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Bottle shop and bar program opens at Marty's Market

Brunch just got boozier at Marty’s Market in the Strip District.
Last Thursday, the gourmet grocer already boasting a coffee bar, café, market and butchery, opened its anticipated bottle shop with a wide craft selection from regional breweries. And, this weekend, Marty’s unveiled its new bar program with its brunch menu now bolstering breakfast beers and cocktails.
Beverage consultant Will Groves, formerly with Legume's bar Butterjoint, is helping to establish the bar program and bottle shop. Groves said he was excited to work with Marty’s as the coffee bar’s products and espresso machine is fodder for interesting coffee cocktails, like the Kentucky Cortado, an espresso and whiskey brunch cocktail at Marty’s. Groves added that not a lot of bars have access to professional, high-quality espresso.
Though the restaurant menu may only feature a dozen or more beers, café customers can grab a beer from the bottle shop’s wide selection to pair with their meals. Marty’s popular outdoor seating area and coffee bar stools also allow drinking.
Groves said he focused on providing an array of local brews and a wide selection of IPAs in the bottle shop.
"If you break out the best selling beers in America right now by style …  IPA is No. 3,” he said. “It’s your standard beer for a craft beer consumer.”
Groves noted North Country Brewing Company out of Slippery Rock and Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s Chillwave Double IPA as personal favorites in the bottle shop. He said the Chillwave Double IPA is hoppy with a hint of honey, which gives it a floral note and adds to drinkability.
In addition to existing six-packs, customers can also purchase individual beers or create their own six-pack for $12.99.
With the launch of the bar program and beer shop, Marty’s Market is currently hiring new positions, from bartenders to baristas and beer geeks to staff the new bottle area.
Source: Regina Koetters, Marty’s Market, Will Groves 

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 

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 

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

Donate clothes to break a world record this weekend at the Public Market

In the spirit of the University of Pittsburgh’s Year of Sustainability, the Office of PittServes launched the Give a Thread Campaign, a world-record attempt at collecting 150,000 clothing items for donation and recycling. Since the campaign’s kick-off in December, the drive has gathered more than 61,000 items via the support of students, staff, faculty and local partners.
PittServes Director Misti McKeehen explained that the Pitt community wanted to think beyond campus when it launched Give a Thread. She said they wanted to create a project where anyone in the community could participate. And, in order for Pitt to reach the ultimate goal of breaking the world record, the university has enlisted support from the city and area organizations. Pitt’s next Give a Thread community collection event will be at the Pittsburgh Public Market on Saturday, Feb. 14, and Sunday, Feb. 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
PittServes staff will be at the Public Market, 2401 Penn Ave. in the Strip District, collecting items on both days. University students and staff will accept any clothing donation, like shoes and accessories, but only clothing items like pants, shirts, outerwear, sweaters, skirts, dresses and children’s clothes -- including baby onesies -- will count toward the Guinness goal.
To encourage support and patronage of the small businesses at the market, select Public Market vendors will provide discounts to customers who donate clothing items to the campaign.
McKeehen said those who donate at the market can enjoy a free sample of beer at the East End Brewing Co. booth, buy one get one free treats at Eliza’s Oven and Ohio City Pasta, deals at The Olive Tap and Glades Pike Winery, dollar off ice cream and a discount on Backstage Alpaca socks.
“There’s a lot of different kinds of coupons,” McKeehen said. “[The event is] a nice way to introduce vendors.”
Erika Ninos, PittServes sustainability program coordinator, said she hopes the Public Market drive brings in “a few thousand items.” She explained that the market sees 1,000 patrons per weekend. If everyone just brought five items, she mused, imagine what that could do for the drive?
Give a Thread is already receiving assistance from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, the City of Pittsburgh, Bank of America, Delanie’s Coffee Shop, Mayor Bill Peduto’s Office and the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. These offices have all collected at least 1,000 items for the drive.
Ninos said Give a Thread has collected 65,045 items to date -- and joked that with the haul they have already collected, she can’t imagine what 150,000 items will look like. However, if PittServes has not collected 125,000 items by the end of February, they will not continue the world record campaign. If the goal is reached, the final push to reach 150,000 donations will be in March.
The campaign’s Get a Thread partners will receive donations and include: Goodwill Industries of SWPA, Dress for Success and Pitt’s on-campus student-run thrift shop, Thriftsburgh. Goodwill will recycle any items unfit for donation to reduce landfill deposits.
“You can bring a grocery bag or a garbage bag [to the Public Market event]; any bit of clothing will help us at this point,” Ninos said, adding that it is all going toward a good cause.
In addition to the community collection event at the Public Market, donations are accepted throughout the University of Pittsburgh, including the William Pitt Union, 3959 Fifth Ave. The Give a Thread Campaign will be collecting items through the end of February. For a list of the drop-off locations and more information on the campaign, please visit www.pittserves.pitt.edu.
If your business or organization would like to participate, please reach out to the PittServes office. The deadline for donating is at the end of February.
Source: Misti McKeehen, Erika Ninos, PittServes

