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Recent Liberty grad opens Halal eatery

As a heat wave burned through the Lehigh Valley in late June, Sizzling Bites Halal Grill continued firing up the eclectic restaurant scene in Southside Bethlehem.

“My favorite thing is talking with the people – how they like the food, how was their experience,” owner Abdul Wali, a 2023 graduate of Liberty HS, said on a Saturday afternoon in June at the authentic Halal restaurant.

The responses he’s received have been very positive about the tasty fare and welcoming atmosphere.

Wali also likes chatting with Sizzling Bites workers, which includes 20 people over two shifts. “Talking with them is also fun. They all have their own stories,” Wali said, adding they work hard and often have school and college on their plate. “And it gets really hot in that kitchen!”

Wali’s family emigrated from Afghanistan to Queens, New York at the end of 2021. Wali worked eight hours a day after school at three different New York restaurants, gaining experience in the business. “I worked all shifts, serving and cleaning,” Wali said.

Wali’s family moved to the Lehigh Valley in September 2022. His father and uncle subsequently opened Flaming Hot Halal Grill at 768 Union Blvd., Allentown, which Wali described as “a sister brand” of Sizzling Bites.

Not long after Flaming Hot’s opening, Wali found the space for Sizzling Bites, home of the former Dinky’s Ice Cream Parlor and Grill, whose lease was ending in 2024, though they left earlier than planned. “We got lucky,” Wali said, noting it took five to six months to renovate the space.

“When we began I sometimes worked 18 to 19 hour shifts, but it was worth it,” Wali said.

Sizzling Bites opened its doors for the first time May 13. The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting June 2. “We served about 900 customers free chicken platters at the ribbon cutting,” Wali said. The platters were to be served from 3-6 p.m., but was extended to 7 p.m. to accommodate the large crowd.

Wali runs Sizzling Bites, where his brother works the night shift. His dad sometimes comes in and makes seasonings and sauces, as all of the recipes at Sizzling Bites come from both his mom and dad.

Wali’s personal favorite off the menu is the Smash Burger. “I eat it every day,” Wali said with a smile, explaining they smash the patties up and serve the burger with cheese, signature sauce, pickles and grilled onions.

“We’re doing really well and have received good feedback,” Wali said, adding he anticipates being even busier when Lehigh University students return for the fall semester.

Wali learned English in ESL classes at Liberty HS. “I thank the teachers of the ESL classes for helping me,” Wali said, adding learning English has really helped him in running the businesses, “which is most important to me.”

Wali said the haters on social media make him work and push more, and the business has received lots of support on social media, too.

“To anyone starting a business, you will have a lot of haters, but keep going to achieve your goals, and you will achieve your goals,” Wali said.

The goal in the near future is to open another restaurant in Easton in approximately four to five months. “We’re working on it,” Wali said.

Sizzling Bites at 312 E. Third St., Suite 102, is open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

For more information visit sizzlingbites.com.

Press photos by Tami Quigley Abdul Wali, owner of Sizzling Bites Halal Grill, an authentic Halal restaurant in Southside Bethlehem, is a 2023 graduate of Liberty HS.
Sizzling Bites at 312 E. Third St., Suite 102, dishes up flavorful fare including kebabs, aromatic rice and fresh salads, all crafted with care. The eatery opened May 13 and the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting June 2.
PRESS PHOTOS BY TAMI QUIGLEY Abdul Wali showcases the popular chicken over rice served with fries, mixed salad and white sauce.