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Downtown & The Cultural District : Development News

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ULI Placemaking awards honors five Pittsburgh projects; Tom Murphy issues a challenge for Pittsburgh

The first Placemaker awards from the Urban Land Institute Pittsburgh, “to celebrate the places that make Pittsburgh great,” were announced last week at a luncheon at the Fairmont in 3 PNC, a building lauded for its excellent design and green features. 

Tom Murphy, former mayor of Pittsburgh, received the 2013 Inaugural Placemaker award and two standing ovations from the crowd of 300—before he spoke and after, when he finished his talk by issuing a challenge to Pittsburgh to never settle for less in design and building.

The ULI PLacemaker award winners are:
  • Award for Excellence, Catalytic Place: Market Square Place
  • Award for Excellence, Visual Place: Point Park University – the Academic Village Initiative The Village Park and Wood Street Corridor Enhancements
  • Award for Excellence, Community Place: East End Cooperative House
  • Award for Excellence, Cool Place: Assemble
ULI Pittsburgh received 38 nominees in the first competition. 

In his talk, Murphy referenced an article in the Washington Post which wondered, "How does it happen that in a Rust Belt city with no money, they built a masterpiece of a stadium? These pundits who write about the lack of economic development with stadiums and arts and culture need to come to Pittsburgh."

And in what Murphy said is the best recognition for the city, his three children “have come back to Pittsburgh because it works for them.

“Don’t settle for ‘it will do,’” he warned. "It’s about the quality of what we build. When people come through that tunnel, there’s a collective wow. Challenge yourself to build to the highest quality. Pittsburgh is on a roll and it will continue to be on a roll only if we challenge ourselves to reach.”

Writer: Tracy Certo
Source: ULI, Tom Murphy

Eat + Drink: Wigle introducing a rum, the Brooklyn Brewery Mash comes to Pittsburgh and more

Eat + Drink is Pop City's weekly look at all that's good in local food.

Wigle will release a honey spirit this month
Wigle Whiskey, Pittsburgh’s most popular purveyor of local spirits, will take its first step outside the whiskey realm next Thursday, October 17th, when it releases Landlocked — a rum-type spirit crafted from local, organic buckwheat honey.
When Wigle started kicking around the idea of rolling out a new spirit, they knew they wanted it to be something innovative. Most rum is made from sugar cane or types of molasses.

“A great Pennsylvania alternative to those is honey,” says Wigle’s Meredith Grelli. “We could think of no more exemplary honey to western pa than buckwheat honey. It has a distinctive, earthy quality to it. We started experimenting and playing around, and we really liked what we came up with.”

Wigle had patrons participate in blind taste tests with its new concoction going against similar spirits already on the market. After about six months of tooling around with a recipe, they knew they had something special.

“We knew it was time to take it to market when we were beating out industry leaders in taste testing,” Grellis says.
Wigle will hold two sessions from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and from 8 p.m. to 10 pm. Tickets for both sessions are available through their website.

Brooklyn Brewery brings its MASH to Pittsburgh
The Brooklyn Brewery is taking its show on the road. From October 22-27, the Brooklyn Brewery Mash — a five-day festival of parties, pop-up dinners and most of all, beer.

The Mash will be headquartered at Lawrenceville’s Industry Public House, and will feature events there for the first four days of the festival, including beer and cheese pairings, experimental beer tastings and various other specials.

Other events, including as a multi-course, beer-centric dinner, a farmer’s market workshop and a found footage screening will take place at locales around the city, including the Farmers at Firehouse Market, the Regent Square Theater and a host of different restaurants.

A full schedule of Brooklyn Mash happenings is available on the event’s website.

Duquesne’s Red Ring gets all-season patio
The Red Ring, Duquesne University’s signature restaurant at 1015 Forbes Avenue, will open an enclosed outdoor patio, starting tomorrow. The patio will be able to accommodate 46 customers between seven dining tables and nine cocktail tables.

The area will be lined with a full-length cloth awning and feature clear, roll-down vinyl along the perimeter. Radiant heaters for use during cold weather will make the space usable year-round.

