Come For The Food Stay For The ‘Tude – Carl’s Corner

by Lenora Dannelke

A Bethlehem bedrock of casual cuisine since 1991, Carl’s Corner earned an avid following that was attracted equally by friendly hospitality and generous steak sandwiches, subs, and other informal fare favorites.

Cindy and Matthew Weintraub, along with the four teenagers that comprised their blended family, counted among these dedicated followers—until serendipity prompted the couple to buy the place in late 2018. 

The Weintraub family had embraced this destination for both celebratory occasions with kids and quick take-out meals. However, Carl’s Corner held special significance for son David, now nineteen years old, who has autism: David loved sharing a “boys’ night out” there with his dad. When Cindy learned that founders Carl and Betsy Souders were hoping to retire and would probably close by summer 2018, Matthew’s response went way beyond unexpected: “I don’t think we should let that happen. Are you up to owning a restaurant?” (Note that between them, only Matthew had several years of restaurant experience managing a local Domino’s Pizza shop during his college years. Cindy worked in Bethlehem when she began stopping by Carl’s Corner for lunch in the late ’90s, and Matthew—a former Bethlehem paramedic and volunteer firefighter—is currently a MedEvac flight nurse at Lehigh Valley Hospital.)

While the Weintraubs were able to retain the longtime staff members of Carl’s Corner—who are famous for knowing their guests and greeting them by name—the fledgling restaurateurs went hands-on in operating the 6-days-a-week business. While daughters Molly, Alexa, and Lauren pitch in to help from time to time, David and some of his peers are learning solid job skills. Working together, this enthusiastic family is able to “continue the legacy” and “preserve the vision” of the Souders. “We haven’t changed the menu,” Cindy attests. Hungry fans applaud the seamless transition.

Matt & Cindy Weintraub – Community Cheerleaders

This community-minded business, which supports multiple fundraising causes, created a program honoring “Hometown Heroes.” Customers could buy a “Golden Ticket” for $5 (for a meal valued at $8 or $9, with the difference in price gifted by the owners) and post it on a bulletin board. First responders and veterans visiting Carl’s Corner could take a ticket and receive a free meal as thanks for their service. Another innovative event hosted periodically is “Special Needs Sunday,” which provides a relaxed social environment for those with autism and their families. 

value-driven deliciosity

Signature steak sandwiches, made in regular or giant sizes, still arrive topped with Carl’s proprietary house-simmered “special” sauce. Well-filled rolls from Amoroso’s in Philly include sliced chipped beef, sautéed onions, and optional cheese. Or shake up your taste buds by trying a Pepper Steak, with pickled sweet peppers cooked in the beef, a Steak Sub laden with lettuce-onion-and-tomato, or a chicken steak or cheesesteak, also available California style. 

Subs are the next mainstay category and come packed with top-quality meats and cheeses sliced to order—and the shredded lettuce and sliced onions and tomatoes are prepped fresh each morning. (A daily mix-and-match special features two 14-inch Italian, American, or Ham & Cheese subs for a modest $12.49, plus tax. Also check out priced-right combo deals always on offer.) Other cold varieties include a meat-free Cheese Sub and a wildly popular Tuna Salad Sub. Hot subs and sandwiches run a tasty gamut, from a Veal or Meatball Parm with melted provolone to a Crab Pattie sandwich or Hot Beef & Swiss on a Kaiser roll—and lots more. 

Burgers come in two sizes with multiple gourmet adornments, plus there are wraps, hot dogs, wings, and salads to satisfy mostly every appetite. Carb-averse eaters can even opt to simply have the contents of a sandwich or wrap packaged in a box. Fryer-food addicts, on the other hand, will not be disappointed by the straight-cut or seasoned curly fries—which may be topped with a cheese sauce customers frequently refer to as “liquid gold”—onion rings, breaded mushrooms, Mozzarella Sticks, and Mrs. T’s Pierogies. 

Although primarily a take-out eatery (offering curbside pickup and delivery during the Coronavirus mandate), nine tables accommodate sit-down diners under normal circumstances. On a tight lunch schedule? Call ahead and your tray of food will be ready upon your arrival. The Carl’s Corner crew stands dedicated to making you and your tummy happy. 

canine craving fix

Your pooch likes treats from Carl’s Corner as much as you do, so grab a bag of Duke’s Delites before heading out. Purchases of these healthy dog snacks, available in two sizes and three flavors, help support a Lehigh Valley-based company that employs young adults with autism and developmental disabilities. Visit DUKESDELITES.COM for the full product line and information on the nonprofit Love Ran Red Foundation.

CARL’S CORNER

2 W ELIZABETH AVE
BETHLEHEM
610.691.1541
CARLSCORNERSTEAKS.COM

cheeseburger sub

ingredients

  • 1 14-inch white sub roll
  • 4 3.2 oz. hamburgers, grilled to taste
  • Choice of sliced cheese, as desired
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Onion slices
  • Tomato slices
  • Pickle slices

Thousand Island Dressing:

  • 1 cup Ken’s Extra Heavy Mayonnaise*
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 T hot dog relish

*Numerous brands of restaurant-quality mayo—thicker and eggier than the regular consumer variety—are available online and at specialty retailers. Just be prepared to purchase a large amount as it’s typically sold in gallon containers.

directions

Mix dressing ingredients until blended and refrigerate.

Slice roll lengthwise and spread open on a clean work surface. Position burgers (with or without melted cheese) in a row on bottom of roll. Place lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and pickles on top. Spread dressing inside the top half of roll. Close roll, cut in half, and enjoy.

serves 2

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2021 Issue

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