| Follow Us:
Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen.
Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen. | Show Photo

Talent : Development News

42 Talent Articles | Page: | Show All

Turn an empty Deutschtown lot into an art installation and community garden

Calling all architects, artists, and otherwise makers! The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and Team Laminates are seeking design proposals to transform an empty Deutschtown lot into a public art installation and garden beds that will provide vegetables to the community.

The project began in December when Team Laminates approached The Children's Museum about joining forces to beautify the 1,200-square-foot lot outside their building at the corner of Spring Garden Avenue and Vinial Street. The Children's Museum suggested the project might benefit from community input in the form of a design competition.  Children's Museum youth programs coordinator Kimberly Bracken is working with Team Laminates, The Historic Deutschtown Development Corporation, and the community on the project.

"From the beginning the museum has said two things," says Chris Siefert, deputy director of The Children's Museum. "One is that if we want to do art and also design these garden beds we should try and make it as cohesive as possible. The second thing is that we're all committing to something that's going to have near and longer term implications. We're not just going to build something and walk away from it."

With grants from Alcoa and The National Endowment for the Arts, the winning proposal writer will be awarded $5,000 for the project and will also receive donated supplies from Deutschtown's Team Laminates, Cully Glass Corp, and Artcraft Wood Products. Proposals are due by February 11.

Those interested in the competition should attend the project information meeting at 10 a.m. on January 27 in the Madison Avenue Meeting House at 1000 Madison Avenue. For an application email Kimberly Bracken.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Writer: John Farley
Source: Chris Siefert, The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

Photograph copyright John Farley

Lonely underpass becomes cool public art gallery

A vital throughway between the entertainment on the Northshore and the blossoming neighborhoods on Pittsburgh's Northside, the patch of Federal Street under I-279 was for many years the sort of dark, littered underpass that might keep one alert as they walk through late at night. Instead of rousing the Hitchcock influenced regions of the mind, the Federal Street underpass will now inspire the brighter side of the imagination as a clean, freshly painted public art gallery.

The Underpass Improvement Program was formulated in 2007 as part of The Children's Museum Charm Bracelet Program, a multi-organizational initiative designed to foster creative community improvements. After The Northside Leadership Conference decided to make improvements to the underpasses at Anderson and Sandusky Streets, The Children's Museum concluded they would do the same for Federal Street with the addition of large public art installations that would rotate every 8 to 12 months.

"We all agreed to pursue this project and we wrote a grant to the Heinz Endowments. It took about two years to work through approvals and ownership issues," says Chris Seifert, deputy director of The Children's Museum.

With support from the Heinz Endowment, NRG Energy, and the National Endowment for the Arts, The Children's Museum worked with the Maguire Group and Mascaro Construction to conduct the $400,000 improvement project, which included cleaning, painting, and installing a metal mesh panel system on one wall for the art works.

The first piece will be Kim Beck's "Big Sky", a photograph capturing a bright Northside afternoon. The artwork is scheduled for installation within the next few weeks.  While the production details are still being finalized, Seifert says the photograph will likely be presented as a 10-by-90-foot image printed on vinyl.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Writer: John Farley
Source: Chris Seifert, The Children's Museum



AIA Pittsburgh announces 2010 Design Award winners

The winners of AIA Pittsburgh's 2010 Design Awards were announced this month at the Design Pittsburgh event held at The August Wilson Theater.

EDGE Studio won the design and innovation award of excellence for their work on the Boathouse River Pavilion near the 40th Street Bridge. Koning Eizenberg received an excellence award for their preservation work on the Century Building in the Downtown Cultural District. Two awards were given in the category of regional and urban design. A certificate of merit was awarded to Studio for Spacial Practice for their Hill District Greenprint, and Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel won an honor award for their design of the National Center for Youth Science Foundation.

The largest award category was architecture, in which seven various awards were bestowed. Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel received their second award of the night for their West General Robinson Parking Garage. While the jurors made most of the decisions, the event also featured a People's Choice award based on a record 2,337 public votes that was awarded to Street Dixon Rick Architecture for Founders Hall at Juniata College.This year's categories included architecture, design and innovation, historic preservation, and regional and urban design.

Each year, a jury composed of design and architecture experts from a different city presides over the event, and this year's jury featured three architecture firm principals from Miami who critiqued 80 entries.