Worth tasting
Love the flavors of fall but dislike big chain coffeeshops? Pop City heartily recommends heading to Marty's Market, where the coffee bar is serving up Maple & Clove lattes. They're incredibly delicious.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Meredith Grelli

Pirates' winning season has generated nearly $200 million for local economy

VisitPittsburgh estimates the Pirates’ first winning season in 21 years brought about $200 million in direct spending to the local economy. That figure includes ticket sales, concessions, hotel rooms and outside-the-park spending on retail and meals.

VisitPittsburgh arrived at the figure through applying its own formulas to financial information the Pirates voluntarily shared with the local tourism organization.

“The average game brings about $2.5 million to the city,” says VisitPittsburgh President and CEO Craig Davis. “Because the figure reflects ticket sales, we collected a lot of zip code information from 100 miles away or more. That often means a night in a hotel.”

Of all the fans who attended games at PNC Park this year, about 19 percent were from at least 100 miles away. While there were no available figures to project the impact of a playoff game, Davis anticipates it would bring more than just the $2.5 million per-game average.

Despite their sudden turnaround, the Pirates ranked 19 out of 30 teams in Major League Baseball attendance this year, drawing an average of 28,210 fans per game and a total of 2,256,862. They sold out PNC Park a record 23 times.
On a per-game basis, they still don’t touch the Steelers. But baseball teams play 81 home games compared to football’s ten.

According to figures VisitPittsburgh released in 2011, the Steelers’ divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens that January generated about $19.2 million in direct spending. Even applying that generous figure to an entire season’s worth of football games shows the Pirates generate more per season in direct spending for the local economy than their North Shore neighbors.

However, Davis adds that some of the economic impact sporting events have on the economy depends on when they occur.
“There are periods during the year when they don’t have as much of an impact. If there are already things buzzing in the city, it’s a lower-impact thing,” he says.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Craig Davis

Eat + Drink: Pamela's owners launching 'modern Jewish deli,' Legume's new lunch hours and much more

Eat + Drink is Pop City's weekly look at all the news that's fit to eat and/or drink.

Pamela’s founders bringing an old-world Jewish deli to Squirrel Hill.
An eat-in, modern Jewish deli will open in Squirrel Hill next month. Nu (from the Yiddish interjection for “well?” or “so?”) will occupy the space formerly held by Pamela’s sister restaurant Aji Picante at 1711 Murray Avenue, which held its last dinner service on Saturday night.

In addition to new twists on traditional Jewish fare, such as homemade pickles and matzo ball soup, Nu will smoke and hand-carve all its own meats. It will also have its own line and workspace, rather than share a kitchen with Pamela’s, as Aji Picante did. The sit-down restaurant will retain Aji’s outdoor seating, but won’t have any cases, nor will it sell deli meats.

“It’s going to be a little upscale looking, but not expensive,” says Pamela’s co-owner Gail Klingensmith, adding that executive chef Kelsey Sukel and co-owner Pam Cohen’s sister Rise’ will operate the restaurant.

“This is a family passion. It’s a slice of Americana, and it’s our history,” says Klingensmith, adding that Nu, which she projects will open around October 15th, will probably operate 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. “We’re old girls, but we can still make it to eight.”

Legume now open for lunch
The popular, locally sourced Oakland bistro has begun a lunch service that will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The menu, which will change every day, will include small plates, sandwiches and salads. Also, we hear the chocolate mousse cake is a legitimate slice of heaven on Earth.

“Steel Town” filmmakers holding fundraiser at Bar Marco
Steel Town,” a live-action, short film currently in pre-production that tells the story of the Homestead Steel Strike, will host a fundraiser and live table read at Bar Marco next Wednesday, October 2nd, at 6 p.m.

Carnegie Mellon alumni Nick Hurt and Yulin Kuang wrote the screenplay, and Hurt will direct when principal photography begins in November. The fundraiser’s host committee includes city councilmen Bruce Kraus and Bill Peduto, as well as State Representative Erin Molchany.

