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Former Rt. 378 Sports Bar to Become Mexican Restaurant

Plaza Azteca Mexican Restaurant Lower Saucon

A former sports bar and restaurant in Lower Saucon Township that closed during the pandemic is expected to reopen as a Mexican dining destination.

Est. Read Time: 4 mins
Plaza Azteca Mexican Restaurant Lower Saucon

The former Taps Tavern on Rt. 378 in Lower Saucon Township is becoming a Mexican restaurant. Plaza Azteca will join established businesses in the Saucon Valley Square shopping center, including Maxx Fitness, Dollar Tree, Werkheiser Jewelers, Crystal Nails, Chaar, No. 1 Chinese Restaurant, Beyond Hello Cannabis Dispensary, Casa Mia Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant, Fulton Bank, Saucon Square Cleaners, Se-Wy-Co Beverage and the recently-opened Barber Guru Hair Studio.

A former sports bar and restaurant in Lower Saucon Township that closed during the pandemic is expected to reopen as a Mexican dining destination.

The former Taps Tavern in the Saucon Valley Square shopping center on Rt. 378 has sat vacant since May 2020, shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. After more than two years, it is now set to become a Plaza Azteca restaurant and part of a chain of eateries which extends throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and southern New England.

Work crews have been busy at the site, recently repainting the building a yellow-orange.

According to the Plaza Azteca website, the company operates nearly 50 restaurants from North Carolina to Massachusetts, including nearly 20 locations throughout Pennsylvania.

Locally, there is already a Plaza Azteca restaurant at 2835 Lehigh Street in Allentown.

Staff at that location were unsure when the new restaurant is expected to open.

Plaza Azteca

A Plaza Azteca Mexican restaurant is located on Lehigh Street near I-78 in Allentown, approximately seven miles from where a second Lehigh Valley location is expected to open.

The Allentown Plaza Azteca’s hours are: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.

“At Plaza Azteca, we offer a genuine welcoming, warm and friendly atmosphere with thoughtful service to make you feel truly at home. Whether you are looking for a relaxing escape or culinary experience, we are dedicated to meeting your individual needs,” the company’s website says.

Customers who have visited the Allentown restaurant recently have seemingly confirmed that description by singing its praises in reviews that have been published online.

“Good size portions and great taste,” one patron commented in a Google review shared last week. “Tip: ask for guacamole and it will be made from scratch at the table.”

“We love this place,” wrote another customer. “The food and staff are amazing. … If you like Mexican food, this is the place.”

On the lunch and dinner menu at the Allentown and other Plaza Azteca locations are south-of-the-border favorites such as nachos, empanadas, chimichangas, fajitas, burritos, tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas. Also on it are salads, steaks, seafood and Mexican rice.

The chain offers both kids lunch menus, as well as a la carte options and a dessert menu.

Vegetarian and vegan options such as Spinach Enchiladas and Fajitas Vegetarianas are also listed on the menu, which features a variety of combo platters as well as appetizers.

According to a customer-answered question online, gluten-free options are available.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) liquor license transfer signage posted in a window at the Rt. 378 location currently under construction indicates that it will include a bar.

Plaza Azteca Mexican Restaurant Lower Saucon

A PLCB placard dated Aug. 1, 2022 and posted in the window of the former Taps Tavern on Rt. 378 in Lower Saucon Township confirms there was an application for a liquor license transfer for the Mexican restaurant that is expected to open at 3731 Rt. 378, Bethlehem. An online record search indicates that Plaza Azteca Saucon Inc. was registered as a Pennsylvania domestic business corporation on June 10, 2022, with a principal address of 3689-3731 Rt. 378, Bethlehem, PA 18015.

The Allentown restaurant’s drink menu available online includes a variety of margaritas, martinis, daiquiris and other cocktails, along with wine and beer selections.

Taps and the sports bar business which preceded it at that location–the former Starters Pub–offered patrons outside dining as well as bar seating next to the indoor dining area.

Saucon Source has reached out to representatives for Plaza Azteca to request information about the anticipated opening date for their restaurant in Lower Saucon Township. We will update this story when or if more information becomes available.

Plaza Azteca

A delivery van parked outside the Plaza Azteca restaurant in Allentown advertises catering and takeout that are available.

We have also sought updates about the former Revolutions at Saucon Valley; a vacant dining and entertainment venue on the opposite side of the shopping center parking lot from where Plaza Azteca is expected to open.

Revolutions offered bowling, an arcade, live entertainment and a bar-restaurant, and hosted various advertised events until the business closed abruptly in March 2019.

The property’s sale was announced in January, but not much information about the new owner’s plans has yet been made public, and there has been little visible activity on-site.

Several other smaller retail spaces within the shopping center also remain vacant.

Plaza Azteca Mexican Restaurant Lower Saucon

The restaurant is located near Center Valley, Fountain Hill and South Bethlehem, all of which are along the Rt. 378 corridor.

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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at josh@sauconsource.com.

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