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Pageboy Salon & Boutique celebrates five years and new products

After five years of pairing Pittsburghers with fresh cuts and vintage styles, Pageboy Salon & Boutique is undergoing a makeover of its own.
 
Pageboy invites guests to join in celebrating its fifth anniversary with a public reception featuring music and refreshments from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 27.
 
In addition to celebrating this sapphire anniversary, Pageboy is growing its focus on personal grooming products for women and men.
 
The salon and shop on Butler Street in Lower Lawrenceville has come a long way since 2010. Pageboy offered a two-for-one experience for clients: vintage and upcycled fashion up front and a full-service hair salon in the back. It wasn’t long before proprietor Dana Bannon brought on additional stylists and expanded her one-chair salon. Now, on Pageboy’s anniversary, Bannon has decided to make big changes once again.
 
Bannon reflected on changes in the neighborhood as well, citing fewer destination stores in the neighborhood in 2010, and noting an expansion of boutiques and restaurants toward Upper Lawrenceville.
 
Though the community is still changing, Bannon said she thinks there will always be camaraderie among business owners. As a community, Lawrenceville shops are always happy to work together on events, and as independent small businesses, owners rely on one another, Bannon said.
 
“I think it’s a really great place to have a small business,” she said.
 
Bannon said she believes that Lawrenceville will remain a neighborhood of small and independent businesses because entrepreneurs and community organizations are conscious about what the neighborhood wants. As long as business owners keep listening, she said, Lawrenceville will stay the same neighborhood that Pittsburgh knows and loves. 
 
The “new” beauty-focused shop will feature a collection of products sourced from small, independent companies with an emphasis on small-batch, organic and cruelty-free items.
 
“We are very salon-oriented, but I like the lifestyle aspect of having retail,” Bannon said, adding that the shop no longer carries apparel, though it will still feature beauty-related products and jewelry.  “[We are] still a lifestyle store, but something that marries a little more [of] what we’re doing in the store.”
 
Cosmetics, perfumes, luxury bath and body and men’s grooming products and tools will be just a few of the many things you’ll soon find at Pageboy, in addition to the shop's longstanding tradition of showcasing jewelry and accessories from local and independent jewelry designers.
 
The new products will be available beginning Wednesday, March 25. 
 
Source: Pageboy Salon & Boutique, Dana Bannon

New Downtown hotels breathe life into historic buildings

The architect of record for the recently opened Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh is bringing two more hotels to the city.
 
Combining its expertise in historic preservation and adaptive reuse with creative placemaking, Strada, a cross-disciplinary design firm, is helping to breathe new life into a series of buildings built in the first half of the 20th century. These designs preserve many of the buildings’ original features to create distinctive hotel experiences.
 
Strada is a firm where architects and interior designers collaborate closely with urban designers, landscape architects and graphic designers to create places for people. In addition to Strada, the Hotel Monaco’s project design team included Gensler, Beleco Design, Mark Zeff and Ohm Lighting.
                                                                                                      
The Hotel Monaco occupies the James H. Reed Building, Downtown. Erected in 1903, the property now features 248 guest rooms, 13 suites, a 120-seat restaurant, and a rooftop deck. Guests uncover surprising details throughout the hotel such as bird-foot lamps in the lobby, trompe l’oeil wall coverings in the elevators and bold houndstooth draperies in the guest rooms. The Commoner restaurant’s industrial-chic design gives a nod to the city’s past and is accentuated by an intimate bar, an open kitchen and glowing amber glass walls.
 
And Strada is working to bring the same detail to two more Pittsburgh hotels, the Drury Inn & Suites Pittsburgh and the Distrikt Hotel.
 
The marble banking hall and wood-paneled board room of Pittsburgh’s Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank Building will become a focal point of the new 200-room Drury Inn & Suites. A clean palette of contemporary materials will complement the existing Art Deco finishes and detailing of the 1930s-era structure. A rooftop deck and pool are planned for the eighth floor -- tucked under the mansard roof. Strada is the architect for the project and is also providing interior design services along with the Drury Hotels’ in-house design staff. Construction on the hotel is scheduled to begin in May, with an anticipated opening in 2016.
 