Construction underway for Strip District apartments as part of $130 million development project

At the site of a former trucking terminal and rail yard in the Strip District comes another real estate development, The Yards at Three Crossings. The Yards will continue the area’s transformation and will have immediate access to the adjacent riverfront trails.

Designed by WTW Architects of Pittsburgh, construction of the Oxford Development Company project is already underway following a December groundbreaking. The 300-unit apartment complex is part of Oxford’s $130 million Three Crossings development.

“The Yards [at] Three Crossings is geared to promote an active lifestyle for its multi-generational residents,” said Richard Bamburak, WTW’s principal in charge. “Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, games area, fire-pit, barbecue grills, a fitness center, ample bicycle parking and extended gathering places, including a private lounge and bar area.”

In addition to trail access and recreational amenities, Bamburak said the building will be pet-friendly. There will be a private dog walking area and a dog wash.
Bamburak said The Yards is taking the idea of transportation, rooted in the former truck and rail site, and reimagining it for a new generation with an approach geared toward biking and walking.

The proximity to Lawrenceville and Downtown makes the Strip an attractive location for empty nesters and young professionals seeking city life, Bamburak said. He added that the flat terrain to get to the entertainment on Butler Street or in the Cultural District makes the neighborhood attractive to those who want to walk or bike from a central location.

Bamburak explained that this complex is just part of Oxford’s development in the Strip. According to Oxford’s website, Three Crossings is an 11-acre, mixed-use development along Smallman and Railroad streets, bound by 25th and 29th streets. The Three Crossings project is developing offices, residential properties and a parking structure, The Hub, which will also feature bicycle and recreational amenities, possibly including bike repair and kayak rental. Oxford calls this multi-building project “urban flex office space,” designed for the efficiency of the next-generation worker.

Rycon Construction, the general contractor for The Yards, is involved in this reinvestment of the area, Bamburak said. He explained that the company is relocating from its old offices, also in the Strip, into a bigger space within Three Crossings.

“The Strip District is a unique neighborhood; it is one of those places in Pittsburgh that has no equal. Our desire is to parlay the authenticity and energy that already exists in the Strip into a revitalized waterfront neighborhood,” said Steve Guy, president and chief executive officer of Oxford Development Company. “This project encourages sustainable living and fosters active lifestyles that will reknit the frayed fabric of the neighborhood into a community that provides new opportunities for living, working and everything else.”

Completion of the LEED-rated apartment complex at 2645 Railroad St. is expected by spring 2016.
Source: Richard Bamburak, WTW, www.oxforddevelopment.com

Gaucho Parrilla Argentina receives big Yelp win; plans expansion

Last week, Yelp ranked Strip District restaurant Gaucho Parrilla Argentina No. 7 on its Top 100 Places to Eat in the United States for 2015. Gaucho was the only East Coast eatery listed in the top ten.
“It’s just awesome news. [It’s] great for us, great for our neighborhood and great for the city,” said Gaucho chef and proprietor Anthony Falcon. 
Rachel Carlson, Yelp Pittsburgh community director, explained that the bar for good food in Pittsburgh has been raised. And while taste and quality are part of the equation behind a positive Yelp review, Carlson said Yelpers also make note of good customer service and atmosphere. She noted that users recognize these qualities at Gaucho.
“They have 298 reviews and a perfect five-star rating. And that’s unheard of.” Carlson said about Gaucho’s online popularity. 

