Starters Riverport Closes in South Bethlehem

23,000-square-foot restaurant anchor of Riverport Complex on Second Street shut its doors on Friday.


Starters Riverport, a sports bar and restaurant that anchored one of the first reclamations of a former Bethlehem Steel manufacturing building in South Bethlehem, is closed after seven years, The Express Times reports.

Calls to the restaurant went unanswered on Friday evening. Efforts to reach management at the other two Starters restaurants – the pub in Lower Saucon Township and the Clubhouse Grille at the Bethlehem Municipal Golf Club, both of which remained open – were unsuccessful.

When it opened in 2006, Starters was hailed as the largest restaurant or sports bar in the Lehigh Valley with 23,000 square feet. It boasted an arcade-style game room, 65 televisions and seven large-screen projection screens.

Owner Dave Rank touted the restaurant’s formula -- a sports bar atmosphere for men with a menu that appealed to women.

The restaurant and the Steel Fitness Center were the business components to the Riverport Complex, which also includes 130 condominiums and a parking deck. Developer Lou Pektor invested $30 million on the project.

Patriot2 February 23, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Starters is a casualty of the Sands and its multiple restaurants/bars where the corporate behemoth ultimately crowded out the first investment on the steel site which was made by a successful independent local businessman. This is reminiscent of the national chain stores putting the mom and pop stores out of business in the downtowns across America. There will be more casualties from this behemoth in our town. Hopefully some day they become the casualty of excessive gambling overbuilding in NJ/NY.
PennState February 23, 2013 at 11:49 PM
It went out of business because the place sucked, plain and simple. It was too big, the service was terrible and the patrons on weekends or any night after 10:00 were frightening. Poor strategy and bad location, nothing to do with Sands at all.
Bruce Davis February 24, 2013 at 04:02 AM
I believe both above are right. Superbowl Sunday(the game was already in progress) in my first stop in years just to enjoy a couple of beers and a bowl of chili and watch the game on the big screens, I found you need to have someone seat you after I had sat myself for 15 minutes waiting for service. So once told I had to enter a Queue I waited ten minutes at the bar just to be seated in the exact same seat and then my order was taken. Service was friendly enough but other stories including doubling tips on credit cards have surfaced as well.
Kimberly Reinhart April 12, 2013 at 06:37 AM
It is all a scam to get the money from the people in the area . What the hell were they thinking . This is no Disney world resort town. Who comes here for vacation to spend money . Again just another scam to tear down an already defunct area . I thought it was heavy with junkies and homeless people when i moved away four years . However having come back a few months ago there are way more junkies and twice as many homeless . Hey sands thanks for the job and financial boost to the area not .


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