Pittsburgh's Distrikt Hotel will breathe life into the quirky old Salvation Army Building. The building’s original chapel will be used as a lobby, lounge and mezzanine bar available to all, and the original gym will become a restaurant. The circa-1924 building brings more than limestone block and stained-glass windows to the project. The 180-room Distrikt Pittsburgh is putting historic elements to work, including ornate vaulted beams and original woodwork. Strada is both the architect and interior designer for the hotel, which plans to open in the summer of 2016.
 
Source: Strada

Fairmont Pittsburgh Canine Ambassador to host charitable birthday bash

On Wednesday, March 25, the Fairmont Pittsburgh is going to the dogs.
 
The Downtown hotel will host a birthday “yappy hour” for Edie, its resident canine ambassador, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 25 in the lobby. Edie is a boxer and Labrador retriever mix who works at the hotel greeting visitors and escorting guests on walks.
 
Edie was originally adopted by Circle Tail, an organization that trains service animals. But, after completing training with the organization, she was too friendly for service. So, Edie was adopted by the Fairmont where her sunny disposition proved better suited to the hospitality industry.
 
“Her main job is really to welcome our guests and make them feel at home,” said Julie Abramovic, public relations manager at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, noting that Edie’s dog bed and toys are right in the lobby when guests arrive. Abramovic added about Edie’s ambassadorship, “She’s out in the community attending different events … animal adoption is a cause that’s near and dear to her heart.”
 
The party is open to the public, and friendly dogs and humans are welcome to attend. The birthday party will benefit Animal Friends, a nonprofit companion animal resource center in Ohio Township.
 
Adoptable dogs from Animal Friends will be on site. Instead of presents, guests are asked to bring a donation for the organization. Grain-free treats, new toys, individually wrapped bones or treats, and dental hygiene and grooming items for dogs, cats and rabbits are needed. Cash donations are also welcome: A $25 donation will provide basic care for one animal for one day; $50 will fund a spay/neuter; $75 will fund one dog adoption; and $100 will provide one day of pet therapy visits at Animal Friends.
 
Fairmont Pittsburgh pastry chef James Wroblewski will prepare dog-friendly birthday cake for Edie and her canine friends.
 
Refreshments will also be available for human party-goers including a specialty “Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog” cocktail, which --- as a nod to both dogs and the King -- is a peanut butter banana Captain Morgan drink with a candied bacon garnish. 
 
Canine guests can expect favors, party hats and giveaways. Abramovic said The Dog Stop donated a basket and guests can also win a night at the hotel. While she said she knows some aspects of the event are silly, Abramovic said the important thing is that the party puts the spotlight on Animal Friends.
 
Edie’s fifth birthday also marks the fifth anniversary of the Fairmont Pittsburgh. Abramovic noted Downtown development around the hotel in the past five years, like the new PNC headquarters coming to the area and an increase of restaurants and activity in Market Square. 
 
“There’s just more for guests to do,” she said. 
 
Fairmont Pittsburgh is located at 510 Market St., Downtown.
 
 
Source: Julie Abramovic, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts

Support The Pop Stop's new 'Sweet Truck' with a crowdfunding campaign

“It started with just a bike,” said Todd Saulle, co-owner of The Pop Stop, a local gourmet popsicle vendor.
 
The Pop Stop is a husband-and-wife business -- Saulle and his wife Laura -- that started in 2013 with a bike, some coolers and a fresh new product that combines fresh fruit and herbs to make ice pops.
 
“Everything is fresh,” Saulle said. He then joked, “We don’t use any frozen fruit … until we freeze it ourselves.”
 
The coolers, packed with dry ice, could carry about 200 popsicles, Saulle said. But the cooler and bike combo was cumbersome. So, in 2014, The Pop Stop upgraded to two small push carts.
 
With the carts, The Pop Stop has been a staple at city events like Shadyside's Weather Permitting, the North Side's annual Deutschtown Music Festival and the weekly Downtown Farmers Market in Market Square. 
 
But, Saulle is currently working on a way to improve mobility and garner more business with the Pop Stop Sweet Truck, a food truck peddling artisanal summer treats.
 
“Last year, we did about 80 different events,” he said, noting markets, weddings and parties. “We’re really trying to double what we did last year.”  
 
Saulle noted that the truck will be able to handle any size event. He joked that while working some events with the cart he would run out of product and need to leave and come back to continue to sell ice pops.
 
