Hungry For Something Good Pittsburgh? Where We're Eating In February

We're visiting a Mediterranean market, dining in a stunning new museum restaurant in Oakland and eating soup dumplings in Squirrel Hill. Plus, we talk with Dennis Marron of the forthcoming restaurants Merchant Oyster Company and or, The Whale.




photo by erin kelly
 

Mediterranean Marketplace: Salonika Imports
Home cooks seeking products imported from the Mediterranean (particularly Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria) should visit Salonika Imports in Lawrenceville. Owner Chris T. Balouris took over the business in 2006 from the previous owner, Takis Kontoulis, who founded Salonika in 1977. Salonika’s shelves are stocked with Greek olive oil (including its own private-label brand), olives, cheese and a selection of tough-to-find dry goods. There are Friday lunch specials such as gyros and pastitsio, and ownership now also hosts regionally specific, multi-course Greek dinners.
3509 Smallman St., Lawrenceville; 800/794-2256, salonika.net
 


photo by evan custer
 

The Café Carnegie
The connected lobby of the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History has a new companion: The Café Carnegie. Executive Chef Sonja Finn (Dinette) and Chef de Cuisine Becca Hegarty (Bread & Salt Bakery) created a menu of feel-good salads, sandwiches and entrées that quickly has become one of my favorite new restaurant openings of the past few months. It’s the perfect pit stop for museum visitors ready for a break and for anyone in Oakland looking for a quick and delicious breakfast, lunch or weekend brunch. 
4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 412/622-3225, cmoa.org/visit/dining

Bánh Mì and Ti

This snug Lawrenceville eatery, which opened in November, is a swell spot to grab a quick lunch with a friend or with a good book. Co-owners Kellie and Tuyen Truong run this Vietnamese sandwich shop with warm, effusive hospitality. The Viet Special bánh mì — filled with pork roll, cured pork, head cheese and patè, as well as the standard pickled carrots, cucumbers, cilantro and mayo — is a good choice to start your menu exploration.
4502 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/251-5030, facebook.com/BanhMiandTi
 


photos by hal b. klein
 

El Burro Comedor
The space that previously housed Root 174 now has a new tenant. San Diego native Derek Burnell (who also owns Round Corner Cantina in Lawrenceville) waited four years to open a second location of El Burro Comedor, his casual Cal-Mex eatery. The Regent Square menu is the same as the North Side original, but this space has more seating. Diners can expect a solid selection of burritos, tacos, refried beans and more. 
1113 S. Braddock Ave.; 412/242-3451, elburropgh.com
 


Noodle Uchi
It’s nice to have a quick-service noodle shop in Oakland. Noodle Uchi — partner restaurant to the fast-serve Sushi Fuku — delivers solid bowls of noodle soups, salads and rice bowls. The tonkotsu broth is the creamiest I’ve had thus far in Pittsburgh, and I enjoy how the ramen toppings are customizable. 
415 S. Craig St., Oakland; 412/251-0541, noodleuchi.com
 


photo by erin kelly
 

Soup It Up: Everyday Noodles
Why bother with a bowl when you can have your soup in a dumpling? The best soup dumplings in Pittsburgh are served at Everyday Noodles, the Taiwanese dumpling and noodle house that restaurateur Mike Chen opened in 2013 in Squirrel Hill. The Thwack! Pop! Boom! rhythm of handmade noodles continues to be a top draw for diners in search of dishes such as braised beef noodle soup and Taiwanese-style sesame cold noodles.
5875 Forbes Ave, Squirrel Hill; 412/421-6668, everydaynoodles.net



 

Dennis Marron
Merchant Oyster Company/or, The Whale | Co-Owner/Chef

Dennis Marron moved to Pittsburgh in 2014 as the opening executive chef of The Commoner in the Hotel Monaco, Downtown. Prior to that he ran the kitchens of Kimpton hotels in Washington D.C. and northern Virginia. Marron is expected to open restaurants in Lawrenceville and Downtown in 2017. Both restaurants will be focused on sustainably caught seafood. 

What’s the drive to open two seafood-focused places? 
I grew up on the Jersey shore. When we went out to dinner it would be to a big seafood place like Bahrs Landing or Hook Line & Sinker. That’s what we had there. If you didn’t get that, you’d get steaks. But I want to push people more toward seafood for sustainability reasons, too. We’re going to use only sustainably caught fish. Plus, with shellfish like oysters you’re eating something that’s also helping to make the water that they’re grown in better.

