New Restaurant Openings
The Porch opens in Oakland, the South Hills gets a Trader Joe's and downtown gets a heaping helping of Meat & Potatoes.
The Porch at Schenley
Here’s a gift to Oakland for the holidays: open doors and a delicious menu at this Schenley Plaza restaurant. The food is casual with a fun upscale twist. Think rustic bread salad, smoky chicken wings or pork belly with roasted butter and squash. Also offered are a handful of gourmet pizzas—there’s one with fig jam and goat cheese, and another laden with house-cured meats—and hearty options like rotisserie-cooked prime rib, burgers, pan-seared salmon and grilled rib eye. A kids’ menu and some appealing, easy desserts round out the offerings at this come-as-you-are, no reservations spot. Depending on the weather, you’ll be able to eyeball the cool grass roof (green in more ways than one).
221 Schenley Drive, Oakland; 412/687-6724; theporchatschenley.com
Diamond Market Bar & Grill
“Neither uppity nor a dive” is one way this Market Square restaurant describes its appeal—fitting for a new concept from legendary down-home sandwich purveyors Primanti Bros. The food is anything but light: Starters include locally made potato-and-feta pierogies, macaroni & cheese with bacon, and beer-battered onion rings with balsamic reduction. Main courses are meaty—from hickory-smoked barbecue sandwiches and loaded half-pound burgers to dishes like gnocchi tossed with beef brisket, liver and onions or double-cut pork chops. For something lighter, check out the “alt burgers,” such as veggie or turkey, or the cobb and chopped salads. To drink, there are classic cocktails and more than 20 beers on tap—yep, there’s a happy hour (weekdays from 5 to 7 p.m.).
430 Market St., Market Square; 412/325-2000; diamondmarketgrill.com
Meat & Potatoes Brunch
This hot Cultural District restaurant (see page 48 for the dining review) recently introduced a weekend brunch. With a list of libations that’s nearly as extensive as the array of entrées, you know it’s a great place to bring the in-laws for the holidays. Who can say no to a French Toast Flip (a cocktail with Tuaca liqueur, egg and cinnamon) alongside their actual French toast? What better to go with a plate of savory brisket and eggs than an “Irish Breakfast” coffee spiked with Jameson whiskey and topped with bacon whipped cream? If grown-up drinks aren’t on your agenda, it’s still a delicious place to fill up, whether you go for the classic benedict or the pub burger with fried egg. A reservation is always a good idea; brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
649 Penn Ave., downtown; 412/325-7007, meatandpotatoespgh.com
Trader Joe’s South Hills
At long last, the city gained a second location of this unique grocery store in November. The quirky chain’s first Pittsburgh shop opened in 2006 in East Liberty (after a letter-writing campaign from locals, no less), and it is loved for its creative gourmet products and affordable pricing. The new location is about 12,000 square feet and delivers the store’s trademark Hawaiian-inspired décor along with locally themed murals that pay homage to iconic landmarks, like Kennywood and the Fort Pitt Bridge. It’s a great place to shop in December when entertaining is on the menu: Everything from creamy goat-cheese medallions encrusted with roasted pistachios to treats like eggnog and peppermint bark are in store for the holidays.
1630 Washington Road, South Hills; 412/835-2212, traderjoes.com