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Downtown & The Cultural District : Development News

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Who's Downtown? Population is younger and they use transit

Downtown Pittsburgh's resident population has increased by more than 30% in the past 12 years, and its population is getting younger.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) released two new reports—with information from the 2012 Pedestrian Traffic Study and the 2012 Downtown Pittsburgh Resident Survey—that shed light on who Downtown residents are, and what they do.

"This research provides us with excellent insight that can be utilized in business attraction and retention initiatives, highlighting the growth and progress we have seen throughout Downtown over the last few years," said PDP President and CEO Jeremy Waldrup in a statement.

The studies show that 45% of Downtown residents are under the age of 40, and 27% are under the age of 30, compared to 47% and 26% in 2010, respectively.

As for the general pedestrian population, over half travel to and from Downtown using the public transit system, either the “T” or a bus, according to the PDP.

The report also says that pedestrians spend an average of $108 per week at Downtown establishments, including $40 on food and drink. About $37 is spent on retail per week, $13 on sporting events, $11 on entertainment, and $7 on miscellaneous services.

More than half of Downtown households are now comprised of more than one person, an increase from 40% in the 2010 resident survey.

And overall, Downtown residents are happy with their chosen neighborhood; 74% of  respondents expressed that they were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their Downtown living experience, and on a scale of one to nine, the average score was eight.

Residents cited the availability of entertainment, restaurants, and events in a walkable environment as contributing to the favorability of living downtown.


Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Leigh Ann White, PDP

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writer: Andrew Moore

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership releases annual report; public art kick-off this weekend

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) released its annual report yesterday during its membership meeting highlighting achievements of the past year and its goals for 2013.

Guest speakers—including County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl—acknowledged the progress Downtown has made in recent years, and emphasized the need to attract young and new residents to the region.

Market Square was heralded for its continued role in drawing visitors and residents to Downtown. Along with the seasonal Market Square Farmers Market, numerous concerts, and services in partnership with the Carnegie Library, 85 additional events occurred in the square during 2012.

“It’s truly become a town square for Pittsburgh,” said Thomas Harrington, board chairman of the PDP.

The report acknowledges the completion of the North Shore Connector, a milestone for improving connections between the North Shore and Downtown. According to the report, the PDP led efforts to develop a model for sponsorship solicitation that led to the expansion of the free fare zone to the new North Shore stations.

Also in 2012, a 332 percent increase was seen in volunteer assistance for various projects Downtown; the Peoples Gas Holiday Market was introduced to Market Square; seven Sidewalk Activation projects were approved, representing $341,441 in total new investment, as well as six Façade Improvement Projects, totaling $400,484 in new investment.

In 2013 the Paris to Pittsburgh program will be expanded with a new $350,000 grant from the Colcom Foundation, and a renovated Mellon Square will reopen to the public.  In May, the PDP’s second annual State of Downtown Pittsburgh report will be released.

This weekend, the PDP will kick-off its new public art initiative with the nine free performances throughout the weekend by the Zany Umbrella Circus, as well as workshops and a mini-museum in Market Square.  

Also this weekend, Sisters of the Lattice—who bill themselves as "willfully conjoined techno-mystics"—are inviting audiences to a screening of their new film and to meditate in one of 10 individual saunas on Liberty Avenue.

“This is all about making Downtown Pittsburgh a unique and interesting place for people to come and visit, or stumble upon ...” said Jeremy Waldrup, PDP president and CEO.

Writer: Andrew Moore

SiX funding: Transit Tales to share stories of connecting on public transit

If you ride a bus in Pittsburgh chances are you've got more than a few good stories. And now Transit Tales, a new multimedia program, is offering a platform to share those experiences.

Pittsburghers for Public Transportation (PPT) was recently awarded $20,000 from the Sprout Fund as a result of our social innovation eXchange (SiX) on November 5th on Connecting our City. An effort to raise public awareness and the positive perception of public transit, Transit Tales seeks to engage a diverse audience with documentation and creative storytelling.

PPT’s Helen Gerhards says buses connect Pittsburgh’s communities across race, class, age, and various neighborhoods.

“They bring together people who otherwise would never meet,” she says. “We want to showcase those different communities and those lives.”