Falcon said regular customers and new faces have been commenting on the Yelp shoutout. The win comes on the heels of some other news for Gaucho.
The restaurant at 1607 Penn Avenue will be expanding into the building next door. Falcon said the project, which has been in the works for one year, finally has the green light from the city. He said construction is expected to begin as early as next week and added that he hopes it is completed in three or four months for summer business.
“The new space will be a lot more comfortable for our customers,” Falcon said. Currently, Gaucho only has limited stool seating. But, the expansion will bring additional stools, tables and chairs to accommodate 40 people. He added that there are tentative plans for a bar in the future. “We really want to focus on local craft beers and South American, Argentine-inspired wine.”
He said the current Gaucho space will be converted into a large kitchen and the space next door will serve as the dining area. In addition to physical renovations, Falcon said the menu will also add items, like more vegetable dishes, paella, coffee and baked goods. But don’t worry, the mouthwatering steaks, five-hour braised rosemary beef sandwich and other customer favorites will all still be there.
Falcon said he wanted to give “a massive, huge, heartfelt thank you” to the community and out-of-town diners who supported Gaucho on Yelp. He said these positive reviews and local support are what made the restaurant No. 7 in the country.
Source: Anthony Falcon

CMU alumni launch Greek yogurt brand Naturi in Pittsburgh

Greek yogurt is everywhere these days. But some companies offering Greek-style yogurt often sneak in a lot of hidden sugar and other additives. Brand-new Pittsburgh company Naturi Organics promises that its Greek yogurt is made naturally with local and organic ingredients. 
Naturi is the brainchild of Aditya Dhere, Anes Dracic and Jennifer Mrzlack, graduates of the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. For 2014 grads Dhere and Dracic, Naturi started as a final graduate school project. Mrzlack, a 2010 Tepper alumna, brought her food experience -- after three years at Heinz -- to the team in July.

Mrzlack said Dhere, an American-born Indian, and Dracic, a Bosnian refugee who moved to the United States as a child, both had mothers who made yogurt at home. She added that Dracic’s family had a farm in Bosnia and that his mother sold yogurt from a cart.
Mrzlack also made yogurt and applesauce for her young sons, which sparked her passion for natural, healthy ingredients.
On Jan. 12, Naturi hit the shelves at 48 local businesses with more retailers in the works. Distributors are Paragon, Frankferd Farms and Clarion River Organics.
In addition to serving both the Google and American Eagle Outfitters campuses, Naturi customers include the Fairmont Hotel, Hotel Monaco, Marty’s Market, the East End Food Co-op, McGinnis Sisters, Espresso A Mano, 21st Street Coffee and Tea, Coffee Tree Roasters, the Duquesne Club, Feast on Brilliant, Red Oak Café, DJ Butcher Block, Tula Organic Salon and Spa, Today’s Market, Sewickley Confectionary -- which provides home delivery -- and more. Strip District hot spots Bar Marco and Wigle Whiskey will offer Naturi-made items.
“I cant say it enough,” Mrzlack began, “I [really] want to thank the Pittsburgh community … Everyone has been so supportive.”
Naturi, Mrzlack explained, is committed to flavorful Greek-style yogurt with clean, organic ingredients and low sugar. The yogurt is produced at Sunrise Family Farms, an organic farm in upstate New York.
While Naturi is committed to keeping a small carbon footprint (many ingredients are sourced within three miles of Sunrise farms), the brand also packs flavors with a “worldly” punch.
The initial flavors include Pure (plain), Seedless Raspberry, Coffee + Chicory and Indonesian Vanilla + Saigon Cinnamon. These natural flavors need little added sugar, Mrzlack explained. She said raspberry is naturally sweetened with real fruit, the chicory gives the coffee yogurt a chocolate feel and vanilla and cinnamon are innately rich in flavor.
Naturi operates out of the Birchmere Ventures offices in the Strip District above 21st Street Coffee. On Saturday, the new company is getting to know its Strip District neighbors. From noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Naturi will be at the Organically Social booth in the Pittsburgh Public Market doing a public meet-and-greet event.
Source: Jennifer Mrzlack, www.naturi.com

