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Eat + Drink: Tender Bar + Kitchen; Notion now open; Redbeard's; The Pub Chip Shop

Eat + Drink is Pop City's weekly roundup of Pittsburgh's food scene.


- Tender Bar + Kitchen will celebrate a grand opening next Friday, April 5th. The restaurant features a “Gatsby-era atmosphere,” regional American cuisine, and a craft cocktail list.

Renovations to the restaurant’s historic building—the former Arsenal Bank—unearthed artifacts such as bank checks from the 1890’s, a pair of handmade stone dice, and a vault alarm system, whose 1930’s electronics will be on display in the restaurant.

Tender is the second concept from Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina proprietor Jeff Catalina.  The menu includes regional dishes such as lobster rolls, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits. Tender is located at 4300 Butler Street, Lawrenceville. 412-402-9522.

- Notion has reopened in East Liberty. Chef-owner David Racicot closed the original Oakmont eatery in late 2011 with plans to bring the restaurant to a more central location in Pittsburgh. The smaller, 28-seat space is located at 128 S. Highland Avenue, near the neighborhood's many popular dining destinations, including BRGR, Abay Ethiopian Cuisine, Paris 66, and more.

- Piper's Pub owner Drew Topping is opening a new United Kingdom-style fish-and-chip shop called The Pub Chip Shop. The menu will include pasties, a stuffed British pastry, and other U.K. take-out fare.  It will be located in the adjacent Victorian storefront to Piper's Pub, at 1830 E. Carson Street. 

- Redbeard's  on 6th Sports Bar and Grill is opening soon in Downtown Pittsburgh, at 144 6th Street. It is a second location of the original Redbeard’s, which has served Mount Washington for more than 20 years.

Redbeard’s replaces the former Palazzo Ristorante, and is adjacent to Six Penn Kitchen. The Roberto Clemente Bridge is just one block away, which connects pedestrians to PNC Park on Pirates game days.
 

Writer: Andrew Moore

Morningside rising: Ola's Herb Shop, Capoeira Angola; and coming soon: The Bulldog Pub

Ola's Herb Shop is not located in a busy retail district, and that's fine with owner Ola Obasi.

On a sleepy corner in Morningside, Obasi's shop is a multi-use space that is dedicated to enhancing the personal wellness of all members of the community. It's a center for herbal medicine, energy work, and lifestyle coaching, but also the production facility for Obasi's all-natural product line, Nourishing Botanicals.

And Obasi's husband, Eric Biesecker, also teaches Capoeira Angola, the Afro-Brazilian martial art and fight dance, at the shop.  While the neighborhood's commercial district might be quiet, this particular storefront (typically open by appointment only) is filled with a holistic, healing energy.

Now, thanks to businesses like Obasi's and the dedication of many other community members, Morningside itself is poised for an awakening.

A new commercial structure has been built next to the neighborhood’s Rite Aid. The pharmacy itself has been renovated, as has the Morningside Market, which benefitted from the URA’s façade renovation program.

And the long-awaited Bulldog Pub & Grill—named for the neighborhood's youth football team—is expected to open on March 15th, at 1818 Morningside Avenue (just in time for St. Patrick's Day). The restaurant is a project of Morningside native Terry Golden.

Grant Ervin, Executive Director of the Morningside Area Community Council, says there has been a need for family-friendly community gathering spaces.

“There’s a big opportunity for that type of third place in the neighborhood,” he says. Ervin expects the Bulldog Pub—whose renovations are making the space even more inviting—to succeed in filling that role.

Ervin says Morningside’s lower rents have allowed entrepreneurs to develop their companies without the burden of excessive overheads. “It’s a good place if you’re looking to open a business,” he says.

 
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Ola Obasi; Grant Ervin

Eat + Drink: Casa Rasta, Pizzarita, Texas de Brazil, Egyptian in Brookline: Isis Cafe

Eat + Drink is Pop City's roundup of Pittsburgh's food scene.

