How Pittsburgh-Area Business Owners Are Pulling Double-Duty To Keep Other Popular Eateries Alive
Necromancer resurrects Franktuary and announces a second site, a deli's returning to Deutschtown and more food news.
Necromancer Brewing Co. is in the business of resurrecting forgotten beer styles. Now the Ross brewery, which just celebrated its second anniversary, is bringing eateries back from the dead.
Franktuary, a gourmet hot dog truck that closed its Lawrenceville storefront in February 2022, is now finding love at Necromancer. When the truck is not drawing crowds outside of the former USA Baby supercenter at 2257 Babcock Blvd., it’ll be doling out pups throughout the city.
When I saw the weenie wagon idling at the Neighborhood Flea, I ordered a Reykjavík dog buried in remoulade, onion, ketchup, yellow onions and crispy shallots. Howl. I’m glad Pittsburgh had a Frank truck before it was trendy.
Ben Butler, founder of Necromancer and Top Hat, a local design agency, says they are expanding the seating capacity of the Ross HQ (beer will be poured in the brewhouse until the regular taproom is ready) and opening a second suds location inside the former Hough’s in Greenfield. Necromancer will put its spooky spin on the British-style pub that was pouring craft beer long before the nation was awash in hazy IPAs and fruited sours.
When Necro Part Deux debuts it will feature a cask ale program in the lower lounge, 18 taps, cocktails and mocktails, pub fare (including brick-oven-baked pizza), live performances (drag shows for sure!), sports (soccer!) on the big screen and a daytime coffee concept to snap you out of zombie-mode.
Butler predicts a Sept. 1 grand opening. Check back here or consult a Ouija board for updates.
It should be noted that Franktuary’s former home at 3810 Butler St. is now occupied by William Penn Tavern, a popular Shadyside bar that was forced to close last May when its Bellefonte Street lease wasn’t renewed after 20 years.
But, owner Richard Rattner didn’t roll over and play dead, he simply moved the entire operation — including the staff, 400 bobbleheads, a great pub grub menu and an oversized “Calvin & Hobbes” comic strip that was given to him by reclusive cartoonist Bill Watterson — to a new neighborhood.
That’s so Pittsburgh!
There’s another culinary team that’s keeping foodie favorites alive: Cory Hughes and Alex Feltovich from Fig & Ash, one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best Restaurants of 2023.
In addition to running the farm-to-flame restaurant at 514 E. Ohio St. in the North Side, they are opening a fast-casual spot next door called Fat Cat, breathing new life into the two-level JR’s Bar. A little further down the road at 401 E. Ohio, Hughes and Fetovich will debut Deutschtown Deli.
The business will sell sandwiches, deli meats, hearty sides — pretty much all the goodies you could get at East O’s now-shuttered North Shore Deli. (For my money, NSD had the best dang hot sausage sammich in the world.)
And while the closing of a beloved spot is difficult — I will be beside myself and seeing double when Fuel and Fuddle puts it in park on May 26 — it forces you to find other places where you feel at home. Earlier this month, I reported on Galley Group stepping in to save The Korner Pub, an 80-year-old watering hole in Mt. Lebo.
Lately, I’ve been frequenting Reds Good News in nearby Brookline. To my mind, the quirky vibe falls somewhere between “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” and a cool hangout from a 90s-era Richard Linklater movie. As a former video store clerk who still reveres Paul Reubens, it fits my aesthetic to a T. Or should I say, tea.
Red’s also has a cocktail that revivals the Iron City/Turner’s collaboration. A Mayer’s Cup is Schneider’s Iced Tea, Parking Chair Vodka made by Lawrenceville Distilling, lemonade and grenadine served in a carton, n’at. Pair it with a basket of dino nuggets and yinz’ll be “Dippy” in no time.