You can RSVP for the event by calling Producer Dan Vetanovetz at 937-243-1518, or e-mailing steeltownmovie@gmail.com. The producers of “Steel Town" are also operating a Kickstarter campaign that has just nine days remaining.

Pittsburgh Opera will perform at Downtown Farmers’ Market
Puccini, Rossini and Bizet aren’t varieties of mushrooms, but they’ll nonetheless be featured during each of the next three Market Square Farmers’ Markets.

The Pittsburgh Opera will perform tomorrow, October 3rd and October 10th between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., to celebrate the arrival of fall and the Opera’s 75th season. Lunchtime concerts have long been a staple of Market Square, and this marks the Opera’s first appearance in the series.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Gail Klingensmith, Dan Ventanovetz

Night Market VI will be Pittsburgh's largest yet

Come for the 40-foot-tall rubber duck, stay for a healthy dose of local food and art. The sixth edition of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Night Market will coincide with the Rubber Duck Bridge Party, and will take place on Friday from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

“It’s going to be more than twice the size of the previous Night Markets,” says PDP President and CEO Jeremy Waldrup. “We keep saying we’re out of space, and then someone says, ‘well, what about this?’ and we’re all, ‘oh, all right!’”

Night Market VI will have at least 70 vendors — more than double the 27 from its previous high. They’ll range from Pittsburgh-based artists and crafters to local jewelers, screen printers, furniture stores and, of course, restaurants. Among the food vendors, you’ll find Allegheny City Smokehouse, Meat & Potatoes, AJ’s Inca Peruvian Restaurant, BRGR, Lomito Truck, Crafwork Kitchen, the Big Y Restaurant Group and Zeke’s Coffee.
Among the many boutique vendors will be Pavement, Townhouse, Erra Creations, DeadBuryDead and Steel City Cotton Works.
You can find a full list of vendors on the PDP's event page.

“And you know it doesn’t get more scenic than with a 40-foot duck,” Waldrup says.

This sixth installation will put a cap on the Night Market series, which this year has coincided with Pittsburgh’s monthly gallery crawls. At the same time, Waldrup isn’t ruling out a sudden, cold-weather return.

“If something tremendous were to happen…If the Pirates go to the World Series, we could pop back up,” he says.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Jeremy Waldrup

Downtown's Market Square is getting a market

After months of talks and speculation, developer Ralph Falbo and three other partners signed a lease for the Thompson Building at 435 Market Street and will open a grocery store in the space.

Falbo is partnering with Ernie and Julian Vallozzi, of Vallozzi’s, and David Priselac, Jr. to run the project, which will see construction begin as soon as later this month when the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation finishes restoring the building’s exterior.

The market will offer fresh produce, a butcher, a seafood section and a wide array of prepared foods prepared in an on-site kitchen which will be available for takeout.

“It will be food-specific with a little bit of a lean toward Italian products,” says Julian Vallozzi who is hesitant to call it a grocery store for fear people will compare it to a supermarket. “We will have some specialty grocery items — niche products that you won’t see other places," he explains.

In addition to offering a selection of bottled wines, the store will contain a separate area with a full bar operating on the liquor license retained from restaurant which previously occupied the building. Falbo and Vallozzi say they see the area operating mainly as a wine bar, offering a diverse selection of bottles and small plates from the kitchen.

“I want to get into a good wine selection,” says Falbo, adding that he’d like to use the space to hold wine-tasting events.
Falbo anticipates that once a layout is complete and approved, construction should take about four months.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Ralph Falbo, Julian Vallozzi

Eat + Drink: Two long-awaited openings and the return of a local brunch favorite

Eat + Drink is Pop City's weekly look at all the news that's fit to eat.

The Livermore opens today!
Following a soft opening last Friday that co-owner Bobby Fry described as “madness,” The Livermore, a long-awaited cocktail-café spot from the forces behind Bar Marco, will officially open its doors to the public today.

On top of a selection of craft cocktails that Fry says will always differ from the ones on the menu at Bar Marco, The Livermore will offer a variety of traditional cocktails, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages at lower price points.

