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.

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Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

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During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
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The 412

Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks 2016: When & Where to Watch Them

Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks 2016: When & Where to Watch Them

You can get your fill of fireworks all weekend long, if you know where and when to look.
This Dog Can Talk, and He'll Make You Think

This Dog Can Talk, and He'll Make You Think

Watch the web series, shot and edited in Pittsburgh, that inspired ABC's “Downward Dog.” The TV show also will be shot and edited in the Steel City.
Downtown Restaurant Owners Win Big

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Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik of the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group are among the regional winners of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
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Ready for 90-degree temperature weather? What you need to know about summer 2016.

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Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

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Research led Kellee Maize to discover she is the daughter of the former teen singing sensation. Now she and McNichol are teaming up to develop a television series to help other parents and children find each other.
Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

One day, 18 roller coasters, four queasy stomachs, two cheeseburgers, one fried dough … whew.
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On the Blogs


This Dog Can Talk, and He'll Make You Think

This Dog Can Talk, and He'll Make You Think

Watch the web series, shot and edited in Pittsburgh, that inspired ABC's “Downward Dog.” The TV show also will be shot and edited in the Steel City.

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Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

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All the foodie news that's fit to blog
James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

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Justin Severino and Hilary Prescott Severino of Cure and Morcilla organized the event, which featured celebrated chefs from DC, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

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Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
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Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

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Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
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As the Pirates try to climb out of a demoralizing slump, one factor has emerged as the team's biggest shortcoming.

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Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

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Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Reviews of "The Conjuring 2," "Warcraft," "Maggie's Plan," plus local movie news and notes.

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Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Noah’s Ark Nuptials: One Couple’s Kennywood Wedding

Noah’s Ark Nuptials: One Couple’s Kennywood Wedding

The restoration of the iconic Noah’s Ark whale entrance came just in time to be the backdrop for this Pittsburgh couple’s wedding.

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The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Purple Reign: PPG Paints Unveils 2017 Color of the Year

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Violet Verbena’s grey-purple tones are playful, elegant and calming. Plus, get the history behind some of Pittsburgh's architectural wonders.

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The hottest topics in higher education
Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

The camp is a collaboration between two area universities and is open to students entering grades 9-12.

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