The 1970s Good Humor ice cream truck has been purchased off Craigslist, registered and converted into The Pop Stop’s Sweet Truck, logo and all. But, Saulle said, the interior is still empty.
 
That’s where you come in.
 
Saulle started a foodstart.com crowdfunding campaign to finish the build-out of the truck. Prizes for donating include free treats and ice cream parties.
 
“[You] get to experience the thing you put money toward,” Saulle said about the prizes.
 
Not only will the truck allow Saulle to sell more popsicles, but he will be able to expand to different products as well.

While small-batch ice pops will remain the primary focus, Saulle said he wants the truck to provide the best versions of your favorite novelty mobile treats like shaved ice, ice cream and soda.
 
The Sweet Truck plans to serve “raspados” (Latin American shaved ice with fresh fruit, natural syrup and condensed milk), Leona's Ice Cream Sandwiches (local lactose-free ice cream) and locally bottled Red Ribbon Soda.
 
The truck will also allow The Pop Stop to roll out enhanced versions of their pops, like chocolate dipped ice pops that can be rolled in toppings from shaved coconut to nuts to spices. 
 
The Pop Stop Sweet Truck’s first scheduled event will be May 10 at The Neighborhood Flea in the Strip District.
 
Source: Todd Saulle, The Pop Stop, www.foodstart.com/project/thepopstop

Neighborhood Allies to host New Markets Tax Credits 101 workshop

Neighborhood Allies and the Richard King Mellon Foundation are hosting New Markets Tax Credits 101 on Thursday, March 26, at the Citizens Building, Downtown, for the area's business owners, developers, investors, nonprofits or any organization with a real estate project looking for additional capital.
 
The event, which aims to take the mystery out of the development tool, will include panelists from Novogradac & Company LLP, PNC Bank and others to guide attendants through the workshops. The workshops focus on explaining the New Markets Tax Credit Program, what projects can qualify and case studies of local businesses that have utilized the credit.
 
The NMTC Program works to spur revitalization and rebuilding in low-income communities across the United States as part of the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000. The program provides tax incentives for equity investment in abandoned or underdeveloped communities via Community Development Entities.
 
“I really can’t emphasize enough how important a program like this is,” said Neighborhood Allies President Presley Gillespie. “It’s a tool to transform communities.”
 
Gillespie said Neighborhood Allies’ purpose is "to support revitalization of our neighborhoods by connecting people to resources.” This workshop is another way the organization can educate the community about investment.
 
“We want this powerful economic tool to be used much more frequently in Pittsburgh,” Gillespie said.
 
Gillespie said the event is a great opportunity to educate local partners, create excitement about the NMTC program and ensure that neighborhoods suffering from disinvestment and abandonment benefit with the proper development incentives.
 
New Markets Tax Credits 101 will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 26 at the Citizens Building, 525 William Penn Place, 16th floor. The rate for the Pittsburgh event is $50 per person, which includes lunch.
 
Source: Presley Gillespie, Neighborhood Allies

Pitt names Rebecca Bagley vice chancellor for economic partnerships

Rebecca Bagley has been appointed University of Pittsburgh vice chancellor for economic partnerships by Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement and Chief of Staff Kathy Humphrey. In this newly created position, Bagley, former president and CEO of NorTech, will be responsible for coordinating and expanding Pitt’s ongoing efforts in economic development.
 
As vice chancellor for economic partnerships, Bagley will work with senior leadership to develop a strategic plan for the university in economic development. She will also develop and oversee public and private partnerships that connect and advance the university and have regional and national impact. Another key aspect of her position will be interacting with government, community leadership and the business community on matters pertaining to economic development.
 
In making the appointment, Humphrey noted that Bagley will ascertain the needs in the economic development arena and set Pitt on a more expansive path to making an impact in those areas.
 
“Our mission requires us to provide service to our community,” Humphrey said. “I am thrilled to have Rebecca join our team as she has the expertise to help us fulfill our mission by creating new connections and developing purposeful partnerships that will drive economic growth and development locally, regionally and nationally.”
 
