After A Long Wait, Shorty’s Tap x Taco Has Opened At The Waterfront

The 175-seat “retro-tainment” complex is more food-focused than its sister site on the North Shore.


Filling the long-vacant Bar Louie space at The Waterfront with something fun was a tall order, but the owners of Shorty’s Tap x Taco are up to the task.

The restaurant and bar, which has opened at 244 West Bridge St., in West Homestead, is a more food-focused version of its sister location, Shorty’s Pins x Pints on the North Shore. Both sites offer “retro-tainment” such as shuffleboard, pinball and a photo booth that allows patrons to upload their pictures directly to social media.

Hours are 3 to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 3 p.m. to midnight Friday, and 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday.

“We want this to feel as local and community-oriented as possible,” says John Dynia, general manager of Tap x Taco. “But each Shorty’s will have its own distinct vibe.”


The Waterfront spot is like an old-school dive with seating for 175, modern technology and a menu of unique, Mexican-inspired eats and cocktails that are both boozy and alcohol-free.

HiLife Hospitality Group’s Culinary Director Vince Piconi says a larger kitchen allows Tap x Taco to churn out more food for hungry Waterfront shoppers, including kids, who now have their own “Shorties” menu. Little ones can get a quesadilla, taco or rice bowl with chips and a drink for $8.

The corn tortillas and chips are made in-house. Feel like sharing snacks while you throw darts with your friends? A Pizza Boxa Nachos is just what it sounds like: a pizza box packed with corn chips, queso blanco, pico de gallo, pickled red onion, tomatillo salsa, borracho beans and crema. 

There are a variety of tacos, from Baja fish and rotisserie chicken tinga to charred steak and red chorizo. I enjoyed the birria made with slow-cooked and shredded beef chuck, Chihuahua cheese, onion and cilantro stuffed in a tortilla and flat-top fried. The chef includes a cup of braising jus for dipping. 


Another standout? Roll Ups, which are four rolled tortillas loaded with chicken, Chihuahua, potato and yuca. They’re topped with queso blanco, pickled red onions, avocado crema and a rainbow chip dust that makes every bite feel like a birthday party. 

If you are celebrating your special day, ditch the traditional cake and order the Cinnamon Toast Balls. Cinnamon Toast Crunch encrusted rice pudding on a bed of dulce de Leche and whipped cream. 

There are also 10 local beers, two wines and four whimsical libations on tap to help you get your party started. 

Dynia, who designed the company’s bar program, says only Pennsylvania-distilled spirits are used. The most popular drink is the Rock Me Baby, a mix of Faber vanilla vodka, passion fruit, lime and Perfect Bubbly. It’s garnished with a tiny, rubber duck. 


Folks who just want to get their hands on the little waterfowl can get a Duck for a Buck, with all proceeds benefiting an as-yet-undetermined food bank. 

Tap x Taco also serves Free Spirits, boozeless options that are big on taste and presentation. The EspressNo is an eye-opening cold brew made with Seedlip Spice 94 and Demerara. 


With or without a buzz, you can rent the karaoke area, which looks like a ’70s-era rumpus room, complete with vintage posters, a plaid couch and lava lamps. Like the dart boards, foosball tables and shuffleboard, you can reserve them by the half-hour or hour. 

Head up to the mezzanine to get a bird’s-eye view of the space or hang out on the balcony overlooking Burgatory. Co-owner Mike Hanley operates Shorty’s locations with his Burgatory partner, Jerry Dilembo, along with Herky Pollock, executive vice president of CBRE.

As he carries festive dishes out of the kitchen, culinary director Piconi looks around the new restaurant. 

“This place is all about fun,” he says, “and the food reflects that.”

Categories: PGHeats