View all of the winners and photos here.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Writer: John Farley
Source: Joseph Mewid, AIA Pittsburgh

Image courtesy AIA Pittsburgh


Stage AE will rock December with Girl Talk, Wiz Khalifa, and George Clinton lineup

Pittsburgh's newest entertainment venue, Stage AE, is scheduled to open around Thanksgiving weekend, and what's more, three great concerts have been scheduled for December. Who, you beseech? Only the likes of Pittsburgh raised, now nationally renowned artists Girl Talk and Wiz Khalifa, and funk gods George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.

Anticipation has been building for the American Eagle sponsored, $12 million venue since ground was broken last March. Owned by The Pittsburgh Steelers and Continental Real Estate Companies, the venue was designed to fill an important missing market for Pittsburgh entertainment, that space between the stadium-filling megastars of yesterday and smaller acts that might only manage to fill a bar.

Indoor seating at Stage AE can hold 2,400, and a seasonal outdoor amphitheater holds an additional 5,500.  The indoor area boasts 22,000-square-feet of space, with an additional 30,000-square-feet of outdoor space in the warmer months.  With this setup, Stage AE should be able to accommodate a slew of acts that might not have found an appropriate Pittsburgh venue in the past.

"January is generally a slow month for touring, but we'll be really starting to amp up in March. The outdoor amphitheater will open in mid-May and stay open through September. You'll be seeing a lot more shows that usually only go through cities like Columbus and Washington D.C. coming through Pittsburgh in the future," says Pat Lucas, director of marketing for PromoWest Productions, which is in charge of Stage AE's operation.

Chartiers Valley High School alum Girl Talk, a.k.a. Greg Gillis, will mashup bits of Jay-Z, Roy Orbison, and hundreds of other clashing samples pulled from the last century of pop music for a double header on December 3 and 4. Speaking of samples, perhaps the most heavily sampled artist of all time, George Clinton and his cult-like band of musical freaks, will bring fans aboard the mothership on December 10. Taylor Allderdice High School alum, and genre-hopping rapper Wiz Khalifa closes the month on December 16.

All tickets go on sale through Ticketmaster this Saturday at 10 a.m. Tickets for Khalifa are $23, $28 for Clinton, $22 for one night of Girl Talk, or $40 for both nights.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Writer: John Farley
Source: Pat Lucas, PromoWest Productions

Image courtesy of KDenny and Partners

The Intentional Citizen is the theme for the Design Excellence Lecture Series

How does a community shape itself? The Community Design Center of Pittsburgh will address the question head on in the coming months during their third annual Design Excellence Lecture Series. The Lecture Series was created in 2008, in order to promote a dialogue about decisions regarding public planning and design, not only for design experts, but anyone interested in developing a broader understanding of these issues.

"The theme of this year's lecture series is The Intentional Citizen, which we envisioned as building on last year's theme of The Intentional City, so it's really gearing the speakers and discussion towards civic engagement and public discussion," says Kate McGlynn, community programs manager for The Community Design Center of Pittsburgh.

The first event of the lecture series on November 1 features speaker Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer. Lukensmeyer's experience includes being the founder and president of AmericaSpeaks, a consultant to the White House Chief of Staff, and Chief of Staff to the Governor of Ohio. According to McGlynn, Dr. Lukensmeyer will be speaking about civic engagement and its influence on public policy.

On January 31, Maurice Cox, a professor of architecture at The University of Virginia, and former mayor of Charlottesville, Va, will be presenting on how design can influence quality of life. Given Cox's experience in both design and public leadership, it should be a highly informative lecture. The series concludes on April 4, with MarySue Barrett, President of Chicago's Metropolitan Planning Council since 1996.

Following each lecture event, there will be a panel discussion with local experts on the topic with a reception afterward.  Each of the three events will be held at Point Park University Center at 414 Wood Street, and begin at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased individually at the price of $20, or $45 for the entire series. Student tickets will be sold for $10 exclusively on the night of each event. Preregistration for the popular event series is recommended, and tickets can be purchased online.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Writer: John Farley
Source: Kate McGlynn, Community Design Center of Pittsburgh

Image courtesy of the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh

Kevin Sousa's Salt of the Earth opens next week in Garfield

Pittsburgh food lovers know that every kitchen Kevin Sousa touches turns to gold, so there's been great anticipation over the last two years for Sousa to finally open his own eatery, Salt of the Earth, in Garfield. Next week, the product of two years of meticulous planning by Sousa and his architect business partners, Doug and Liza Cruze, will be ready for public consumption.