Until Dec. 31, 2014, Bagley led the technology-focused NorTech in strengthening Northeast Ohio’s economic vitality by accelerating the pace of innovation in the region. NorTech used its expertise in emerging industries to foster an innovation environment that provided companies of all sizes, higher education and research institutions and individuals of diverse backgrounds with new opportunities for collaboration that create jobs, attract capital and have long-term economic impact.

In accepting the post, Bagley said she was looking forward to joining a university with a strong commitment to innovation and collaboration.
 
“This is an important role for a university in today’s knowledge-driven economy. The leadership here at Pitt has recognized the impact that the university can have in this regard, and I look forward to being a part of the team that helps fulfill this commitment,” she said.

Prior to joining NorTech in 2009, Bagley, originally from Harrisburg, served as deputy secretary for the Technology Investment Office of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. In that capacity, she was responsible for the administration of several major state initiatives with a total of $79 million in yearly appropriations and more than $1.7 billion in investments.

Before joining DCED, Bagley worked for several investment banks, most notably JPMorgan Chase, where she advised energy and technology companies on mergers and acquisitions. She is also a contributing writer for Forbes.com, where she writes about the need for regions to innovate and collaborate to grow and succeed.

Bagley will join Pitt in her new role on April 7 and has already relocated her family from Ohio to Pittsburgh. The family purchased a home in Schenley Farms and her two daughters, aged 8 and 11, will attend school at Fanny Edel Falk Laboratory School. She noted that her husband John Bagley, a woodworker, is inspired by the city’s transitioning landscape.
 
“He sees a lot of development and transitioning of homes back into their glory, and a lot of that is wood-based,” Bagley said.
 
She added that her mother is also making the move from Oberlin to join the family in Pittsburgh, adding that her mother, a master gardener, is most excited about the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
 
Bagley said she and her family are looking forward to life in Pittsburgh and city living.
 
“We were just really excited about the city, how the neighborhoods are set up, the walkability … Everybody is just so positive,” she said. 
 
 
Source: Rebecca Bagley, University of Pittsburgh

Marty's Market to open bottle shop and launch new bar program

Pretty soon diners at Marty’s Market in the Strip District will be able to enjoy mimosas and craft beverages with brunch. Regina Koetters, Marty’s owner, said she hopes to unveil a new bar program and bottle shop next month at the market and restaurant -- which is currently BYOB.
 
Marty’s currently features a coffee bar, café, market and butchery. Patrons have recently noticed construction to meet requirements for a liquor license, as laws call for walls with specific dimensions, seat number conditions, stock area qualifications and staff training. 
 
Koetters explained that the coffee bar will broaden to feature both craft coffee and espresso drinks and craft cocktails. Seating will expand into the new bottle shop.
 
Existing refrigeration has also been converted for the bottle shop. Koetters explained that some brews require refrigeration from bottling to drinking, and the transformation ensures quality products.
 
While the bar will feature four or five seasonal craft cocktails and a rotating wine list featuring about a dozen selections at a time, the focus of Marty’s bar will be on local craft beer.
 
“Ours is a celebration of what’s in our region,” Koetters said about Marty’s mission to feature locally and ethically sourced products. “What’s really happening in Pittsburgh is beer.”
 
Will Groves, formerly with Legume's bar Butterjoint, has been working with Marty’s to establish the bar program. Koetters said he has been meeting with a myriad of brewers within 50 miles of the restaurant, trying to find ways to showcase as many as possible.
 
She said she wants to introduce consumers to local products while keeping bottles at an affordable price. Though the restaurant menu may only feature a dozen or more beers, Koetters said café customers will have the opportunity to grab a beer from the bottle shop’s wide selection to pair with their meals. She added that Marty’s popular outdoor seating area and coffee bar stools will allow drinking.
 
“Hopefully, more people can meet in the Strip,” Koetters said about the expansion, explaining that bikers riding along the river may enjoy a casual stop with a beer, while brunchers can relax with quality meals and mimosas.
 
Koetters said she hopes to have the bar program and bottle shop open at the end of April. She added that she plans to feature a happy hour with seasonally and thoughtfully paired snacks in the future, though there are no firm plans yet.
 
 
Source: Regina Koetters, Marty’s Market 

Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport lauds local flavor with farm-to-table restaurant

When visitors land at PIT and unpack their bags at the Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport, their first taste of Pittsburgh can now be local and organic.
 
Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport recently announced the opening of bellfarm Kitchen | Bar, a new farm-to-table style restaurant. Located on the lobby level of Pittsburgh’s airport adjacent hotel, the venue provides guests and residents with a locally sourced dining experience.
 
Named after John A. Bell of Carnegie, bellfarm Kitchen is an homage to the airport’s roots. In the early 1920s, Bell purchased a number of small farms in Moon Township and established a commercial dairy farm on his 1,900 acres of land. In April 1942, Allegheny County bought Bell Farm to begin construction of airline runways. The new airport, originally christened as Greater Pittsburgh Airport (renamed Greater Pittsburgh International Airport in 1972) opened on May 31, 1952.
 
More than two dozen farms, distilleries and purveyors throughout Pittsburgh and surrounding counties supply the restaurant with hormone-free meats, organic produce and high-quality craft beer and spirits.
 
“Our menu offerings are grounded in our commitment to the quality of food we serve and revolve around our guests’ active lifestyles. Thoughtfully sourced, carefully served,” said Executive Chef Nick Saxon. “We incorporate organic and local ingredients wherever possible, which allows us to provide unrivaled levels of flavor and quality. We’re supporting our local communities and providing guests and Pittsburgh locals with balanced offerings that reflect the tastes they love.”
 
Seasonal menus will highlight local bounty with robust flavor combinations like the signature in-house cured and smoked pork belly quesadilla served with cilantro pesto aioli, an organic Amish-farmed mesquite roasted chicken with natural drippings with fire-roasted poblano hash and braised greens, a grass-fed Black Angus beef tenderloin with caramelized shallot compound butter, and a succulent house-made veggie burger.
 
In addition to its farm-to-table style menu, bellfarm Kitchen features a contemporary environment for patrons with a communal table, expanded bar, and tabletops made with local, reclaimed wood. The space also lends itself to various seating configurations that provide accessible dining options for business meetings, happy hour gatherings, private dining events and more.
 
The restaurant is open seven days a week, 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. for breakfast, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner. The bar is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
 
Source:  Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport

Pennsylvania's only 'buch bar,' Red Star Kombucha, resides in the Public Market

Red Star Kombucha, Pennsylvania’s only “buch bar” (from the word kombucha), opened three weeks ago in the Pittsburgh Public Market. Kombucha, which is considered a beer by law, is a fermented tea with live cultures. The Public Market booth is a growler station and features kombucha bottled and on tap.
 
This local kombucha, brewed and bottled in Point Breeze, is unlike what you may find in stores, according to Red Star co-owner Joe Reichenbacher. He said these fresh kombucha products are a tart and effervescent tea, similar in feel to a dry cider.
 
This is Red Star’s third location, including the Point Breeze brewery, but the only spot open to the public. The Public Market location also serves fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, made by co-owner and brewer Naomi Auth.
 
There are three bottled flavors that are always available -- 1877 (lemon and black tea), Zingerbuch (ginger hibiscus) and Green Tea --  but the draft list is constantly changing. Reichenbacher noted flavors like cherry, mulberry rye and probiotic Cider Buch, which he called the world’s only probiotic cider. While Red Star Kombucha products are usually about 2.5 percent alcohol, the Cider Buch is 5 percent and sourced with local apples.
 
“We’re real into the real food movement,” Reichenbacher said, explaining that Auth uses local ingredients. He added that fermentation uses live ingredients and for that reason the company wants to stay regional, to ensure fresh, safe products.
 
As a “beer,” Red Star’s Western Pennsylvania distributor is Vecenie Distributing Company. Red Star Kombucha can be found in 10 Giant Eagle beer caves and on tap at Franktuary and Gus’s Café. Reichenbacher said the brand has recently moved into Philadelphia and West Virginia.
 
Red Star Kombucha is also there to help others get started making kombucha at home. They plan to offer workshops and a veritable beginners' kombucha kit with recipe, bottles and fermentation accessories.
 
For more information about Red Star Kombucha or to keep tabs of the current flavors on tap, please visit their Facebook page.

Source: Red Star Kombucha, Joe Reichenbacher 

Eat'n Park opens Delicious Raw Juice Bar Downtown

Eat'n Park Hospitality Group has stepped into a new arena after partnering with all-natural juice and smoothie bar, Delicious Raw. The company opens Pittsburgh’s first Delicious Raw location, adjacent to the Downtown Hello Bistro, today.
 