Do you anticipate any challenges to getting high-quality seafood in Pittsburgh? 
That idea [that it’s impossible to get good seafood because Pittsburgh isn’t near an ocean] is really a thing of the past. Samuels and Son just built a warehouse by the airport, and Euclid [Fish Company] from Ohio does a great job, and they’re here all the time. They’re even bringing in oysters just for my restaurants. You can get pretty much whatever you want now.

What are the challenges of opening up a large project Downtown [or, The Whale at the forthcoming The Distrikt Hotel]? 
Finding people for all of the specialty roles that I need: A food & beverage director, sommelier, lead bartender or even two lead bartenders for both bars, a butcher because I’m going to have a whole butcher department, a chef de cuisine and a sous chef. It’s a lot of moving parts. We have a second space that will be used for a different food project, but we’re not going to do anything with that for at least a year because we want to get this right first.

What about for opening a boutique space such as Merchant [Oyster Company, anticipated to open in Lawrenceville later this month]? 
It’s the permitting [process] and logistical challenges. It’s taken a lot longer to open than I’d expected. Staffing won’t be a problem here.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.
Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Innovations in Postpartum Depression Treatment, First-Aid Training and Food Security.
Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

With a little work, the Strip District restaurant could become a Pittsburgh classic.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Stars of 'This Is Us' Are Big Hits with Steelers Nation

Stars of 'This Is Us' Are Big Hits with Steelers Nation

Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia, who portray a fictional married couple who are big Steelers fans, delighted fans of their own during a visit to Heinz Field Saturday.
Why Hotel Rates are Dropping in Downtown Pittsburgh

Why Hotel Rates are Dropping in Downtown Pittsburgh

Rents for Downtown apartments also are declining.
New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

Pittsburgh ties with one other city for having the worst drivers in the nation.
HGTV Series Pilot Focuses on Renovation of Pittsburgh Home

HGTV Series Pilot Focuses on Renovation of Pittsburgh Home

The pilot episode of “Steel City Rehab” follows a Pittsburgh couple as they flip a home in the city’s East End.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.
Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Innovations in Postpartum Depression Treatment, First-Aid Training and Food Security.
Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

With a little work, the Strip District restaurant could become a Pittsburgh classic.
Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

The builder of two stadiums, a billion-dollar football business, NFL labor harmony and racial sensitivity, and bridges between constituencies –– he was an everywhere man whose soft, steady hand was felt everywhere.
Pittsburgh at the Forefront of The Brain Revolution

Pittsburgh at the Forefront of The Brain Revolution

Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive ailment to treat and the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Pittsburgh has become a battleground in the fight against the devastating illness, thanks to the decade-long quest of two Pittsburgh researchers whose work is on track to change the face of medicine and affect millions worldwide.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Stars of 'This Is Us' Are Big Hits with Steelers Nation

Stars of 'This Is Us' Are Big Hits with Steelers Nation

Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia, who portray a fictional married couple who are big Steelers fans, delighted fans of their own during a visit to Heinz Field Saturday.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Steven Soderbergh Brings Bolivian Spirit to Pittsburgh

Steven Soderbergh Brings Bolivian Spirit to Pittsburgh

The award-winning director/producer returns to the city where he spent part of his childhood with Singani 63.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Five Essential May Events

Five Essential May Events

Comics (the kind on paper), comics (the kind with microphones), cats and more upcoming delights.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
‘Use Him Like ‘Troy Polamalu’ – Steelers Should Jump on This Pick

‘Use Him Like ‘Troy Polamalu’ – Steelers Should Jump on This Pick

If Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers is still available, the Pittsburgh Steelers would be wise to make him their first-round pick in the NFL draft.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Pittsburgh on a Plate

Pittsburgh on a Plate

The way to a beer lover’s heart is mapped out on notNeutral’s plate, which highlights Pittsburgh breweries (and other points of interest) across the city.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Sink Into a Trippy High School at Row House Cinema

Sink Into a Trippy High School at Row House Cinema

The Pittsburgh premiere of offbeat cartoon "My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea" is the local film event of the week.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Beautiful Blooms: Twists on the Traditional Bouquet

Beautiful Blooms: Twists on the Traditional Bouquet

You’ll definitely want the story behind these stunning wedding flowers.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Hosted by the Penn State Master Gardeners, the free event, which includes the local daffodil society’s annual show, features exclusive and hard-to-find flowers, shrubs, fruit and vegetable plants and other garden accessories from a variety of vendors.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

Considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Alex Rodriguez also is one of the league's more controversial stars.

Comments