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Mattress Factory to open new gallery space on Sampsonia Way

Pittsburgh’s installation art scene will get another boost next month when the Mattress Factory, the museum in the Mexican War Streets section of the city’s North Side, opens a new satellite gallery in a repurposed house down the street from its main facility.

“The Mattress Factory has a history of repurposing older buildings,” says Abby Vanim, membership coordinator and development associate for the museum, which has owned the property for several years. “516 was really just waiting for the right opportunity to come along.”

After mildly rehabilitating the 2,500-square-foot space at 516 Sampsonia Way, the space is currently being outfitted with a large installation project by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota.

Shiota, who has worked out of Berlin since 1996, came to Pittsburgh at the beginning of August and has been covering the interior of the building with more than a million feet of yarn.

“She’d never had that big of a space to work with before,” Vanim says. “It’s nice to work in a space that has a little more character and a little more history to it. She’s used to working with plain, white gallery space.”

Shiota’s exhibit, which will be on display for a year, will open as part of a large event on September 12th, and will include brand new exhibits in the Mattress Factory’s main space at 500 Sampsonia Way, as well as in its multi-gallery facility at 1414 Monterey Street.

The evening will include live music from local band Lungs Face Feet.

Admission will be $15 at the door, and student discounts will be available. As always, Vanim says, museum members may attend free of charge.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Abby Vanim

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh expanding into old Allegheny Regional Library building

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is pursuing a plan to expand into the former Allegheny Regional branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as it looks to both extend its program offerings and alleviate overcrowding in its current space.

“Plans are not completely set in stone,” says Chris Siefert, the museum’s deputy director. “We’re working with the city and exploring the possibilities to get that building occupied.”

The former library’s proximity to the museum and the museum’s need for more space make the expansion a natural fit.
“We’ve had a significant growth in our attendance. We’re seeing over 250,000 people per year,” Siefert says. “Over the last two or three years, we’ve really noticed pressure on our physical space. This is sort of a continuation of our cultural campus and growing our space.”

According to Siefert, the museum has established an agreement with the city under which it will conduct an engineering assessment of the building to begin evaluating how to bring it up to code, make it more accessible and suitable for use. Constructed between 1886 and 1890, the building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974.

Siefert also says that the museum plans to hold events to “check in with the community” every 90 days to get feedback on what people want and how to best include it in the renovation. The first such event will be held today from 4:30 to 6:30 at the vacant building, and will include guided tours of the first and second floors, as well as opportunities for people to present feedback.

Siefert anticipates the first phase of the project will cost between $5.5 and $7 million, with another $10 to $15 million to insure the location’s financial stability. He says it’s conceivable the space could be ready for the museum to use by mid-2015.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Chris Siefert

Eat + Drink: Toss't opening Downtown, Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, Alley Brewing tasting

Eat + Drink is Pop City's routine review of reporting on rations.

Toss’t to open Downtown on August 13
Toss’t, the fast-casual salad concept spot from Julian Valozzi, will begin training staff tomorrow and plans to open its doors on August 13.

Located at 222 Fifth Avenue in Downtown, Toss’t will offer a variety of signature salads, customizable salads, wraps and Greek yogurt and will be open for lunch and dinner on weekdays.

Valozzi, owner of the Downtown Italian restaurant Valozzi’s right next door, says, “What I’m most excited about is getting back to working with some of the local, independent farmers as opposed to the larger food purveyors. It’s nice to talk with these guys and get to know and see exactly where our food is coming from.”

Toss’t will focus mainly on takeout business, but will offer minimal indoor seating, as well as some outdoor seating during warmer months.

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week preview party will be tomorrow on the North Side
This year’s summer edition of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week will tantalize diners with a preview party, scheduled for tomorrow night at the North Side’s National Aviary.

Party-goers will be able to preview food, browse menus and make reservations from some of the 69 restaurants taking part in restaurant week.

Tickets may be purchased online through ShowClix for $50 prior to the event, or for $60 at the door. The party will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Pittsburgh Restaurant week will run from August 12 to 18. A full list of participating restaurants and deals is available on the PRW’s website.

