We're Breaking Rules for Market Square's Farmers Market

Every so often, an event comes along that forces After Dark to venture outside in the "daylight."

Photo by Dave DiCello, HDR Exposed Photography

As you have undoubtedly noticed, the name of this blog is After Dark. The idea, then, is to cover things that happen at night. Nightlife, if you will. Activities for the evening hours. Moonlit outings.

This would seem to prevent me from discussing lunchtime events. For one thing, while “Nightlife” is a well-understood term, “Daylife” sounds like a bad reverse-vampire novel aimed at lovelorn teens. And furthermore, again, that name — After Dark. Most lunches are decidedly bright.

But exceptions must be made. Particularly when an afternoon activity with the potential to be far cooler than the average nocturnal pilgrimage presents itself.

Such is the case with Market Square’s weekly Farmers Market events, held every Thursday afternoon in the revitalized Square. Yes, there is a market at hand — boasting up to 25 vendors offering everything from banana loaf and fresh vegetables to all-natural vegetarian dog treats and beeswax candles — but that’s just the icing.

The Farmers Market provides a convenient opportunity for the folks at Market Square to take advantage of their new and improved territory with some open-air acoustic performances. They’re announcing the lineup one month at a time, but if May’s performers are any indication, the talent showing up is going to be impressive. Today, vocal maven Maddie Georgi takes the stage; next Thursday, lauded local singer-songwriter Joy Ike will bring her unique brand of ‘Burgh soul to the Square. And on May 31, the formidable bluegrass outfit The Whiskey Holler will send harmonized melodies bouncing off of the Market Square storefronts.

So yes, an outdoor market and al fresco concerts from some of Pittsburgh’s best musicians. Likely enough to get you to make it a long lunch. But even without the lineup, there’s still the draw of reborn Market Square itself.

For about the last year, it has seemed like a new restaurant was throwing open the doors on a weekly basis; picking a lunch location in Market Square has become almost as difficult as picking breakfast in the Strip. Fried artichokes, jambalaya (pictured, left) and a po boy at NOLA on the Square. Irresistible Mexican fare at Las Velas. Greek delights at the brand-new My Big Fat Greek Gyro. Adventurous burgers and flavorful pizzas at Winghart’s. Sliders, shakes and pierogies at Diamond Market. Not to mention the legendary ‘Burgh institutions that have anchored Market Square through its reinvention, Primanti’s and The Original Oyster House.

And that’s not even half of ‘em (many with outdoor seating).

Which is to say nothing of the drinks you can find in the new Square. Classic cocktails, fine whiskey, tequila, wine, great draft beer. Is your boss with you? No? Then you can have one. (Do you have much to do this afternoon? No? Make it two.)

Sitting in the summer sun, munching on a first-class lunch and sipping a refreshing beverage while a great acoustic performance echos around Market Square — before grabbing some fresh stuff to take home for dinner (along with a box of cookies from Prantl’s.) Yeah, that’s enough to make me forget the blog is called After Dark.

(Market Square Farmer’s Market, Thursdays through November 8. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Info and updated schedule of performers at marketsquarepgh.blogspot.com)

Categories: After Dark