The popular Beechview restaurant Casa Rasta has reopened at a new space on Broadway Avenue, just two doors down from its original location. While patrons can still order tacos and burritos—like jerk chicken or citrus marinated pork—an expanded menu now includes appetizers, entrees, and desserts. 

Chef Antonio Fraga says these new menu items are an even better showcase of Casa Rasta’s fusion of Caribbean and Mexican flavors, including beef tongue with avocado or Isleño sauce, and a Caribbean salad with grilled pineapple, roasted corn, and spicy coconut.

The new space—at 2056 Broadway Avenue—also includes a full-service bar, though a liquor license is still pending. The restaurant seats up to 60, including a seasonal outdoor dining area. 

In the former Casa Rasta space—which sat only ten, and was primarily take-out—Fraga and his wife, Laura, plan to open a vegan and vegetarian restaurant serving Rastafarian Ital cuisine. They expect to open the new eatery within the next several months.

Casa Rasta first opened just over a year ago, in December 2011. Previously the couple had briefly operated a taco stand in the Strip District. 412-918-9683.

- Texas de Brazil has announced it will open a new, 7,500-square-foot restaurant in the South Side’s Station Square. It will be the Brazilian steakhouse’s 27th location. Seating over 200, the restaurant will include an interchangeable bar and patio space with river views.  Visit the restaurant's website to stay updated on an opening date.

- Isis Café, a new restaurant serving Egyptian cuisine, opened recently in Brookline.  Its menu features traditional Egyptian dishes—including okra tagen, duck with honey, samboussa, and fava bean falafel—with special entrees changing daily.

Isis is open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday, and offers a Sunday brunch.  815 Brookline Boulevard. 412-207-2485.

- Pizzarita opened recently in Shaler Township, the third pizzeria owned by the Posteraro family.  It joins Bloomfield’s Angelo’s and Grazzino’s pizza shops.  Located off Route 8 (580 Burchfield Road), Pizzarita is open Tuesday through Sunday. 412-487-1112.

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore

ZipPitt plans to run zip line from Mount Washington to North Shore

Adam Young is one step closer to flying from Mount Washington to the North Shore.  The Carnegie resident is proposing a zip line that would sail from near the Duquesne Incline to the Carnegie Science Center.

ZipPitt, as the project is called, was awarded a $1,000 Awesome Pittsburgh grant last week.  The organization has also helped Young with strategizing and advising on how to make this dream of flight a reality.

 “We think it will be pretty amazing taking in the view from that perspective,” Young says.  “I think it would be great for the residents and people visiting Pittsburgh to immerse themselves into the essence of the cityscape.”

The half-mile proposed zip line would cross the Ohio River at 50 mph and with a 400 foot vertical drop. Young will use the grant funds to bring a national zip line company to Pittsburgh to conduct a feasability study.

Young says the project has verbal arrangements with property owners at the proposed take-off and landing sites.  A landing platform would be constructed at the North Shore location with enough height to prevent interference with river traffic.

ZipPitt still needs approvals and permits from the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the Army Corps of Engineers. 

Young says currently the only urban zip line in the United States is in Las Vegas, where for five blocks riders sail between buildings in that city’s downtown skyline. 

ZipPitt would cost customers approximately $30 to ride.  Young believes it would of interest to city visitors, particularly those riding bikes or renting kayaks near other North Shore attractions, as well as city residents.

Awesome Pittsburgh, which awarded its most recent grant to ZipPitt, is a local chapter of the Awesome Foundation, whose goal it is to forward the “interest of Awesomeness” with $1,000 micro grants.
 

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Adam Young

La Dorita, maker of all-natural dulce de leche, opens co-working commercial kitchen

Josephine Caminos Oría grew up with the inimitable taste of homemade dulce de leche.  Her Argentine grandmother, who often lived with Oría’s family in Pittsburgh, always kept a fresh jar of this sweet spread on hand—for breakfast, dessert, or anytime in between.

