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CMU alumni launch Greek yogurt brand Naturi in Pittsburgh

Greek yogurt is everywhere these days. But some companies offering Greek-style yogurt often sneak in a lot of hidden sugar and other additives. Brand-new Pittsburgh company Naturi Organics promises that its Greek yogurt is made naturally with local and organic ingredients. 
 
Naturi is the brainchild of Aditya Dhere, Anes Dracic and Jennifer Mrzlack, graduates of the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. For 2014 grads Dhere and Dracic, Naturi started as a final graduate school project. Mrzlack, a 2010 Tepper alumna, brought her food experience -- after three years at Heinz -- to the team in July.

Mrzlack said Dhere, an American-born Indian, and Dracic, a Bosnian refugee who moved to the United States as a child, both had mothers who made yogurt at home. She added that Dracic’s family had a farm in Bosnia and that his mother sold yogurt from a cart.
 
Mrzlack also made yogurt and applesauce for her young sons, which sparked her passion for natural, healthy ingredients.
 
On Jan. 12, Naturi hit the shelves at 48 local businesses with more retailers in the works. Distributors are Paragon, Frankferd Farms and Clarion River Organics.
 
In addition to serving both the Google and American Eagle Outfitters campuses, Naturi customers include the Fairmont Hotel, Hotel Monaco, Marty’s Market, the East End Food Co-op, McGinnis Sisters, Espresso A Mano, 21st Street Coffee and Tea, Coffee Tree Roasters, the Duquesne Club, Feast on Brilliant, Red Oak Café, DJ Butcher Block, Tula Organic Salon and Spa, Today’s Market, Sewickley Confectionary -- which provides home delivery -- and more. Strip District hot spots Bar Marco and Wigle Whiskey will offer Naturi-made items.
 
“I cant say it enough,” Mrzlack began, “I [really] want to thank the Pittsburgh community … Everyone has been so supportive.”
 
Naturi, Mrzlack explained, is committed to flavorful Greek-style yogurt with clean, organic ingredients and low sugar. The yogurt is produced at Sunrise Family Farms, an organic farm in upstate New York.
 
While Naturi is committed to keeping a small carbon footprint (many ingredients are sourced within three miles of Sunrise farms), the brand also packs flavors with a “worldly” punch.
 
The initial flavors include Pure (plain), Seedless Raspberry, Coffee + Chicory and Indonesian Vanilla + Saigon Cinnamon. These natural flavors need little added sugar, Mrzlack explained. She said raspberry is naturally sweetened with real fruit, the chicory gives the coffee yogurt a chocolate feel and vanilla and cinnamon are innately rich in flavor.
 
Naturi operates out of the Birchmere Ventures offices in the Strip District above 21st Street Coffee. On Saturday, the new company is getting to know its Strip District neighbors. From noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Naturi will be at the Organically Social booth in the Pittsburgh Public Market doing a public meet-and-greet event.
 
Source: Jennifer Mrzlack, www.naturi.com
 

Hotel Monaco's The Commoner to open Downtown with a grab-and-go café

For a quick bite or a full-on dining experience, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants offers pub fare with a Pittsburgh twist for hungry downtown diners.
 
Kimpton will open its first Pittsburgh restaurant, The Commoner, adjacent to the new Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Jan. 20. The 120-seat restaurant will feature American classics with a modern flair, a wood-burning oven and an extensive craft beer list.
 
In a rush? Try The Commoner’s grab-and-go café The Commoner Corner. This sidewalk café and smoked meat carvery will serve breakfast and lunch and features a large service window on Strawberry Way for customers on the go.
 
"We've been working hard to perfect our menu and develop relationships with local farmers to highlight the best of the Allegheny region," said Executive Chef Dennis Marron. "The Pittsburgh dining scene is really making a name for itself, and I'm excited to bring my take on European pub fare and American classics to the table. The menu and vibe we've created here is going to be a hit with everyone -- from downtown professionals to sports fans and theater-goers to hotel guests."
 