Sousa says Salt of the Earth will have its grand opening the week of September 13th, but after a somewhat rocky road towards creating his culinary vision, he says he's learned that anything can happen, so he is hesitant to pin down an exact date. Diners can expect the restaurant to encompass the Sousa trademarks of innovative, yet simple American food that he's brought to restaurants like the Red Room, Yo Rita! Taqueria, Kaya, and Soba.

"The idea was to have it be the kind of place that we would want to go to," says Sousa. "I want to strip away all the bs that goes with 'fine dining', but still produce a great product."

By stripping away the bs, Sousa means shedding such pretenses as uniforms, a kitchen hidden away from the dining area, boring music, and linen tables. Instead, Salt of the Earth will focus wholly on affordable food, excellent cocktails, and a seasonally appropriate menu that changes weekly in accordance with the freshest local ingredients that can be found.

If you haven't peeked into the building at 5523 Penn Avenue, the Cruzes have done an excellent job renovating the space. "It's unbelievable! I describe it has museum quality finishes. You have to see it. If you're a design person you'll love it, and if you're not you'll love it and won't understand why you love it," says Sousa of the 3,600 square foot restaurant, which features multiple 14 foot tables that seat 12, as well as bar seating, with a total of 80 seats.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Source: Kevin Sousa, owner of Salt of the Earth
Writer: John Farley

Photograph copyright John Farley

Through efficiency and creativity, Wrecking Crew Media continues to grow

Since opening in 2004 as a boutique two person audio production company, Pittsburgh's Wrecking Crew Media has expanded into print and video production, hired four full time employees, and completed innovative projects for big time clients including the Penguins, Duquesne University, and The Pittsburgh Technology Council. The whirlwind of activity has prompted the Wrecking Crew to expand their operations.

They're getting ready to move into a new 3,200 square foot space on the 8th floor of 209 Ninth Street on August 16th. The new office, three times the size of their former basement studio, will allow Wrecking Crew to beef up the size of the projects they can take on, and will feature a slew of technological additions, such as a 500 square foot sound stage, two video editing studios, and a new audio control room with all the technological bells and whistles.

Although the new space and tools will allow Wrecking Crew to grow and produce most of their projects in-house, President J.C. Carter says the company will stay true to the values, which have made it a success.

"I like to say we're a small group of people who do big things. We kind of pride ourselves in being small, and the reason that we get things done, even though we're only six full time people, is because we're very efficient," says Carter. "The fact that all of our suites are on the same floor is a big deal, because we're all about collaboration. It's very important to have that community in the jobs we do."

While Wrecking Crew Media's full time staff remains a core group of individuals, Carter is always interviewing young talent from the Universities to get their foot in the door with freelance gigs.

"We're trying to move things more into the cinematic world. Not just marketing videos with talking heads and graphics, but we're thinking about how we can make mini-movies for people that will really get their message and story out," adds Carter.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Source: J.C. Carter, President of Wrecking Crew Media
Writer: John Farley

You are cordially invited to the inaugural Randyland Celebration

The Olde Allegheny Community Gardens are teaming up with Randy Gilson for the first ever Randyland Celebration on August 28. Guests can enjoy a diverse range of cuisine made with food grown a block away by the 30 community gardeners, including homemade mozzarella, fresh honey, locally caught fish, and eggs from actual Northside chickens.   Local wines from Carlo's Garage Winery and house-made sausage provided by Right by Nature will also be available.

Since 1996, Gilson's incredible Northside DIY dream home on Jacksonia Street, christened Randyland, has been catching the attention of national media and passersby for its vibrant pastel colors, murals, handmade art, and topiaries. In addition to being the architect to his personal vision, Gilson had a key role in shaping the nearby community gardens throughout the 80's and 90's, which feature 40 plots growing food and flowers. While Gilson has proudly shown off his home to the press, the Randyland Celebration marks his first invitation to the public to gather in the fruit of his labor.

"There's going to be food served buffet style, and other food served on trays by the garden chef of the day, and there will be recognition of the people working on the Northside's green spaces," says Olde Allegheny Community Gardens co-coordinator Jana Thompson. "There's also going to be a Chinese silent auction."

