By Andrew Z. Galarneau
Veteran caterer and restaurateur Liz Kolken is selling Quaker Bonnet Eatery and four other Allen Street buildings to Mike Shatzel, an owner of Coles and Blue Monk.
Shatzel said he is turning the restaurant, at 175 Allen St., into a place with “wild burgers and a world-class beer list.” He aims to open by June 1.
Quaker Bonnet isn’t going out of business, Kolken said. She’ll move her wholesale, retail and catering operation to 69 Chenango St., where Quaker Bonnet has maintained production space.
Quaker Bonnet Eatery will be closing on March 25, and reopening on Chenango Street on April 7. “We’ll still do retail, takeout lunches, delivery, wholesale, catering and web stuff,” she said.
Kolken is selling five buildings: 173 Allen St., a former Quaker meeting house; 175 Allen St., the Eatery building; 181 Allen, the wooden house next to it; a carriage house in the back, and a storage garage. The contract has been signed, she said.
Kolken said that she never listed the properties, “because there were only a few people I trusted, who would have the appropriate stewardship for the property to be able to handle it.”
Mike Shatzel, whom she has known since he was three, has been like family, she said. “I went to high school with his mother. I’ve known his father Dave Shatzel since the days of Laughlin’s. Michael went to high school with my kids. There’s a sandwich at Coles named after my son, and we’ve always had a Shatz on the menu, named after him.”
Why sell? “I decided that my 70th birthday was coming and I didn’t want to be a landlord anymore,” said Kolken, who bought the buildings in 2002. “I needed time to myself. I have grandchildren now.”
For Shatzel, who grew up in a restaurant family headed by his father Dave, it scratched an itch he's had for decades. He described drinking at Colter Bay as a younger man, and being jealous of the places flooded with crowds from the Allentown Art Festival and St. Patrick’s Day parade. “It just kind of stuck in me that eventually I have to get a place on Allen. This is a dream come true.”