Pittsburgh Chefs Share Opinions on Customers, Each Other

We polled some of the city's top chefs for an insider's look on the industry.



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ALLEGHENY WINE MIXER PHOTO BY LAURA PETRILLA
 

Where is your favorite after-work hangout?

Home [10]
Butterjoint [3]
Allegheny Wine Mixer [2]
Kelly’s Bar & Lounge
The Livermore
Squirrel Cage (or the
Squirrel Hill Cafe)
Emporio’s bar
Round Corner Cantina
Mad Mex
Acacia
Someone Else’s Bar (in Castle Shannon)
 

What ingredient did you find most inspiring this year?

Minus 8 vinegars
Seafood, specifically oysters
Lamb ribs
Octopus
Duck
Masa
High-quality olive oil
Arugula from Churchview Farm
Bee pollen
Monkfish liver
Kimchi
Ramps
Fish marrow
Eggs
Citrus, especially Meyer lemons
and blood oranges
Fermented and dried
Iberian cayenne pepper
Burrata
Matcha
Cashew milk
Live scallops
 

What is your guilty-pleasure food?

Cheetos [2]
Chicken wings [2]
French-fry-and-butter sandwich on baguette
Chicken wings, Buffalo-style, extra-crispy, blue cheese
Rigatoni alla Scamoza from Dish Osteria and Bar
Too much of everything
Taco Bell
Potato bun split-tops with hot dogs slathered in Heinz ketchup
Beef tendon
Fish and chips plus a pint of beer from Piper’s Pub
Burrito from Chipotle
Korean food
Fried foods
Chocolate ice cream
Hot dogs
Chick-fil-A
Chocolate-covered marshmallows from IKEA
Fiori’s pizza
Milk-soaked Oreos microwaved
till warm, vanilla-bean gelato, hot fudge, walnuts
Doughnuts
 


ELYSIAN FIELDS FARM PHOTO BY RENEE ROSENSTEEL
 

Who is your favorite meat supplier?

Jamison Farm [3]
Strip District Meats [3]
Elysian Fields Farm [2]
Heritage Farm [2]
Samuels Seafood
Clarion Farms
Weiss Provisions
True World Foods
Jo-Mar Provisions
Jubilee Hilltop Ranch
Michael’s Meats
Curtze Food Service
Butcher on Butler
Serenity Hills Farm
Thoma’s Meat Market
Miller’s Meat Market
 

What’s always in your fridge?

Pickles [4]
Cheese [3]
Hot sauce [3]
Butter [3]
Eggs [2]
Kimchi [2]
Mustard [2]
Beer [2]
Pancetta
Pecorino Romano
Soffrito
Roasted garlic
Good San Marzano gravy in the freezer
Anchovies
White wine
Cured meats
Coconut water
Grapes
Kid provisions
Dr. Pepper
Rendered pig fat
Asian vegetables
Scallions
Fresh garlic
Sriracha
Fresh berries
Almond milk
Kale
Whole milk
Kefir
 


TAKO photo by hal b. klein

 

What is your favorite development in the Pittsburgh restaurant scene this year?

High-quality bakeries opening [2]
Growth of downtown as a dining destination [2]
Food trucks [2]
Multiple Szechuan restaurants
No clue
All of the James Beard recognition
You see a lot more Pittsburgh chefs branching out and establishing their own identity
Community events and collaborations such as the backyard BBQ and Italian BBQ
Some really great ethnic restaurants, Nak Won Garden, Chengdu Gourmet, etc.
Looking forward to täkō
412 Food Rescue
Artisanal breweries
More and more restaurants sourcing locally and presenting these ingredients with elegant simplicity
International camaraderie through social media
 

What ingredient is overused?

Pork belly [4] (Note: 3 qualified that they also love it)
Brussels sprouts [4]
Microgreens as garnish [2]
In-house charcuterie
Paper-thin radish or beet as garnish
Sriracha
Kale
Ground meat
Chipotle pepper
Ramps
Many
Pickled mustard seeds
 


SPAK BROTHERS PHOTO BY HEATHER MULL
 

Where is your go-to takeout place?

Spak Brothers [2]
Gaucho Parrilla Argentina [2]
How Lee
China Palace
Jade Grill
Sesame Inn (the North Hills location)
East End Food Co-op salad bar
Salem’s Market & Grill 
Taipei Tokyo
Korea Garden
Thai Gourmet
BRGR
Beto’s Pizza
Ramen Bar
Noodlehead

What is Pittsburgh’s restaurant scene missing? What would you like to see here?

Late-night dining [4]
Ramen [2]
“Ethnic” food [2]
Mexican [2]
Sushi
Better non-Thai Southeast Asian
A Derek Stevens restaurant
Casual but delicious Italian
Formal/white tablecloth dining
More of many things
Women chefs
Lounge with a DJ and good food
Better overall dining culture with better-educated diners
Large, year-round farmers market
Nerd bars
 

 

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