The Randyland Celebration occurs Saturday, August 28 at 6 p.m. at Randlyland, on the corner of Jacksonia and Arch Streets. Admission is $15 at the door, or $12 in advance. Admission is free to children under 16. To purchase tickets, email kniess1@comcast.net.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Source: Jana Thompson, Olde Allegheny Community Gardens
Writer: John Farley

Photograph copyright John Farley

Full Pint Brewing is in it for the love of the beer

Hank Williams may have had a tear in his beer, but there have been times when Western Pennsylvania's hop lovers haven't even had a glass to cry into, as Pittsburgh has lost nearly 20 breweries throughout its history. Fortunately, an intrepid coalition of microbrewers, like Church Brew Works and East End Brewing Company, have been reversing the trend in the recent years, and the newest crew of ambitious brewers at Full Pint Brewing are getting in on the action.

Full Pint is composed of five partners, four of whom used to brew at John Harvard's Brew House in North Huntington. After John Harvard's shut down, the former co-workers teamed up last year with aptly named Mark Kegg to keep beer flowing from the facility.

"We've been in the building for a while, but we weren't allowed to brew, because of zoning issues. April was our final hearing, when we became legal," says Full Pint partner Sean Hallisey.

Since then, Full Pint has spread to approximately sixty taps in bars across Pennsylvania, and just recently began their bottling operation. Like many young breweries, the members at Full Pint are in it for the love of the beer, currently making ends meet with other jobs and enlisting the help of loved ones.

"When we bottle we have a lot of friends come in and help us," says Sean. "As far as brewing goes, we try and designate as much time as possible. There's always somebody there every day of the week."

Full Pint Brewing's facilities can potentially produce about 11,000 barrels per year, and this year they hope to reach production of 5,000 barrels. Be on the lookout for Full Pint's brand new bottles in Pittsburgh bars, which include their Chinookie Imperial Pale Ale, All-In Amber Ale, and White Lightning Belgian ale.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Source: Sean Hallisey, Full Pint Brewing
Writer: John Farley

Image courtesy Full Pint Brewing

Displaced by Katrina, New Orleans veterinarian brings The Big Easy to Lawrenceville

In 2005, Veterinary Doctor Aileen Ruiz was forced to evacuate from her home in New Orleans. Like many others displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Ruiz went to stay with a friend. Her friend happened to live in Lawrenceville.

"Lawrenceville reminds me a lot of the Uptown and Magazine Street areas of New Orleans," says Dr. Ruiz. "It's very artsy, and it really makes me feel like I'm back home."

Fortunately for the animal lovers of Pittsburgh, Dr. Ruiz found the city so appealing that she decided to stay, and will be opening The Big Easy animal hospital in Lawrenceville on July 5.

Located at 5328 Butler Street, the full service animal hospital will feature modern diagnostics and surgical facilities, which offer wellness, prevention, and urgent care for dogs and cats, as well as pocket animals like ferrets and guinea pigs.

While The Big Easy's facilities are state of the art, Dr. Ruiz wants to offer a very personal and compassionate style of service, with a mom and pop flair. She's literally brought her mom here to work as the receptionist!

Dr. Ruiz is a Cuban American, born in Miami. "My mother and I are both bilingual, which will make us the first bilingual English and Spanish veterinary hospital in Pittsburgh," Dr. Ruiz points out.

The Big Easy will host an open house on Saturday, July 10 from 5-8 p.m., with music provided by DJ Zombo.

The Big Easy will accept walk-ins Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Doctor's appointments can be scheduled on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Source: Dr. Aileen Ruiz, The Big Easy
Writer: John Farley

Photograph copyright John Farley

Commonplace Coffee Company arrives in Squirrel Hill

Since TJ Fairchild and his wife first opened the first Commonplace Coffee café near the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus, their business has boomed into a wholesale roastery and coffee machine distributor, and four cafes—the newest location being Squirrel Hill.

"It was always in the back of our minds that it would be fun to have a presence in Pittsburgh," says TJ. "We had some friends here who are really amazing baristas, and we wanted to offer them a place to showcase their craft. When the opportunity came to us, we jumped on it with hesitation."

