Strip District's Savoy Seeks to Refresh and Renew
The restaurant debuts a new lounge and has plans for refocused menu and more.
photos by amanda reed
John Bettis, executive manager of Savoy Restaurant in the Strip District, isn’t looking to revamp his American eatery. He’s going to press the refresh button.
“We’re five years in, and for five years I’ve overseen the business, and we’ve known we’ve had to stay fresh. So it was just, ‘hey, we had a great run [for] five years being who we are, and why not go for another five years, so let’s change it up.’”
Savoy recently opened their newly designed lounge as the first part of this refresh process. Called the V Lounge, the area above the restaurant will to cater to the cocktail and nightlife crowd.
Before V Lounge, the nameless upstairs area was meant for patrons to grab a drink as they waited for their reservation. When more people started going upstairs and staying there, Bettis decided to grab the opportunity when it presented itself.
He decided to turn the space into a space to rent out for events all day, for happy hour in the evenings, and as a club at night.
“Within first month, we noticed the lounge had a lot of traffic. It just grew into ‘hey, we need to do a happy hour, let’s keep people upstairs.’”
Now, Bettis says, the upstairs lounge will have with more room to dance, a new DJ booth, new furniture, sound system and light fixtures and a new name.
The downstairs restaurant will close on Sept. 20 and reopen Oct. 21 featuring a new chef, a new menu, new wall treatments and more soft seating.
Although Bettis hasn’t chosen a chef or picked a new menu, one thing is for certain: Savoy’s infamous chicken pate is making a comeback.
“The first year we brought it out, it won all kinds of awards for the dish, and after 4 years we took it off the menu just to be fresh, but people asked for it,” Bettis says. “That was one complaint we got. We thought it was getting old, [but] people said ‘no, it’s not, it will never get old.’”
Overall, Bettis hopes this new Savoy — lounge and all — will speak to Pittsburgh’s diversity as a city.
“We want to make Pittsburgh the focus of Savoy. You feel the history of Pittsburgh there, you feel the vibe,” Bettis says. “The Strip District is really changing, as well as Lawrenceville. It’s becoming extremely progressive, and we feel like we have a lot to do with that, and still be a leader on the high end dining level.