This week in Pop City's Eat + Drink roundup:
- Nicky's Thai Kitchen, the popular Allegheny West Thai restaurant, will be opening a new location downtown, at the corner of Penn Avenue and 9th Street. Sinful Sweets by Christopher George is also planned to open in the adjacent storefront at 901 Penn Avenue.
- The Strip District’s Bar Marco has announced it will team up with Chef Justin Severino, of Cure, every Monday for charcuterie, cheese, and cocktail pairings. The weekly events will be menu-free, with custom-made cocktails built for guests based on personal preferences. Cocktails, with small charcuterie and cheese tastings, will be $10. Bar Marco, 2216 Penn Avenue. 412-471-1900.
- Stone Neapolitan Pizzeria at River Vue is now open. The restaurant features an Italian imported wood-burning oven and promises a 90 second cooking time. Located in the ground floor of the recently opened RiverVue apartments, the pizzeria is across the street from downtown’s Point State Park. Also on the menu are house-made mozzarella, Italian sodas, draft and bottled beer, as well as made-to-order salads and sandwiches. 300 Liberty Avenue, Suite 100. 412-904-4531.
- Yogli Mogli, a franchise of the national chain, opened recently on Washington Road in Mt Lebanon. The eatery is a self-serve yogurt shop that features classic flavors with unique parings such as blueberry acai, and pomegranate raspberry tart. Toppings range from mango, lychee, and peaches, to cookie dough, walnuts, and granola. 695 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon. 412-207-2291.
- Mrs. Jean’s Southern Cuisine has moved to a new location at Hosanna House, 807 Wallace Ave., Wilkinsburg. The restaurant also recently finished taping an episode for Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. 412-723-2015.
- The South Side’s Carson Street Deli has reopened after closing briefly for renovations to the sandwich shop and craft beer store. In addition to bottled beers from local breweries and specialty imports, Carson Street Deli now features 20 taps. The deli hosts weekly beer samplings Wednesdays, from 6 to 8 p.m. 1507 E. Carson Street. 412-381-5335.
Writer: Andrew Moore
The first Passive House in Western Pennsylvania is now complete. A project of ACTION-Housing Inc., the home is a prototype for affordable housing that drastically cuts energy consumption by 85 percent. An open house celebration will be held tomorrow, November 1st, at the newly-constructed home in Heidelberg.
Passive House design was first developed in Germany as a performance-based standard which limits energy consumption to 4.75 KBTU per square foot, per year. According to Linda Metropulos, sustainability and development consultant with ACTION-Housing, that amounts to just 10 to 15 percent of what a typical house uses.
“It’s a very ambitious, but very possible standard to reach,” Metropulos says. “We wanted to be able to demonstrate how that standard could be applied to a house in Pittsburgh.”
The Heidelberg Passive House is built with minimal ductwork and no furnace. Instead, the home achieves its energy performance through super-insulation, by eliminating thermal bridges, maximizing air tightness, and features high-performance windows and doors, among other techniques.
ACTION-Housing hopes to replicate this house, or versions of it, throughout the region. But Metropulos hopes it will also inspire other developers and contractors in the region to take-on the Passive House challenge.
“We would like other people to recognize that this is possible in Western Pennsylvania,” she says.
Although the home’s Passive House certification is still pending, a quality control consultant oversaw the construction process, and conducted performance tests using robust modeling tools, Metropulos says.
ACTION-Housing has been a weatherization assistance program provider for the past 30 years. Additionally, it does renovation and new construction of houses that are for sale to moderate income households. The Heidelberg Passive House is for sale to a household that is at 80% area-median income or less.
The project is a partnership between the Allegheny County Economic Development and the Borough of Heidelberg, among others. The home was designed by Thoughtful Balance Architects
ACTION-Housing is also in the process of conducting a Passive House-standard retrofit of the McKeesport YMCA, built in 1922.
Tomorrow’s open house will be held at 1606 W. Railroad Street, Heidelberg, PA, from 3 to 6 p.m. Speakers include County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Heidelberg Mayor Kenneth A. LaSota and Katrin Klingenberg, executive director of the Passive House Institute US.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Linda Metropulos
The Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC) has one primary goal: to improve the community and business district. One way it’s working to meet this goal is by planting more than 500 trees in the borough.
This past Saturday, 77 new trees were planted along the Penn Avenue commercial corridor in Wilkinsburg. It was the fourth planting since the effort began, with a total of 109 trees in the business district, and the rest in Wilkinsburg’s residential neighborhoods.