That opportunity was the chance to take over the location of Arefa's, which was Commonplace's first client to solely use their coffee in Pittsburgh, and who's owner recently decided to move away.

Along with gourmet coffee and espresso, Commonplace Coffee Company will also feature loose-leaf tea, Italian sodas, hot chocolate, and freshly made cookies.

An added bonus, which makes Commonplace unique to the coffee industry, is their use of the Trifecta brewing device, which allows for control of five more variables than the Clover device, used by most coffeehouses.

The Squirrel Hill location will showcase the Trifecta, along with a variety of other coffee machinery.

"It's all right behind the bar. We're allowing select customers who are interested to test it out, and we will show them how to use it, and experience it. We're planning on using the basement as a space where people can see and experience our machinery, along with other machinery that we don't have behind the bar," says TJ.

Commonplace Coffee Company is located at 5827 Forbes Avenue, and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Source: TJ Fairchild, Commonplace Coffee Company
Writer: John Farley

Photograph copyright John Farley

Pittsburgh architects win SEGD award for Monastery Street Park design

Pittsburgh based architects Loysen + Kreuthmeier won a Jury Award from the Society for Environmental Graphic Design's Award Program for their work in the Southside Slopes' Monastery Street Park.

The project, which began in 2007, was a team effort between Loysen + Kreuthmeier and landscape architecture firm Klavon Design Associates.

Previously, the site was a vacant lot filled with overgrowth. It contained, however, a greeting sign for the Southside Slopes, and a large set of concrete stairs, serving as the primary pedestrian route connecting the Slopes to the Southside Flats.

Loysen + Kreuthmeier have revitalized the site, by constructing a beautiful 48 foot steel sign and retaining wall with illuminated steel cutouts representing an abstract interpretation of the neighborhood.

"Like many other neighborhoods, the people who live here share this kind of magnetic attraction to what makes this place endearing, memorable, and one-of-a-kind. This project tries to capture that, and put the message out there for all to see," says architect Peter Kreuthmeier.

The SEGD jury lauded the design for its bold statement and elegant use of a single material.

Due to overwhelmingly positive community response, Loysen + Kreuthmeier will be constructing a second phase of the project later this summer. Part two of the project, called the Slopes Pylon, is a 16 foot solar powered marker for the gateway to the slopes, for the triangular site at the corner of South 18th and Josephine Streets.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Writer: John Farley

Source: Peter Kreuthmeier, Loysen + Kreuthmeier

Photograph courtesy Loysen + Kreuthmeier



Pittsburgh Flea to bring food, crafts, finds to Strip District starting in April

Pittsburgh is getting a massive outdoor urban flea market this spring.

Pittsburgh Flea will start April 18 in the Strip District, at 21st and Railroad Streets. The event will run every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Nov. 14, 2010--rain or shine.

The market will host about 120 individual vendors selling antiques, collectibles, handcrafted jewelry, vintage clothing, art and fresh produce and artisanal foods.

Pittsburgh Flea founder Janis Surman says the market will appeal to Pittsburghers' desire for things that are good for the environment and their personal finances. The market will present shoppers with fun, frugal opportunities to reuse and repurpose goods, from mid-century furniture to toys from their grandfather's youth, and to explore some of the region's food and craft finds.

Lots of vendors have already committed to the seasonal event, says Surman, including Franktuary, Zum Zum Pierogies, Mercurio's Mulberry Creamery gelato, Pretzel Crazy confectionery-covered carbs, My Goodies vegan bakery and The Goodie Truck. And to tempt your wallet: Third-Day Luxury Soaps & Healing Gardens, Joyful Noise Studio art, vintage recycled birdbaths by Foxglove Woodland Studio, Catherine's Creations jewelry and many more.

Surman was recently laid off from a high-ranking corporate position after 17 years with AT&T, and found herself looking for that "what's next" thing. She decided to offer a service that could provide a livelihood for herself as well as other small business owners, entrepreneurs and artisans.

"In this economy I see a flea market in the Strip as a win/win for everyone," says Surman. "Flea markets are a little economic engine all their own. I've always loved the quirky stuff you can find at flea markets, not to mention the prices. And I was shocked when it hit me that Pittsburgh didn't really have a centrally located, downtown flea market. The time has really come."

