Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With Some Bite-Sized Bulletins From Around Pittsburgh
From Ross Park Mall to SouthSide Works, there’s lots of food and beverage news to taco ‘bout.
Whether you’re looking to heat up your Cinco de Mayo, cool down with an ice cream cone or devour some Turkish pastries, Pittsburgh’s growing restaurant scene has got you covered.
Barrio Tacos + Tequila + Whiskey
I was a mallrat in the ’90s, but I avoid indoor shopping centers like a zombie plague now.
But, thanks to a teenage daughter in need of a new wardrobe that looks like it’s from the ’90s, I was forced to go to Ross Park. Mercifully, there were margaritas.
Barrio Tacos + Tequila + Whiskey opened last fall between L.L. Bean and The Cheesecake Factory. You don’t even have to enter the mall to get some Mexican eats — there’s a door right next to the dog-friendly patio, which is lorded over by a gigantic mural of artist Frida Kahlo. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
It’s the first restaurant in the region for the Ohio-based chain, which, like its Buckeye State competitor, Condado Tacos (another new addition to the North Hills’ dining scene), offers customizable options, dips, bowls and cocktails and, of course, lots of “Day-of-the-Dead”-inspired artwork. It’s the perfect environment for eating a skeleTON of tacos.
Thank goodness I didn’t have to try on any clothes.
TacoMania Super Fest
Taco festival season is upon us and the people behind Beers of the Burgh are throwing their hats into the ring.
TacoMania Super Fest will be held at the SouthSide Works on July 30 from 1 to 7 p.m. The event will feature food from a dozen of Pittsburgh’s top taco joints as well as local beer, Don Julio margaritas, a DJ and a Mariachi band. and breweries. All the while, athletes from Enjoy Wrestling and Pittsburgh Pro Wrestling will throw down while attendees chow down.
Presale tickets will be available on the Beers of the Burgh website on May 12 at noon. To access the presale, sign up for their email list before May 11.
Millie’s Ice Cream in North Park
Nothing eases the burn of a taco bender like ice cream.
Taking a cue from the regional Mexican food chains, Pittsburgh’s own Millie’s is opening another spot in the North Hills.
The company, which has a location in nearby Wexford, announced on social media that it is opening a “scoop hut” in North Park this spring. Dairy-free options will be available.
Longtime visitors to the park have probably ordered a sno-cone from the tiny building near the Boathouse along Pearce Mill Road. After a short vacancy, the window-service food stand will once again be dishing out brain freezes.
It hurts so good.
Spork Pit heads south
In another real estate-related social media announcement, the owners of Spork Pit informed their followers that after nearly five years on Penn Avenue in Garfield, the Texas-style barbecue restaurant was pulling up stakes (or sporks) and moving to the South Side.
“Look for Spork Pit brand smoked meats to be offered at Double Wide Grill VERY soon,” read the Instagram post.
Spork Pit started as a pop-up eatery next to Spork, Chef Christian Frangiadis’ high-end, seasonal-ingredient-driven restaurant at 5430 Penn Ave. in Garfield.
Geppetto Cafe goes for seconds
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love the food at Gepetto Café.
The Pinnochio-themed eatery at 4121 Butler St. in Lawrenceville “nose” a lot about crepes and offers both sweet and savory varieties along with salads, paninis, coffee and smoothies.
Owner Evren Karabacak thinks the European-inspired concept is a good fit for Bloomfield, so he recently opened a second location inside the former Azorean Cafe at 4715 Liberty Ave.
The larger space allows Karabacak, a native of Istanbul, to put more emphasis on his Turkish pastries.
During a menu sampling this week, I tried several offerings, including Borek, a thin, cheesy pastry made with layers of phyllo dough and Sekerpare, cookies that are baked until golden brown and then soaked in syrup. “Sekerpare” is Turkish for “a piece of sweetness” and they certainly live up to their name.
I also got to go back into the kitchen to make my own crepe from batter to plate. It wasn’t pretty — flipping that paper-thin pancake takes more culinary skill than I can muster — but it was delicious.
Karabacak, who also runs The Nook, another Lawrenceville restaurant for all-American breakfast, lunch and boozy brunch, probably won’t be hiring me to work in his kitchens anytime soon.
And that’s no lie.
Barcadia levels up by moving down
Barcadia, which opened in March 2022 on the second floor of 25 Market St., Downtown, recently took over the ground level of the building.
There are now three bars, food and specialty cocktails and more than 85 arcade games, ranging from old-school classics such as Pac-Man to virtual reality experiences.
Hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.