Richard DeShantz Plans Two New Restaurants at Salt of the Earth Building

DeShantz owns three other Pittsburgh restaurants and is about to open a fourth.

photo by Neil Strebig


The building that housed the Salt of the Earth Restaurant is getting a new owner, nearly 10 months after the eatery closed its doors for good.

Richard DeShantz of the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group (Meat & Potatoes, Butcher & the Rye, tako and the soon-to-open Pork & Beans) and his business partner Tolga Sevdik have reached agreement with Doug and Liza Cruze of Cruze Architects to purchase the building at 5523 Penn Ave. in Garfield.

“Salt has such a strong foundation. It's a really well-built building. Now I can bring it to a new level and create something spectacular,” says DeShantz

Salt of the Earth shuttered on July 30 after a five-year run. The restaurant, a project of original Executive Chef Kevin Sousa and the Cruzes, marked a turning point in Pittsburgh dining when it opened in September 2010.

“We're excited that they're talking over. It'll bring a really good energy to the building," says Doug Cruze.

Richard DeShantz/Photo by Laura petrilla


“This is my next part of my journey as an entrepreneur. I'm putting a lot of money into other people's buildings (he rents his downtown spaces). With this one, I own it, so I can really blow it out,” DeShantz says.

DeShantz plans on building two restaurants on the lot, which also includes the adjacent parking lot and a large studio space behind the main building. Dave Racicot, the chef de cuisine at tako, will join the restaurant group as a chef/owner of the new space. “Dave is way too talented to be doing just one thing. He’ll have a big voice in what’s happening here,” DeShantz says.

DeShantz says that he’ll remodel the space, but that echoes of the Salt of the Earth will remain. “I don’t want it to totally disappear,” he says.

He’s still working out details of the concept but says that the design focus will be clean, modern and with Scandinavian influences. The large slate wall that once was home to the Salt chalkboard menu will become a living green wall. It’ll be a larger space, too; the dining room will be extended out into where the parking lot currently is, and the old dining room space will become a larger bar area.

The menu likely will be modern and rustic; think whole roasted fish and the like. Dan Carlton, currently chef de cuisine at Butcher & the Rye, will work with DeShantz and Racicot as the restaurant’s chef de cuisine.

DeShantz envisions the second space to include a new building and a large courtyard space reflective of locations such as Tulum, Mexico. “Dave and I enjoyed learning the techniques and flavor profiles of Mexican cuisine over the last year. We’re really going to expand on that here," he says.

DeShantz says that he expects the space to be open by Spring 2017, but “it’s not a rushed process.”


Categories: PGHeats