Surman decided to hold the Pittsburgh Flea in the Strip District because it is so centrally located, and is already a weekend destination for locals and visitors alike. The flea is also going to be held quite close to the Produce Terminal (on Smallman Street between 18th and 19th Streets), where the Pittsburgh Public Market will open this spring. That market will host about 42 vendors of fresh produce, prepared foods and crafts, and will be open Friday through Sunday each week. It will also include space for cooking demonstrations and community events.

Surman has worked closely with Neighbors in the Strip to ensure that the Pittsburgh Flea and the Pittsburgh Public Market do not replicate services, but instead, work together to create an economic and entertainment hub in the Strip District.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Janis Surman, Pittsburgh Flea

Image courtesy of Pittsburgh Flea


Greening the South Side: Residents plant nearly two dozen street trees

South Side will begin to look greener in the spring thanks to Kim Collins.

Back in March, she and a friend were talking over wine one night, trying to think of something they could do in their community. "And we came up with trees," says Collins. "I live on Wharton Street and there was, like, one tree on my block."

Collins, who is the owner and creative director of South Side-based graphic design firm Blue Tomato, worked to create the South Side Pittsburgh Tree Project with the help of neighbors and nearly 45 volunteers.

In October, they planted 21 trees ranging from maples to lilacs on the 1900 block of Wharton Street.

To start the project, Collins researched and found the TreeVitalize program, a partnership between five organizations including the city, county and state and two nonprofits, including the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. The goal of the program, according to its website, is to "plant 20,000 trees by 2012 throughout the Pittsburgh region in order to improve quality of life and the environment."

Once assisted by TreeVitalize, Collins and other leaders went door-to-door asking residents if they would water and take care of trees if the South Side Pittsburgh Tree Project took care of planting. Twenty-one residents agreed to this arrangement for the first planting.

Riverset Credit Union aided the project by paying for the website and marketing, as well as a banner on Sarah and 11th Streets that asks, "Want A Free Tree?"

The South Side Pittsburgh Tree Project wants add at least 300 to 400 more trees in the South Side over the next four years.

Currently, 4,500 trees have been planted in Allegheny County through TreeVitalize.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Writer: Pop City Staff
Source: Kim Collins, South Side Pittsburgh Tree Project

Image courtesy of South Side Pittsburgh Tree Project


Avenue B freshens up Centre Ave. with creative, elegant cuisine

Sometimes you can judge a restaurant by its cover. The mural on the side of Avenue B's storefront promises vibrant, farm-fresh flavors with a dash of urbane polish, and that's exactly what Avenue B provides.

The American-style bistro is now open at 5501 Centre. Ave. in the former spot of Istanbul Grille, which re-opened in October in Lawrenceville as a full restaurant, coffeehouse and performance space at 4130 Butler St. (the former Your Inner Vagabond).

Avenue B opened in late November for dinner, and just last week started its lunch service.

The bistro is the work of husband-wife team Chris and Jennifer Bonfili. Chris served as the inaugural executive chef at the Red Room, 134 S. Highland Ave. in East Liberty, where he reconnected with Jennifer, an old high school friend. The couple now lives in Shadyside with their two young children, ages 1 and 2.

The Bonfilis worked on finding the right location for their restaurant for about a year. They gutted the place--removed the drop ceilings, wood paneled walls and dated ceramic floor tiles--and rebuilt a space that seduces with easy sophistication. Chris Bonfili says Avenue B's decor and menu were guided by the same ideals: "Urban but rustic. A focus on simplicity. Warm and inviting."

A small seasonal menu makes the backbone of Avenue B's offerings, and daily specials are splashed across massive chalkboards that adorn the exposed brick walls. Staples include meatloaf with a blistered tomato jam, and a fish and chips unlike any greasy pub fare (a wild-caught striped bass is prepared tempura or pan-seared, and served atop fingerling potatoes and a Napa slaw). Specials change often, and have included such standouts as roasted beet risotto with crispy chevre, and steak frites with Brussels sprouts. Desserts, including decadent homemade ice cream, are whipped up by in-house pastry chef Lisa Young, formerly of the Red Room, who also works at CoCo's Cupcakes on Ellsworth Avenue.

Sign up to receive Pop City each week.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Chris Bonfili, Avenue B

Photograph copyright Caralyn Green

42 Talent Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
0
Email
Print
Signup for Email Alerts