Alley Brewing will hold free tasting at Bocktown tonight
When Josh Hays and Eric Bedont used to sit on their friend Chris Leber’s porch and talk about starting a business, they weren’t sure what form it would take.

“We’ve always had a passion to come up with some kind of business,” Leber says.

Once the three friends discovered craft beer, they were hooked. Named after the Brick Alley red light district of McKeesport’s yesteryear, Alley Brewing has turned into one of Pittsburgh’s most popular under-the-radar, amateur craft beer operations.

“Right now, we’re still in the homebrew phase,” Leber says. “We’re brewing in Cranberry, in my garage. My garage is overrun with brewing equipment.”

Six of Alley Brewing’s offerings will be available tonight when the trio holds a free tasting at the Bocktown Beer and Grill in Robinson. The selection will include an imperial IPA, a session IPA, a white IPA aged on peaches and apricots, a Belgian-style tripel, a saison and a new, experimental IPA.

“Those are the ones we started with more so than anything, and we’re kind of expanding out from there,” Leber says.

The trio’s ultimate goal is to open up their own Pittsburgh area brewpub, but as with the brewing process, the men behind Alley are taking their time.

“Before we ever brewed our first recipe or did anything with home brewing, we did about eight or nine months of research and learned how to do it,” Leber says.

Since then, they’ve dabbled in 18-20 different kinds of beer, and said they feel that about 10 of their recipes are where they want them.

Still, they’re going to make sure they’re as thorough as possible before looking to open their own pub.

“It’s one of those things where it can start as your passion, but it can rub off on the entire community,” Leber says.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Chris Leber, Josh Hays, Julian Valozzi

Office of Public Art releases new guide with Downtown launch party

You know that one Downtown mural or interesting building you love, but don’t know much about?

The Pittsburgh Office of Public Art does, and its new guide, published last month, Pittsburgh Art in Public Places: Downtown, offers a comprehensive look at more than 100 works of public art in Downtown and on the North Side.

The guide will be the subject of a second release party tomorrow evening at the Wood Street Galleries at 601 Wood Street, Downtown, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“All of the living artists who have work represented in the guide are invited, and many are attending,” says Renee Piechocki, director of the Office of Public Art.

The event will include cake, champagne, music from DJ Tara George and a slideshow of the art featured in the guide. There will also be an autograph table where guests can have their copies of the guide signed by all of the artists in attendance.

The event is free and open to the public, though RSVPs are encouraged.

“Pittsburgh has a world-class public art collection,” Piechocki says. “Public art has been an essential component of Pittsburgh's revitalization, and new projects will continue to add value and meaning to our public spaces.”

Copies of the guide will available for free at the party, and are downloadable as a PDF from the office’s website.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Renee Piechocki

California Markets help inject new life and businesses into Brighton Heights

Brighton Heights resident Stephanie Stauffer says she loves the bevy of creative retail spaces and restaurants which has sprung up in the East End the last few years, but doesn’t see why her home turf should be any different.

That’s why Stauffer, who was one of the founders of the Downtown pop up Burgheoisie Boutique, launched the California Markets, a series of open-air market events in Brighton Heights’ California Avenue business corridor.

Backed by the Brighton Heights Citizens’ Association and a grant from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the markets — which occur on the second Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — started in June and will run through September. They feature local food, crafts vendors and all manner of community engagement activities.

Next month’s event, which will take place on July 13, will feature a barbecue and brew off, allowing participants to pit their grilling skills or homemade beer against those of their neighbors with winners determined via public vote. The Style Truck will also make an appearance.

Stauffer says that not only are the markets exposing the North Side to a taste of the pop up culture that’s become so prevalent in the East End and Downtown, but they’re also helping to reestablish the Brighton Heights business district.
The California Avenue corridor’s storefronts, Stauffer says, were about 50 percent vacant until a few months ago. Now, she says, they have close to 80 percent occupancy.

