This building is located at 24 East 3rd Street and is split to house two stores: Asian Bistro II takes the eastern half, but there is currently an empty storefront to the west. The earliest record of 24 East 3rd Street was in 1924, when proprietors Sol and Rose Phillips rebuilt Phillips’ Music Store after the original was lost to a fire. Sol’s father came over from Lithuania in the 1880s, and his brother Maurice operated a sporting goods store on 13 West 3rd Street where Lehigh Pizza is now located. Phillips’ Music Store had a very successful 50-year tenure at this location, advertising music news, special deals, and local events in Lehigh’s Brown and White student newspaper throughout this period. The selection of products grew as the store was renovated and music technology evolved.
In the 1950s, the advertisements began to incorporate the store’s relationship with Lehigh University. They stressed decades of service to “Lehigh Men” and mentioned that the store was only two blocks away from campus. Phillips’ Music Store closed between 1979 and 1981, and the building was vacant for about two years before Park’s Oyster House and Market opened in 1983. Park’s was in business for about six years and then the building was vacated, only to be bought and converted briefly into a restaurant known as Conversation. The ownership was transferred yet again in 1990 to Toy and Patty Sakdiponephong and they opened the Thai restaurant, Siam. The Café on Third succeeded Siam very briefly from 1999 to 2000, when The Dancing Fish opened its seven-year run as a popular sushi spot in South Bethlehem. After a family illness led to The Dancing Fish’s closure, another sushi and Japanese cuisine restaurant, Asian Bistro, became the current iteration of restaurants in this building.
One interesting development for this location took place in 2017, when the arts group “Dripped on the Road” was hired to paint a mural on the building’s bare and windowless west side. The goal of this mural was to increase community awareness of South Bethlehem’s history and culture, and was planned and accomplished through a joint effort by ArtsQuest, Lehigh University, and the Bethlehem Historic Conservation Commission. The mural itself is based on a picture of an actual steelworker from the area about fifty years ago, and was completed in May 2017. The completion of this mural signified the successful melding of the Southside’s industrial history with its new identity as the South Side Arts District.
1. http://digital.lib.lehigh.edu/cdm4/bw2_viewer.php (Ads, 1924-1979)
2. http://digital.lib.lehigh.edu/cdm4/bw2_viewer.php (Ads, 1983)
3. http://digital.lib.lehigh.edu/cdm4/bw2_viewer.php (Ads, 1999)
9. Photo of South Bethlehem mural by Sue Beyer
2017, Professional photo taken by Sue Beyer of the completed mural
1999, Brown and White advertisement for The Café on Third
1983, Advertisement for Park’s Oyster House and Market
1977, Advertisement that shows how the store adapted to new music technologies and responded to competition from suburban malls
1926, Different style of advertisement, showing the store’s large selection of music
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Bethlehem, PA 18015
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015