The Foodie Report: April
Read up on Quiet Storm's reincarnation, The Independent's beer selection and chef Jeff Iovino's next venture.
Photo by Laura Petrilla
AVA Cafe + Lounge
In February, two Pittsburgh mainstays were reborn under the same roof — AVA Lounge and Quiet Storm Vegetarian & Vegan Cafe. The former Garfield eatery known for coffee and fresh, simple cuisine shuttered in the fall, months after Justin Strong officially closed AVA. Quiet Storm owner Jilly MacDowell and Strong, in planning their collaborative venture, tapped her expertise for developing health-conscious fare and his knowledge of local music. The resulting cafe will offer a pleasing mix of food and beats; the duo currently is working on the kitchen, to debut a short list of food for breakfast and lunch. The lineup's focus isn’t entirely on meat-free options, which initially surprised some locals, but the ingredients are healthy — quinoa, oats and turkey — delivering the Quiet Storm “vibe.” AVA eventually will add Sunday brunch, dinner and liquor services.
304 N. Craig St., Oakland; 412/904-3400, avapgh.net
The North Hills food scene continues to blossom. A recent addition: Bistro 9101, chef Sean Minahan’s first solo venture that presents American-style dishes. Diners are treated to toasted baguette with roasted garlic as they check out the fare options and available brews and wines.
9101 Perry Highway, McCandless Township; 412/318-4871, bistro9101.com
Penn Avenue Fish Co.
Angela Earley and Henry Dewey’s original business site continues to pack a crowd. They launched an expansion project this winter, enabling them to seat more folks looking to dine in before purchasing fresh seafood for home cooking.
Strip District, 2208 Penn Ave.; 412/434-7200, pennavefishcompany.com
Catering to the lunch crowd, Carol and chef Jeff Iovino dish out mid-day hits at their new place, next door to Cafe io. There are sandwiches and sides; plus the cooler is filled with carryout essentials — cheeses, deli meats and salads (of the green and potato varieties).
300C Beverly Road, Mt. Lebanon; 412/668-3162, facebook.com/iodelimtlebo
If you thought chocolate or cheese were meant to pair only with wine, think again. This Squirrel Hill tavern, which opened in February, is switching up the way you view beer. The emphasis is on local craft brews; at press time, the tap list included a half-dozen Keystone State producers. The brief list of food choices is carefully curated to match the atmosphere and chief drink.
1704 Shady Ave., Squirrel Hill; independentpgh.com