The project is a partnership between PPT, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG) and Bricolage Production Company (BPC). Located in Downtown’s Cultural District, Bricolage will also create an interactive theatrical event out of the stories.

Story collection has begun, but PPT is also planning hub events in specific neighborhoods. Dates and times for these gatherings will be announced soon on the organization’s website.

PPT plans to share the stories—gathered from riders, vehicle operators, and others—through print, audio, and video formats via partner organizations.

PPT is a volunteer-driven organization that advocates for mass transit as essential for healthy environments, better economics, and vibrant communities.

The RFP for this project was created following a recent Social innovation eXchange (SiX) Forum with its theme of connections.


Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Helen Gerhards

Great Allegheny Passage on track for spring completion; celebration date set

Mark your calendars: the final segments of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) will soon be complete.

On June 15th, a celebration will be held to mark the opening of the new trail segments, currently under construction at Sandcastle Waterpark and Keystone Metals.

The event, titled Point Made!, will take place in West Homestead and at Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The GAP trail is a 141 mile car-free route for cyclists and hikers running from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, Maryland.  In Cumberland the GAP joins the C&O Canal Towpath, which together creates a continuous, 325-mile long trail from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.

Allegheny Trail Alliance President Linda Boxx says the idea for the GAP trail was first discussed over 40 years ago in 1973. Since then, the project has chugged along with trail segments built over time, occasionally just a mile at a time.

And in the Mon Valley, the Alliance didn’t have access to railroad properties. “We were basically negotiating with individual property owners piece by piece to put that alignment together,” Boxx says.

The event will begin a ribbon-cutting near Sandcastle, followed by a bike ride to The Point, where the party will take place. Boxx says the ride will be a bicycle parade party.

Construction of the final segments, which began last October, will actually be completed ahead of the event, by late May.

Point Made! will be preceded by a week-long bicycle ride from Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh, as well as a 24-hour relay that will leave D.C. on Friday and arrive Pittsburgh on the 8th

“There will be a lot of opportunities for communities to jump in and help us celebrate this great accomplishment,” Boxx says. “So many hands over so many years.”
 
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source:  Linda Boxx

Catalytic Projects Program offers new round of neighborhood development grants, apply now

A new round of grants is set to boost neighborhood development throughout Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development (PPND) is investing in organizations that work to improve communities and the quality of residents’ lives with $20,000 to $75,000 in grants and loans.

PPND’s Sarah Perry says a goal of the program is to help innovative ideas get off the ground. 

“They need to have some element of improving the well-being of a neighborhood,” Perry says. “That could be improving the face of a neighborhood, or improving the access to quality education for the kids that live in a neighborhood.”

This is the second round of funding for the new Catalytic Projects Program, which was launched last fall. Through the first round of grants, PPND invested $368,750 in neighborhood development.

The current round of funding has been expanded to include any nonprofit organization, not just traditional community development corporations.

The funding is meant to support two phases of projects: feasibility and testing, and new project implementation. For feasibility and testing, PPND hopes the Catalytic Program can push emerging ideas through the early risk-taking stages of development.

PPND is encouraging proposals that involve collaboration across sectors, neighborhoods, and unlikely partners. There will be two more rounds of funding in 2013.

The deadline for submission is February 25th, 2013.  Visit the PPND website to apply. 


Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Sarah Perry

Eat and Drink: Butcher and Rye downtown and Gaucho Wood-fired Grill in the Strip District

Eat + Drink is Pop City's roundup of Pittsburgh's food scene
 
Having turned away dozens of potential patrons night after night, Meat & Potatoes owners have announced they will open a second location nearby, Butcher and Rye, this June across from Heinz Hall in the former Palate space.   
 
“Every time I walked by Palate, I thought it would be nice (to reopen the space),” says Tolga Sevdik, co-owner with Richard DeShantz of Meat & Potatoes on Penn Avenue. “It’s such a great location.”
 
The new restaurant will seat 85 and feature a menu similar to the popular gastro pub, with perhaps slightly smaller plates. Sticking with a winning formula, it will specialize in classic cocktails, bourbon and rye. The Meat and Potatoes sous chef will move over to the new location, which promises the same farm-to-table fare that has made Meat & Potatoes an award-winning favorite.