Local architecture firm honored for design of sustainable Haitian community center

Mike Gwin, architect and principal at Strip District architectural firm Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, led a design project to build a community center in Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake.
The Sant Lespwa Center of Hope, in Hinche, Haiti, recently won Rothschild Doyno an American Institute of Architects’ national honor award for buildings.
”Last Friday, the 2015 AIA National Architecture Honor Awards were announced and the Center of Hope project in Haiti that we designed with World Vision was selected,” Gwin said in an email to Pop City. “This is the first time since 1999 that a Pittsburgh office has won a national AIA honor award for architecture on their own. It is a rare honor for our local art and design community.”
World Vision is an international resource organization that previously worked with the local architecture firm to build a distribution center in Sewickley. For the Sant Lespwa Center, the organization envisioned a community center that would provide educational resources and job training to aid the city’s economy.
Today, the 5,000-square-foot facility does just that. Gwin said the center offers classes teaching vocational skills, library resources with books and Internet access and recreation with a soccer field and music and art resources.
When working on an international project, Gwin said it's essential to visit in order to implement local nuances into design. He said his trip to Haiti helped the building come together in a way that was natural to the community.
The center was built around a tree grove, which was the natural gathering space for the community of 50,000. Gwin said they also executed design that reflected local heritage. The area is known for crafting baskets, hats and other goods from palm thatch. Local crafters created palm thatch awnings and other items for the building.
Gwin said more than 100 locals assisted in the construction. It instilled a sense of “shared ownership,” he said.
The Sant Lespwa Center of Hope is off the grid, Gwin explained, which means that there are no utility connections for water, electricity or sewage. “So, the building had to be self-sufficient,” he said.
Rothschild Doyno designed a butterfly roof to collect rainwater through chains into an underground cistern. He said the underground tank had enough room to provide for a year’s supply of water. Overflow was designed to navigate into planter areas.
The solar-powered building also supplies power to batteries in the building, which are used to purify water. Before this system, Gwin said the people of Hinche would have to walk miles to get water.
The building also does not have mechanical utility connections, so there is no heating and cooling. The shape of the roof works to draw breeze into the building, as does the site’s shady location among the grove.
Rothschild Doyno was among 11 winners out of 300 applicants for the competitive AIA award. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson was the last Pittsburgh firm to win in 1999 for the Robert L. Pregar Intelligent Workplace at Carnegie Mellon University.
“It’s a very rare award to receive … So, you don’t ever think that you’re going to,” Gwin joked. He then added, “It’s great to have our local [design] scene reach that national stage.”
Source: Mike Gwin, Rothschild Doyno Collaborative

