Billy at Billy's Downtown Diner Bethlehem PA (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

This is Billy Kounoupis, owner of the most excellent, most “not your ordinary diner” – Billy’s Downtown Diner in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley.

After a recent speaking engagement for the regional tourism organization, I asked my hosts for a breakfast recommendation the next morning….and boy, did they ever hook me up!

Billy himself (born and raised in nearby Easton PA) was greeting hungry patrons when we walked in, the place was jammed with all kinds of locals and the menu was one of the most fresh and imaginative I’d ever seen for a diner.

It was really hard to choose, but I went with the Tonga Toast – “Sourdough bread dipped in our own French toast mix and topped with fresh strawberries, bananas and walnuts. Draped with low fat vanilla yogurt and dusted with cinnamon” for about US$8.00. I ate every bite of it.

Billy's Downtown Diner Lil' Havana omelette (courtesy Discover Lehigh Valley on Facebook)

My Discover Lehigh Valley host Mike Keller went with the Lil’ Havana Omelette – “Slow roasted pulled pork in authentic Cuban seasonings with grilled ham, Swiss and Pepper jack cheese wrapped by three fluffy eggs and topped with diced tomatoes” for about US$9.00.

I can’t remember what my other host Ryan had that morning, but Mike’s omelette is shown here on the right, before it completely disappeared. 🙂

Tomorrow (November 26) Billy has a book signing at the Moravian Book Shop (founded by the Moravians who settled in this part of Pennsylvania) for his new book on hospitality and entrepreneurship, Billy Cooks Like a Mother: A Guide to Starting Your Own Business by Someone Who’s Been There and Done That.

It would make a terrific gift for anyone in the hospitality business.

I love everything about places like Billy’s, and entrepreneurs who make things happen despite long odds and a tough economy.

Thanks for breakfast, Billy.

Disclosure: Discover Lehigh Valley paid for my breakfast, but awesome food that you don’t pay for is still awesome food.

(Direct link to the video below if you can’t see the embed box.)

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