Additionally, Juice UP 412, which creates special fruit and vegetable juice blends on weekends at Bar Marco, will expand its operation into the new space.

The Livermore will also offer small plates and lunch service, including appetizers, salads, sandwiches and a variety of house-made crostini, with no item priced higher than seven dollars.

The bar, crafted from a repurposed bowling alley the owners hauled to Pittsburgh from Ashtabula, Ohio, provides both customers and workers with ample space, and may be one of the best-designed in the city.

The Livermore will be open Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Also opening today? Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room
The artisan pizza and beer joint held its soft opening party on Monday evening, and the Proper Brick Oven’s pizza proved worth the wait.

You can never go wrong with a classic Margherita — Proper does theirs with house-made mozzarella, fresh basil and San Marzano tomatoes — but the real surprise was the Black & Gold pizza, topped with crispy Yukon gold potatoes, roasted gold beets, roasted garlic spread, cracked black pepper, olive oil and Pecorino-Romano.

Proper’s selection of 30 American craft beers — 19 of which are from Pennsylvania-based breweries — offer enough variety to please everyone from casual pilsner drinkers to hopheads and Belgian fans (development news was delighted to find North Coast’s Brother Thelonious on tap, while the boss stuck to her IPAs).

Salt of the Earth revives ramen brunch
Kevin Sousa’s Salt of the Earth in Garfield will revive its popular ramen brunch on the third Sunday of each month.

“We’d had a decent run with it, and in the vein of everything else we do here, we wanted to keep things fresh,” says Salt chef Chad Townsend. “We wanted to explore some other options.”

Still, Townsend says that public demand for the ramen brunch contributed to its return.

“Now that it’s starting to get to get to the end of the summer and we’re going to be getting into some cold months, it seemed like a good cold-weather dish,” Townsend says.

Salt will offer a pork ramen for $18 and a seitan option for $16.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Bobby Fry, Chad Townsend

Remaking Cities Congress will convene in Pittsburgh this October

Twenty-five years ago, urban planners, architects and civil engineers from around the country and the world convened in Pittsburgh with the specific aim of addressing the problems facing historically industrial cities in a post-industrial world.

The gathering, called the Remaking Cities Institute, involved days of closed-door meetings, idea exchanges and ultimately, a set of recommendations and principles for industrial cities around the world to set about pulling themselves out of their post-industrial funk.

From October 15th to 18th, the organization, now called the Remaking Cities Congress, will gather 300 of the world’s leading urbanists here once again to review what worked, what didn’t and to issue a new list of recommendations which will inform and guide the next generation of urban planning policy for post-industrial cities from Pittsburgh to Germany’s Ruhr Valley.

“There were policy recommendations, and people walked away from [those sessions] and said, ‘we’re going to see how these affect our urban centers,’” says Pam Wigley, the director of media relations for Carnegie Mellon’s College of Fine Arts, who is helping to organize the congress. “The delegates have closed-door sessions on urban planning. They vote, they make decisions on policy, research and economic impact, among other things.”

Pittsburgh has benefitted from several of the recommendations put forth by the last gathering, including making substantial efforts to reclaim riverfronts and redevelop brownfields. Other involved areas, such as Detroit, have had substantially less success.

The congress’s honorary chair, Charles, the Prince of Wales, attended the 1988 conference in Pittsburgh, but this time will send a delegate in his stead and deliver his address via a videotaped message.

“Prince Charles has always had an interest in urban development and community planning,” Wigley says.

In addition to a series of invitation-only sessions, the congress will include several speakers such as Richard Florida and The Brookings Institute's Bruce Katz, as well as a host of tours and mobile workshops which will showcase various aspects of Pittsburgh's resurgence as case studies in post-industrial redevelopment.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Pam Wigley

Eat + Drink: A French patisserie in Squirrel Hill, an outdoor dinner in Downtown and more

Eat + Drink is Pop City's weekly romp through news which makes your mouth water.

Gaby et Jules brings fine French pastries to Squirrel Hill
Fred Rongier and David Piquard’s grandfathers shared the dream of opening bakeries in France. Neither ever did, but their grandsons are living out those dreams in Pittsburgh.

