As promised last week, this Sunday's column continues the restaurant-watch theme.
Let's start with a piece of Allentown history that has shifted to south Bethlehem.
Downtown Allentown's long-standing Chinese restaurant House of Chen occasionally hosted Malaysian Night, honoring the culture with a series of dishes like Malaysian spring rolls and mango chicken.
House of Chen closed earlier this year, prompting longtime worker Jenny Lim to open a restaurant of her own with Malaysian fare: Jenny's Kuali at 102 E. Fourth St.
Jenny's Kuali, which replaces Flama Tropical, specializes in noodles, dumplings, vegetarian and Malaysian dishes. That includes fare like wonton soup, Malaysian spring rolls, dim sum, bean curd with bean sprouts, Malaysian curry chicken and Mee Goreng, an Indian-style egg noodles stir fry in a tomato base and made with a choice of either chicken, shrimp or vegetarian ingredients.
Lim owns the restaurant with her husband, Roy. Lim said she offers healthier options and a contrast from House of Chen, largely known for its popular all-you-can-eat buffet.
Jenny's Kuali is decorated with some House of Chen furniture, including chairs, tables and some artwork on the walls.
The Valley's soul food menu is even heartier since My Weekend Kitchen Soul Food Seafood & Caribbean Restaurant opened at 805 E. Fourth St., Bethlehem.
The space returns chef TR Burns to the kitchen after shuttering a similar restaurant in Allentown a few years ago.
My Weekend Kitchen's menu includes dishes like honey-dipped fried chicken, jerk chicken, mac & cheese waffles, curry popers, fried pork chops, baked turkey wings, fish, cajun crab legs, and sides such as fried corn, collard greens, yams and yellow rice.
This newbie comes just weeks after I mentioned a dearth of soul food eateries in the Valley ... well that was until downtown Allentown's The Caring Coffee Café recently changed to Taste of Soul at The Caring Coffee Cafe.
My Weekend Kitchen's website: http://www.myweekendkitchen.com.
I broke the news days ago that the long-vacant former Morning Call bureau on Bethlehem's Main Street is planned to be CORKED Wine Bar.
Owner and chef Giuseppe "Joe" Grisafi plans to turn one of downtown Bethlehem's most visible vacant properties into a wine bar and restaurant featuring 40 different kinds of vino and continental cuisine.
The place is slated to open in February, boasting a wine bar, lounge and 175-seat restaurant. Wines will be retrieved by a self-serve kiosk and the place will employ a sommelier.
Grisafi has been eager to crank his culinary and business know-how up a notch, but not quite ready to move to Philly or Manhattan.
So, he chose downtown Bethlehem's popular restaurant row, which is chock-full of other eateries, boutiques and a retailer's lifeblood: foot traffic.
A cigar bar was originally planned for the location, but that didn't come to fruition and the 6,200-square-foot space was put back on the market late last year.
Grisafi, who owns CORKED with two silent partners, also operates Roma Ristorante and Taste of Italy Ristorante in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.
Many readers have been emailing for details on Ginger Asian Cuisine & Sushi Bar at the former Starbucks space in the Shoppes at Caramoor Village on Route 100 in Lower Macungie Township.
I've been trying to get more details on the bar, which remains under construction. Unfortunately, efforts to reach owner Ming Wang have been unsuccessful. Contact information on planning documents submitted to Lower Macungie Township tie Wang to China Wok Restaurant on Millcreek Road near the Walmart.
First Chipotle, now Qdoba Mexican Grill.
Yes, Qdoba is finally coming to Whitehall Township.
The fast-and-casual restaurant chain is taking the former Sleepy's space next to Panera Bread in the Walmart shopping center.
Some signage is already in place at the space, which is under construction. A spokeswoman for the Colorado-based chain expects the location to open in late September.
This marks the first Lehigh Valley space for Qdoba, a chain known for its burritos, tacos, quesadillas, Mexican gumbo and taco salads.
Qdoba comes just months after competitor Chipotle opened at the nearby Lehigh Valley Mall.
Coveted names like Chipotle and Qdoba were rumored to be coming to the retail-rich Lehigh County township for more than a year. Good to see those rumors come true.
Another piece of truth: Amigo Mio Café in Allentown is officially out of business, according to its Facbook page.
The page included a message from owners, thanking loyal customers for 32 years of business.
The Mexican eatery at 545 Cleveland St. has been a staple of the city, enticing diners with its subtle ambience and authentic flauta and chicken mole verde.
Owners closed the restaurant for months last year due to health issues.
Another closure shifts us to South Whitehall Township.
The property and its liquor license were put on the market just days ago for $1.3 million, according to William Plasha of Prudential Patt, the listing Realtor.
The building at Cedar Crest and Hamilton boulevards, designated a historic site on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, has functioned as a tavern or restaurant since its construction in 1756.
The place is an institution, remembered as much for its storied past as its dinners, parties and events.
Mealey's Furniture has opened at the former Raymour & Flanigan space on MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township.
The storefront at 2180 MacArthur Road is the first Lehigh Valley space for the Philadelphia-area furniture chain.
The 65,000-square-foot space houses everything from living room to dining sets, in addition to mattresses. The store also houses a kids play area and an in-store café, filled with complimentary snacks and refreshments.
Raymour & Flanigan vacated the space months ago to open an even bigger store by gobbling up the former Tweeter, Famous Footwear and Borders spaces at the Whitehall Mall.
Whitehall's MacArthur Road is already home to a sea of other furniture peddlers.
The new addition built next to Golf Galaxy in the Airport Center shopping plaza in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, recently welcomed its first merchant: Visionworks.
The burgeoning eye-care merchant, formerly Eye Care Centers of America, is targeting Pennsylvania for a major growth spurt. Airport Center is its first location in the Lehigh Valley and there are plans to add nearly a dozen stores in Bucks and Montgomery counties, including a location on Route 309 in Quakertown, according to its website.
Visionworks has more than 550 optical retail stores in 39 states, according to its website.
The Airport Center addition is also planned to house an Old Navy.
Retail Watch keeps track of new store, restaurant and bank development in the Lehigh Valley. Have a question about a retail construction project, a store opening or a chain you'd like to see come to the area? Call business reporter Tyrone Richardson at 610-820-6779, or email email@example.com. Retail Watch appears every Sunday.