There’s no denying the fact that 2015 was a banner year for Pittsburgh’s food scene. Best of all, 2016 is shaping up to even better!
Some of the city’s top chefs, including Derek Stevens, Keith Fuller, Kevin Sousa, and Chad Townsend, are set to open new spots. Can we just take a second and let that sink in? Multiple eateries from the best chefs and restaurateurs in town. Crazy!
But here’s the thing – there’s a whole lot more to be excited about. Say, a handful of incredibly unique concepts launching in Pittsburgh that will undoubtedly add to the city’s cultural and culinary scenes. We know it’s a lot to ask, but try to keep up. Here goes…
Pork and Beans
A pair of culinary wizards are combining their efforts to open a smokehouse and beer garden at 136 6th Street in the Cultural District. Here, Keith Fuller of Root 174 and Richard DeShantz of Meat & Potatoes are teaming up to create Pork and Beans. Expect smoked meat by-the-pound, sandwiches, and schnitzels served alongside a draft list of 30+ beers and hand-crafted cocktails. It’s no wonder this is one of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings of the year.
As the veteran food pros at Pork and Beans cook up their newest concept in the Cultural District, a new crop of culinary talent is sharpening their skills at this restaurant incubator and food court in the Strip District. Smallman Galley is essentially four restaurants, a coffee shop, bar, and proving ground in one. Chefs make an 18-month commitment to participate in the incubator and educational programming, intended to help them lay the groundwork for their own restaurant while serving stellar eats to patrons of the food hall.
After a series of pop-up dinner services, Chef Roger Li’s is getting closer to opening his Japanese-style izakaya pub above Round Corner Cantina. Get set for sushi and Japanese street eats like dumplings and ramen. If you’ve been following the Umami Instagram, you already know this resto is toying around with items not easily found in Pittsburgh – like a robata grill. We have never been more ready.
Owners Kate and Tomasz (the pair that brought you Pierogi Night) are happy to report that “they’ve been moving pretty quickly” and are aiming for an early-November open date. Apteka’s veggie-centric menu will “explores some of the things that are shared in the similar environment of Pittsburgh and Central + Eastern Europe. Look forward to house-made cordials & punches, as well as simple cocktails made with juices that are popular to the Central European region.” We’ll keep you in the loop as they continue developing their dinner offerings and late night menu, which will feature dishes atypical to Eastern European cuisine and some favorites from pierogi night.
Trevett Hooper and the team behind Legume are dead set on opening Dacha, a new eatery that will bringing the traditional food and drink of Eastern Europe to Pittsburgh. Hooper plans on a smaller, simpler restaurant with a fixed menu. One that serves healthy food grown by individuals they have a relationship with, while avoiding faceless, industrial foods. After spending part of 2015 abroad in Poland, Hungary, and Russia, Hooper has returned to the Burgh to bring this restaurant to life.
Muddy Waters Oyster Bar
Over in East Liberty, Chef Adam Kucenic is shucking and serving oysters in the spirit of N’awlins. Located in the former home of Casa Rasta, Muddy Waters added a street-facing service window and outdoor seating (à la täkō, Downtown) that make for a unique aesthetic. Keep in mind, if oysters aren’t your thing, you’ll have plenty of cajun-inspired eats to enjoy. Gumbo anyone?
Millie’s Scoop Shop
To be clear, this isn’t a restaurant, per se. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an entire meal’s worth of Millie’s. Soon, you’ll be able to do just that. After showing everyone what good ice cream actually tastes like via pop-ups, pairings, and an ice cream CSA, the husband and wife team of Chad and Laura Townsend are set to open Millie’s Scoop Shop in Shadyside this spring. If you scream for ice cream, you’ll literally lose your mind over this stuff. Be mentally prepared.
From Omar Abuhejleh, the owner of Allegro Hearth Bakery in Squirrel Hill, comes a vegan-friendly cafe/restaurant/bakery concept. Make your way to this new spot at Butler and 52nd streets in Lawrenceville (hence the name) for scratch-made eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their unique menu offers vegan-friendly fare with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences, baked goods, a full-service espresso bar, and vegan chocolate.
Derek Steven’s new spot
Late last year news broke that Derek Stevens, the longtime executive chef at Eleven, was leaving to open his own restaurant Downtown. While details are sparse, you can count on two things: One, Stevens is sure to further complicate your attempts to answer the question, “where should we eat tonight?” And two, we’ll keep you updated as this spot takes shape.
This one is a long time coming, to say the least. Despite some doubt surrounding this Kickstarter-backed restaurant, Kevin Sousa is adamant that Superior Motors will open. And when it does, this community-centered restaurant will locally source the majority of its ingredients, in addition to using produce from their rooftop greenhouse and raised bed garden. When you add the culinary job training program for Braddock residents and free lodging for employees to the mix, it’s clear that Superior Motors will be much more than a place to grab a meal.
Even more restaurants!
If you arrived at this point in the article and thought, “Hey, you missed [insert restaurant here]!”, just pump the breaks. Rest assured that, in fact, we did no such thing. It’s more likely that you missed our recent article on 22 awesome bar and restaurant openings in 2015. Yeah, you have a lot of reading (and eating) to do!