The bar will remain on the mezzanine level with some renovation to create a more appealing front entrance. Shantz and Sevdik also plan to open a third casual dining restaurant, Pork & Beans, in Lawrenceville later this year.
 
In more casual dining, Pittsburgh’s first Argentinian parrilla has opened, Gaucho Parrilla Argentina Wood-Fired Grill at 1607 Penn Ave. in the Strip District.
 
Chef and owner Anthony Falcon, a native of Brooklyn, NY, was previously the executive chef and food and beverage director at Southpointe Country Club. Falcon says the restaurant was inspired by his Argentinian father and uncle who took one look at the Strip District and said:
 
“You gotta open something down here. You’ll sell 100 chickens a day.”
 
Located in the former Big Mama’s, Falcon has created a cozy and casual stand-and-eat and take-out spot with a sizzling selection of hearty grilled dishes, steak and vegetable  sandwiches, sausages, chicken and fish.
 
The concept is working. Since opening two weeks ago, lines have been winding out the door with patrons drawn by the smoky flavors of the hickory wood-burning fire.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Tolga Sevdik, Butcher & Rye; Anthony Falcon, Gaucho

City to sponsor Edible Gardens throughout Pittsburgh, $100,000 Cities of Service grant

As urban gardening continues to gain momentum, the City of Pittsburgh is now sponsoring a targeted edible gardens program.

Part of Green Up Pittsburgh, Mayor Ravenstahl’s new Edible Gardens program seeks to transform vacant lots into food producing spaces that not only feed the community but beautify it too.

The funds will enable neighborhood volunteers to purchase materials for constructing raised beds, purchase tools, seeds, or even fruit trees and shrubs. The program is targeting 10 to 15 low-income neighborhoods where access to fresh produce is limited.

For several years the City has supported neighborhood organizations and allowed gardening on city-owned properties. Through Green Up Pittsburgh, more than 125 green spaces have been created, says mayoral spokesperson Joanna Doven. And existing garden groups can also apply for funding.

Edible Gardens is made possible by a $100,000 Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grant, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The funds were awarded to support two of the administration’s servePGH initiatives.

The grant also funds a city “cool roofs” initiative, where city-owned buildings are topped with reflective white paint, keeping facilities cooler and offering savings on summer energy costs. 

Of 60 applicants, Pittsburgh is one of 19 cities to receive the Cities of Service grant. Partners in the project include Grow Pittsburgh and The Penn State Center.

Applications are required, and those received by February 22 will be given priority.  Applications will continue to be accepted throughout the growing season. The first gardens are scheduled for planting in March and April. 

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Joanna Doven

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

Bruno Works makes space in Downtown for tiny little startups

While new high-rises in Downtown Pittsburgh add more office space for bankers, lawyers, and CEO’s, other freelance professionals might still find it hard to acquire affordable desk space.  But Bruno Works, a new coworking space on Liberty Avenue, is hoping to change that.

Eve Picker has opened the new coworking space in her Bruno building at 945 Liberty Avenue, above the ToonSeum.  The facility consists of two floors of loft space, with desks, conference rooms, kitchen, private telephone rooms, and other amenities.

Picker says it’s an ideal space for “tiny little startups.”  There are currently 11 individuals in the shared office, with room for 40.

The reasons for joining a co-working space vary, but likely include the affordability of shared amenities.  And for folks who would otherwise work from home, it can offer a more normalized work routine.

Picker says some professionals are also looking for synergistic connections.  Those types of relationships are already being formed at Bruno Works, since an artist found work with a web designer just desks away.

And Bruno Works has its own synergy with another coworking space, East Liberty’s The Beauty Shoppe. They’re offering a shared flex-pass where one can have access to both facilities.

Other amenities at Bruno Works include a make station, mail boxes, high speed internet, as well as printing, faxing, copying and shredding.  Membership costs range from $300 for a dedicated desk, to just $50 for access to conference rooms.  And for $150 members will have an unassigned desk and 24/7 access to the building.

In addition to office space, Picker is launching the Community Creative School, a social programming series that’s focused on bringing Pittsburgh's design and creative community together.  The events will be free, and hosted at Bruno Works.