“It’s not a coincidence that businesses are moving in with what we’re doing here,” Stauffer says. “It’s a chance for startup businesses to show what they have going on.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Stephanie Stauffer

Eat + Drink: AVA moving to Oakland, Wigle Whiskey expands, Syrian cuisine in Squirrel Hill and more

Eat + Drink is Pop City’s weekly dive into the world of local consumables.

AVA Bar & Lounge moving to Oakland
AVA Bar & Lounge, which announced last week that it would close its location on South Highland Avenue in East Liberty and seek a new space, will move to 304 North Craig Street in Oakland in August.

The new spot, formerly Luna Bar, will allow AVA to expand to two floors and offer a parking lot for its customers at the corner of Craig and Center Avenue.

"It's just a better market for us," says AVA owner Justin Strong. "It's where we started."

Strong says the space's second floor will host AVA's events, such as jazz and open mic nights. The first floor will be a bar and lounge area.

Strong has launched a campaign on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, seeking to raise $35,000 in the next four weeks to help cover AVA's moving costs make the transition to the new location as seamless as possible.

Naya brings Syrian cuisine to Squirrel Hill
Radwa Ibrahim, who formerly owned Middle Eastern restaurant Tyma’z in the North Hills, has moved her operation to 2018 Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill.

Her new venture, Naya, offers Syrian-style home cooked food along with her versions of Middle Eastern favorites, such as falafel, babaganoush and stuffed grape leaves.

Ibrahim, who opened Naya earlier this month, said that many of her regular Tyma’z customers have already made the trek into the city to continue enjoying her cooking.

Wigle Whiskey expanding to the North Side
Wigle Whiskey, the Strip District-based distiller of local and organic spirits, has purchased a warehouse in the Spring Garden section of the North Side and will begin converting it into a barrelhouse.

“We were quickly running out of room, so we’ve been searching for a space for a while,” says Wigle’s Meredith Grelli. “The building fit all our needs and we love the neighborhood.”

The space, which occupies about 10,000 square feet at 1055 Spring Garden Avenue, is the former home of the Balestreire Produce Company. It will house Wigle’s barrels of aging spirits, its innovation lab and a state-of-the-art whiskey garden, thought to be the first of its kind in the country.

“We imagine it as this seasonal kind of space where we’d have community events and small concerts, and the garage would become kind of a bar area,” Grelli says.

Architectural firm Edge-studio will design the new space. Wigle has hired contractor Marty Marra to undertake the construction. Grelli says they hope to open the space in the summer of 2014.

North Side Sandwich Week kicks off
Thirteen locally owned and independent restaurants are taking part in the second annual North Side Sandwich Week, which started yesterday and will run throgh June 23.

Elks Lodge #339 will host a sold-out sandwich sampler event tomorrow evening, at which attendees and celebrity judges will crown a new sandwich king or queen.

Each participating restaurant will hang a Sandwich Week banner, and customers can use their smartphones to scan QR codes in order to vote for their favorite sandwiches.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Justin Strong, Radwa Ibrahim, Meredith Grelli

City of Asylum wins $300,000 ArtPlace grant for a garden to garden project on the North Side

ArtPlace America awarded City of Asylum/Pittsburgh (COA/P) a $300,000 grant yesterday for the group's plans to build the Pittsburgh Central Northside Artway Connector.

Chosen among 54 national grants from 1,200 entrants as an exemplary plan of creative place making, the garden-to-garden Artway will connect two new COA/P projects — the Alphabet Reading Garden on Monterey Street and the Alphabet City literary center in the Garden Theater complex on North Avenue, which POP City profiled in January.

The Artway will feature a series of both temporary and permanent literary-themed installation art works.

“It’s coming from a very interesting and important coalition of funders,” says COA/P Communications Manager Elizabeth Baisley. “It’s an enormous privilege and pleasure to be receiving a grant from ArtPlace America, and we’re very excited about what it makes possible for us.”

ArtPlace America is a collaborative effort between 13 national foundations, six of the country’s biggest banks, the Domestic Policy Council and the White House Office of Management and Budget. It seeks to help facilitate the introduction of art into communities for the development of creative spaces.