Big Day transforms to suit developing Upper Strip District

Driving down Penn Avenue in the Strip District, one couldn’t miss Big Day Wedding and Event Center at 26th Street. The white building was designed to look like a tiered wedding cake -- topped with life-sized bride and groom statues.
Building and business owner Sal Richetti has transformed the space into 26th Street Market and Café, currently in its soft opening with a grand opening planned in March. Out with the statuesque couple, and in with orange and green trim.
'The wedding business is more Internet-driven now,' Richetti said about his decision to transform the space. Big Day Entertainmnet, Video and Photography still operates online and on the second floor of the building at 2549 Penn Ave., and Celebrity Bridal Boutique is open by appointment on the first floor.
Richetti said 26th Street will fill a niche in the developing Upper Strip District. He said the current model is Starbucks meets Sheetz, without the gas. The café currently offers a self-serve coffee bar, Nicholas Coffee Co. products, lunch options like soups, salads and sandwiches, convenience goods from candy and snacks to cigarettes, co-working meeting spaces, a cozy café area and free wi-fi. The two meeting rooms, which can host six and 10 people, are currently available by appointment at (412) 566-2889.
After the grand opening in March, the space will provide grab-and-go lunches, an array of hot sandwiches like paninis and hoagies, smoothies, breakfast and specialty coffee drinks from espresso to lattes to iced coffee.  The spring will also bring outdoor seating and an al fresco atmosphere as the café features a garage door, which can open up the café on sunny days.
As more condominiums open at this end of the neighborhood, the space fits several needs in the growing neighborhood including convenience store products and business space, according to Vicki McGregor, manager of 26th Street Market and Cafe and Richetti's sister.
McGregor said residents need more eateries and businesses to provide convenience goods.
Richetti, who has owned the 26th and Penn building for more than a decade, said increased neighborhood foot traffic influenced the building’s renovation.
“I bought this building in 2001," Richetti said. "[Today,] I just see so much more walk-by traffic." 
Both Richetti and McGregor commented on the Strip’s expansion toward Lawrenceville.
“[The Strip] is expanding toward Lawrenceville and Lawrenceville is expanding down [toward the Strip],” McGregor said, as she gestured with her two hands, one representing each neighborhood, an eventual meeting.

Source: Sal Richetti and Vicki McGregor

Convenience store opens in Public Market for Strip residents and shoppers

Living in the Strip District, one has access to some of the finest local and international goods, from Penn Mac cheese to Mon Aimee Chocolate to Wigle Whiskey. The list could go on and on.

But despite the abundance of little luxuries and ethnic varieties, neighborhood residents lacked access to things like toilet paper and paper towels — until Mike Bregman opened a new kind of convenience store for Strip dwellers in the Pittsburgh Public Market.
Within the microcosm of the Pittsburgh Public Market, patrons peruse handmade goods, fill growlers of East End brew and grab goodies at Eliza’s Oven. And now, among the local and organic selections, the Public Market offers Bregman’s Bull Dawg’s mini mart for Strip District shoppers.
The mini mart offers all-natural hot dogs for $2, Coke products, Gatorade, Red Bull, toiletries and other conveniences.

Before opening the Public Market shop, Bregman said he walked from 25th Street to 11th Street and noticed there wasn’t a convenience store selling things like chips, soda or toilet paper for Strip neighbors.
“In a year from now, there’s going to be more than 3,000 people living in these condos,” said Bregman, a University of Georgia alum with the nickname Bulldog. Bregman cited the current condominiums under construction in the neighborhood and other recent development in the Strip.
The shop's hot dogs are locally sourced and handmade at DJ’s Butcher Block in Bloomfield, Bregman said.
“I’d like to feed the people for lunch and I’d like the residents to know about the toiletries,” Bregman said about his business within the Public Market.
He added that he would love feedback from Strip District residents about the kinds of soap, hygiene products and toiletries they would like to see in his shop -- for their convenience.
Source: Mike Bregman

Maggie's Farm Rum celebrates accolades after one year in business

On the heels of its one-year anniversary, local distillery Maggie’s Farm Rum is celebrating multiple business milestones.

Allegheny Distilling, LLC, located in the Strip District, was incorporated in late 2012 and began production of Maggie's Farm Rum in October 2013. On Nov., 29, 2014, the company marked one year in business. 
Last month, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced that it will begin carrying Maggie's Farm white and spiced rums in in Premium Collection stores around southwestern Pennsylvania in time for the holidays.
Maggie's Farm Rum is the first commercially available Pennsylvania-made craft rum since Prohibition. All spirits are made from scratch and pot-distilled for full body and flavor on the Spanish-made copper still located behind the distillery's cocktail bar. The distillery is open for tastings and bottle sales Wednesday through Sunday and serves cocktails Friday evening and all day Saturday.