Chef Marron's menus will offer American tavern classics with Old World influences and regional produce. The onion soup burger, steak and ale pie (braised with local East End Brown Ale) and brick chicken are just a few examples where pub style meets Pittsburgh flavor. Pennsylvania-grown and seasonal products, like PA Noble cave-aged cheddar, Castle Valley Mills cornmeal, Starr Valley Farms beef and Elysian Fields lamb, will be highlights in many dishes, like the cheddar board, PA burger and braised lamb shank.
 
“We’re a modern American tavern located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh,” said The Commoner General Manager Matthew Rafferty. He added that the restaurant will focus on drafts and “slow-roasted and braised meats.”
 
The dinner menu will prominently feature an array of dishes from the kitchen's central wood-burning oven. With wood-fired dishes ranging from appetizers to main courses, diners will be able to choose from broccoli-cheddar flatbread to herb-rubbed bone marrow to charred cauliflower with sage-walnut pesto, among other smoky, rustic favorites.
 
Breakfast at The Commoner will have something for everyone, including lighter options like baked egg whites with kale, oven-dried tomatoes and zucchini, and heartier offerings like Irish soda bread, French toast with Chantilly cream and whiskey barrel-aged maple syrup.
 
At the bar, lead bartender Joshua Holliday will oversee a robust cocktail and spirits menu and a locally driven craft beer list anchored by 12 draft lines and 50 bottles and cans, including local selections like Church Brew Works' Thunderhop Extreme Double IPA and Voodoo Brewing Company's KillaPilz.
 
The wine list will feature six wines on tap, guided by Kimpton’s Master Sommelier Emily Wines. Holliday has worked closely with Chef Marron and Rafferty to create inventive cocktails, including a barrel-aged negroni and an old-fashioned, with house-made syrup and BBQ bitters.
 
The Commoner Corner’s menu will feature items that are unfussy and ideal for diners on the go. Breakfast will include a range of freshly baked pastries, croissant sandwiches, fresh-pressed juices and smoothies and artisanal coffee beverages. Lunch will feature hot sandwiches with house-smoked, hand-carved beef, turkey and portabella mushrooms and a variety of fixings. Save time and room for milkshakes and floats.
 
The Commoner, at 458 Strawberry Way, will be open seven days a week for breakfast and dinner starting January 20. The restaurant begins lunch service Feb. 3 and kicks off its Saturday and Sunday brunch on Feb. 21. The Commoner Corner will serve weekday breakfast and lunch beginning Jan. 20.
 
Full menus and information will be available at www.thecommonerpgh.com.
 
 
Source: Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Justin Rude, Matthew Rafferty
 

Pop-up chocolate shop keeps mouths watering in Shadyside

Just before Christmas, Chocolate! featuring Jacques Torres Chocolate, a pop-up shop in Shadyside, opened its doors boasting holiday goodies. But this pop-up hasn't disappeared into the night. Chocolate! featuring Jacques Torres Chocolate will continue to see Pittsburgh through all the big chocolate holidays: Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter.
 
The seasonal chocolate emporium was launched by Pittsburgh native Lissa Guttman, who recently moved back to Pittsburgh after a 10-year stint in New York City. While there, she worked with award-winning pastry chef and Food Network personality Jacques Torres to launch a line of highly successful chocolate boutiques in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
 
“I loved the food scene in New York, but I missed the soulfulness of Pittsburgh,” Guttman said. “So, I decided to fuse the two. I also love the idea of creating whimsical shopping experiences -- unexpected retail destinations that last for a season or two, but create fun moments and leave customers craving the next incarnation.”
 
Guttman said she wanted to bring her love for chocolate and Jacques Torres quality products back to her hometown. She added that Torres was excited to expand his brand beyond New York -- Pittsburgh is the first city outside New York to carry the line. Guttman said Pittsburgh has proven to be a great market for premium goods.
 
