2011 Rising Star Chef: Brian Pekarcik

Boundless energy, creativity and ambition are the hallmarks of every successful chef, and Brian Pekarcik, 36, clearly has these traits in spades.

Brian Pekarcik opened two concept restaurants within months of each other in fall 2010: Spoon and BRGR Bar, both located in East Liberty.

Photo by Laura Petrilla

back to Best Restaurants 2011

Brian Pekarcik

Brian Pekarcik helped to open two concept restaurants within months of each other in fall 2010: Spoon and BRGR Bar, both located in East Liberty.

Photo by Laura Petrilla

 

Brian Pekarcik's forward momentum has been on overdrive since he partnered with Rick Stern, part owner of Willow in the North Hills, to open Spoon in July 2010.

Driven by a culinary philosophy and a set of technical skills honed at outstanding West Coast restaurants like Gary Danko in San Francisco, this native son is most definitely making his mark.

The phrase “upscale comfort food” is a cliché, but this kitchen reminds us why the concept took off in the first place. Many of the dishes here are flavorful, soul-satisfying and quite rich: Consider a decadent bacon-and-eggs appetizer with five-minute poached egg, crispy pork belly, asparagus and hollandaise or the delicious poblano-chili rellenos stuffed with polenta, shrimp and pepper-jack cheese served with charred tomato vinaigrette. However, a light, elegant touch also comes into play in such dishes as heirloom tomatoes with fresh burratta cheese, tomato water and tomato gelée, and horseradish and crab-crusted salmon.

Being back on home court is clearly inspirational for Pekarcik, who returned to the region two-and-one-half years ago.

“Especially during spring, summer and fall, western Pennsylvania is as good as anywhere in the country for local ingredients,” he says. “With only 10 appetizers and 10 mains, I want to keep things fresh and interesting, so every day might bring change to a few dishes depending on what I can source.” While Pekarcik steers the kitchen at Spoon, he’s also responsible for the food at BRGR, the very successful gourmet-burger bar, which opened next door in October 2010. “The two concepts are very different, but they complement each other,” he says. “I just try to make sure that a lot of my ingredients make sense for both places.”

Is keeping track of two places too much? Not for this energetic father of two. “Thinking about my menus starts with my cup of coffee in the morning,” he says. “For me, it’s a lot of fun.”
 


Spoon, executive chef Brian Pekarcik; 134 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty. Info: 412/362-6001, spoonpgh.com.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: Local Beverly's Birthdays Gets National Attention

Watch: Local Beverly's Birthdays Gets National Attention

NBC Nightly News profiled Megs Yunn of Irwin, who doles out birthday cheer 365 days a year.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Meet the Federal Galley Chefs

Meet the Federal Galley Chefs

We have the lowdown on who is cooking what in the new North Side food hall from the operators of Smallman Galley.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


King Arthur's Sword Turns a Spot in Baldwin Into an Entertainment Destination

King Arthur's Sword Turns a Spot in Baldwin Into an Entertainment Destination

IQ Escape's new South Hills escape rooms elevate Crafthouse Stage & Grill and Legacy Lanes.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Encouraging Start Only a Start for The Steelers

Encouraging Start Only a Start for The Steelers

The season's first two victories were notched against mediocre competition. Eventually, the degree of difficulty is going to ratchet up considerably.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Kingsman Sequel Leans Into the Crazy (And Turns Out Fun)

Kingsman Sequel Leans Into the Crazy (And Turns Out Fun)

Reviews of "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," "Friend Request" and "Brad's Status," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Mad Libs Adds Laughs and Advice to Pittsburgh Wedding

Mad Libs Adds Laughs and Advice to Pittsburgh Wedding

Wedding guests were asked to bring their creativity to the couple’s big day.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Tour Chatham Village, Pittsburgh’s Own Secret Garden

Tour Chatham Village, Pittsburgh’s Own Secret Garden

The home and garden tour in the historic planned garden community in the heart of Mt. Washington takes place next week.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments

Edit Module

Edit Module