Recognizing that all-natural, preservative-free dulce de leche was nearly impossible to find—much less understood—in the region, Oría began producing her own brand for sale at farmers markets in 2009. She used her Grandmother Dorita’s recipe, and named the company after her—La Dorita.

But when it came time to increase production, and expand distribution to a Whole Foods or Giant Eagle, there was just one problem—there were no suitable commercial kitchen spaces for a food startup like La Dorita.  So Oría and her husband, Gaston, have started their own.

The La Dorita Kitchen Share Space has just opened in Sharpsburg, and is a co-working space for food.  The licensed, commercial kitchen is fully equipped—standard and convection ovens, stainless steel work areas, freezers and refrigerators—but aims to offer more than just physical space.

Oría says the plan is to make the kitchen a synergistic food incubator, offering consulting on topics from insurance policies and loans to small business resources and distribution networks.  It's open to groups or individuals, and Oría hopes it can be a hub for artisan foodmakers.

A successful Kickstarter campaign, which ended last fall, raised over $50,000 to help convert the 4,000-square-foot space into the new community kitchen.  Members will also have access to a bar and dining space for special events.

Since this type of facility wasn’t available when La Dorita first began production, the Orías had to convert their home kitchen into a commercial kitchen.  With the co-working kitchen now open in Sharpsburg, the new goal is to convert an adjacent space into the official La Dorita production facility.

“Hopefully by 2014 we will be out of our kitchen and I will have gotten my dining room back,” Oría says.

La Dorita’s line of products—including dulce de leche with dark chocolate and a dulce de leche liqueur—are now available at Giant Eagle Market Districts, McGinnis Sisters stores, and Whole Foods in the mid-Atlantic region.

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Josephine Caminos Oría

Unifaun, Rather Ripped, new record stores in Lawrenceville

Unifaun Records opened last week in Upper Lawrenceville, the second record shop to open in the neighborhood in just two months.

Located at 5417 Butler Street, the shop is owned by recent Brooklyn-transplant Larry DeMellier.  Unifaun specializes in rock, jazz, and Americana, as well as soul, prog, psych, and other “record collecting” genres, DeMellier says.

DeMellier had worked in New York City’s music industry ever since graduating from Syracuse University in 1997.  Having spent time at Sire, London, and Warner Bros. Records—and at record shops in high school and college—DeMellier amassed a sizeable record collection, and a passion for the hobby. 

But as that industry began to downsize, DeMellier looked to Pittsburgh—where his family has migrated—for a new opportunity.  He believes Pittsburgh’s music history, live music scene, and record collecting culture make it a place where record shops can still thrive.  “I believe there’s room for all of us,” he says.

In addition to vinyl, DeMellier’s collection of 60’s and 70’s non-commercial posters—used to promote an album’s release—are on display throughout the shop.  The music inventory consists primarily of used vinyl and CD’s, but DeMellier expects to carry new vinyl releases in the near future.

Unifaun’s storefront location had been vacant for the past five years, but was most recently an auto-parts store.

And another shop, a new incarnation of Rather Ripped Records, has opened recently at 4314 Butler Street.  It’s a new life for the shop which first opened over 40 years ago in Berkeley, California, and hosted album signings for bands like the Clash, Blondie, and Sonic Youth.

Lawrenceville’s third record store, 720 Records, opened on Butler Street two years ago.  Located at 4405 Butler Street, 720 specializes in hip-hop, soul, and jazz, and also serves as a performance space, café, and clothing shop. 

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Larry DeMellier

Pittsburgh Paragliding instructor is first to speedfly from Machu Picchu

Last month Pittsburgh resident Jon Potter became the first person to speedfly from the top of Peru’s Machu Picchu.  The flight, which is like paragliding but much faster, wasn’t permitted and afterward involved hiding from authorities in the jungle for several hours.

Having conquered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Potter is back to a tamer pursuit: teaching paragliding to Pittsburghers.

Last fall, Potter launched Pittsburgh Paragliding with lifelong friend Adam Schwartz.  Since opening they’ve taught the sport to over a hundred folks in the hills of Allegheny County.  For $195 students get two hours of instruction, which Potter says is ample time to learn to fly.

