Bites Nearby: Billy's Downtown Diner
A unique approach to breakfast and lunch on E. Broad Street.
Downtown Bethlehem is a great area for those who enjoy going out to eat. There’s everything from pizza shops to fine dining and mixed in with those offerings is Billy’s Downtown Diner. Billy's is known for serving breakfast and lunch--but not the usual diner breakfast or lunches you might expect.
Born and raised in Easton, owner Billy Kounoupis grew up in the restaurant industry as his parents owned a restaurant and nightclub. His desire to follow in his father’s footsteps led him on the path to opening Billy’s Downtown Diner with his wife Yanna.
Kounoupis purchased Rudy’s Newsstand in 2000, and while it was a great place for customers to purchase newspapers and a cup of coffee, he had a different idea in mind for the East Broad Street building Billy's now calls home.
My son and I visited Billy's on a rainy Wednesday afternoon with thoughts of breakfast in mind. He went for the chocolately chip pancakes which were fluffy, covered in powdered sugar and whipped cream, and made with Hershey’s chocolate chips. He loved every bite.
I, meanwhile, went for the Baklava French Toast, if for no other reason than to see how he turned a delicious dessert into a breakfast meal. Their menu describes it as challah bread dipped in their egg mixture, with walnuts drenched in honey, cinnamon and cloves, and crowned with whipped cream. One bite of the light and fluffy bread covered with honey syrup and sweet whipped cream convinced me that I'd made a very wise choice.
Billy’s menu features a great mix of ‘out of the ordinary’ and delicious sounding menu items. The Majestic Omelette is made with fresh sautéed spinach, smoked bacon, melted creamy brie and bleu cheese crumbles and topped with sundried tomatoes. Another mouth watering choice is their cannoli pancake, which they list as: chocolate chip pancake + creamy cannoli filling + fresh strawberries + whipped cream = HAPPY.
Their "breakfast sundae" is on the healthier side, with vanilla yogurt topped with granola, blueberries, fresh strawberries and sliced bananas. Alternatively, any day can be Dr. Seuss’ birthday with their green eggs and ham sandwich, which is made with eggs blended with spinach and basil pesto, sliced ham, melted mozzarella cheese and sliced tomatoes on grilled ciabatta bread.
Another visit is definitely required in order to get lunch. The Cobb Zilla Salad is a spring mix topped with a mound of bacon, roasted fresh turkey breast, smoked ham, hard-boiled egg, scallions and crumbled bleu cheese. Ultimate sandwiches range from The Healthy Me -- which is a grilled garden burger topped with fresh garlic-sautéed spinach, homemade Kalamata olive tapenade and crumbled feta cheese on grilled multigrain bread -- to the Downtown Wrap, which is a breaded and fried chicken breast fillet wrapped in a flour tortilla with cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, ranch dressing and Louisiana hot sauce.
Their lunch specials menu also features their made-to-order Santorini Pizza: a grilled pita with pesto, marinara sauce, sausage, sundried tomatoes, melted mozzarella cheese and topped with fresh herbs and seasonings.
Billy’s Downtown Diner is open Monday through Sunday from 7am until 3pm. They’re located at 10 East Broad Street in Bethlehem. For more information, including Billy’s Blog, check out their website.