“Over the years, [at] Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, we’ve served pretty much everyone,” said Mark Broadhurst, Eat'n Park retail development vice president.
 
He explained that with several businesses across the region serving families, students and professionals, Delicious Raw is a new way the company can feed the community as the local health and wellness market grows. Broadhurst noted a juice craze in recent years with other juice concepts coming to the market.
 
Pittsburgh has seen development in this trend with The Pittsburgh Juice Company in Lawrenceville, South Side’s Amazing Café, Salud Juicery in Shadyside, GOODLife Juices, Savasana Juice, Lawrenceville’s Embody Natural Health, Fresh from the Farm Juices, Shadyside’s Living Juicy Raw Café and Root System Juice Company, which can be found at the Pittsburgh Public Market.
 
“It’s a good time for juice,” Broadhurst said.

He noted that novice Pittsburgh juicers should not feel intimidated to try Delicious Raw. Broadhurst explained that the menu has several options with fresh raw juice made right before your eyes and cold-pressed juices for the shopper on the go. There are also smoothies and add-ins for energy, immunity and digestive health.
 
Broadhurst said the menu is divided into different categories: Revitalizers, Roots and Green Goodness. He said the fruits and roots are approachable for beginners, and the greens with spinach and kale pack a daily dose of vegetables. Broadhurst called it a great visual to see the juices prepared. He said one and a half pounds to two pounds of produce goes into each 16-ounce drink.
 
Eat’n Park’s first Delicious Raw location is at 280 Forbes Avenue. While there are no firm plans yet, Broadhurst said juice could appear on the menu in the future at the company’s other businesses.
 
 
Source: Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, Mark Broadhurst
 

Raise awareness for domestic violence and contribute to a community art project this weekend

In the United States, one in four women aged 18 and older have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Everyday more than 67,000 victims of domestic violence seek services from domestic violence programs and shelters.
 
While there will be many events this March honoring Women’s History Month, this weekend, at the Society for Contemporary Craft in the Strip District, the community can come together to raise awareness for domestic violence and create something beautiful.
 
The Dignity & Respect Council of Greater Pittsburgh will be hosting the second annual Ceramic Tile Quilt Event at the Society for Contemporary Craft on Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A ceramic tile will be painted by each guest with words and images of hope and made into a 100-pound “quilt.” Once assembled, it will be permanently displayed at Bethlehem Haven, a local women’s shelter that offers safe, supportive shelter and housing for 96 women each night. 
 
And, you don’t have to be an artist to participate. Artist Alix Paul will be attending the event again this year to guide guests though the mechanics of painting a tile and will then assemble the tiles to make the ceramic quilt.
 
“It is an honor to be a part of the Ceramic Tile Quilt Event for the second year in a row, and I can’t wait to see how the final quilt will turn out,” Paul said.
 
In addition to painting tiles, guests are asked to bring full-size shampoo, body lotion, washcloths, bath towels and flip flops to donate to Bethlehem Haven.
 
Each hour of the event will host different organizations from around Pittsburgh providing resources and information to attendants. Last year’s sponsors included the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, the Latino Family Center, Strong Women, Strong Girls and the YWCA Women’s Empowerment Initiative, among others.
 
Guests will also get the opportunity to view exhibitions currently at the Society for Contemporary Craft. Refreshments will be provided from Strip District merchants such as LaPrima Coffee, Enrico Biscotti and Colangelo’s Bakery.
 
The event is open to the public but guests must RSVP for a specific time slot.
 
Source: Dignity & Respect Campaign

New Squirrel Hill condominium development underway

This week, Landmark Properties Group unveiled its plan to build the first new condominium development in the Squirrel Hill area in nearly a decade.
 
More than 350,000 people live within a five-mile radius of the development site, 2704 Murray Ave., along with some of the region’s top employers such as Google, UPMC, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.
 
“Consumer demand is shifting toward a more efficient and economical urban lifestyle in the East End,” says Landmark Chief Executive Officer Robert Ferree. “The Q will answer the growing demand for new construction in the area.”
 