“I have never had someone who wasn’t able to fly,” he says.  “It’s relatively easy to start out.”

Paragliding is free flight using a parachute that’s large enough to actually gain lift.  According to Potter, a flyer can stay in the air for hours at a time.  With speedflying, a flyer can only go down, and at very high speeds.

The business is the only of its kind in Western Pennsylvania.  Schwartz and Potter are licensed through the United States Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association.  All equipment for gliding or flying is provided, except for boots, which students should be comfortable running in.

Lessons typically take place in Hampton Township, but locations are subject to change based on wind conditions.

Unpredictable wind conditions are one of the main reasons speedflying from Machu Picchu, which descends from 7,970 feet above sea level into a steep canyon, is considered so dangerous.  A previous paragliding attempt from Machu Picchu was successful, but according to Potter, he was the first to speedfly from the heritage site.

“There’s something to be said about doing something first,” he says.  “It’s like the bread and butter of what paragliding is all about, being able to do something so monumental.”

Potter is also co-operator of Not Another Hostel, in Lawrenceville.  The donations-based hostel opened last summer, and is the only accommodation of its kind in Pittsburgh.  The University of California, Berkley is currently studying the hostel’s pay model.

Click here to watch a video of Potter's speedflight off Machu Picchu.
 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Jon Potter

Eat + Drink: River City Java in Uptown, Acacia craft cocktails, Ramen Bar, Crux, and more

Eat + Drink is Pop City's roundup of Pittsburgh's food scene.
 

- Squirrel Hill’s Ramen Bar celebrated a grand opening on January 2nd.  The restaurant is dedicated to the Japanese noodle dish that is its namesake, a concept popular throughout Asia and elsewhere.  5860 Forbes Avenue.   Sunday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m; Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.  412-521-5138.

Also in Squirrel Hill, Tan Lac Vien, a Vietnamese bistro, opened recently at 2114 Murray Avenue.  412-521-8888.
 
- Uptown has a coffee shop once again.  River City Java held a soft opening recently in the space once occupied by Asylum Coffee Bar, which closed in 2010. 

For the past two years, owner Kelly Russell has worked with the nonprofit StartUptown to bring other businesses to the neighborhood.  Now, she hopes her coffee shop can provide a community gathering place for those new arrivals and longtime denizens, and will further rebuilding efforts in Uptown.  1919 Forbes Avenue.

- Acacia is one of East Carson Street's newest drinking establishments, but you'll have to look a little harder than normal to find it.  The bourbon and whiskey bar is marked only by the Masonic Acacia logo, and has no windows or other adornment.

The candle-lit “conversation bar” features 116 types of bourbon, whiskey, and scotch, draft beer, and craft cocktails.  And despite its clandestine appearance, membership is not required.  A small-plate menu is under development.

Co-owner Lynn Falk was manager at the Strip District’s former Embury and Firehouse Lounge.  Falk and Spencer Warner will soon be re-opening Embury in the second-floor space above Acacia, in the former Z-Lounge building.  2108 E Carson Street.  412-488-1800.

- In Mount Washington, The Micro Diner is now serving classic breakfast fare and lunch seven days a week, and is even open late on Friday and Saturday nights.  221 Shiloh Street.  412-381-1391.

- The next Crux dinner—a nomadic, pop-up project of Chef Brandon Baltzley—will take place at the South Side’s Stagioni.  The meal, a collaboration with Chef Stephen Felder, will feature a 7-course modern Italian menu.

Baltzley’s collaborative kitchen series has traveled through Boston, Chicago and New York, and since last October he has hosted occasional dinners in Pittsburgh.  The event at Stagioni will be held on Monday, January 14th, at 7 p.m.  For reservations and more information, call 412-586-4738.