The store’s mouth-watering offerings range from holiday favorites to exotic creations like chipotle-infused “wicked hot chocolate.” Guttman said products also range from kid-friendly to adult-friendly, including chocolate-covered cereals and nuts to chocolate ginger.
 
“Everything is chocolate,” she said of the "here today, gone tomorrow" shop featuring both large edible gifts and snacks.
 
Guttman added that the pop-up model was used at all eight of Torres’ New York chocolate stores. She said her seasonal shop could grow into something more.
 
“I could see myself doing a lot more of these in various neighborhoods or on trucks,” Guttman said, adding that, for the time being, she is focused on getting to know Shadyside.
 
Chocolate! featuring Jacques Torres Chocolate will remain open through Easter at 813 Copeland Way.
 
 
Source: Lissa Guttman

Maggie's Farm Rum celebrates accolades after one year in business

On the heels of its one-year anniversary, local distillery Maggie’s Farm Rum is celebrating multiple business milestones.

Allegheny Distilling, LLC, located in the Strip District, was incorporated in late 2012 and began production of Maggie's Farm Rum in October 2013. On Nov., 29, 2014, the company marked one year in business. 
 
Last month, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced that it will begin carrying Maggie's Farm white and spiced rums in in Premium Collection stores around southwestern Pennsylvania in time for the holidays.
 
Maggie's Farm Rum is the first commercially available Pennsylvania-made craft rum since Prohibition. All spirits are made from scratch and pot-distilled for full body and flavor on the Spanish-made copper still located behind the distillery's cocktail bar. The distillery is open for tastings and bottle sales Wednesday through Sunday and serves cocktails Friday evening and all day Saturday.

For its one-year anniversary, Allegheny Distilling released Maggie's Farm Pear Eau De Vie, an unaged pear brandy. The first of its kind in Pennsylvania, this pear brandy is made from 100 percent fresh-pressed and unpasteurized pear juice and bottled at 80 proof. A seasonal product, Maggie's Farm Pear Eau De Vie is limited to a 250-bottle single batch.
 
Maggie’s Farm is also celebrating multiple wins from the highly competitive New York International Spirits Competition, held in October at the 3 West Club in New York City. Through a blind tasting at the competition, Maggie's Farm Queen's Share Rum was awarded a silver medal. Allegheny Distilling was declared the Pennsylvania Distillery of the Year.
 
“It was a little surprising, [but] I had a lot of confidence,” said Maggie’s Farm founder and owner Tim Russell. He explained that the New York International Spirits Competition is not a medal factory like other competitions. He said the competition prides itself in its strict selection of winners.
 
Queen's Share reserve rum is made exclusively from the flavorful tail runnings of the normal Maggie's Farm cane rum distillations. It's bottled at cask strength and aged up to one year in American oak barrels. Finishes include bourbon, rye whiskey, and double barrel. Queen's Share's silver medal was among only six rums to receive this honor and no rum submitted worldwide was awarded a gold medal.

Source: Tim Russell, Maggie’s Farm Rum

Five shippable Pittsburgh gifts for the holiday season

Cyber Monday kicked off the online holiday shopping frenzy, but that doesn't mean you have to abandon your support of local businesses as you finish up your gift giving.

For those of you who love to shop online and love to shop local, several Pittsburgh darlings have made it easy to do both. Check off these hometown gifts that will travel for the Pittsburgh expats on your list:

1.  Primanti’s Sandwiches
 
Primanti Bros. made the news in October with the announcement that you could now ship the “almost famous” Pittsburgh sandwich anywhere in the Unites States. For $109, you can send four French fry-laden sandwiches cross-country. Choose from pastrami, capicola or a combo pack; the sandwiches are delivered deconstructed with separately packed meat, bread, slaw, fries, cheese, tomato, hot sauce and a Primanti’s tee.
 
2. WildCard’s Pittsburgh merchandise
 
That’s right, WildCard stationery and gift shop in Lawrenceville now has an online storeWhile the Internet shop is still growing, many Pittsburgh products are ready to ship in time for the holidays, from Lil' Pierogi onesies to Pittsburgh tees to a Yinzer dictionary.
 