Gaby et Jules, a French patisserie from Paris 66 owner Rongier and Piquard, his master pastry chef, will hold its soft open at the end of August with a grand opening to take place in September. The shop is located at 5837 Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill, which formerly held the Oliver Flower Shop.

“In France, a bakery is a boulangerie.” says Rongier. “That’s not what we’re doing. This is a patisserie. Everything looks better and tastes better.”

Rongier says that in addition to Piquard’s famous French macarons, the shop will offer all manner of French baked goods which have helped make Paris 66 the city’s premiere spot for authentic French cuisine.

“He likes to make things,” Rongier says of Piqurad. “He’s going to wake up like an artist in the morning and he’s going to create a dessert. He doesn’t want to copy someone else’s. He does his own. He’s the one with the golden fingers.”

In addition to retail business, Rongier says he expects Gaby et Jules to develop a solid wholesale business, as Paris 66 already sells a lot of baked goods in larger quantities to local restaurants.

“We’ll do a lot of wedding cakes, for sure. If you go to someone else’s house and you want to bring a tart, you’ll have it,” Rongier says. “You won’t even want to eat it, it’s so nice.”

Bloggers will host outdoor dinner in Downtown
Local food blog eatPGH is teaming up with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership to host what’s being called Pittsburgh’s first urban supper.

“It’s basically dinner outside,” said eatPGH’s Laura Zorch. “Everybody’s doing farm dinners, which are fantastic, but how about something between skyscrapers?”

The dinner, which will take place on September 14th in the lot at 919 Liberty Avenue in Downtown, will feature a seven-course meal designed and cooked by local chefs Richard DeShantz of Meat & Potatoes and Keith Fuller of Root 174.
Zorch says that final details will be announced later this week, but that tickets for the dinner will cost $125 and include both the meal and an open bar.

“We’re still working out right now how many people we can fit in the space. We’re hoping to have up to 100,” Zorch says.

Full Pint Brewing opens an in-house pub
Since its inception in 2009, Full Pint Brewing has become one of Pittsburgh’s most popular local breweries.

Now, the North Versailles-based craft beer maker has added a scaled-down brew pub to its facilities.

In addition to growler sales and a bar, Full Pint now offers a menu of appetizers and sandwiches, served in an endearingly informal atmosphere in its warehouse brewery. The pub is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through  Wednesday, from 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Hours are subject to change if the pub is empty after 9 p.m.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Fred Rongier, Laura Zorch

1135 Penn Condos offer significant tax credits to buyers

The space at 1135 Penn Avenue in Downtown, behind Eleven and vacant for the last five years, will soon house five  condominiums.

Designed and co-developed by Front Studio Architects in conjunction with construction firm MM Marra, 1135 Penn will feature five full-floor units, each consisting of at least 2,000 square feet.

According to Art Lubetz, a principal with Front Studio, buyers of units at 1135 Penn are eligible for tax credits under the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act (LERTA), which offers 10-year abatements of up to $250,000 of the improved assessed value of a unit. This could save prospective buyers as much as $60,000.

Additionally, Allegheny County is also offering three-year abatements on the first $86,750 of each unit’s value.

The existing structure, which formerly housed a poultry slaughterhouse, dates to 1917 and will be outfitted with heating and cooling units in each condo, high-performance acoustic windows, bare brick walls and indoor parking spaces.

“The top floor has a large roof terrace, and the other two have terraces in the front of the building, which faces south,” says Lubetz.

Two of the units are already sold. Once Front Studio and Marra sell a third, they’ll begin construction, which they anticipate will take about five months.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Art Lubetz

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

Eat + Drink: Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room gearing up for August opening

Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room set to open in late August
The space that generations of Pittsburghers knew as Tambellini Seventh Street Ristorante will re-open its doors late next month as Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room.

“We completely gutted the space,” says Suzanne Hrach, owner of the new venture. “All substantial construction is complete.

In addition to 30 craft beers on tap, 20-plus wines by the glass, house cocktails and signature snacks, Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room will feature thin-crust, artisan-style pizzas with house-made mozzarella and seasonal toppings.