For its one-year anniversary, Allegheny Distilling released Maggie's Farm Pear Eau De Vie, an unaged pear brandy. The first of its kind in Pennsylvania, this pear brandy is made from 100 percent fresh-pressed and unpasteurized pear juice and bottled at 80 proof. A seasonal product, Maggie's Farm Pear Eau De Vie is limited to a 250-bottle single batch.
Maggie’s Farm is also celebrating multiple wins from the highly competitive New York International Spirits Competition, held in October at the 3 West Club in New York City. Through a blind tasting at the competition, Maggie's Farm Queen's Share Rum was awarded a silver medal. Allegheny Distilling was declared the Pennsylvania Distillery of the Year.
“It was a little surprising, [but] I had a lot of confidence,” said Maggie’s Farm founder and owner Tim Russell. He explained that the New York International Spirits Competition is not a medal factory like other competitions. He said the competition prides itself in its strict selection of winners.
Queen's Share reserve rum is made exclusively from the flavorful tail runnings of the normal Maggie's Farm cane rum distillations. It's bottled at cask strength and aged up to one year in American oak barrels. Finishes include bourbon, rye whiskey, and double barrel. Queen's Share's silver medal was among only six rums to receive this honor and no rum submitted worldwide was awarded a gold medal.

Source: Tim Russell, Maggie’s Farm Rum

Five shippable Pittsburgh gifts for the holiday season

Cyber Monday kicked off the online holiday shopping frenzy, but that doesn't mean you have to abandon your support of local businesses as you finish up your gift giving.

For those of you who love to shop online and love to shop local, several Pittsburgh darlings have made it easy to do both. Check off these hometown gifts that will travel for the Pittsburgh expats on your list:

1.  Primanti’s Sandwiches
Primanti Bros. made the news in October with the announcement that you could now ship the “almost famous” Pittsburgh sandwich anywhere in the Unites States. For $109, you can send four French fry-laden sandwiches cross-country. Choose from pastrami, capicola or a combo pack; the sandwiches are delivered deconstructed with separately packed meat, bread, slaw, fries, cheese, tomato, hot sauce and a Primanti’s tee.
2. WildCard’s Pittsburgh merchandise
That’s right, WildCard stationery and gift shop in Lawrenceville now has an online storeWhile the Internet shop is still growing, many Pittsburgh products are ready to ship in time for the holidays, from Lil' Pierogi onesies to Pittsburgh tees to a Yinzer dictionary.
3.  The Enrico Biscotti Company’s goodies
Enrico’s in the Strip offers an online bakery that will ship their authentic biscotti and pastries to the Pittsburgher who couldn’t make it home for the holidays. Send a big red tin of Italian pastry or a biscotti gift basket!
4.  Penn Mac imported cheese
You don’t have to be on Penn Avenue to enjoy Pennsylvania Macaroni Company’s famous imported cheese counter. Penn Mac’s global selection is available online and guarantees that “cheeses are cut fresh the same day the order is shipped.”
5. Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte
Named the country’s best cake by The Huffington Post, Prantl’s will ship their burnt almond torte anywhere in the country. This delicate cake encrusted in crunchy, candied almonds would make a great dessert course at any holiday dinner.

While searching online for the perfect gift to send to friends and family near and far, keep in mind these local options that can ship anywhere in the country.

Second Breakfast debuts at Public Market with creative breakfast and brunch options

If you grabbed a tumbler of black coffee or a handful of cereal on the way out the door this morning, get a breakfast do-over at the Pittsburgh Public Market. The market's latest vendor, Second Breakfast, debuted at the Farm to Table Harvest Tasting and opened for regular Public Market hours this week.

