My Best of the ‘Burgh: A Q&A with Leah Lizarondo
As she steps down as CEO of 412 Food Rescue to focus on expanding her mission through tech, we wanted to know: What is Leah Lizarondo’s Best of the ’Burgh?
Leah Lizarondo, the co-founder and outgoing CEO of 412 Food Rescue — and a Pittsburgh Magazine alumna, as she fit writing a food column into her schedule — has mobilized thousands of volunteers to salvage millions of pounds of food. The Manila native and hardcore foodie is a sustainability advocate who says Pittsburgh, with its burgeoning tech space, was the “perfect place” to launch Food Rescue Hero, the UberEats of food salvage.
What’s your Pittsburgh “hidden gem,” a place that you love that doesn’t get the attention it deserves?
Aspinwall Riverfront Park. “It’s a great little park that’s right by the river with lots of trees. I usually go there in the spring and summer and fall to just work under a tree and have the river right in front of me.”
If you could only eat one local meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
“One of the assignments that I had for Pittsburgh Magazine was a cover story on pierogies. I had the best time tasting all of the pierogies from everywhere in Pittsburgh; it’s really quite something, I mean, how can you go wrong with potatoes in a dumpling?”
If Pittsburgh had a theme song, what would it be?
“It’s the theme from ‘Cheers,’ where ‘everybody knows your name’ … It’s really kind of like Pittsburgh, such a medium-sized city but really a small town … everyone is 2 degrees separated.”
What’s the annual tradition that you wait for every year?
Open Streets PGH
Favorite Pittsburgh appearance in a movie or on television?
“The Dark Knight Rises”
What’s your unpopular Pittsburgh opinion? What is something you think about the city (or a famous aspect of it) that won’t win you any friends?
“So my answer to this is not going to win me any new friends who live outside of Pittsburgh: I love french fries on a salad.”
Where’s the first place you take out-of-town guests?
The Carnegie Museum of Art. “And they would be so lucky if it’s happening during a year when the Carnegie International is happening.”
You get one Incline ride with any Pittsburgher, living or dead. Who is it?
TJ Watt and Andrew McCutchen
If you could bring back one Pittsburgh place or restaurant that’s no longer there, which would you pick?
“So easy: Legume. Legume was a restaurant in Pittsburgh by chef Trevett Hooper, and it truly, for me, defined an era of the Pittsburgh food scene. I sorely miss it … Trevett was really one of, in Pittsburgh, the leaders in the movement for local food, going back to tradition and farm to table.”