Hampton Winds Grand Reopening Reveals Fabulous New Look and Menu

    For more than 25 years, NCC’s Hampton Winds has been a teaching restaurant that’s responsible for some of the top chefs and hospitality staff in the Lehigh Valley. A renovated space, updated menu, and modernized curriculum were revealed on August 4.

    Hampton Winds Ribbon Cutting

    From left to right: Dr. Carolyn Bortz, Dr. Francine Marz, Nicole Bittner, Dr. Mark Erickson, Dr. Denise Francois-Seeney, and Tina Smith

    “My fellow classmates and I had to put a hard stop to the progress we were making while restaurants around the world were shutting down and cutting their staff to skeleton crews,” Northampton Community College (NCC) culinary major Nicole Bittner shared at the Hampton Winds reopening on August 4. “It was one entire year before I was able to step back into this restaurant and kitchen.”

    While Nicole and her classmates had to put a pause in their restaurant curriculum, which consists of working the kitchen line under the eyes of experienced instructors to turn out lunches, dinners, desserts, breads and more to hungry diners, the Hampton Winds staff was busier than ever.

    Shortly before COVID hit, NCC’s culinary program received grant funds to provide for a state-of-the-industry kitchen and restaurant renovation from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development and the PA Department of Education Job Training and Education Program.

    While the doors of the restaurant were closed to diners, an extraordinary transformation began, all to help set NCC’s culinary students up for success.

    Hampton Winds newly renovated dining space/Photo by John Kish IV

    “The idea behind the renovation was to have people, as soon as they walk in the door, be blown away that they were in the teaching restaurant of a community college. Before they even get to taste the food – which is where we really turn heads! I really wanted the facility to match the modernized culinary curriculum,” Dr. Francine Marz, director of NCC’s culinary program, shared before the ribbon cutting ceremony.

    Dr. Mark Erickson, NCC president, said, “The driving force behind all of what you are about to see and experience is, of course, as always, our students. We needed a kitchen that reflected what our students would find when they entered the restaurant industry, and a front of house that would also speak to what they’d experience. They’ve got that, and much more!”

    Not only will students benefit from the state-of-industry renovation, but local businesses, will, too.

    “Enhanced safety measures, more to-go options, and other changes in the industry brought about by the pandemic means that food service employers are looking, now more than ever, to hire students with formal culinary training and fundamental business skills,” said Dr. Denise Francois-Seeney, dean of NCC’s School of Businesses & Industry. “Our students are sought-out by the area’s best restaurant and hospitality service employers.  We continue to be a strong partner in creating students ready to enter the workforce with solid foundational skills.”

    The Hampton Winds team, from left to right: Will Rufe, Dr. Francine Marz, Carin Winans, Katie Horan, and Cyndi Litzenberger/Photo by John Kish IV

    After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, guests were invited to tour the restaurant and kitchen. Large glass doors, with the restaurant’s logo etched on, make for an inviting entrance. The former cozy dinning space still retains its same charm, while adding an element of modern elegance. The kitchen features new counter tops with a divide that allows the culinary instructors to jump in quickly to help students working on the line. It also has updated heat lamps to keep dishes, like the new scampi style shrimp over risotto, piping hot.

    With outdoor seating a priority for so many restaurants, Hampton Winds now offers dining on the patio area in a serene, garden-setting.

    And for those diners who can’t eat in, the addition of Hampton Winds Express, a new grab and go spot located in the lobby, offers fresh sandwiches and salads, soups, entrees, baked treats, and specialty restaurant-made ice cream, which sells out quickly.

    “I couldn’t have been more impressed with the renovations that were done to both the dining room and the kitchen line,” Bittner, who will graduate later this August, said. “It felt like a badge of honor, a reward for that year break, to be one of the first classes to be breaking it all in, knowing students following in our footsteps on this same line would learn both from our mistakes and successes.”

    Hampton Winds revitalized teaching kitchen/Photo by John Kish IV

    Hampton Winds Hours of Operation
    Summer hours: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (lunch) Tuesday through Friday; 5:15 to 7 p.m. (dinner) Wednesday through Friday

    Reservations: 610-861-4549. Or visit northampton.edu/hamptonwinds

    Hampton Winds Express: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday

    For more information, visit the restaurant’s website or follow Hampton Winds on Facebook.

    About NCC’s Culinary Arts Program
    Northampton Community College’s Culinary Arts program prepares students for careers as chefs, bakers, restaurants managers, and more. At NCC, you will learn from professional chefs as you earn your associate degree. The AAS degree program typically takes two years to complete and all of the required classes are offered at our Bethlehem campus. Our culinary arts students have the opportunity to receive practical training in a modern commercial kitchen and work in our public restaurant, the Hampton Winds, in their second six months of the program. A specialized diploma is also offered.

    View more images from this event in the photo gallery.

    Access media coverage of the ribbon-cutting at:
    The Morning Call
    The Pocono Record
    Saucon Source

    Hampton Winds Express/Photo by John Kish IV