Bits & Bites



Stern Heads Up New Restaurants
At press time, news came from East Liberty Development that restaurateur Rick Stern (of Willow) is opening a new dining destination called Spoon in the former Red Room space (134 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty).

Chef Brian Pekarcik, from Steelhead Brasserie & Wine Bar, will create an upscale menu to serve the chic, corner dining location and a more casual menu for service in the adjacent bar and rooftop lounge. Last January, Stern also bought the space of the former Café Allegro on the South Side with plans for a complete remodel, re-opening sometime this summer with a chef yet to be named.

Now on the Road: Franktuary Hot Dog Truck
Downtown’s Franktuary—which has transformed the humble frankfurter from fast-food street-cart fare into a healthier, better-tasting product served with fresh, creative toppings—won the “Best Downtown Lunch Spot” category in this year’s Best Restaurants Readers’ Poll.

Now the owners are taking it on the road with a new food truck that will offer hot-dog happiness all over the city—say, serving in Oakland for dinner and then parking on the South Side to offer late-night eats. The truck menu will feature local grass-fed-beef franks and focus on organic ingredients with plenty of vegetarian options.

Check the website for regular truck routes and more details: franktuary.com.

Now Open: New Sharp Edge Location
Sharp Edge, which specializes in Belgian beers and satisfying pub food, already has four locations in and around Pittsburgh (Crafton, McMurray, Sewickley and the city’s Friendship neighborhood). A fifth location—The Sharp Edge Bistro on Penn (922 Penn Ave., downtown; 412/338-2437, sharpedgebeer.com)—is now open in the heart of the Cultural District.

The restaurant offers hearty fare, including a tempting list of burgers, and also feature Sharp Edge’s signature, impressive selection of Belgians and other beers.

Now Open: Sababa Middle Eastern Grill
Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill—sloping toward the Parkway East—might just as well be called Boulevard of Restaurant Turnover. But there’s a new arrival that looks promising: Sababa Middle Eastern Grill (2121 Murray Ave.; 412/422-8000, sababapgh.com), an entirely kosher restaurant that’s now open in the space that formerly belonged to Mr. Willie’s BBQ.

Particularly when the nearby competition includes great Middle Eastern restaurants such as The Mediterranean Grill and the more recently opened Taza 21, we’re eager to see how the food will stack up to other offerings around the neighborhood.


Editor's Pick

Remember winter? After the one we had, it would be a crime not to spend as much time as possible eating al fresco this summer. That’s why this month, you’ll find me at the corner of Reynolds and Hastings streets in Point Breeze, where three great eateries entice with outdoor seating:

Make Your Mark Artspace & Coffeehouse (6736 Reynolds St.; 412/365-2117, myspace.com/makeyourmarkartspace) offers a spacious, beautifully shaded stone courtyard where you can relish good espresso and made-to-order vegetarian wraps or panini.

Next door at Pino’s Restaurant (6738 Reynolds St.; 412/361-1336, chefpino.com), fold-away front windows create a patio-style setting for the hearty Italian food.

Point Brugge Café (401 Hastings St.; 412/441-3334, pointbrugge.com) serves delicious mussel bowls, burgers and frites on its small but charming front deck. Sunshine is served.


Wine & Spirits by Bruce May

New Zealand is one of the emerging regions that is producing outstanding wines at good value. I am particularly found of the country’s sauvignon blanc wines. They can compete with the best sauvignon blanc wines from any wine region. These wines match well with grilled white fish or shellfish and would be perfect for your July Fourth celebration.

2009 Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($12.99; PLCB Code 9333) delivers aromas and flavors of ripe pear and melon with a crisp finish.

2009 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc ($16.99; PLCB Code 5241) has attractive green herbs and lime aromas with flavors of mineral notes in the finish.

2009 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc ($17.99; PLCB Code 4743) is one of my favorites from New Zealand. The winery has consistently produced outstanding wines, and this one is true to form with its bright green apple and sweet melon aromas and flavors that carry through in the balanced finish.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

How Do Pittsburgh Drivers Stack Up in Safety Rankings?

How Do Pittsburgh Drivers Stack Up in Safety Rankings?

According to annual insurance company data, Pittsburghers need a crash course in crash avoidance.
Where Your House Sells the Quickest in the Pittsburgh Area

Where Your House Sells the Quickest in the Pittsburgh Area

The real-estate website Zillow has ranked the region's 50 hottest housing markets. Do you live in one of them?
Verses Koufax and the Babe - Clemente Wins in a Rout

Verses Koufax and the Babe - Clemente Wins in a Rout

It was no contest among voters asked to choose which portrait among the three baseball greats should hang in the Smithsonian.
See Now: Trailer for Will Smith's "Concussion" Drama

See Now: Trailer for Will Smith's "Concussion" Drama

Shot and set in Pittsburgh, the film stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who first discovered CTE in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster in 2002.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
 A Sign That This Time, It's Good to Part with the Past

A Sign That This Time, It's Good to Part with the Past

Pitt Girl explains her change of heart on what should be done with the large, decaying billboard on Mount Washington.
Oh, the Humanities - Can They be Saved?

Oh, the Humanities - Can They be Saved?

Locally and nationally, college and university students are flocking to programs they perceive to be pathways to jobs while they forego studies of languages, history, art and philosophy. But at what cost?
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module