Lehigh Valley

Aladdin restaurant to host third International Food and Entrepreneur Series

Allentown establishment owned by family of Penn State Lehigh Valley student

A scene from Las Palmas restaurant in downtown Allentown during the second International Food and Entrepreneur Series event in November. Credit: Kate Morgan / Penn StateCreative Commons

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Students, faculty and staff interested in learning about local small-scale businesses and their economic and cultural contributions are invited to the third Penn State Lehigh Valley International Food and Entrepreneur Series at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18, at Aladdin restaurant in Allentown.

Owned by the parents of a current Penn State Lehigh Valley student, Aladdin restaurant is one of the first Syrian restaurants in the Lehigh Valley. It opened 35 years ago on Second Street in downtown Allentown in the heart of Allentown's century-old Syrian neighborhood, before moving to its current location at 651 Union Blvd. in Allentown 18 years ago.

The event will be held in two parts. First, a four-course dinner will be served highlighting traditional Syrian cuisine, followed by a seminar discussion with members of the Younes family, which owns the restaurant.

Penn State Lehigh Valley's International Food and Entrepreneur Series is intended to bring together the Lehigh Valley campus and community partners in order to promote an intellectual, community-oriented project around issues of immigration, entrepreneurship, small business development, global and local economic transformations, and cultural diversity. The series is also designed to contribute to and foster international understandings and relationships with small-scale businesses and entrepreneurs in the Lehigh Valley. The series was created to recognize and promote the valuable economic, creative, and cultural contributions made by Lehigh Valley’s small-scale businesses and entrepreneurs through business patronage, campus promotion and coverage, and fostering long-term relationships.

The series stems from a coordinating committee of about 12 students, staff and faculty.

"The goal of the series is to learn about international food and capital migration flows in the Lehigh Valley through personal and professional stories of the restaurant owners, while supporting the small-business sector with our patronage," said Jennifer Parker, associate professor of sociology and one of the coordinators of the series. "The first two events in the series were successful and well attended, demonstrating the great interest from our campus community to learn about these issues and support local entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs themselves are also very enthusiastic to be a part of this series."

In order to promote a diverse contingency from Penn State Lehigh Valley, students from the Business Society, Club International and State of the Valley will attend this third series. The event is open to everyone on campus. The cost is $20 for faculty, staff and students, and includes a four-course dinner. It is a BYOB establishment so attendees can bring their beverage of choice.

This series is sponsored by the International Club, Teaching International, Club International, the Corporate Communications program, State of the Valley Penn State Lehigh Valley TV, Student Business Society, and the Civic and Community Engagement minor.

The first International Food and Entrepreneur Series was held in September at Aci Halal Meat and Turkish restaurant in downtown Allentown. The second event was held in November at Las Palmas restaurant in downtown Allentown.

The registration deadline for this event is Friday, Feb. 12. For more information or to register, contact Jennifer Parker at jpt7@psu.edu or 610-285-5052.

Last Updated February 10, 2016