The Borderline Restaurant is located at 2100 W. Union Blvd. in Bethlehem in the Lehigh Shopping Center where Perkins Restaurant & Bakery was formerly located. The owner of Borderline is Chris Valianatos, a former owner of Bethlehem’s Lincoln Hotel. He says the Borderline menu has “meals that mom used to make.”
Borderline has a lot of Mediterranean foods like Gyro meat, dishes with grape leaves, Greek salads and Baklava but that is not all of they sell. They have deli style and comfort foods.
Borderline has breakfast, lunch, dinner and kids menus with tailgate faire (Buffalo wings, onion rings, French fries, pierogies, etc.), healthier food (soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, cole slaw, etc.), comfort food (meatloaf or liver with sautéed onions, etc.), Italian, chicken, steak, seafood. They also have desserts cakes, pies, pastries, puddings, ice Cream and milk shakes), beverages (standard nonalcoholic drinks).
Borderline does banquets, parties, private events, or large family dinner. They also accept reservations for 8+ guests.
As always, I ordered a few different types of food items from the Borderline menu to try to get a broader sense of the restaurant’s food.
I love Buffalo wings and was looking forward to some good .hot chicken wings. The 8 Buffalo wings were huge, so the $4.95 price was reasonable for what I received.
I was very disappointed with Borderline Buffalo wings. The first one tasted okay, or so I first thought, but I could not really taste the hot, which I specifically ordered. That was my 1st issue with the Buffalo wings. They were served with celery sticks, as per usual, but no dipping sauce, like blue cheese or ranch — maybe they are offered when eating in the restaurant but I ordered takeout.
After the first Buffalo wing, the rest of the wings went downhill from there. I suppose I was too hungry to know this the tough texture of these Buffalo wings which turned out to be very tough. Most Buffalo wings I haven’t eaten have been soft and maybe a little chewy at times with a crisp skin but these were excessively tough and I needed a lot of drink to keep myself from choking on some of the tougher pieces. I have trouble eating tough foods, so my opinion is probably a little skewed by that but my mother tasted a few pieces and agreed. I think the Buffalo wings were fried and, if so, fried a little too much to the point of drying and toughening the meat — if they were baked, the same thing is true.
Overall, I would not recommend the Borderline Buffalo wings, not in good conscience. They are too tough and not enough hot sauce. Yes, the size of the wings is good but the toughness just means that you receive more tough meat.
Homemade Chili Con Carne
Chili is my favorite dish and I go out of my way to try to order chili whenever possible from every establishment. It is a food that is near and dear to my heart, so I am being very tough critic when it comes to chili.
For $2.75 you do receive a reasonable amount of chili, about a small bowl full. I was hoping for a great chili but I was very disappointed. The chili is mostly dark red kidney beans (the same I used in my chili), big chunks of ground beef, tomato sauce, some spices and covered with cheddar cheese. It had very little chili pepper taste and virtually no heat — the chili pepper taste might have been overpowered by the excessive tomato and very, very excessive salt. Some of the saltiness came from the cheddar cheese but not enough to account for me needing to wash it down with a lot of drink. The cheese broke up into 3 pieces that gave it the texture of noodles.
Let me reiterate that the salt was almost unbearable in the chili. I really believe that every good cook should keep the salt to a minimum and allow the people eating it to add salt to themselves if they want it.
This chili tasted almost like Wendy’s chili but with bigger chunks of beef. After I added a touch of hot sauce, it tasted better but the already excessive salt prevented me from adding too much, less I die from a sodium overdose.
I definitely will not be ordering Borderline chili ever again. And so, my journey for the perfect chili goes on.
I figured I would order the Borderline Burger since it sounds like their house special burger. Their menu described this burger as “6oz USDA ground beef with sautéed mushrooms, peppers, onions, lettuce, tomatoes & honey Dijon on a whole wheat Kaiser Roll.” Borderline has a regular Borderline Burger that comes with chips but I ordered the deluxe, which is served with lettuce, tomato, onion, French fries, cole slaw & pickle for $6.65.
