The Ultimate Guide to Our 2014 Best Restaurants Party

Follow these six steps to ensure your party experience is a positive one; pay particular attention to the advice about sampling.


Here at PM, our biggest event is the annual Best Restaurants Party, where chefs and gourmands unite over several metric tons of really great food. This will be my third trip to the party, and I’ve learned something.

This is no mere party. It’s a quest. A quest to consume.

There are a lot of restaurants participating at the party. As of this writing, 56 have confirmed their attendance. All will have samples. All want you to eat said samples. Most won’t mind if you have more than one. And the definition of sample here is usually not a tiny nibble — these are sizable tastes of culinary delights from around the city.

You cannot eat all 56. You can try — you should try — but it would take a veritable Kobayashi to succeed.

Here, then, are six simple rules for getting the most food you can into your stomach during Monday’s event. Tickets still are available here; if you attend, please say hi and report on your progress. We’re going into food-battle, here, and we’ve gotta stick together.

1. Pre-event preparation is key
General admission begins at 6 p.m., with VIP entry an hour earlier. Admittedly, that’s pretty late in the day — late enough that you might consider eating breakfast, or even lunch, on Monday. Resist this urge at all costs. You need to enter Heinz Field hungry enough to eat everything in sight because that is precisely what you are there to do. So make sure there’s no sad desk lunch or leftover breakfast cluttering up your stomach. Frankly, you should probably go pretty light on dinner Sunday.

2. Follow your palate
The rookies start at one end of either the East or West Club — yup, we occupy both of ’em — and simply progress down the line, one table to the next. This is foolish. Not because all of our guests aren’t worthy of your taste buds (they are) but because you may have a particular favorite you’re looking forward to on the other side of the stadium, and here you are filling up early. We have maps. Get one and make a series of beelines to your preferred spots. When you’ve finished that, feel free to shuffle along to the rest until you collapse.

3. Pay attention to geography
Sure, you could bounce straight from Nicky’s Thai Kitchen to Paris 66, but consider the flight time. Your stomach will thank you for following some sort of geographic procession. Cross the supercontinent: Nicky’s Thai Kitchen, Taj Mahal, Aladdin’s Eatery, Joseph Tambellini Restaurant, Point Brugge Cafe, Paris 66. (Consider studying an atlas.)

4. Have a home base
There are a handful of spots around the club level where you can sit, relax, enjoy some of the live music (bands on both sides!) and recuperate before another round of bites. Depending on your ticket, you have between 150 and 210 minutes to eat; you can afford a few seconds here and there to, you know, breathe.

5. Take a break for charity
The evening’s silent auction benefits the Childrens Home and Lemieux Family Center, so bid heartily. Shopping makes you hungry, right? Browse the goods, make some bids and emerge energized and, if not hungry, at least prepared to continue chewing.

6. Remember: 8:30 is not the finish line
The after party moves to Rivers Casino, where — brace yourself — there’s more food. And it’s really good! You’ll want to eat it! We suggest a power walk along the Riverfront Trail to burn off a few calories. Do not consider the temptation of taking the pedicab; tonight, it is your enemy. Your only friends are your teeth. Use them wisely.

Categories: After Dark