“There’s one more planting to finish it up, but we’ve finally gotten to that point where we have a nice set of new street trees all though the business district,” says WCDC Executive Director Tracey Evans.
Officially known as the Wilkinsburg TreeVitalize Project: Rooted in Wilkinsburg – 500 Tree Initiative, the effort is a partnership between WCDC, TreeVitalize Pittsburgh, the Borough of Wilkinsburg, and the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association.
The tree plantings are funded by a grant from PennVEST, a state agency whose primary purpose in the initiative is to address stormwater runoff.
And while addressing stormwater is also a priority for the partners in Wilkinsburg, street trees have numerous benefits to the community beyond affecting water quality.
“It’s important because we have 27,000 cars a day drive down Penn Avenue,” Evans says. As her organization works to bring businesses into vacant storefronts, street trees are part of a vibrant streetscape that will help attract those new tenants.
Types of trees include elm, gingko, hackberry, honey locust, Kentucky coffeetree, Japanese tree lilac, and maple.
WCDC began as an all-volunteer organization in 2007, and a fulltime staff was hired in 2010. In the past two years the organization has implemented other streetscape improvement projects including new borough banners in the commercial district, fixed lamp posts, and purchased trash receptacles.
Additionally, WCDC has marketed 40 commercial properties and helped to fill several vacant storefronts with new businesses.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Tracey Evans
The renovation of historic buildings in Downtown Pittsburgh has been given yet another boost. The Colcom Foundation has granted Landmarks Community Capital (LCC) $500,000 to create a loan fund for property owners of historic structures in the Golden Triangle. The program aims to spur more retail in downtown’s historic buildings.
LCC is the lending subsidiary of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF). According to PHLF President Arthur Ziegler, the loans are available for borrowing to start a business in a historic building, as well as for storefront and façade improvements.
“It’s for improvements to the physical historic real estate,” Ziegler says. He adds that the new initiative is designed to work in concert with existing efforts, such as the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Paris to Pittsburgh program, and the URA’s façade improvements program.
LCC will make loans to building owners ranging from $5,000 to $30,000.
Although there are several historic buildings looming tall in Pittsburgh’s skyline, Ziegler says most structures are between two and five stories.
And downtown’s historic districts, which include the Cultural District and Market Square, may soon be expanded. Funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission, Ziegler says PHLF has recently submitted an expanded districts proposal to the National Register.
This new initiative comes on the heels of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s $4 million Downtown Preservation Program, a partnership with PHLF that is restoring seven historic structures in the Wood and Market Street corridors.
For more information about the loans, and to apply, visit LCC's website
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Arthur Ziegler
A 63-room boutique hotel is coming to the heart of heart of East Liberty. The development will be a historic renovation of the five-story former YMCA building on Whitfield Street, behind the East Liberty Presbyterian Church.
East Liberty Development Inc. (ELDI) is the project developer, and was recently awarded an $800,000 federal grant from the Office of Community Services, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service.
Previously, attempts to convert the circa-1911 building into condominiums or apartments have stalled and failed. ELDI’s Nate Cunningham says the current historic renovation plan maximizes the use of the building, and will preserve many of its original functions.
Existing hotel-like rooms in the building’s upper floors will be expanded to create larger hotel rooms. The ground level will feature an 80-seat restaurant space, in addition to a 120-seat ballroom, and a 300-seat gymnasium. The gym will be available for larger evens including sit-down or musical events, Cunningham says.
The hotel will be operated by a national brand known for its commitment to transitional neighborhoods, with a strong cultural and arts focus.
This is the fifth OCS grant that ELDI has been awarded. Grant recipients are required to create a specified amount of jobs as part of the development, a certain number of which are to be reserved for low-income workers.
“It’s nice because it’s a recognition of the commitment we’ve had to making this a neighborhood for everyone,” Cunningham says.
One hundred fulltime jobs are expected to be created for the ongoing operations of the hotel, and restaurant and beverage components.
Cunningham hopes to begin construction on the project by the first quarter of 2013.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Nate Cunningham
Summerset at Frick Park will be buzzing with activity this weekend, including a Fall Festival, groundbreaking ceremonies, and a remembrance of the late community development leader Mark Schneider.
During the community’s Fall Festival on Saturday, October 27th, a parade will lead through the neighborhood, culminating at Crescent Park. In attendance will be the Alderdice Marching Band, Studio Capezzuti’s Giant Puppets, the Frick Park Environmental Center, and a half dozen food trucks including Franktuary, Oh My Grill, and Peddlin’ Company Pierogies.
