The Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem has not open yet and it’s parking garage already needs repairs even before the first car has arrived. Cracks have developed in some concrete columns in the 3,500 space five story garage. A Casino spokesman said that the facility will be open on time and it will be “beyond safe” when it does open.

I never heard the phrase “beyond safe”. If you are “safe” isn’t that good enough? How can you be beyond a state of “safeness”? This is starting to sound like an Andy Rooney commentary.

Lehigh Valley Restaurant Guide is a convenient directory of the best restaurants in the greater Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and surrounding area.

Sources close to the $743 million Bethlehem Casino development hint that a Chef Emeril Lagasse operated steakhouse will anchor the four restaurants that will ring the casino floor when the slots parlor opens on May 22, 2009.

Las Vegas Sands officials plan to announce the lineup of restaurants in the coming weeks. Officials stopped short of confirming that Lagasse would be headlining one of them. ”We look forward to offering a variety of foods in four restaurants that will include a steakhouse by a world-renowned celebrity chef,” said Sands spokesman Ronald Reese. ”But we are not naming names.”

Lagasse’s arrival is a bit of a coup for the Valley, said Lee Chizmar, chef of the upscale Bolete Restaurant and Inn in Salisbury Township. As one of the Valley’s best chefs, Chizmar will be competing for diners with Lagasse, but that’s a good thing, he said. ”Every chef, regardless of whether they are competing with Emeril or not, knows how much he has done for the cooking world,” said Chizmar, who said he had heard Lagasse was coming. ”This will elevate the restaurant scene across the area. I think it’s going to be pretty great.”

Although casinos around the world are struggling through this recession, the Sands is putting the finishing touches on a south Bethlehem facility that is to include 3,000 slot machines, a 24-hour cafe, an authentic Irish pub, a gourmet food court and a steakhouse operated by the wildly popular Lagasse.

Lagasse is perhaps the nation’s most well-known chef, famous for his Food Network and Fine Living television cooking shows, where he helped make phrases like ”kick it up a notch” and ‘‘bam” part of the American scene.

Lagasse has written several best-selling cookbooks and regularly appears on national broadcasts such as ”Good Morning America.” He is best known for his New Orleans-style cooking, but his restaurant themes include seafood, pan-Asian and traditional upscale steakhouse. He has restaurants in New Orleans, Orlando, Miami and Gulfport Mississippi. Lagasse also has three restaurants in Las Vegas. The menu in Bethlehem remains unclear, at this time.

The Mayor of Bethlehem said that the Sands has booked a celebrity chef it has a close relationship with, but would not confirm it is Lagasse.

==> Lehigh Valley Restaurant Guide is a convenient directory of the best restaurants in the greater Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton area.