 
 Writer:  Andrew Moore

With coffee and beer under one roof, East End and Commonplace to offer Coffee Porter year-round

What’s better than coffee and beer?  Having it all under one roof.  Wholesale roasters Commonplace Coffee recently joined East End Brewing Company at its warehouse space in Larimer, with the latter planning to offer its collaboration Coffee Porter year-round.

Commonplace co-owner TJ Fairchild says the match-up is a good fit, as both companies share a craft approach to their products.  And through their collaborations, he says they came to realize that not only do they share a similar skillset, but a similar market.

“We started to notice that a lot of our customers were the same,” Fairchild says.  “The same people that were seeking out really good beer were the same people that were seeking out really good coffee.”

During the brewery’s popular Growler Hours customers can now purchase pounds of direct-sourced beans and sample select brews from the roastery.

Commonplace opened its original coffeehouse and roastery in Indiana, PA in 2003.  Since then, it has opened two shops in Pittsburgh, and delivers the majority of its beans to the city. 

While the original location will remain open in Indiana, the new facility, at 6580 Frankstown Avenue, will bring the company closer to its customer base, and will be its main roastery producing approximately 600 kilos of beans a week.

According to Fairchild, Commonplace purchases many of its beans directly from farmers, in addition to the fair-trade system.  He says they are also now roasting beans with a lighter profile to highlight each single-origin coffee’s subtleties and nuances.

Last December, East End introduced its Coffee Porter, brewed with Commonplace’s Sumatra Coffee.  While it had been offered seasonally, Fairchild says it will soon be on solid rotation at the brewery.

East End officially relocated from Homewood to its new Frankstown Avenue location last month, with expanded Growler Hours from Tuesday to Sunday, where customers can fill half-gallon glass jugs straight from the brewery's taps.

And even though the brewery is not open for growler hours on Monday, Fairchild says folks are still free to visit Commonplace and peer over the roaster’s shoulder to observe their process.

“Pretty much every day of the week we’re open for a visit if people want to see what we’re doing,” he says.
 

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  TJ Fairchild
 

Correction:  In last week’s Eat + Drink column, we incorrectly reported the operating hours of BZ’s Bar and Grill.  The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week.  140 Federal Street.  412-323-BZBG.

Mansions on Fifth celebrates grand opening as 22-room boutique hotel

The Mansions on Fifth, a 22-room boutique hotel, celebrated a grand opening yesterday along with the complete restoration of the McCook Reed House. It’s the culmination of a seven year historic restoration process that has given new life to a pair of unique Pittsburgh homes.

Mary Del Brady, who owns the Mansions with husband Richard Pearson, says they are eager to share these historic spaces with the community.

“We feel more like stewards than owners,” Brady says.

The homes, which are Elizabethan Revivalist and Tudor styles, were built between 1900 and 1906 by industrialist and lawyer Willis F. McCook on what was then Millionaires Row.  According to Brady, McCook also helped build the nearby St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The buildings’ most recent owners vowed to only sell to someone who would restore them.  Pearson, a developer and preservationist, had long admired the mansions. When they went up for sale, he and Brady jumped at the opportunity.

“You can’t ever rebuild a building like this again, and that’s the magic of it,” Brady says.

The hotel was restored consistent with Secretary of Interior standards.

The main McCook House, a 30,000-square-foot, solid granite structure, was opened to guests last year.  In addition to 13 guest rooms, this building contains most of the Mansions’ public rooms, including the grand hall and staircase, the Oak Room, library, as well as a wine cellar and fitness room. 

The Mansions feature a gallery specializing in 18th and 19th century European art (Gallery Werner), and has begun to host live music.  The hotel is also available for weddings and other special events.
 

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Mary Del Brady

ReDesigNation home design and furniture shop reopens in Wilkinsburg

ReDesigNation, a new and used consignment furniture and home design store, has relocated to Wilkinsburg.  In the spirit of the business—to remake old things—owner Jordan Deane has retrofitted a former church and cathedral space to showcase her work.

And while the space is an interesting way to showcase furniture that Deane has refurbished, and in some cases completely reimagined, she wants to make sure the building plays a greater role in the community.