Proper’s pizza dough, a sourdough-based starter that rests for three days after it’s made, comes from a recipe which Hrach’s boyfriend has worked to refine for more than a year.

Hrach has enlisted Lynette “LBEE” Bushey, formerly of Verde Mexican Kitchen and Cantina,  as Proper’s executive chef.

The menu is designed to emphasize the quality of the ingredients.

“Less is more,” says Hrach.

Tambellini’s, a Pittsburgh institution for more than 60 years, closed its doors in February.

Roundabout Brewery opens with a bang
Steve Sloan’s Roundabout Brewery on Butler Street in Lawrenceville had a hectic first two weeks in business.

When it initially opened its doors on the afternoon of Friday, July 12, lines to get growlers of beer filled the brewery’s foyer, extended out the door and wrapped around the building.

“That first week was really nuts,” Sloan says.

Sloan said that when he opened, he estimated that he had enough beer brewed to last a few weeks. By the end of last weekend, his supply of HyPA and Ginga Wheat were all but depleted.

Sloan anticipates having both beers available again within the week, but didn’t imagine he’d have any trouble keeping up with demand.

“If we have to go out and get another fermenter, we can do that,” Sloan says. “That’s where the bottleneck in the process is.”

Social plucks Kuhn away from Bar Marco
Mixologist Chris Kuhn has left Bar Marco to become the bar manager for Social at Bakery Square.

Kuhn’s cocktails include new takes on old favorites, such as the Brooklyn Bridge (Manhattan) and new concoctions, such as the Bourbon Blast (bourbon, grapefruit, maple syrup, bitters).

In addition to 16 beers on tap and 28 canned beers, Social will also offer fresh, house-made sangria which Kuhn will rotate weekly.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Suzanne Hrach, Steve Sloan, Chris Kuhn

Lunch patio pops up on Downtown's Strawberry Way

Most Pittsburghers know Strawberry Way as a Downtown alley used for deliveries, and as a popular shortcut for lunchtime pedestrians.

But for the next month, the block of Strawberry Way between Smithfield Street and Montour Way will be sectioned off and turned into a patio during lunch on weekdays.

“Our idea was to provide downtown office workers and residents with more access to public seating,” says Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “You can go to the Steel Tower on a nice day and the place is completely jam-packed with people eating their lunches. We’re going to try this out for 30 days and see how it goes.”

The patio, which debuted on Monday, will be set up and open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Waldrup says that it will seat between 50 and 60 people, and that its location — safely in the shade during those hours — makes it an ideal getaway for Downtown workers.

“We hope it will stick around for the rest of the season,” Waldrup says. “It could be something that stays open spring, summer and fall if everyone agrees it’s a good idea.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Jeremy Waldrup

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

Mon Wharf Switchback ramp meets funding goal

When Riverlife announced two weeks ago that it was launching an internet crowdfunding campaign to raise the last $4,454 needed to fund the Mon Wharf Switchback, it allowed a window of 60 days to raise the money.

“We blew through the goal in about 24 hours,” says Riverlife’s Stephan Bontrager. “This is one of those stories that shows how enthusiastic the Pittsburgh community can be.”

Redeveloped a few years ago, the Mon Wharf Landing still lacks a direct connection to Point State Park. The Mon Wharf Switchback will connect the Great Allegheny Passage and the Smithfield Street Bridge to Point State Park through the Mon Wharf Landing, creating access across a 40-foot elevation difference where there hasn’t been for generations.

With the initial funding goal met so quickly, Bontrager says that money raised above the initial goal will go toward improving trail signage in the area, making it easy for cyclists and pedestrians to identify the entrances and paths to the switchback. Riverlife refers to the project as “shovel-ready.”

“There’s a lot of site prep that’s going on. All of the engineering and permit design has been completed. We’re moving forward as quickly as humanly possible,” Bontrager says.

Riverlife hopes to have the Mon Wharf Switchback completed in time for the 2014 outdoor recreation season.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Stephan Bontrager
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