The organization has awarded more than $42 million in 134 grants to 124 projects in 79 communities. Its grant to COA/P marks the first time a Pittsburgh project has received an ArtPlace America grant.

Among its many activities, COA/P renovates dilapidated houses to serve as both public works of art and residences for writers from other countries living in exile.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Elizabeth Baisley

Eat + Drink: The Beer Market, dog-friendly dining and more

Pop City's weekly update on Pittsburgh's food-related goings-on.

- The Beer Market, which opened over the weekend at 110 Federal Street near PNC Park, invites customers to try a selection of over 500 beers, 50 to 60 of which are available on draft. Customers are invited to bring whatever food wish to enjoy with their beers. In addition to offering live music three to four nights a week, the Beer Market will provide menus from nearby restaurants which offer delivery.

- The Double Wide Grill on East Carson Street has sectioned off a portion of its outdoor seating and opened a new dog patio. Customers may bring their dogs to their tables through a special entrance, then order and pick up food at a service counter. Owners must keep their dogs on leashes no longer than six feet, and the dogs are invited to dine from a special canine menu.

“We have hamburgers, chicken, dog biscuits and tofu for the vegetarian dogs,” says Steve Zumoff, one of Double Wide’s owners. “If people want to book doggie showers or birthdays, we can do that, too. We’ve had a few requests already.”

- The Market Square Farmer’s Market opens its 2013 season tomorrow and will run every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the end of October. The market will host a core group of regular and specialty vendors offering fresh produce and small-batch foods including wines, salsas, dips and baked goods. To celebrate its 2013 opening, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will give away 6,500 recycled tulip bulbs from planters around the city, asking only a suggested donation of one cent per bulb.

- The Rumfish Grille, which opened in Bridgeville last month, is adding an outdoor seating area called Rumfish Beach. The area will include a lounge, fire pits, sand and water. It will be available for private events and will have its grand opening shortly after Memorial Day according to restaurant spokesperson Dixie Smith. Rumfish Grille, co-owned by Clint Pohl and Chef Chet Garland, focuses on serving fresh seafood in a relaxed, upscale atmosphere.

- Square Café, a breakfast and lunch mainstay in on Braddock Avenue in Regent Square, will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Sunday, May 19th. The planned celebration is open to the public and will include live music and family-oriented entertainment for customers to enjoy while waiting for tables.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Dixie Smith, Steve Zumoff

Federal Hill final phase now under construction, 44 new homes in Northside

The third and final phase of the Federal Hill development is underway in the Central Northside, a project that has brought a total of 44 new homes to the historic neighborhood.

The current phase (2A) of six new townhomes brings to a close the five-year project.

Federal Hill is a project of the Central Northside Neighborhood Council (CNNC), S&A Homes and the URA, along with architects Rothschild Doyno Collaborative. The three- and four-bedroom homes range from 1,400 to 2,300 square feet, and units on the corners of each block include a third-floor, open-air balcony.

All of the new homes are under contract with buyers. Andy Haines of S&A Homes says his company receives continuous calls of interest for Federal Hill.

“It's one of our best selling developments throughout the three states we work in,” Haines says.

Every home in each previous phase has also been sold. Home prices range from $130,000 to $220,000, with individualized upgrades up to $80,000. The majority of new homes were built along Federal Street, however a few infill homes were constructed on adjacent Alpine Street.

Federal Hill is one of several redevelopment projects in the neighborhood, including a new branch of the Carnegie Library, which opened in 2009, several new businesses including El Burro Comedor and Crazy Mocha, and the ongoing redevelopment of the Garden Theater Block.

Haines says that although the project has been challenging in terms of financing—with funds from state and local agencies—the satisfaction level has been very high.

“The end result is we made a difference on the street, we made a difference in the neighborhood,” Haines says. “It's a good investment of public dollars.”


Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Andy Haines

CCAC celebrates opening of K. Leroy Irvis Science Center

The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) celebrated the opening of the new K. Leroy Irvis Science Center on Monday at its Allegheny Campus on the Northside. The five-story, LEED certified building features state-of-the art science equipment, e-learning capabilities, and supports biotechnology, microbiology, and astronomy, among several other programs.

