Restaurant Returns: Dish Osteria and Bar Sets a Reopening Date
The beloved eatery on the South Side last welcomed customers in March 2020.
The wait for one of Pittsburgh’s most beloved restaurants to return is over — Dish Osteria and Bar reopens on Wednesday.
“Once we made the final decision to open, it felt so good. I can’t wait to go back to see everybody and do the things we love to do the best,” says co-owner and executive chef Michele Savoia.
The Pittsburgh Magazine Best Restaurant closed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and has remained so throughout. Savoia says that he and partner Cindy Savoia intended on reopening their South Side restaurant earlier this year, but the resurgent spike in COVID-19 prompted the couple to pause their plan since part of the charm of the establishment is the shared energy in a space where you might be eating in close proximity with a neighboring table. On top of that, Michele Savoia says they were having difficulty filling necessary positions due to the citywide staffing shortage. The restaurant is now staffed to a point they feel will provide a seamless experience for guests. Regarding the pandemic, the Savoias will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to dine at the restaurant. “Dish is small. We can’t ever be 100% safe, but, at the same time, if everyone is vaccinated, staff and customers, it’s better,” Savoia says.
The essence of the restaurant’s kitchen — fresh seafood, pasta, seasonal specials and minimalist southern Italian dishes — will be just as it was, though Savoia says the initial menu is slightly smaller than previous iterations and it tilts heavier toward seafood. Look for grilled Spanish sardines with caramelized onions, raisins and pine nuts, pan-seared scallops with wild fennel pollen and roasted beets and sautéed wild Gulf shrimp in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, red chili and parsley. Longtime favorites such as rigatoni alla Scamorza also appear on the menu. Savoia will celebrate the transition to autumn with maccu di fave, Sicilian dried fava beans soup with fennel, onions and ricotta salata.
“I tried to stick with what we’ve always done, what people love. Once we get the new staff up and running, I’ll be ready to have fun with new dishes,” Savoia says.
There are a few changes: The wine list is 90% new, nearly all of it is produced in Italy and there are significantly more natural wines as part of the portfolio. Dish’s hours are slightly dialed back; the kitchen will close at 10 p.m. and the establishment closes at 11 p.m. The most significant change is the addition of an online reservation system; previously, you had to call the restaurant for a reservation (and still can), but Dish now will book some of its tables via Resy.
“When people come in, they should be able to forget all the things that are happening in the world. I know the situation isn’t the best out there, but we need that right now,” Savoia says.
128 S. 17th St., South Side; 412/390-2012, dishosteria.com
Also, a note of tribute to Dr. Freddie Fu, who died on Friday at age 70. Dr. Fu was best known for his titanic career as an orthopedic surgeon and as the founder of UPMC’s sports medicine program, but he also was a tireless supporter of Pittsburgh restaurants. Our deepest sympathies to his family and our heart goes out to everyone that he connected with throughout his gigantic life.