In addition to the festival, the community is gathering to remember Mark Schneider, the late visionary who led the development to transform a former slag heap into this vibrant home place.
Craig Dunham, of Summerset Land Development Associates, says Schneider was the leading vision and voice for the development.
“Mark was a leader in our partnership, really in the forefront of the project since its inception back in 1997,” Dunham says. Schneider died earlier this summer after being injured in a bicycle accident in Maryland. He was 55.
To commemorate his life and contributions to the city, a new community park will be dedicated to Schneider within Summerset. New townhomes will face the square, which will include a lawn, trees, a pedestal and plaque, as well as benches and bicycle racks.
“It’ll be a little, quiet place within the community that is surrounded by homes and very much a central part of the neighborhood,” Dunham says.
Schneider was an avid cyclist, longtime trail proponent, and a co-founder of Pedal Pittsburgh. Dunham says the Three Rivers bicycle racks will be placed at the site to commemorate that aspect of his life.
In addition to the new park, construction has begun on a new 131-unit apartment complex. Designed by Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, it will be the largest rental community at Summerset. Dunham expects the first units to be complete by April of next year.
And finally, a series of new roads are set to be opened within the site, including Park View Boulevard, Biltmore, Overton, Beardsley, and Shelburne Lanes.
The Festival will take place from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Crescent Park on Parkview Boulevard. 412-420-0120.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Craig Dunham
The Design Awards’ Silver Medal is reserved for a project of the decade, a design considered by the jury to be flawless. The Gateway T Station in Downtown Pittsburgh has won that award, the first project to receive the accolade since 2008.
AIA Pittsburgh’s Executive Director Anne Swager says this year’s jury placed a special emphasis on designing with the public, and for the public good.
“That Gateway T Station project, which won the Silver Medal, is just a really great example of civic architecture, architecture that’s for the people,” Swager says.
The transit station, which uses a glass structure to introduce natural lighting into the underground platform, was designed by Light/Motion Collaborative, a partnership between Pfaffmann + Associates and EDGE Studios. Pfaffman + Associates were also designers of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter, the 2008 Silver Medal winner.
In addition to civic design, a second theme presented itself during this year’s Design Awards: the influence of the continuing recession. Because of that, Swager says, many of the projects came from universities, which tend to be a little more resilient in lean times.
But despite economic conditions Swager says it was a very strong year for design.
“There is no question that architects are more than capable of designing well even with limited resources—they just do,” she says. “And they can make a difference even with limited resources. It’s the imagination and the design capabilities of architects that really counts.”
This year’s People’s Choice Award went to the University of Pittsburgh's Undergraduate Chemistry Lab by Renaissance 3 Architects, P.C. The project also won a juried certificate of merit. And the Young Architects Studio Competition award went to Beatrice Spolidoro for the Symphony Bridge redesign of the Fort Wayne bridge.
The 2012 Design Awards were held this past Thursday, October 11th
, in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Other Pittsburgh-based projects to win awards include downtown's PNC Legacy Project, and Wigle Whiskey Distillery, EDGE Studio; University of Pittsburgh Chevron Chemistry Annex, Wilson Architects, Inc. + Renaissance 3 Architects, P.C.; Western Avenue Loft and Slopes Pylon, Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects; Crohhan's Edge Townhomes, mossArchitects; Pittsburgh's Tribute to Children, Astorino; South Hills Retirement Residence, Rothschild Doyno Collaborative and Thoughtful Balance; and Eco Bistro, Lami Grubb Architects, LP.
Regional and urban design winners include the Allegheny Riverfront Vision Plan, Perkins Eastman; The Oakland 2025 Masterplan, Pfaffmann + Associates/Studio for Spatial Practice; Almono Vision, Rothschild Doyno Collaborative; and Market Square Place, Strada.
For a full list of this year’s Design Awards winners, click here
to visit AIA Pittsburgh’s site.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Anne Swager
The Great Allegheny Passage is almost complete, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held this weekend to celebrate the construction of the trail’s final two segments.
The trail is a 141 mile car-free route for cyclists and hikers running from Homestead, 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.
Saturday’s ceremony was held at Sandcastle Waterpark, where a new segment will be built along the amusement park’s interior road, at the rear of the park. The new segment will be separated from vehicular traffic.
The final segment will be built on a former railroad spur on land that had until recently belonged to Keystone Iron and Metal. Friends of the Riverfront (FOR) had worked with Keystone to develop a land-swap deal that was necessary to fill this final void in the trail.
