Pandemic Claims Popular Mt. Washington Restaurant and Garfield “Best Bar”
Businesses say the challenges and uncertainties facing the hospitality industry made it impossible to continue.
Shiloh Grill on Mount Washington, which reveled in its off-beat, funky and fun promotions and atmosphere, is closing its doors this week. The announcement came this weekend on its social media pages.
“With heavy hearts, today we announce that Shiloh Grill will be closing after one more bacon night, Tuesday, July 28. We hope to see you all on the Mount one more time ’til then, as we’re stocked and swinging Frozen Cosmos, brunch FroMosas, and Cosmos-a-GoGos til the very end. Thank you all for ten wonderful years of patronage, friendship, and memories.”
Owner Alex Fruzynski told WTAE-TV that the difficulty of running a restaurant in the midst of a pandemic, and not knowing when things might return to normal lead to the decision to close.
“It’s a real family here so we’re really sad to have to shut it down after ten years. Our lease ended and just with all of the uncertainty with COVID it seemed like the right move.”
He says his customers could not be more understanding.
“Everyone that’s been coming in has been really supportive and sad to see us go but they understand the difficulties we’ve been facing and we’re really happy to see them. It’s been heartwarming.”
Fruzynski said he tried to sell Shiloh Grill to another restaurant group but the deal fell through. He also owns Harris Grill in Shadyside, which has been closed since a fire in February of 2019. Fruzynski’s third location Downtown on Fourth Avenue has been closed since the pandemic, but he hopes to reopen by next month.
Also closing its doors is Mixtape, a bar and cafe on Penn Avenue in Garfield and one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best Bars in Pittsburgh.
“Running a business in our industry that focused on a unique pay structure and strong moral and ethical ideals wasn’t easy. Often, it was near impossible,” said owners Owners Katie Molchan and Elaina Holko on their social media pages. “Our model simply could not be molded to meet the new, challenging landscape of the service industry in a way that we found sustainable or meaningful.”⠀
Mixtape focused on creating a communal atmosphere that featured large bean bags and semi-circular couches to invite guests to sink into long conversations or enjoy the curated playlists.
“Bar service is some of the best we’ve had in Pittsburgh, even if you have to leave your table to get it. The attentive bartenders are both highly knowledgeable and fast,” wrote PM contributor Celine Roberts in our Best Bars feature.
Charity was also an important component of Mixtape’s business model. The bar’s cocktails included a gratuity fee for the bartenders and a tip jar was at the bar with all of that money going to different local organizations such as Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, Thomas Merton Center and Level Up Youth programs.