The Q, the proposed development, will be a four-story building with 23 new one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The proposed design of residences includes open floor plans, custom flooring, gourmet kitchens, stainless appliances, crafted cabinetry and bathrooms complete with ceramic and stone. Additional amenities include indoor parking, a 24-hour secure entrance and a fitness center.
 
“With spacious interiors, sophisticated finishes and all of the services and amenities one might expect to find in Manhattan, The Q lifestyle will offer the perfect balance between small-town charm and big-city comfort,” said Landmark Director of Acquisitions David Landman.
 
Landmark plans to have the building finished in 2015 and ready for occupancy in 2016. Keller Williams Realty will market and sell the condos with sale prices anticipated to start in the $300,000 range.
 
Bob Hoza and Ryan Edmondson, in charge of pre-sale, said there is still time for potential buyers to customize each space by contacting them at bobhoza@kw.com.
 
 
Source: Landmark Properties Group

PGH4ART campaigns for revised public art ordinance

Earlier this month, dozens attended a City Council meeting to push for an updated “percent for art” program in Pittsburgh.  According to PGH4ART, a group campaigning to update the city’s public art ordinance, “percent for art” programs usually require one percent of the total cost of a large-scale construction project to be allocated for public works of art.
 
“We came together fully with the purpose of having this 1977 'percent for art' [law] enforced,” said Carolyn Speranza, artist and team leader of PGH4ART, about the group’s attendance at a City Council post-agenda meeting convened by Councilman Corey O’Connor. She said the organization is working for the law to be rewritten and updated to modern standards.
 
Speranza explained that the 1977 “one percent for art” program is limited. A written copy of Speranza’s agenda from the meeting states that as the ordinance is currently written, it appears that the “‘one percent for art’ requirement applies only to construction or renovation of a public building, and even then only when it is a municipal project with a city department in charge of the project.”
 
However, financing vehicles for private development have altered how municipal construction and investment in buildings are funded in Pittsburgh. Speranza’s agenda explains that the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act and Tax Increment Financing Act account for a sizable amount of development and may not trigger the “percent for art” requirements. And, she said, the Urban Redevelopment Authority is much more likely today to be in charge of a construction or renovation project -- rather than a city department like in the 1970s.
 
At the meeting, Speranza urged the Council to create a new standard for Pittsburgh public art. She asked that all development, public or private, above the $50,000 threshold of our ordinance be subject to the "percent for public art ordinance," that all of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods benefit, for transparency when allocating funds and explained that there would be economic benefits.
 
“A new ‘percent for art’ law would become an economic stimulant,” Speranza said. She explained that local artists and builders would benefit from public art programs.
 
While many support PGH4ART’s efforts, change will need to come from the city. O’Connor explained at the meeting that changes should come from the city’s planning and zoning departments. Morton Brown, public art manager in the city’s Planning Department, said the city is developing a master plan that includes a revised “percent for art” ordinance. 
 
Source: PGH4ART, Carolyn Speranza

Innovative online supper club Dinner Lab launches in Pittsburgh

Dinner Lab began in New Orleans in 2012 and has since become a national sensation. The pop-up supper club has hosted innovative dining events in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York. Today, Dinner Lab announced Pittsburgh as its newest city.
 
“We’re really excited about coming to Pittsburgh,” said Zach Kupperman, co-founder of Dinner Lab. “Pittsburgh [has] an amazing cultural and culinary scene … Pittsburgh is a very cool and underground cultural city with a lot going on.”
 
According to its website, Dinner Lab is an underground dining club that strips away the typical restaurant trappings and replaces it with a pop-up experience. City-dwellers become members online to receive a calendar of events. The menu is posted beforehand, but the location isn’t disclosed until the day before or the day of the event.
 
“Dinner Lab, at its core, is a membership-based social dining club,” Kupperman said.
 
The company operates as a subscription service where people pay upfront for access to the calendar. This is not to be exclusive, but how Dinner Lab subsidizes the cost of dinners, hires local people and rents kitchens. Guests then pay for each dinner and have access to not only events in the local market, but in every other city that Dinner Lab operates. Tickets, which include gratuity and alcohol, are purchased through the website a few weeks prior to the event.
 
Dinner is usually five courses (though it can be more), includes all-you-can-drink beer and wine. There's a pre-dinner cocktail hour, too. Membership rates vary between $100 and $200, depending on the participating city, but Pittsburgh’s membership rate is $125. Starting today, you can register online.
 