“They’ve been a great partner for a very long time and it was a pleasure working with them now and into the future,” says Thomas Baxter, FOR executive director.
Baxter expects the two segments to be complete sometime next year in late spring or early summer. Once complete, a trail party will be held to commemorate the occasion. Baxter says a date will be announced soon.
“It’s a monumental undertaking, but thankfully, through a lot of dedicated people it’s finally all coming together,” Baxter says.
The Great Allegheny Passage has been a work in progress for the past 30 years. In 1995 the Allegheny Trail Alliance was formed, a coalition of regional trail organizations that includes the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, the Steel Valley Trail Council, Mountain Maryland Trails, and more.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Thomas Baxter
This Saturday a pop up market place in Morningside hopes to offer a taste of what that neighborhood has to offer, and to demonstrate a model co-op still in the works.
In conjunction with the Morningside Area Community Council’s Fall-O-Ween Festival, Talia Piazza has organized a Pop-Up Co-Op that will transform a vacant storefront into a café for the day, and a streetscape filled with vendors. She hopes it will allow residents and visitors to imagine what a vibrant businesses district could look like in the neighborhood.
It’s the type of transformation Piazza’s new pop-up initiative wants to have in budding commercial districts throughout the city.
“We want to try to expose you to that, and open your eyes to the possibilities of opening a business in a place like Morningside,” Piazza says.
The pop up market is part of a project that was awarded funding through Awesome Pittsburgh, a local chapter of the Awesome Foundation, which distributes monthly $1,000 grants to projects and creators. Piazza’s project was one of two selected for the first round of grants in Pittsburgh.
Piazza’s goal is to open a permanent co-op in a neighborhood, like Morningside, that has the infrastructure and potential to become a vibrant district. The co-op will offer small businesses shared space to sell their goods, to pool resources, while cutting the costs of rent, promotion and marketing, and other necessities that can be prohibitive to first-time business owners.
Piazza, who works fulltime for the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development, also plans to open a storefront for her bakery.
“Coming from community development, if I open up a business I want it to be able to contribute to a neighborhood,” Piazza says. “And I think if we can get other small business people to think like that we can make real changes in neighborhoods”
This Saturday, October 20th, the event will take place at Greenwood and Chislett, in Morningside, from noon to 4 p.m. A vacant storefront, at 6908 Greenwood Street, will become a café for the day, stocked with baked goods from Piazza’s own Baked PGH, and coffee drinks from Simpatico Espresso.
Costumes are encouraged for the Fall-O-Ween Festival, which is a family and kid-friendly event.
Participating in the market place will be Garfield Farms, offering their locally grown greens herbs, and salad mix; Lenny’s Produce; LaScola’s Italian Ice; Union Project Ceramics, and more. Live music throughout the day will be provided by The Beagle Brothers and Ben Shannon.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Talia Piazza
A new mixed-use development is moving ahead at the former Saks site downtown. The plan includes 20,000 square feet of retail space, subterraneous parking, and 101 apartment units.
Developers Millcraft Investments and McKnight Realty Partners, with the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, have entered into an exclusive negotiation period with the URA. The planned development would demolish the current four-story structure, as well as three smaller structures along Fifth Avenue.
URA Director Robert Rubinstein calls this an exciting project that “magnifies the original concept considerably,” bringing in two developers with a strong track record both in Pittsburgh and nationally.
In addition to underground parking, the development will include several levels of parking, to be located above the retail space, and below the market rate apartments.
Parking is already in high demand in the central business district, Rubinstein says, and with other neighboring redevelopment projects in the works this structure will help to meet a growing demand. Other adjacent projects include the Oliver building’s redevelopment into hotel and office space; PNC’s coming use of the former Lord and Taylor building; and the conversion of the Reed Smith and Alcoa buildings into apartments.
Rubinstein says that although a subterranean development in the heart of downtown will be quite expensive, he has the highest level of confidence that the development will take place.
“This is a development team that has done many deals that people thought were impossible,” Rubinstein says. “They find a creative way to use the various tools that are out there.”
Millcraft Investments is a subsidiary of Millcraft Industries, responsible for several notable projects downtown, including Market Square Place, Piatt Place, and the RiverVue Apartments. McKnight Realty has previously purchased and converted the former Gimbels building downtown into the Heinz 57 Center, and owns the nearby Grant, Oliver, and Brooks Brothers buildings.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Robert Rubinstein
- The Wild Purveyor’s Market Stand is now open in Upper Lawrenceville. An evolution of the wholesale wild-foods business started by brothers Cavan and Tom Patterson, the market features local Pennsylvania cheeses, meats, and produce, as well as an assortment of seasonally foraged foods. Currently in stock: chicken of the woods and hen of the woods mushrooms.