The 65,000-square-foot science center contains eight classrooms, numerous study areas and 16 laboratories. A rooftop observatory, capable of electronically projecting images into classrooms, is scheduled to be completed soon.

"You can do so many things with all of those variations in technology," says Campus President Donna L. Imhoff. "There's so many different ways to teach now."

The building is named for the late State Representative K. Leroy Irvis, a champion of community colleges in the Commonwealth.  His co-sponsorship of the Pennsylvania Community College Act of 1964 created the state's community college system, and led to the founding of CCAC three years later. “If not for him, community colleges wouldn't exist at all,” Imhoff says.

The science center, located at 808 Ridge Avenue, was designed by Hayes Large Architects and has earned a LEED Silver Energy rating.

Other programs that will be served by the new facility include biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, geology, and physical science.
 

Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Donna Imhoff

City of Asylum/Pittsburgh to open literary center in Northside's Garden Theater block

City of Asylum/Pittsburgh has found a new home for its planned literary center Alphabet City. The non-profit announced Monday it would open the center—which will contain a bookstore, café and performance space—in the Northside’s prominent Garden Theater block on North Avenue.

COA/P co-founder Henry Reese says the new location will allow for heightened activity and greater accessibility to a broader community.

“By building Alphabet City in the heart of Allegheny City Central’s redevelopment commercial district, rather than in the residential interior, we are able to grow beyond our original plans,” he said in a statement.

Allegheny City Central is the new, rebranded name of the Central Northside neighborhood.

The center was originally planned for a triple lot in the Mexican War Streets, but that location—which required zoning board approval—was challenged by two neighbors. The proposal was rejected by an Allegheny County judge last November.

Alphabet City will be located in three redeveloped storefronts of the former Masonic Temple. Reese says the historic structure’s façade will not be altered, but the interior will reflect COA/P’s informal, salon-style events with a “living-room-feel.” It will have a 150-person capacity.

The project architects are Loysen + Kreuthmeier, who designed the nearby Allegheny branch of the Carnegie Library. The design will incorporate artwork made from more than 1,000 hand-written alphabets in 62 writing systems, collected from Northsiders and residents from around the world.

Since 2004, COA/P has provided sanctuary to literary writers exiled and under threat of persecution. Its mission also includes transforming blighted properties and energizing public spaces through public art with text-based components.

Reese says the new location meets COA/P’s goal to be an important change agent in the community.

“Helping make sure that the Garden Theater complex becomes redeveloped is really important to our community, and being a part of that is really gratifying to us,” he says.

Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Henry Reese

Eat + Drink: Stay Tuned Distillery, La Prima Espresso, Mt. Lebanon Winterfest, chili and beer

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

- La Prima Espresso is moving its roasting operations to the North Side.

The company will continue to operate its coffee shop in the Strip District, but will move its roastery to a building it has purchased at 1500 Chateau Street in Manchester. The 4,000-square-foot building was formerly home to Synder Electric, and includes a 4,000-square-foot lot.

La Prima is moving from its longtime location in the Pennsylvania Railroad Fruit Auction and Sales building. The historic building is part of the Buncher Co.'s massive riverfront development called Riverfront Landing.  Buncher plans to demolish one-third of the structure.

- A micro-distillery is coming to Munhall.

The former John Munhall Neighborhood House will be renovated for the new Stay Tuned Distillery, which will produce and sell small-batch gins and Copper Fox Whiskey. Located at 810 Ravine Street, the distillery is expected to open this summer.

The distillery recently received a $70,000 loan from the Steel Valley Enterprise Zone Corp., to be used for building renovations and business investment.

- Mt. Lebanon's Winterfest, a celebration of hometown chili and beer, will take place this Saturday, February 23rd, from noon till 3:00 p.m. at Clearview Commons. Chili Tasting Tickets are $10 in advance; $15 day-of. Proceeds benefit Relay For Life of Mt. Lebanon.

For an extra $10, guests can taste beers from invited home brewers, including coffee, chocolate, and oatmeal stouts.
 