The Borderline Burger was very large but not as large as Five Guys, whose burger reminds me of this one. The burger was your standard handmade “patty” formed from ground beef — the hamburger patty was formed very haphazardly with very uneven edges, like they just smashed it together in a few seconds and drilled it.
The meat had almost no flavor of its own, so, without the toppings, the whole burger would have been very bland. The sautéed mushrooms, peppers and onions were definitely a welcome addition. The deluxe strangely gave another serving of lettuce, tomato and this time raw onions. I’m not sure what that was all about.
The Borderline Burger itself was acceptable but nothing to brag about. I think more flavor could have been added to the meat with some spices maybe. The honey Dijon would have helped a lot with the flavor but they really did not put enough on the burger. The roll was your basic roll without really any flavor of its own.
The coleslaw that came with the burger was chopped fine, almost like creamed cabbage as opposed to regular shredded coleslaw. It tasted good like your standard coleslaw. The dill pickle was deli style and added a bit of flavor while eating the rather bland burger. I wish they would have put several pickle chips on top of the burger which would have really brought the flavors out. I will get to the fries later.
Overall, the Borderline Burger was slightly better than mediocre but it could have been worse. It will probably satisfy most people, so give it a try and see what you think. If I ever order a burger at Borderline again, I think I will go with a bacon cheeseburger to add more flavor.
Fish and Chips
I wanted to mix it up a bit with some Fish and Chips. The Borderline menu says that this item is served with a cup of soup, French fries & cole slaw and either tartar or cocktail sauce for $10.95. The price was a little steep for my “guy food” budget but I figured that I should get this to have a broader opinion of Borderline and it comes with fries.
I received two good-sized pieces of breaded fish fillets that were a little thick, which was a good thing. They were fried perfectly golden brown but not crispy on the outside.
The breaded fish fillets had a good taste without much of an overwhelming fishy taste. I’m not exactly sure what kind of fish this was but I’m going to go with Pollock or possibly Haddock, which I doubt they would have given at this price. While the fish tasted good and was probably the best item I ordered at Borderline, I don’t believe the fillets were handmade. They might have been handmade but the texture seemed a bit too smooth and uniform, like your standard Van Camp or Gorton’s. If they were, in fact, frozen, I think $10.95 is way overpriced because I could probably buy a whole box of frozen fish fillets for the same price.
Strangely, the coleslaw included with the fish was shredded, unlike the coleslaw that came with the burger. It tasted just as good, so no problems there.
I was never given the soup that was in the description. I thought it was weird that it was included with this item, so I wonder if it might have been a typo. If not, I was robbed! I just called the restaurant and they said that the soup is only available when there is a special — I have no idea what they mean.
I received a little cup of standard cocktail sauce made of ketchup and spices.
The French fries will follow.
Overall, the Fish and Chips were pretty good, definitely better than the chili and Buffalo wings. If these are frozen fillets, as I suspect, I think this dish is overpriced. Regardless, the taste is good.
The French fries were the highlight of my order. Like the fish, I am not sure if these were frozen or freshly cut. They were fried until golden brown and nice and crispy. The oil was not overpowering and I could really taste the potatoes, which is really reminiscent of Five Guys fries. I received a good portion of fries but it seemed larger because the fries came with the burger and fish, so I received a double order.
The total price of my order was $26.82. I feel this was a slightly steep considering what I received but not really too far from what it would cost elsewhere.
Overall, I found Borderline to be mediocre with their food and decor, which consisted of plain walls, no drapes of the Windows and very little adornment aside from some artificial flowers. I really do not care much about the decor of restaurants unless they are really decrepit — I care more about the taste of the food. I really cannot recommend Borderline to others based on what I ordered on this particular day. However, as I always say, try it for yourself and then decide.
Location and Contact information
2100 West Union Blvd.
Bethlehem, PA 18018
Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday 6am-10pm
Friday & Saturday 6am-11pm
Monday – Friday – Breakfast 6am-11am
Monday – Friday – $6.99 Senior Special Menu with dessert 11am-8pm
Wednesday Mediterranean Night (Coming Soon) with dishes from grape leaves to Greek salads.
Saturday & Sunday – Breakfast 6am-Noon