A popular Bushkill Township restaurant once targeted as a nuisance is under new ownership. Kyle Kostenbader, 44, and his wife, Gail Bruch, of Nazareth, are renting the Cherry Hill Hotel, 442 Bushkill Center Road, from owners Wayne and Louise Mease, who ran it for 23 years. Kostenbader and Bruch opened Tuesday and say they're creating a family-friendly atmosphere. “This will be more of a family place,” said Kostenbader, who graduated from Nazareth Area High School in 1985. “This is a place to bring your kids and grandkids. It’s good food at a reasonable price.”
Last year, District Attorney John Morganelli named the hotel among nuisance bars. But the District Attorney’s office said Wednesday there are no plans to investigate. Kostenbader spent nearly three months renovating the estimated 2,500-square-foot building, creating a dining room, booth section and bar-lounge area and adding kitchen equipment.
Kostenbader said he fulfilled a lifelong goal when he opened the business with money he inherited from Conrad and Pearl Tripp, his late grandparents. Kostenbader’s family has been in the food industry since he was a toddler. His father, John Kostenbader had owned Suncrest Farms Drive-in and Suncrest Steakhouse in Wind Gap, as well as Blue Valley Bowling Lanes in Wind Gap. It was in his father’s kitchens and alongside chefs at other eateries that Kostenbader learned his cooking secrets. He has hired a few employees, along with daughters Ashley, 29, and Shaina, 21. There's a three-bedroom apartment above the restaurant. The building originally had three floors until a fire in the 1870s destroyed the top level, Kostenbader said. Popular on the menu are the jalapeno crab poppers, black steak and flounder. He said he's using his dad's recipes from Suncrest Farms Drive-In. He said he knows the economy's tough but doesn't want regrets. “I didn’t want to find myself looking back on it in 20 years and saying, ‘What if?,’” he said. Cherry Hill Hotel is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday to Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. The eatery is closed on Monday.