Starfish Brasserie has been an anchor of downtown Bethlehem for more than a decade, a staple on the city's restaurant row, well-known for its interesting seafood dishes and loyal dinner crowd.
The restaurant at 51 W. Broad St., will close — temporarily — on Saturday, said owner and head chef Kris Sandholm Wednesday.
Sandholm said he has sold the business to an undisclosed buyer who will keep it as Starfish and reopen as early as late May. Richard Barrows opened Starfish in 2000 and sold the business to Sandholm in 2009.
Sandholm, who had been at the restaurant since 2004, implemented some changes such as eco-friendly seafood, a label that means it meets certain environmental criteria in how it is raised and harvested.
Sandholm said he decided to sell the restaurant because he grew tired of operating day-to-day.
"A credit line would've helped at slow times," he said. "The banks have kept saying come back in six months we will help you then. Well, those conversations started almost four years ago."
The roughly 1,000-square-foot restaurant and its liquor license were listed for sale late last year for $199,900, according to real estate website Loopnet.com.
At least Starfish won't go away. And apparently, neither will Perkins.
The former Perkins restaurant building on Third Street in south Bethlehem has sat lifeless since July 2010.
For weeks, it's been rumored that Perkins is moving back in..
The rumors are correct: Perkins is reopening soon, according to Joe Kelly, Bethlehem's community and economic development director. A reopening date has not been released.
Perkins spokeswoman Vivian Brooks was a bit more cautious, saying the company "is in the process of due diligent analysis of the property with the intent to lease."
Brooks has declined to explain why Perkins closed in 2010, saying there area "a lot of criteria to consider when closing a restaurant."
The restaurant opened in 2000 and was popular with the nearby Lehigh University crowd.
The restaurant's reopening signals good news for Perkins, which emerged from bankruptcy protection last year, but not before closing dozens of its roughly 600 restaurants due to reduced consumer spending and higher costs for ingredients.
The ambitious second-hand bookstore chain Read Green Books closed all stores Saturday, including stores in South Mall and Palmer Park Mall.
Read Green Books started in the Lehigh Valley in 2010, opening its inaugural store at the former Waldenbooks space in South Mall. The chain later opened stores in Palmer Park Mall and Logan Valley Mall in Altoona, Blair County.
Read Green Books' growth came as chains Waldenbooks, Borders and Barnes & Noble were shedding stores to adapt to a consumer shift toward e-book readers like Nook and Kindle.
Read Green Books benefited from Waldenbooks' closing, stocking its shelves with many of Waldenbooks' books and decorating its stores with recycled shelving and other Waldenbooks' furniture.
Owners have said the Read Green, which sells books for $5 or less, was able to compete with e-books on price.