Sophistique moves into Jay’s Local for full-time fall collaboration

Stacy Wescoe//September 14, 2023

Jay’s Local in West End Allentown. PHOTO/COURTEYS LYELL SCHERLINE

Sophistique moves into Jay’s Local for full-time fall collaboration

Stacy Wescoe//September 14, 2023

Sometimes a pop up just really pops. 

That was the case when West End Allentown eatery Jay’s Local brought in Sophistique French Bistro to sell authentic French food and pastries on Saturdays. 

The croissants and baguettes turned out to be a hit with the neighbors and Muhlenberg College students that patronize the eatery, with owner Lyell Scherline saying a few times pastry chef Sophie Vandecasteele had a line out the door of people looking to buy her treats. 

The French native said she was surprised by the success of the pop-up concept. 

“At first I was not prepared for this, but this is very exciting,” she said. 

Jay’s Local has been offering pop up opportunities to cooks and retailers since the fall of 2019, but Vandecasteele’s creations were one of his biggest hits. 

She said it did take a little bit for the idea to catch on. 

She originally brought her baked goods to Jay’s Local after having a stand at the nearby Allentown Farmers Market. 

Her original pop up was a one-day event, but it didn’t do as well as she hoped. 

“People didn’t really get it at the beginning,” she said. 

But Scherline convinced her to try it again and she held her Saturday pop ups over the summer. 

Once it was her food and Scherline’s beverages, rather than a slightly confusing combination of both, sales took off. 

“Now people really seem to like it,” she said. 

Because of the success, Scherline and Vandecasteele have decided to extend their collaboration to more of a full-time venture. 

For the fall months Vandecasteele will be the featured chef at Jay’s Local from Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

While they’re calling it a “fall event” there is no set end date to the collaboration. 

Scherline said he originally started with the pop ups as a way to attract new business to Jay’s Local, while helping other business owners get exposure at an established destination. 

“It’s just really good for the community,” he said. 

But his work with Sophistique has had an added benefit. 

Like every other restaurant and café in the area, Jay’s has had a bit of a struggle finding help, especially quality cooks. 

With his agreement with Vandecasteele, he now has a resident chef full time in the café that he can count on. 

“It’s really just a win/win,” he said.