3.  The Enrico Biscotti Company’s goodies
 
Enrico’s in the Strip offers an online bakery that will ship their authentic biscotti and pastries to the Pittsburgher who couldn’t make it home for the holidays. Send a big red tin of Italian pastry or a biscotti gift basket!
 
4.  Penn Mac imported cheese
 
You don’t have to be on Penn Avenue to enjoy Pennsylvania Macaroni Company’s famous imported cheese counter. Penn Mac’s global selection is available online and guarantees that “cheeses are cut fresh the same day the order is shipped.”
 
5. Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte
 
Named the country’s best cake by The Huffington Post, Prantl’s will ship their burnt almond torte anywhere in the country. This delicate cake encrusted in crunchy, candied almonds would make a great dessert course at any holiday dinner.

While searching online for the perfect gift to send to friends and family near and far, keep in mind these local options that can ship anywhere in the country.

Second Breakfast debuts at Public Market with creative breakfast and brunch options

If you grabbed a tumbler of black coffee or a handful of cereal on the way out the door this morning, get a breakfast do-over at the Pittsburgh Public Market. The market's latest vendor, Second Breakfast, debuted at the Farm to Table Harvest Tasting and opened for regular Public Market hours this week.

Owner and chef Thomas Wood described some of Second Breakfast’s creative waffle and crepe options. Second Breakfast’s menu includes Tamagoyaki Japanese Omelets (rolled omelets), sweet crepes, a savory crepe of the day (which was a cider-braised turkey Florentine on the day of my visit) and Belgian Liege waffles. Wood said the Belgian Liege’s soft yeast dough is encased with caramelized, Belgian pearl sugar to create a crunch.
 
“It’s hearty, it’s unpretentious, it fits with Pittsburgh,” Wood said about his menu while working behind the counter at his market booth sporting his signature hat, which he described as a throwback to a 1940s deli.
 
The waffles come with an array of toppings, the same sauces for the crepe fillings. Options include whiskey dulce de leche from Public Market neighbor Eliza’s Oven, chocolate, chocolate hazelnut (à la Nutella), berry blends, seasonal fruit and strawberry vanilla -- with a touch of Wigle Whiskey to “wake up the vanilla.”
 
Wood added that the shop will also offer waffle hash browns and a bacon weave topper. He said customers can look forward to specials like the Belgian Liege waffle with bacon ice cream and maple bacon brandy syrup.
 
Wood previously worked as a chef at Pittsburgh restaurants and said he has always focused on organic and local ingredients, like what he now uses at his Public Market venture.
 
“The whole time, I was always focused on high-quality ingredients,” Wood said about his work as a chef. “But, we’re Pittsburghers,” he added, noting that a dense, filling breakfast can still be locally sourced. 
 
He said he has always wanted to venture out on his own and has been interested in working with the Public Market. The Market Kitchen at the Public Market gave him this opportunity, he said.
 
“It’s a wonderful tool [and] it’s a great business incubator,” he said about the shared-use commercial kitchen. Wood added that the cost of starting a business and supplies would have been almost insurmountable without access to the Market Kitchen. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the Market Kitchen.”
 
In addition to kitchen access, Wood noted the support and camaraderie that comes from working in the Public Market. During our interview, another vendor stopped by to see if Wood had gotten his bacon order.
 
“The atmosphere here is totally collaborative and awesome,” he said.  
 
 
Source: Thomas Wood 

Grow Pittsburgh unveils Braddock Farms improvements with help from the Fairmont

Grow Pittsburgh, an urban agriculture non-profit that teaches people how to grow food and promotes the benefits of gardens in local communities, has updated its Braddock Farms site thanks in part to a $10,000 grant from Fairmont Pittsburgh.
 
