Historic Hotel Bethlehem Introduces New Culinary Team

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Bethlehem, PA – May 3rd, 2021 – The past year has been challenging but has brought new opportunities to Hotel Bethlehem. Bruce Haines, Managing Partner of Hotel Bethlehem, is pleased to announce the new structure of their Food & Beverage team for an Award Winning Culinary experience. He is anticipating new menu items, traditional favorites and of course – world class service that the Hotel is known for delivering.


The Hotel’s 7 year Executive Chef Michael Adams is leaving the Lehigh Valley with Executive Sous Chef Rodney Rivera taking the reins in the kitchen as Executive Chef for both its restaurants and banquets.  Chef Rivera started his culinary experience with the Hotel at the young age of 18 where he began his culinary training. He then moved on to work as the Head Chef at Café Demetri in New Jersey, Sous Chef at Saucon Valley Country Club, Executive Chef at Shulas and returned to Hotel Bethlehem as Executive Sous Chef under Chef Adams in 2015.  Chef Rivera will continue his oversight responsibilities of the banquet operation in addition to the entire kitchen operation. 


“I am excited to be working with an extraordinary team of chefs on the line,” says Rivera, “and to work with our front of house managers on various menus for our everyday meals in addition to our banquet experiences on the weekends. I wish Chef Adams all the best on his next culinary adventure.  I will miss him dearly as we have been working in kitchens together across the Lehigh Valley off and on for the past 20+ years.”


Executive Chef Rivera was given the opportunity to hire a new Sous Chef, and will be bringing in Chef Robert Takacs. Chef Takas had worked for the Hotel part time in 2019. He graduated with a Culinary Degree from the Academy of Culinary Arts in New Jersey. He has most recently been working as a Private Chef at Delta Upsilon Chapter House at Lehigh University. His experience is in fine dining establishments, wineries, and country clubs including Saucon Valley Country Club as their a La Carte Sous Chef. Chef Takacs will be primarily responsible for the ala carte operation among other duties.  


Also joining the Hotel will be Colleen Vandegrift as its new Director-Restaurant Operations responsible for the front of house team serving the guests.  Colleen comes from Skytop Lodge where she worked as a Restaurant Manager responsible for three of their dining venues. Sky Top is another iconic Historic Hotel of America property. Colleen has worked in the restaurant industry since her high school days at Red Robin and through college in virtually every line position at various restaurants from line cook to hostess, server and bartender.  She earned a BBA in Hospitality Management from Marywood University in 2016.


The new Director-Banquet Operations is Kelsey Lynn who was promoted from her position as Banquet Sales Manager.  Kelsey has been with the Hotel for 4 years as one of our esteemed wedding sales specialists in addition to social/corporate event sales.  Kelsey will be overseeing all banquet events from an operational aspect from set up through execution. Her experience with the hotel uniquely positions her to rebuild the banquet team to continue delivering the same world class experience that earned it the #1 banquet facility in the Lehigh Valley prior to the pandemic shutdown. Previously Kelsey had worked in the Lehigh Valley as an Event Coordinator allowing her to experience all aspects of event planning before beginning her career with Hotel Bethlehem.


Dan Withrow has been promoted to Food and Beverage Director and will oversee all food and beverage functions at the Hotel.  Dan has been with the Hotel since the fall of 2019 as their Banquet Catering Director including sales and operations. He comes with a strong background in culinary as the Executive Chef at the Evergreen Grill in Michigan which is a farm to table restaurant with a fresh, daily menu. Withrow was also the Executive Chef at the Black Hawk Lodge in Chicago, an award winning Hotel focused on American driven cuisine. He has also been the General Manager at several independent and resort properties giving him the experience needed to organize and run the entire F&B Operations for Hotel B reporting to Mr. Haines. 


Withrow is excited to begin working with Executive Chef Rivera, Lynn, and Vandegrift with its new leadership team devoted to further enhancing the Historic Hotel Bethlehem’s food and beverage experience. “I am looking forward to this new challenge I’ve been given at the Hotel,” Withrow comments, “Working with experienced Chefs, key managers, and developing some new team members will allow us to enhance our great reputation developed over the past 2 decades in both our restaurants and event space on Main Street.”


Kelly Ronalds continues in her leadership role at the Hotel as Director-Room Sales and Guest Experience as the Hotel’s other Key Operating Director reporting directly to Mr. Haines.   


In the upcoming summer months guests can anticipate seeing new items, outdoor dining to be in full swing, traditional cocktail favorites (like the “Lost in Paris”) but most importantly the Sunday Brunch returning to the Hotel. With this new all-star culinary team in the back of house and front of house, the Hotel anticipates “getting back to normal” as soon as possible.


About Historic Hotel Bethlehem
Historic Hotel Bethlehem is located in Bethlehem, Pa. in the heart of a National Historic Landmark District. The Hotel is a proud member of Historic Hotels of America and the America’s #2 Best Historic Hotel by USA TODAY in 2020.  Experience world-class service, charming guest accommodations and award-winning cuisine, all on a site that has been warmly welcoming guests since 1741. www.HotelBethlehem.com


Information Provided By:
Brynn Levine | Historic Hotel Bethlehem
Marketing Manager
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