Jeff Virojanapa

Owner of White Orchids Thai Cuisine and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

Jeff Virojanapa is a restaurateur who owns two restaurants with his parents in the Allentown, Pennsylvania area: White Orchids Thai Cuisine and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar. Born in Skokie, Illinois, Jeff moved to Allentown with his family when he was two years old. Growing up, he spent every Sunday with his parents at different eateries around town and worked at local restaurants throughout high school, which sparked his love for the hospitality industry. He then earned a degree in Optical Engineering from the University of Rochester and worked as an Engineer in Tennessee and California before returning home to Pennsylvania to fulfill his passion for restaurants. In 2007, Jeff and his parents, who were both born in Thailand, opened White Orchids Thai Cuisine located at The Promenade Shops in Saucon Valley. Off the bat, the restaurant was extremely successful — so much so that the property owners asked the Virojanapas to expand the space from 2,000 square feet to 4,000 square feet. Over the years, White Orchids has remained a favorite amongst locals, winning the award for Best Thai Restaurant in Lehigh Valley from Leigh Valley Style every year since its establishment. In 2019, Jeff and his parents decided to open a second restaurant, and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar was born. After exploring Thai cuisine at White Orchids for over 12 years, the Virojanapas wanted to embrace a different fare while sticking to their roots, which inspired an American menu with Asian influences. When speaking about his restaurants, Jeff says: “To me, going to a restaurant is a time to enjoy company, celebrate life, discuss opportunities, and ultimately enjoy great food. We hope you can come to our restaurants and do many if not all of these things.” Jeff currently resides in Allentown with his wife Becky and their three children.

Jeff Virojanapa

Owner of White Orchids Thai Cuisine and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

Jeff Virojanapa is a restaurateur who owns two restaurants with his parents in the Allentown, Pennsylvania area: White Orchids Thai Cuisine and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar. Born in Skokie, Illinois, Jeff moved to Allentown with his family when he was two years old. Growing up, he spent every Sunday with his parents at different eateries around town and worked at local restaurants throughout high school, which sparked his love for the hospitality industry. He then earned a degree in Optical Engineering from the University of Rochester and worked as an Engineer in Tennessee and California before returning home to Pennsylvania to fulfill his passion for restaurants. In 2007, Jeff and his parents, who were both born in Thailand, opened White Orchids Thai Cuisine located at The Promenade Shops in Saucon Valley. Off the bat, the restaurant was extremely successful — so much so that the property owners asked the Virojanapas to expand the space from 2,000 square feet to 4,000 square feet. Over the years, White Orchids has remained a favorite amongst locals, winning the award for Best Thai Restaurant in Lehigh Valley from Leigh Valley Style every year since its establishment. In 2019, Jeff and his parents decided to open a second restaurant, and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar was born. After exploring Thai cuisine at White Orchids for over 12 years, the Virojanapas wanted to embrace a different fare while sticking to their roots, which inspired an American menu with Asian influences. When speaking about his restaurants, Jeff says: “To me, going to a restaurant is a time to enjoy company, celebrate life, discuss opportunities, and ultimately enjoy great food. We hope you can come to our restaurants and do many if not all of these things.” Jeff currently resides in Allentown with his wife Becky and their three children.

Tyler Baxter

Executive Chef of Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

Raised in Coopersburg, PA, Tyler is a graduate of the Culinary program at Northampton Community College. He has invested his talent into the burgeoning Lehigh Valley restaurant scene with longevity at restaurants from fine dining to comfort food. Tyler has previously been the Head Chef at The Bayou, Grain, and Emeril’s Chophouse, and created the pop-up dinner concept Late Nite Bites along with his wife, Laura, and Sous Chef Sean Rainey. Tyler would love to be nominated for a James Beard award one day. His newest passion is his son Jack and growing roots with his family while still pursuing his goals as a chef, mentor, and co-worker.

Tyler Baxter

Executive Chef of Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

Raised in Coopersburg, PA, Tyler is a graduate of the Culinary program at Northampton Community College. He has invested his talent into the burgeoning Lehigh Valley restaurant scene with longevity at restaurants from fine dining to comfort food. Tyler has previously been the Head Chef at The Bayou, Grain, and Emeril’s Chophouse, and created the pop-up dinner concept Late Nite Bites along with his wife, Laura, and Sous Chef Sean Rainey. Tyler would love to be nominated for a James Beard award one day. His newest passion is his son Jack and growing roots with his family while still pursuing his goals as a chef, mentor, and co-worker.

Byron Coons

General Manager of Wisdom Restaurant Group, Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar, and White Orchids Thai Cuisine

Raised in Lower Macungie, PA, Byron has been with the White Orchids family for the past 10 years, working as a bartender, bar manager, and current General Manager of both White Orchids and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar. Prior, Byron attended school at USC and spent two years abroad in China. Byron has vast years of experience in the restaurant industry; even in his travels, he has found himself in the industry in some facet. Throughout his experience working with White Orchids, Byron has been leading development of the beverage program, along with company culture, branding, and operations. Outside of the restaurant industry, Byron is an avid fisher, golfer, and enjoys spending his free time outdoors.