Although there are other facilities for startups in Pittsburgh, and coworking spaces like Beauty Shoppe, and Garfield’s Catapult, Bruno Works is the first of its kind in Downtown.


 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Eve Picker
Image Credit:  Bruno Works

How would you light The Point? Riverlights at Three Rivers Arts Festival

When the fountain at Point State Park reopens this summer it will have been four years since it was last open to the public.  And to mark the occasion on Friday, June 7th, Riverlife has asked local artists to design a lighting installation that will celebrate the park’s complete renovation.

The event, titled Riverlights at The Point, will coincide with the opening night of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, and will feature live music. 

A Request for Proposals for the lighting installation is available at Riverlife’s website.  Proposals should be submitted to the e-mail address provided on the RFP.  Proposals are due February, 15th, 2013.

Stephan Bontrager, of Riverlife, says that while his organization doesn’t want to box in creativity, the project does have a few specific goals.  In addition to emphasizing the fountain, the installation should “achieve a magical effect throughout the park,” creating spectacular displays for viewers from Mount Washington to the North Shore.

“And of course, if you’re in Point State Park that night you’ll be surrounded by light and water,” he says.

Additionally, Bontrager says proposals should balance elements of art and technology, representing Pittsburgh’s evolving identity.

 “When you take all of these different elements together, like an emphasis on technology, and outdoor recreation, and the artistic elements throughout the Three River Arts Festival,” Bontrager says, “all of those facets really represent the new Pittsburgh.”

The Riverlights event is sponsored by the Colcom Foundation, and is a partnership between the Three River Arts Festival, Riverlife, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

And although June 7th will be the official opening of the renovated fountain, Bontrager notes that Point State Park’s other sections, such as riverfront promenades, lawns, and woodland areas have already opened to the public.
 

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Stephan Bontrager

$350,000 Colcom Grant to fund PDP's Paris to Pittsburgh Facade Grant Program

Efforts to enliven Downtown Pittsburgh with Parisian-esque streetscapes have been renewed thanks to a recent grant from the Colcom Foundation.  The $350,000 award will further the Paris to Pittsburgh Façade Grant Program, a project of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP).

Launched in early 2008, the program provides a 50 percent matching grant of up to $30,000 to building and business owners for exterior façade renovations in the Golden Triangle. 

The original goal of the program was to evoke a “Parisian atmosphere” by activating outdoor and sidewalk dining at local restaurants.  In 2010, the program was expanded and now includes full building façade renovations. 

The PDP’s Geof Comings says the grant program has allowed owners to invest in their businesses in ways that for many would not be possible without the assistance.

“The program has allowed them to make significant improvements that benefit not just their business, but improve the quality of Downtown architecture for all to enjoy,” he says.

According to Comings, many buildings in the program are beautiful old structures that in past decades had suffered from poorly conceived façade alterations.  And while Paris to Pittsburgh is not a historic renovation program, in many cases the restorations do bring a building’s first floor back to an earlier aesthetic period.  

Comings says that until recently downtown was still an uncertain place to invest. 

"But now that things are just looking so good in downtown, and everyone is heading in this positive direction, people are putting more money into their buildings, and it shows," he says.

In the past five years more than 50 projects have been approved and 43 have been completed.  The total investment in completed projects totals $2,057,580,of which $749,852 is grant funded.  Remaining costs were funded through private investment.

Three projects expected to be completed in the coming year include Café Milano on Sixth Street, 901 Penn Avenue–home of the new Nicky’s Thai Kitchen and the soon-to-open Sinful Sweets chocolate shop, and a storefront at 604 Liberty Avenue.

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Geof Comings

Eat + Drink: Inca Peruvian downtown; D.Jís Butcher Block; La Palapa Mexican Cuisine; and more

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


•  AJ's Inca Peruvian Restaurant opened this week in Downtown Pittsburgh at 500 Liberty Avenue.  Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken is the star here, along with a variety of other Peruvian dishes.  The restaurant is located in the former Cuzamil space, just outside Market Square.  Open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.  412-642-6606.

•  In North Oakland, Legume has re-launched its adjoining bar space under the name Butterjoint.  The word refers to a type of brickwork masonry known for its simplicity and elegance.  Chef Trevett Hooper says it’s a metaphor for how food is prepared at Legume, and now at Butterjoint.