Owner and chef Thomas Wood described some of Second Breakfast’s creative waffle and crepe options. Second Breakfast’s menu includes Tamagoyaki Japanese Omelets (rolled omelets), sweet crepes, a savory crepe of the day (which was a cider-braised turkey Florentine on the day of my visit) and Belgian Liege waffles. Wood said the Belgian Liege’s soft yeast dough is encased with caramelized, Belgian pearl sugar to create a crunch.
“It’s hearty, it’s unpretentious, it fits with Pittsburgh,” Wood said about his menu while working behind the counter at his market booth sporting his signature hat, which he described as a throwback to a 1940s deli.
The waffles come with an array of toppings, the same sauces for the crepe fillings. Options include whiskey dulce de leche from Public Market neighbor Eliza’s Oven, chocolate, chocolate hazelnut (à la Nutella), berry blends, seasonal fruit and strawberry vanilla -- with a touch of Wigle Whiskey to “wake up the vanilla.”
Wood added that the shop will also offer waffle hash browns and a bacon weave topper. He said customers can look forward to specials like the Belgian Liege waffle with bacon ice cream and maple bacon brandy syrup.
Wood previously worked as a chef at Pittsburgh restaurants and said he has always focused on organic and local ingredients, like what he now uses at his Public Market venture.
“The whole time, I was always focused on high-quality ingredients,” Wood said about his work as a chef. “But, we’re Pittsburghers,” he added, noting that a dense, filling breakfast can still be locally sourced. 
He said he has always wanted to venture out on his own and has been interested in working with the Public Market. The Market Kitchen at the Public Market gave him this opportunity, he said.
“It’s a wonderful tool [and] it’s a great business incubator,” he said about the shared-use commercial kitchen. Wood added that the cost of starting a business and supplies would have been almost insurmountable without access to the Market Kitchen. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the Market Kitchen.”
In addition to kitchen access, Wood noted the support and camaraderie that comes from working in the Public Market. During our interview, another vendor stopped by to see if Wood had gotten his bacon order.
“The atmosphere here is totally collaborative and awesome,” he said.  
Source: Thomas Wood 

Farm to Table Harvest Tasting celebrates the season, The Market Kitchen and new food startups

A new shared-use commercial kitchen in the Strip District will make its debut at the third annual Farm to Table Harvest Tasting on Nov. 16, offering inspiration to home cooks planning meals for the upcoming Thanksgiving and holiday feasting frenzy.

A VIP party before the Pittsburgh Public Market and Wigle Whiskey event will celebrate the opening of The Market Kitchen at the Public Market and the new food startups making use of the shared commercial kitchen.
More than 60 area vendors will provide a cornucopia of artisanal cheeses and breads, local meats, fruits and vegetables, sauces, jams, baked goods, craft beers, ciders, cocktails, wines and more. Products will be available to sample and purchase.    

This year's Farm to Table event will be held for the first time at the Public Market and Wigle Whiskey in the Strip District. Public Market vendors will participate at the venue's location at 2401 Penn Ave., and 24th Street will be closed with Farm to Table vendors lining the way, connecting the event to Wigle Whiskey at 2401 Smallman St.
The holiday event will also celebrate the launch of The Market Kitchen at the Public Market -- a shared-use commercial kitchen for food startups that want to start a business without the costs of a brick-and-mortar. During the VIP event at The Market Kitchen, chefs will offer exclusive sampling opportunities of hot mulled cider and cider cocktails, local craft brews and an exclusive Thanksgiving-inspired recipe book.
Kelly James, The Market Kitchen’s kitchen manager, explained that the seasonal cookbook was put together with recipes from Public Market vendors, chefs from across the city and future businesses using the new kitchen.
James also gave a preview of some of the Market Kitchen businesses participating in the VIP tasting. She said Root System Juice Company will debut a new recipe and Mix Salad Concept, a salad delivery company from Rachael Bane and Lia Vaccaro, will feature fresh salad ideas and samples. Second Breakfast, a breakfast-inspired venture featuring glazed waffles and crepes, will debut at the event. This new vendor to the Public Market will open on Nov. 19. And, Voodoo Brewery will be there sampling beer. James said Voodoo will soon launch a food truck that will use the kitchen as a food prep home base.
James explained that The Market Kitchen is a way to assist new businesses, from vendors to food trucks to caterers. She said this could be the startups' first step on the road to a bigger venture. 
“Now, they’re actually able to market themselves and live their dream,” she said about the kitchen’s opening and the ability to launch a food business without paying for a storefront. “It’s really exciting to give them a start.”

The Harvest Tasting is 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16. Advance tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for kids, though children ages 2 and under are free. The day of the event, Harvest Tasting ticket prices will be $35 and $15, respectively. The VIP Preview is from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. with tickets at $50, which includes the Harvest Tasting. 
Source: Pittsburgh Public Market, Kelly James, Farm to Table
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