And the Second Annual Pittsburgh Picklefest will take place at the market this Saturday. The event is presented by Crested Duck Charcuterie and Slow Food Pittsburgh. 5308 Butler Street, Lawrenceville. 412-206-WILD.
- Benjamin’s Western Avenue Burger Bar is scheduled to open tonight in Allegheny West. The restaurant is operated by Paul Tebbets, co-owner of Toast! in Shadyside, and the former BRiX Wood Fired Wine Bar, which the new restaurant replaces.
BRiX closed its doors earlier this year after difficulties with a zoning permit for its wood-fired pizza oven. The burger bar will be similar in concept to BRiX while swapping pizza for burgers. Benjamin’s is located at 900 Western Avenue in the Northside.
- Fredrick’s Soul Food is now open Monday through Saturday on Smithfield Street, in Downtown Pittsburgh, serving breakfast at 6:30 a.m. Fredrick’s specializes in chicken and waffles, ribs and wings, yams, greens, and mac & cheese.
Fredrick’s is owned by Larry Ross. Ross says the menu consists of family recipes, and his kitchen staff is headed by his daughters Maya and Seaera. 412-232-1900. 633 Smithfield Street. 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Sal’s City Deli is opening soon in downtown, and will feature made-to-order sandwiches, fresh salads, and homemade soups. It will be located at 245 Seventh Street, next to the Benedum Theater in the Cultural District.
- In addition to locations in East Liberty and Cranberry, BRGR’s gourmet burgers are now available to downtown lunch crowds via The BRGR Food Truck. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. it will be parked at Grant Street and Forbes Avenue, Monday through Friday. It also makes regular appearances in the Strip District, on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 21st
Street and Penn Avenue.
- Another newcomer to Pittsburgh’s mobile food scene is Oh My Grill
, a specialty grilled-cheese themed food truck. 724-996-3955.
for more information about food trucks in Pittsburgh.
Writer: Andrew Moore
TREK Development held a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday for a project that will bring 24 new apartments to the former UPMC-Braddock Hospital site. The development is part of a larger $20.3 million redevelopment of the three-acre site.
Phase I of the development will consist of eight one-bedroom, eight two-bedroom, and eight three-bedroom apartments; 800, 1,300, and 1,500 square-feet respectively. The project is using low-income housing tax credits, and the target market will be 60% of the area median income.
Rothschild Doyno Collaborative is the project architect. Construction is scheduled to begin next week, with an estimated total cost of $8 million for phase I.
According to John Ginocchi, TREK’s director of development, the two-bedroom units will be townhouse-style apartments. Four of the units will be fully wheelchair accessible.
The property was given to the Allegheny County Redevelopment Authority by UPMC following the hospital’s closure in 2010. The county sold the property to TREK for $250,000 earlier this month.
In addition to phase I, TREK’s redevelopment plan for the site includes 11 new single-family homes, approximately 20,000 square-feet of commercial and office space, and a community park. Ginocchi says his company is still in the planning phase of the commercial facility, but that it includes a MedExpress urgent-care center as its first tenant.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: John Ginocchi
Oakland has published a plan for its future. Titled The Oakland 2025 Master Plan: A Vision for Sustainable Living and Mobility
, it’s the neighborhood’s first comprehensive master plan in decades.
According to the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (OPDC)—facilitators of the study—the document outlines strategies to guide and support Oakland’s continued growth as a center of innovation and technology, and for supporting quality of life for residents.
Wanda Wilson, OPDC Executive Director, says the process was successful in bringing together the interests of the institutional, development, and residential communities.
“We engaged about 400 people through the whole process covering the range of stakeholders that we have in Oakland,” Wilson says. “It's really the first broad-based community engagement the likes of what the Oakland community hasn't seen for a couple decades.”
The plan recognizes that without an improved housing stock and reliable transportation options Oakland is at risk of losing its edge as an innovation center.
Addressing those issues, OPDC is seeking to create a transportation system that serves all users equally, including pedestrians, cyclists, transit, and automobiles, with strong, well-designed neighborhood connections.
OPDC anticipates bus rapid transit to be implemented in the Fifth Forbes Corridor, accompanied by dedicated east-west bicycle lanes. The plan recommends route alternatives, as well as improved parking management and the possibility of an Oakland-Downtown circulator.
