Hungry for Something Good? Where We're Eating in October.
We're visiting a crafter of goat cheese, a frozen yogurt shop that serves ramen, two Pittsburgh classics and a fresh look at an emerging fine dining favorite. Plus, we talk to Leigh Yock of Spirit.
photo by erin kelly
Not Kidding Around: Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy
There are about 100 Nubian and Alpine goats roaming the 130-acre Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy in Allison Park. Those goats produce milk that is the bedrock of some of Pittsburgh’s tastiest locally produced cheese. In the past year, several cheeses crafted by owner India Loevner and her team have become popular fixtures at restaurants such as Cure, The Allegheny Wine Mixer, Casbah and Thin Man Sandwich Shop; they also can be purchased at the East End Co-op, select Market District stores and a handful of other locations. The dairy sells six varieties, including a creamy, fresh chevre, “Chickabiddy,” a bloomy, mushroomy cheese, and “Bamboozle,” a semi-soft cheese that’s been washed with Roundabout Brewery beer.
315 Shaffer Run Road, Allison Park; 412/406-7336, goatrodeocheese.com
photo by laura Petrilla
The Twisted Frenchman
When I reviewed The Twisted Frenchman in November 2015, I wrote that “dining in [Chef Andrew Garbarino’s] East Liberty restaurant reminds me of watching a blue-chip prospect hustled up from the minor leagues a couple of seasons earlier than he should have been.” There’s still some tuning up to do, but with dishes such as escargot with parsley-creamed risotto, Kobe beef carpaccio with shaved truffles and grilled tomato soup with Osetra caviar, peaches and corn, Garbarino now certainly belongs in the starting lineup.
128 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty; 412/361-1340, thetwistedfrenchman.com
photos by Hal B. Klein
I was thrilled when a friend introduced me to the tiny noodle bar tucked inside the self-serve frozen yogurt shop Love Yogurt in Oakland. Pittsburgh is a city starved for good ramen, but the shop here is doing a knock-up job easing the cravings. Guests can customize their bowls, choosing from broth options (go for the tonkotsu), noodle size/shape, soup flavorings and toppings ranging from bean sprouts to fish tofu to craft their favorite mix.
229 Atwood St., Oakland; 412/381-6668
Selma’s Texas Barbeque
Aside from some of the wall hangings, there isn’t much that’s distinctively Texan about Selma’s. It’s more of a pan-American barbeque spot than a geographically specific one, but it’s still worth visiting, especially if you’re coming to or from nearby Pittsburgh International Airport. Smoked turkey breast, fried catfish and St. Louis-style ribs are my favorite menu items; all benefit from one of the house-made sauces. Go for fried okra, collard greens and coleslaw on the side.
9155 University Blvd., Moon Twp.; 412/329-7003, selmasbbq.com
Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen & Wine Bar
Casbah was one of the first restaurants I visited when I moved to Pittsburgh six years ago, and the big Burrito Group’s upscale-yet-welcoming Mediterranean-inspired eatery has been a go-to ever since that initial visit. Dustin Gardner, previously the restaurant’s sous chef, returned to Casbah last spring as executive chef to lead the restaurant’s strong kitchen brigade. Front-of-house service is some of the best in Pittsburgh, plus guests can turn to Wine & Beverage Director Alyssa McGrath for expert wine advice.
229 S. Highland Ave., Shadyside; 412/661-5656, casbahpgh.com
photo by erin kelly
Avenue B in Shadyside has been a perennial fixture on Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best Restaurants list for the past six years. It’s easy to see why: Executive Chef/Co-Owner Chris Bonfili and his crew run one of the most consistent restaurants in Pittsburgh. By day, the bistro is a perfect spot for a casual, well-prepared lunch, and the stepped-up evening menu makes Avenue B a terrific choice for a classy dinner with friends or family. Front-of-house service is all-around excellent.
5501 Centre Ave, Shadyside; 412/686-3663, avenueb-pgh.com
Spirit | Co-Owner/Marketing & Programming Manager
Before Spirit, Yock worked full-time on her marketing/promotional business Nakturnal, which has been in operation for 10 years. She helped to open the bar/music venue/pizza joint Spirit in Upper Lawrenceville in April 2015. “Many of the owners and staff are born-and-bred Pittsburghers. We’ve been watching the city grow over the last few years and want to see our hometown flourish.”
How would you characterize Spirit?
It’s very different than a traditional bar or music venue. Spirit is about community and freedom of expression. It’s very much an, “If you can dream it, you can be it” kind of a place for our staff, our event hosts and our patrons.
What’s your strategy for planning events and shows?
We seek variety. Stuff that is highly danceable, anything fun or that is for a good cause. We seek out talented local and regional bands and artists to work with.
What’s the wackiest idea that you’ve said no to? Or yes to!
We wouldn’t say no to a wacky idea. We encourage it. Hungry Hungry Humans (a live-action version of the popular Hungry Hungry Hippos board game) has to be one of the wackiest events we’ve done.
There’s a tangible feeling of camaraderie among the staff at Spirit. Where does that come from?
We want to support and foster creativity and community within the city, and that starts at home. Our bar staff contributes to the cocktail menu, the kitchen staff gets their own pop-ups on Saturdays, and about 90 percent of the staff have performed here or have thrown an event with us.