“We don’t just want it to be about my furniture store and business,” Deane says.  She and her husband are considering ideas such as a community garden, or a community kitchen, to be hosted here. 

“We already know that it’s great for events,” Deane says, as the cathedral was recently used for a community member’s baby shower.  And because the furniture is already used, it can be part of an event, and remain listed for sale as well, she says.

According to Deane, midcentury modern is currently very popular in home decor and furniture, which suits her own tastes.

“It’s actually my favorite era to go for,” Deane says.  “I take a lot of midcentury modern pieces and I’ll either restore it back to its original grandeur, or I'll paint it funky colors, because it just kind of lends itself to being a funky piece.”

There are numerous empty storefronts in this part of Wilkinsburg.  But Deane hopes her revival of the former church, which was a foreclosure and had fallen into disrepair, can encourage more businesses to relocate to this part of the city. 

ReDesigNation was previously located in Squirrel Hill.  The shop is currently open by appointment.  For more information, visit Deane’s blog.

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Jordan Deane

East End Book Exchange to open in Bloomfield on Friday

The East End Book Exchange has grown from a small stall in the Pittsburgh Public Market to a new storefront location in Bloomfield, and a grand-opening celebration will be held this Friday evening to mark the transition.

Owner Lesley Rains says the move from a smaller footprint to a brick-and-mortar shop had always been a long-term goal, but that demand and interest in the exchange moved her business quicker than expected into this new phase. 

Located at 4754 Liberty Avenue, the new shop joins The Big Idea Cooperative Bookstore and Café on the avenue, turning this stretch of Bloomfield into a budding literary destination.  Rains says that in this current bookseller climate— with heavy competition from Amazon and e-book sales—brick-and-mortar sellers have to work together.

“I think proximity can only help bookstores,” Rains says.  “I think we can hopefully over the long-term create a little book neighborhood."

According to Rains, the East End Book Exchange is a general interest used bookstore featuring genres such as fiction, poetry and history, as well as gardening and cook books.

“It’s just meant to be a place where whether you’re an avid reader or more of an occasional reader you can come here and find something,” she says. 

The exchange will also feature an extensive children’s books section, with bean bag chairs and activities for young readers.  And adults, meanwhile, will find lamp-lit nooks with couches and chairs, allowing guests to read and relax while they browse.  Rains hopes the shop will be a comfortable new space for neighbors to meet and gather.

And while the shop opens on Friday evening, it’s still a work in progress, as Rains grows her business from an 80-squarefoot booth to a 1,600-squarefoot storefront.

““We’re still growing,” she says.  “One of the things we like about this space is that there’s still a lot of space to add more bookshelves.” 

The grand-opening celebration will be held this Friday, November 16th, from 6 to 8 p.m. 

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Lesley Rains

Crested Duck Charcuterie to expand, USDA certification in Beechview

Crested Duck Charcuterie, the Beechview-based meat market and deli, is expanding to become a USDA certified facility.  The planned upgrades will allow the French-inspired charcuterie to ship out of state, and supply large chains such as Giant Eagle.  And according to owner Kevin Costa, it will also be an opportunity for him to give back to the region’s small-scale farmers.

“The small farmers have made my business what it is,” Costa says.  “They have supported me and supplied me with a really good, quality product.  So if I can help them out I don’t know why I wouldn’t.”

According to Costa, there are just a few USDA certified processing facilities in the region.  He says they’re not always easy to work with, nor do they give farmers many options in terms of gourmet products.

Costa says farmers are losing customers because they can’t provide certain custom cuts and higher-end products, especially around the holidays.  He hopes that with the new certification, Crested Duck can help to meet that need.

The shop will offer farmers a full range of nitrate-free meats, including bacon, sausage made with farm-grown produce and many other specialty cuts and orders.  Although similar products are already offered through Crested Duck, the certification will expand the shop’s capacity and distribution means. 

