Jumbars is a quaint little restaurant that has been dishing out some of the Lehigh Valley’s best breakfast food since 2003. So how does this tiny brunch spot stack up against other valley culinary institutions?
I’ll start off by saying that Jumbars used to be somewhat of a secret spot, to me anyways. I never heard much about it and whenever I brought it up in conversation the name was met with blank stares. That’s changed recently and I’ve been hearing more and more people heading there on days off or especially the weekends. There’s a reason for that, and it’s the small eatery charm paired with the exceptional cuisine.
The interior of Jumbars is, as mentioned, small. It’s not cramped and you won’t feel jammed in, but there’s not much seating so you may have to wait for a bit if you encounter a busy period. Once seated at the table with tacky, kitschy bright and black vinyl tablecloths you’re handed a menu. A peek at the items doesn’t reveal anything particularly astounding or Michelin star-worthy, however it’s the food itself, not the seemingly uninventiveness of the menu that shines here.
Over a few visits here I’ve issued an edict: there’s no better bacon in the Lehigh Valley. Smoky, with a brine saltiness, cooked to perfection leaving a slight chewy center with medium-cruncy edges. Succulent. And the pancakes? Light as a feather and a beautiful golden brown. No Aunt Jemima syrup here, only pure maple syrup that tastes like it was tapped straight from the trees in Vermont. On another visit I indulged in eggs over easy, resulting in a bright orange yolks that you simply won’t find at the local diner. A breakfast parfait delivered sharp, tart notes of organic yogurt balanced against sweet fruit, that heavenly maple syrup, and texturized by their homemade granola.
So after all that raving about the great food, I do have a couple of points to harp on. The service on all of my visits was mediocre, if not subpar. A diner joining me on one visit ordered a hot tea and the waitress set down the hot water, walked away and didn’t come back for quite some time. Upon returning some time later she informed my companion that the tea was located in the front and she could go up and choose any tea that she wanted, long after the water turned cold. Turns out that’s where the spreads for the toast were as well, something I found out long after the toast was gone on my first visit. On one visit the server was completely awkward and unassertive, seeming too shy to even ask how our food was.
Despite the shortcomings of the service I experienced, the food vastly overpowers and makes this worth a visit. The warm interior makes for an inviting atmosphere, whether it be the middle of winter, a spring morning, or suffering a hangover. With a bit more of an inventive menu and some staff training this place could really be the be-all end-all to breakfast spots in the Lehigh Valley.
1342 Chelsea Ave # 1
Bethlehem, PA 18018-2499
I highly recommend the grilled sticky bun and coffee at Jumbars.