations and a lot of other dishes. Aside from the crab meat we have a full array of fish and shellfish. Everything’s delivered daily. What you’ll get at Youell’s was in the water yesterday.
Kim: That’s awesome.
Kim: You can’t get fresher.
Kim: Great, well here’s the food now and it smells incredible.
Christian: The crab cake looks great.
Kim: I’m anxious to try it for sure. Can you tell me where the name Youell’s came from?
Christian: I understand that the restaurant was started outside of Easton. In 1925, a gentleman named Bob Youell bought the business and renamed it. We opened this location in 1992, but it’s been a tradition for generations. Through my research I’ve found it’s probably one of the longest continuously operating restaurants in the area.
Kim: How long has your chef been with you?
Christian: He’s been with us over eight years. Chef Tim grew up on the Jersey shore, started in the restaurant business as a young boy and grew up and worked in some of the finest establishments in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and later Lehigh Valley. So we have a great working relationship with a very talented guy. He comes up with some great dishes every week in addition to the regular menu. The chef’s feature menu changes every week. So we’ll have a half dozen different offerings.
Kim: Great. Sounds awesome. Although those crabs over there, I’m not sure that I’m going to get into that, but for those people that are newbies to the seafood world, you guys do a lot of different food pairings with your beverages.
Christian: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve expanded our beer selection. We’re working with Shangy’s the beer authority.
Christian: So we have a full complement of craft beers on tap.
Kim: It looks like this is one of your specialty cocktails?
Christian: Yeah, that’s our Apis Mellifera. We have a full line of specialty cocktails in addition to our wine list which is extensive as well.
Kim: Sounds great.
Christian: I’m anxious to try these soft shell crabs.
Kim: It smells incredible.
Christian: They’re one of my favorites. In fact, I want you to have the first bite.
Christian: I know you’ve never had them but I think you’re gonna enjoy them a lot. Here you go.
Kim: Really? Really?
Kim: Actually, wow that is really good.
Christian: The best.
Kim: I can’t wait to come back and try it again.
Christian: I’ve been waiting two years to have soft shell crabs. We didn’t have any last year with the fire.
Kim: Oh really? Why? Sorry…
Christian: Well, because this was an empty lot!
Kim: I need that martini!