Byron Coons

General Manager of Wisdom Restaurant Group, Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar, and White Orchids Thai Cuisine

Raised in Lower Macungie, PA, Byron has been with the White Orchids family for the past 10 years, working as a bartender, bar manager, and current General Manager of both White Orchids and Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar. Prior, Byron attended school at USC and spent two years abroad in China. Byron has vast years of experience in the restaurant industry; even in his travels, he has found himself in the industry in some facet. Throughout his experience working with White Orchids, Byron has been leading development of the beverage program, along with company culture, branding, and operations. Outside of the restaurant industry, Byron is an avid fisher, golfer, and enjoys spending his free time outdoors.

Jesse Pessolano

General Manager of Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

Jesse grew up in the Poconos and has spent his entire career in hospitality. Starting out at a popular ski resort in the Poconos before taking his talent to Mt. Airy Casino Resort. From there he ventured into the Lehigh Valley becoming a member of the Sands Casino. There he managed at both Emeril’s Chop House and Buddy V’s. After that Jesse was a part of Melt Grill in Center Valley continuing to grow and develop service. “I’m very excited to be a part of something new.  I believe our group has created a menu and atmosphere that brings a much needed flare to this area.

Jesse Pessolano

General Manager of Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

Jesse grew up in the Poconos and has spent his entire career in hospitality. Starting out at a popular ski resort in the Poconos before taking his talent to Mt. Airy Casino Resort. From there he ventured into the Lehigh Valley becoming a member of the Sands Casino. There he managed at both Emeril’s Chop House and Buddy V’s. After that Jesse was a part of Melt Grill in Center Valley continuing to grow and develop service. “I’m very excited to be a part of something new.  I believe our group has created a menu and atmosphere that brings a much needed flare to this area.

Sean Rainey

Executive Sous Chef of Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

Sean has lived in the Valley for over 10 years now graduating from the Culinary program at Northampton Community College. He has worked at many of the top places in the area like Cosmopolitan, The Bayou, Grain, & Savory Grille. In Sean’s words, “I just really love to cook.”

Sean Rainey

Executive Sous Chef of Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

Sean has lived in the Valley for over 10 years now graduating from the Culinary program at Northampton Community College. He has worked at many of the top places in the area like Cosmopolitan, The Bayou, Grain, & Savory Grille. In Sean’s words, “I just really love to cook.”

Eileen Casale

Manager of Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar
Eileen’s hospitality began in Lower Manhattan opening her own Italian restaurant, L’Orto with her husband, Carl. As a restaurateur, Eileen has directed special events and oversaw private dining. Her family then made the move to the Lehigh Valley where she joined Shula’s Steakhouse during their initial inception.  At Shula’s, she headed up private dining and floor management for 8 years.  Then, with their closing she joined the management team at Melt and Top Cut for 5 years.  Eileen is now thrilled for the next step in joining the Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar team.

Eileen Casale

Manager of Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar
Eileen’s hospitality began in Lower Manhattan opening her own Italian restaurant, L’Orto with her husband, Carl. As a restaurateur, Eileen has directed special events and oversaw private dining. Her family then made the move to the Lehigh Valley where she joined Shula’s Steakhouse during their initial inception.  At Shula’s, she headed up private dining and floor management for 8 years.  Then, with their closing she joined the management team at Melt and Top Cut for 5 years.  Eileen is now thrilled for the next step in joining the Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar team.

Neil Heimsoth

Beverage Manager of Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

Neil Heimsoth was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he opened several coffee shops in his early 20s. Having developed a strong passion for the beverage industry, Neil was inspired to learn more in the field of mixology and earned a certification from BarSmarts, the acclaimed bartender education program. From there, Neil was hired as the Bar Manager at the popular Bookstore Speakeasy in Bethlehem where he worked for seven years before joining the team at Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar.

As Beverage Manager, Neil oversees the spirits program including menu development; when creating new cocktails, he turns to seasonality and local produce for inspiration. His favorite part about working in the beverage industry is that it allows him to be a part of people’s everyday routines and celebrations – whether that be grabbing a cup of coffee or toasting with a glass of champagne.

Neil currently resides in Bethlehem with his fiancee, and when he’s not reading the latest book about cocktails, he enjoys drawing, hiking, and spending time with his friends and family.

Neil Heimsoth

Beverage Manager of Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

Neil Heimsoth was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he opened several coffee shops in his early 20s. Having developed a strong passion for the beverage industry, Neil was inspired to learn more in the field of mixology and earned a certification from BarSmarts, the acclaimed bartender education program. From there, Neil was hired as the Bar Manager at the popular Bookstore Speakeasy in Bethlehem where he worked for seven years before joining the team at Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar.

As Beverage Manager, Neil oversees the spirits program including menu development; when creating new cocktails, he turns to seasonality and local produce for inspiration. His favorite part about working in the beverage industry is that it allows him to be a part of people’s everyday routines and celebrations – whether that be grabbing a cup of coffee or toasting with a glass of champagne.

Neil currently resides in Bethlehem with his fiancee, and when he’s not reading the latest book about cocktails, he enjoys drawing, hiking, and spending time with his friends and family.

Notch Modern Kitchen & Bar

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