Award-Winning Restaurateurs Team Up for New Bethlehem Tap & Tavern

The concept, dubbed Flying Pig, originated in New Jersey but has a unique resonance for the Bethlehem community.
Award-Winning Restaurateurs Team Up for New Bethlehem Tap & Tavern 1
Photo: Official
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Local award-winning restaurateur and chef, Billy Kounoupis – of the eponymous Billy’s Downtown Diner – is teaming up with cousins Tim Kalavruzos and Chris Kolovos – two equally decorated restaurant owners and catering service professionals out of Morristown, New Jersey – to open Flying Pig, a new tap and tavern concept that will take over the former site of Tocci’s Tailgater’s Pub & Grill at 1313 Center St, hopefully by year’s end, according to Kounoupis.

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The initial Flying Pig was opened earlier this year in Bordentown, NJ by Kalavruzos. However, its fate in Bethlehem was seemingly written in the stars, beginning with its name. 

Kalavruozs, who has been a longtime player in the catering and banquet facilities business, used to jokingly tell Kounoupis that he would get into the restaurant business, “when pigs fly.”

“That was his joke,” says Kounoupis. “So now I live in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and I’m driving past this bar that’s been closed for quite a few years, and I kept looking at it and I’m going, you know, I think I just want to buy this place.”

Around the same time, Kalavruzos was gearing up to open the Flying Pig and invited Kounoupis down to check it out. Digging the concept, Kounoupis’ mind turned back to Bethlehem and the new restaurant he was planning to launch.

“In Bethlehem, we have a minor league baseball team called the Iron Pigs,” explains Kounoupis. “And right around the corner, not far from our location in Bethlehem there was the old Bethlehem Steel site, and the type of iron that Bethlehem Steel made was called pig iron. So now I started thinking this would be a great community tavern and tap.”

And the rest, as they say, shall be history…

The menu won’t be entirely different from the Bordentown incarnation, capitalizing on Kounoupis’ signature style of comfort food and “casual American fare with a flair,” including some truly unique offerings such as the chicken Parmesan pizza, which uses an actual chicken cutlet for the crust of the pie. Meanwhile, there will be plenty of gourmet craft beers on tap and an impressive cocktail menu.

While the food and ambiance will doubtlessly take center stage for most patrons dining at Flying Pig, the warmth, hospitality, and family dynamic will likewise shine through everything this group of seasoned restaurateurs brings to the table.

“Between the three of us, I think we have close to about 20 brands and restaurants. So we felt like this collaboration would be something that would be a lot of fun,” says Kounoupis. “It’s what we love to do. I mean, all three of us are Greek, and my joke has always been I love people, I love food, and I love bringing them together.”

Kounoupis adds, “Working with my family, who are passionate about food, business, community, and sharing the same vision is really a key ingredient into building a successful business. And I think that’s what Chris, Tim, and myself are doing and creating, and we’re just happy to be bringing it to Bethlehem.”

Photo: Official

Drew Pittock

Drew Pittock is a freelance writer from Los Angeles, CA. He’s covered music, culture, and plant-based cuisine for various media outlets from Beijing to Tallinn and beyond. He currently lives in El Paso, TX with his wife and their cat.
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