As I've mentioned before, I came to Lehigh Valley to open the then "Allentown Hilton" (now the Holiday Inn Center City Allentown) back in 1981. That meant a couple of things. I didn't have any long term friends in the area...and I worked tons of hours. But, if there is one thing that can be said about working in the hospitality industry it's that we sure know how to have a good time. My co-workers and I were all about trying new restaurants and, of course, having a well deserved cocktail at the end of the day...or night.

Enter the then named "Fairgrounds Saloon". After closing back in 1969 the place was restored and re-opened. The crowd was mixed, young professionals like myself, (I was 21) and older folks, probably "empty-nester's". We all had a blast!

Flash forward 30 years. The building has had more than a few name and concept changes, some not lasting very long, like "Bar Cibi". I was thrilled to hear recently that it was re-opening as "Tessie's Fairgrounds Hotel" and couldn't wait to revisit my old stomping grounds.

I stopped in for a late lunch and sat at the familiar oval shaped bar. My present co-worker, Megan, had been there the night before with friends and highly recommended the Kobe Burger. I couldn't resist ordering the soup of the day as well which was a tasty Cajun Shrimp Bisque. YUM!

The menu is just as it should be for this beautiful Victorian yet casual restaurant...classic appetizers, tasty salads and sandwiches, and entrees that have me wanting to go back to try. I was reminiscing with the new owner, Robbie, about all the fun times I had there 30 years ago. It turns out he was one of the bartenders there "back in the day". I guess we both have gone full circle. This time around, I'm the "empty-nester".

Anyone want to meet for happy hour at Tessie's?