Dinner Lab chefs are usually the second or third at great restaurants. But, as Kupperman explained, they are often in the back of someone else’s kitchen, cooking someone else’s food. There is a disconnect between what chefs prepare on a regular basis and what they actually care about, he said.  
 
Dinner Lab pulls about 50 percent of its chefs from the local market and then will bring in top performing chefs from other Dinner Lab city markets. The group requires its chefs' food to tell a compelling story. Chefs have the opportunity to cook for an event and create a menu that is unique to their experience and palate.
 
Dinner Lab focuses on global cuisine enjoyed in random, local places outside a traditional restaurant setting. Kupperman said abandoned warehouses, old churches and rooftops are transformed for one night as a pop-up dinner venue. Guests dine together at community tables. Food is designed to be the common element to bring participants together.
 
There is also a diner feedback component to Dinner Lab. Diners rate each course and all of this information is aggregated and delivered back to the chef.
 
Though Dinner Lab officially launched in Pittsburgh today, it will be a few weeks before the first event. Kupperman said it will take time to hire people to operate the program in Pittsburgh and scout venues. Once Dinner Lab is established in a city, members can expect as many as six or seven events per month.
 
Pittsburgh’s first event will feature New Orleans Chef Mario Rodriquez, most recently of La Petite Grocery in the Big Easy. His menu concept will feature the flavors of Malay cuisine through the lens of a fine dining chef. 
 
Source: Dinner Lab, Zach Kupperman

AMPD Group plans Social House Seven, an Izakaya-style Asian restaurant

Izakaya is a style of restaurant in Japan that serves shareable plates and a variety of drinks and sake, according the AMPD Group, which is launching an Izakaya-style Asian restaurant in Downtown Pittsburgh.
 
The AMPD Group, a Pittsburgh entertainment and hospitality development and management company, recently announced its newest venture, Social House Seven, located in the Downtown Aria Lofts, the home of Bossa Nova Lounge for 12 years.
 
“The Group has been searching for a location for our new Izakaya-style Asian concept for some time. We have had this concept on the drawing board for the past four years and are excited to finally bring it to fruition. Social House will be our best project to date,” said Michael DeSimone, AMPD Group Partner.
 
Opening summer 2015, Social House will feature a custom-built robata grill and sushi bar along with an expansive lunch and dinner menu of shareable pan-Asian dishes ranging from Japanese to Thai, Korean to Chinese. In addition to sushi and grilled meats, including Kobe beef, the menu will feature shareable vegetarian and gluten-free items.
 
Adam DeSimone, AMPD Group Partner, described robata as a Japanese grill and said Social House’s robata will be a solid fuel grill with charcoal. “The great thing about a robata grill is it sears the meat … and captures all the juices within the meat,” he said, adding that the six-foot grill will run at about 800 degrees and capture juices to keep the meat tender.
 
The 7,300-square-foot restaurant will seat 175 guests with space for another 60 at the main bar and robata and sushi bar. The restaurant will also feature a 2,300-square-foot late-night lounge and event space, reminiscent of Bossa Nova, to host receptions, fundraisers and corporate events for up to 150 guests.
 
The lounge space can also serve as overflow to the restaurant and will turn into a late-night environment at the conclusion of dinner service on weekend evenings with Pittsburgh’s best DJ’s.
 
“We’re predominantly a restaurant, but have a strong nightlife component to it,” Adam DeSimone explained.
 
Social House will feature Asian-style décor with framed glass, wood trussing ceiling features and 16-foot hand-carved Buddhas peering over the restaurant.
 
“There’s nothing like it in Pittsburgh,” Adam DeSimone said, calling the location at 123 Seventh St. in the Cultural District “second to none.” He added that the AMPD Group, which developed Ten Penny, Steel Cactus, Local Bar & Kitchen, Diesel Club Lounge, Skybar Pittsburgh, Dominic’s Deli at PNC Park and Delanie’s Coffee, is excited to introduce this latest venture to the city. 
 
Social House Seven will serve lunch Monday through Friday, brunch on Saturday and Sunday and dinner seven days a week. The lounge will be open Thursday through Saturday. Valet service will be available during dinner and late-night hours.
 
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