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

Eat + Drink: Nicky's Thai Kitchen, Sinful Sweets, Rose Tea Cafe, and The Grateful Deli

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


Since our last update on Nicky’s Thai Kitchen, one of the Northside’s most popular restaurants, its second location has opened in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The interior is decorated with artwork and statues from Thailand, an atmosphere manager Dave Brunner says is like a Thai art gallery.  The space, originally built for a bank, had most recently housed a pizza shop and art gallery.

Unlike the original Northside location, the downtown restaurant will not be BYOB.  But while the full-service bar is still under development patrons are welcome to bring their own alcohol without any corkage fee.

The new restaurant is open for dinner seven days a week, as well as lunch Monday through Saturday.  Reservations are available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday dinner service.  903 Penn Avenue.  412-471-THAI (8424).

Sinful Sweets Chocolate Company has also recently opened in the space adjacent to Nicky’s, at 901 Penn Avenue.  Owned by chocolatier Christopher George, the shop sells a variety of handmade, gourmet chocolates.  Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  412-235-7865

- Rose Tea Café is opening a second location on Oakland’s Craig Street (414 S. Craig Street).  The original Squirrel Hill location (5874 Forbes Avenue) is well known for its Taiwanese cuisine, considered to be among the best in Pittsburgh.  The new location replaces a former mail store which closed last year.  412-421-2238.

- The Grateful Deli & Catering Company has opened at the intersection of Penn Avenue and Main Street, one block from the Children’s Hospital.  The deli offers hoagies, soup, salad, pizza, and more.  It replaces a portion of the former Sammy's Famous Corned Beef.  4065 Penn Avenue.  412-682-8000.
 

Writer:  Andrew Moore

Eat + Drink: Wigle's aged whiskey released; Noodlehead; Franktuary; and a new speakeasy downtown

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


- BZ’s Bar and Grill is now open on the North Shore.  Open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., the restaurant features what owner/manager Brandon Herriott calls “twisted American cuisine.”  Menu items include crab and avocado mac and cheese, pizza with house-made chorizo, a “turducken” burger, and more.

BZ’s is located at 140 Federal Street, directly across from PNC Park.  And while Herriott expects his business to do well during game days, he hopes the community will embrace the establishment beyond events.  “I want to be part of the neighborhood,” he says.

The restaurant seats 200 guests, including a private dining space and meeting room.  In the spring, BZ’s expects to add 40-50 patio seats.  412-323-BZBG

- Pittsburgh’s newest Thai restaurant, Noodlehead, is now open in Shadyside.  A BYOB, the eatery specializes in noodle dishes from the street markets of Thailand.  The menu features just ten $6 and $9 noodle dishes, and a few snacks, such as Thai fried chicken ($6.50) and pork belly steamed buns ($6).

Noodlehead is located at 242 South Highland Avenue, and is cash only. 

Franktuary’s new Lawrenceville location (3810 Butler Street) is officially scheduled to open later this month, on December 21st.  The restaurant will have a bar, and will seat around 100.

Fans of the downtown location should fear not, the original shop (325 Oliver Avenue) will stay open.  Likewise,  the Franktuary Food Truck will continue with mobile service.

- Pittsburgh’s first batch of aged whiskey since prohibition will be released by Wigle Whiskey next Saturday, December 15th.  And although Wigle has been open since last year, offering its white whiskey, these are its first aged rye and wheat whiskeys, aged in small, 10 gallon oak barrels for six months.  In the spirit of craft innovation, the distillery has finished several of the oak barreled whiskey with cherry and maple honeycombed wood for a variety of flavors. 

The distillery also recently launched its Wigle Ginever, a Dutch-style gin, popular before the advent of large commercial stills.  It is one of only two produced in the nation.

-  Continuing with the theme of prohibition—today is the 79th anniversary of its repeal—the Omni William Penn Hotel has reopened a former speakeasy in the historic building’s lower level.  The new bar’s interior replicates the original décor, and a cocktail list features researched drinks from the ‘20’s.  The speakeasy is open from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Thursdays through Saturdays.  530 William Penn Place, Downtown. 


 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
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