In order to complete the necessary upgrades, Costa launched a Kickstarter campaign that was successfully funded last month.  In addition to USDA certification, the campaign will aid in expansion of its Beechview retail service, including a new Sunday brunch and occasional evening dinners.

Crested Duck also remains a mainstay at the Strip District’s Pittsburgh Public Market.  412-892-9983.


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Kevin Costa

PGH Mobile Food coalition wants to bring more food trucks to Pittsburgh

Operating a food truck in Pittsburgh can be quite difficult.  In fact, some trucks operate illegally.  But the recently formed PGH Mobile Food coalition is hoping to change that.

“We are trying to change the law that the City of Pittsburgh currently has in place for mobile food,” says Megan Lindsey, co-owner of the Franktuary Food Truck.  “We would like to see more food trucks here because it’s part of a thriving city-scape.”

The coalition also wants to make it easier for prospective vendors to understand the current set of rules, and how to successfully operate within them.

PGH Mobile Food is partnering with the Institute for Justice (IJ), a D.C.-based public interest law firm that has worked in various cities to refine rules governing mobile food.  According to Lindsey, IJ has established best practices that keep food safety standards in place, but remove anti-competitive barriers to food truck operators.

Lindsey points to successful code modifications in El Paso, Texas.  In that city, once a more user-friendly code was put in place entrepreneurs, many of them immigrants, were able to launch their businesses with greater ease. 

“They found a lot of these folks were coming and starting trucks and serving a lot of great food,” Lindsey says.  “That’s what we hope will happen in Pittsburgh.”

Prior to forming PGH Mobile Food, Lindsey learned that City Councilman Bill Peduto’s office was working independently to amend the mobile food codes.  That initiative inspired Lindsey and business partner Tim Tobitsch to launch the coalition.

“Now that we’re involved we feel like we can help influence things from the owner/operator perspective,” Lindsey says.

PGH Mobile Food is partnering with the Saxifrage School and IJ for a lecture series titled “How to Change a Law.”  The first will be held tonight at 7 p.m. at Bar Marco (2216 Penn Avenue, the Strip District).  The second discussion will take place the following Wednesday, October 10th, at the same location.

And a Food Truck Rally is planned for Sunday, October 14th, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Parking Lot, at 5989 Penn Circle South.  The event will include Pittsburgh’s various mobile vendors and a speech from Peduto.

The PGH Mobile Food coalition includes the Franktuary, Oh My Grill, BRGR, PGH Taco Truck, Fukuda, Dozen Food Truck, and Zum Zum food trucks.


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Megan Lindsey

The Shop in East Liberty now open, handcrafted art, home goods and jewelry

The Shop in East Liberty celebrated a grand opening last week, and is now offering home goods, everyday art, and jewelry.  All items in the store are handmade, and curated from local makers, as well as from artists throughout the country.  Owner/artist Julia Reynolds describes it as a retail store for design-conscious people.

Reynolds’ vision for The Shop is to be a comfortable space to display and view handmade items, appearing naturally as they might in a home.  She wants the space to contrast with the experience of viewing objects in a gallery, which she says can often be intimidating.

“You want to own something unique and that’s handmade, but you want to come to a place you feel comfortable, where you can touch the artwork or objects,” Reynolds says. 

And The Shop aims to be affordable too. 

“I hope that people can find things that they love and can easily take home to enjoy,” Reynolds says.

The Shop is located at 214 N. Highland Avenue, two doors down from Union Pig & Chicken. 

Reynolds, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College of Arts Management, has lived in East Liberty with her husband for several years.  When she began looking for a location to open The Shop, she says staying in the neighborhood was a priority.

The space was completely remodeled from an office-use space to now have a bright and modern feel, reflecting the type of products offered at the store.

The Shop is open until 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings.  Reynolds is hoping her store can help to build foot traffic in this commercial district.

As a first-time business owner, Reynolds believes she has chosen the right neighborhood to open a store.

“We’re in an area that I think encourages this opportunity for anyone,” she says.

The Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, at 214 N. Highland Avenue. 


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Julia Reynolds
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