Hooper says the redesigned bar menu—with fare such as pierogies and burgers— now offers substantial meals at a lower price than in the restaurant.  He hopes it will allow Legume’s loyal customers to visit more frequently.  It’s the same quality meat and produce, he says, just with a more straightforward preparation.

The space itself has been reconfigured to provide a more comfortable dining experience.  A weekly variety show, featuring music, comedy, spoken word and magicians, is held on Tuesdays.  And bar manager Will Groves was brought on to revamp the beer and cocktail menu.  214 North Craig Street.  412.621.2700.

•  D.J.’s Butcher Block Specialty Sausage and Meats opened recently in Bloomfield, a small storefront shop offering fresh, cured, and smoked sausage, grass-fed beef, as well as local chicken and turkey.

For the past three years, owner/butcher D.J. Smulick, a former chef at Café Sam, has offered products at various farmers markets.  Smulick sources a majority of meats from local vendors, and seeks to offer high quality products that remain affordable. 

D.J’s also stocks a small selection of local cheese, eggs, pickles, mustards and jellies.  Smulick doesn’t want to become a grocery store, he says, rather he’s just offering a few products that complement the meats.  4623 Liberty Avenue.  412-621-3100.

Also in Bloomfield, multiple sushi restaurants have opened, including Ginza (412-688-7272), at 4734 Liberty Avenue.  And more recently, Fukuda Sushi, which is BYOB, opened in the former Stagioni storefront, at 4770 Liberty Avenue.  And on Sundays, Chef Matt Kemp offers an evening menu at East Liberty’s AVA Lounge.  412-377-0916.

•  La Palapa Mexican Cuisine is the latest food purveyor to join the growing list of vendors at the Strip District’s Pittsburgh Public Market.  Friday through Sunday La Palapa will offer a variety of tamales, quesadillas chilangas, chiles rellenos, frijoles charros, enchiladas, and desserts including flan.    412-992-7206.

Also in the Strip, the Thin Man Sandwich Shop is opening soon at 50 21st Street, in the former 21st Street Coffee and Tea location.  Owners and chefs Dan and Sherri Leiphart have previously worked at Isabela on Grandview, the former Le Pommier, and Lidia's Pittsburgh.  The Leipharts are aiming to bring their classically trained experience to a more relaxed and casual atmosphere. 

•  Wilkinsburg has been a dry borough for the past 80 years.  But now, the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC) is pushing for a ballot referendum to allow liquor licenses in the community.  It’s cited as a tool for economic development, as alcohol sales could help draw hotels, fine dining, and other entertainment options to the borough.  Visit WCDC’s website to learn more.

 
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

Building Healthy Communities to be focus of upcoming Commonwealth Awards

At this year’s Commonwealth Awards, the 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania’s signature event, the theme of “Building Healthy Communities” will be emphasized in honor of the late Mark Schneider. 

A former Chairman of 10,000 Friends, Schneider was a leader in smart growth and sustainable development in the region.  In recognition of his impact, the organization’s highest individual award, the “Friend of Pennsylvania” Award, will be presented to Mark posthumously and will be renamed the “Mark C. Schneider Memorial Friend of Pennsylvania” Award.

And this year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Richard J. Jackson, co-author of the book and host/narrator of the public television series, Designing Healthy Communities.  Dr. Jackson is a recipient of the 2012 Heinz Award for the Environment.

Regional Director Grant Ervin says Schneider’s numerous projects in Pittsburgh are great examples of Dr. Jackson’s message—that the built environment has a direct correlation on public and individual health.

“Projects like Summerset and Washington’s Landing have set the bar high and have provided recognition that people want these types of products,” Ervin says.  “They were trailblazers at the time.”

10,000 Friends will also honor several southwest Pennsylvania awardees from the first round of the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI) funding.  Schneider also helped develop the vision for PCTI and was one of its chief advocates.

Founded in 1998, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is a statewide advocate for smart growth.  It has operated a Pittsburgh office since 2004.

The 2012 Commonwealth Awards will be held at Point Park University, Lawrence Hall 201, Wood Street, Downtown Pittsburgh.  For more information, and to register, click here.

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Grant Ervin
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