The plan also proposes “Ten Big Changes for Oakland”, including increasing the number of people who both live and work in its neighborhoods, and increasing access to parks, open space, and trails.
According to the document, housing upgrades would be achieved through rehab, conservation, and financial incentives to spur innovative new housing choices. Options include employer assisted housing, trailhead neighborhoods, and 50+ intergenerational communities.
A release party for the plan will be held on November 1st
, 6 to 8 p.m. at the University of Pittsburgh’s Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Avenue.
Also in Oakland, Fourth River Development LLC has issued a request for proposals for redevelopment of the former Schenley High School. Fourth River is working on behalf of The Pittsburgh Board of Public Education.
The School Board states that through an open community engagement process it will approve the sale of the school to a competitive bidder based on criteria deemed important by the School District and the North Oakland community.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Wanda Wilson
A former convenience store in Lawrenceville may soon become an independent theater and craft beer shop.
Botero Development is planning a 72-seat digital theater and bottle shop, to be located in the former Star Discount building at 4115 Butler Street. Developer Brian Mendelssohn plans to remake the building’s first floor and basement into a theater specializing in classic films.
According to Mendelssohn, although there were once three cinemas in Lawrenceville, the neighborhood has been without a theater since the 1960’s.
Rather than showing the latest blockbuster, the theater will curate films based on what Mendelssohn is calling marathon-based programming. He says this could mean a series of films from directors like Alfred Hitchcock or Wes Anderson, a Lord of the Rings marathon, or even a showing of classic ‘80’s comedies.
Mendelssohn says the initial investment in digital theater equipment will be considerable, but he expects the community to support the endeavor.
“I think this movie theater and the bottle shop fit right into what Lawrenceville has become and what our identity is,” he says.
In addition to the theater Mendelssohn plans to build an accompanying bottle shop within the building, allowing theater goers to purchase beer and drink beverages during films. The bottle shop will specialize in craft and import beers, both in draft and bottle form.
Mendelssohn says the shop will not have a bar-like setting; rather its experience will be more like visiting a winery. He plans to host tastings, brewer talks, education sessions, and paring events.
“We really want to create a whole community celebrating local beer,” he says.
Botero is seeking special zoning exceptions related to parking configurations. The board will make a decision within the next 45 days. Pending approval, Mendelssohn expects to begin construction in December, and to have a grand opening for the theater and bottle shop next September.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Brian Mendelssohn
Operating a food truck in Pittsburgh can be quite difficult. In fact, some trucks operate illegally. But the recently formed PGH Mobile Food
coalition is hoping to change that.
“We are trying to change the law that the City of Pittsburgh currently has in place for mobile food,” says Megan Lindsey, co-owner of the Franktuary Food Truck. “We would like to see more food trucks here because it’s part of a thriving city-scape.”
The coalition also wants to make it easier for prospective vendors to understand the current set of rules, and how to successfully operate within them.
PGH Mobile Food is partnering with the Institute for Justice (IJ), a D.C.-based public interest law firm that has worked in various cities to refine rules governing mobile food. According to Lindsey, IJ has established best practices that keep food safety standards in place, but remove anti-competitive barriers to food truck operators.
Lindsey points to successful code modifications in El Paso, Texas. In that city, once a more user-friendly code was put in place entrepreneurs, many of them immigrants, were able to launch their businesses with greater ease.
“They found a lot of these folks were coming and starting trucks and serving a lot of great food,” Lindsey says. “That’s what we hope will happen in Pittsburgh.”
Prior to forming PGH Mobile Food, Lindsey learned that City Councilman Bill Peduto’s office was working independently to amend the mobile food codes. That initiative inspired Lindsey and business partner Tim Tobitsch to launch the coalition.
“Now that we’re involved we feel like we can help influence things from the owner/operator perspective,” Lindsey says.
PGH Mobile Food is partnering with the Saxifrage School and IJ for a lecture series titled “How to Change a Law.” The first will be held tonight at 7 p.m. at Bar Marco (2216 Penn Avenue, the Strip District). The second discussion will take place the following Wednesday, October 10th, at the same location.
And a Food Truck Rally is planned for Sunday, October 14th, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Parking Lot, at 5989 Penn Circle South. The event will include Pittsburgh’s various mobile vendors and a speech from Peduto.
The PGH Mobile Food coalition includes the Franktuary, Oh My Grill, BRGR, PGH Taco Truck, Fukuda, Dozen Food Truck, and Zum Zum food trucks.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Megan Lindsey