Fairmont Pittsburgh secured the grant via the Community Assistance and Responsibility to the Environment program, a charitable initiative of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, which allows hotels to support social, community and environmental projects in their local communities.
 
Grow Pittsburgh is the official green charity partner of Fairmont Pittsburgh. Since launching the partnership in 2011, Fairmont Pittsburgh has donated over $27,000 to Grow Pittsburgh for various initiatives including its Edible Schoolyard program.
 
“We are thrilled to count Fairmont Pittsburgh as a key partner as we make much needed improvements to Braddock Farms,” said Grow Pittsburgh Executive Director Julie Butcher Pezzino.
  
The improvements include a custom-built shipping container to be used as a storage facility and office space at the urban farm in Braddock. Grow Pittsburgh also operates an apprentice program at Braddock Farms for aspiring farmers, as well as a summer youth intern program that provides hands-on training to local high school students in sustainable agricultural production. Growing food in an urban environment is an important part of Grow Pittsburgh’s overall mission as it serves as a platform for educational programming and provides much needed access to fresh, local produce in communities that are often lacking access.
 
Julie Abramovic, public relations manager at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, called Braddock Farms an “educational resource center” that teaches school groups and volunteers about sustainability and farming. The grant was able to provide shaded areas and seating for groups assisting at the farm as well as storage and coolers for produce.
 
To unveil the updated farm and conclude the year-long project, Fairmont Pittsburgh hosted a check presentation ceremony and employee workday, where employees assisted with putting the farm to bed for winter at Braddock Farms.
 
Abramovic said hotel management was excited to see the project come to fruition but noted that the partnership is an ongoing relationship and that the Fairmont is looking forward to participating in future Grow Pittsburgh projects. 
 
Source: Julie Abramovic, Fairmont Pittsburgh

Cure chef and owner to open second Lawrenceville restaurant

The social experience of shared, small-plates dining will shape the aesthetic and the cuisine at Morcilla, the second restaurant from Justin Severino, award-winning chef and owner of Cure

Severino recently announced plans to open Morcilla, his second Lawrenceville venture, in summer 2015.
 
Located at 3519 Butler St., Spanish tapas spot Morcilla will be just a few blocks from Cure, Severino’s critically lauded urban Mediterranean restaurant. Hilary Prescott Severino, Justin’s wife and business partner, will co-own Morcilla and oversee the wine program, similar to her role at Cure. Spain will dominate the beverage options with a wide variety of wines and sherries as well as hard-to-find Spanish cider.
 
“I love Spanish food, and coming up in the industry I cooked under serious Spanish-trained chefs like Manresa’s David Kinch,” Severino said. “Spanish cooking has been a major influence on what I do at Cure, and I’m thrilled to be bringing a complete Spanish dining experience to Pittsburgh. One of my favorite aspects of Spanish cuisine is the social experience of shared, small plates dining. Morcilla is going to be a true neighborhood spot, a place to relax with a glass of wine and a quick bite at the bar after work, or a family-style dinner with friends.”
 
The 3,800-square-foot restaurant will boast a 54-seat dining room, 10-seat bar, 6-seat chef’s counter and 40-seat private dining room, making Morcilla larger and more casual than Cure. The menu will foster a convivial environment with a focus on sharable small plates and larger dishes served family-style. Severino said he envisions Morcilla as a neighborhood spot where one could stop on their way home from work for a full-blown meal or snacks with a cocktail.
 
The menu, like Cure, will focus on meats and charcuterie and will be driven, according to Severino, by a charbroiler, a smoker and la plancha (a flattop grill). The name Morcilla actually means blood sausage, though the definition can vary regionally.  
 
The tapas will include traditional mariscos tapa, consisting largely of raw, pickled and smoked shellfish. Mason jars will be both the preservation and serving vessels for the Escabeche y Conservas, which will include duck with fruit jam, marinated cheeses and grilled tomato and zucchini, all served with grilled bread. Pintxos, skewered bites traditionally served in bars, will feature octopus, pork belly and, of course, morcilla.
 
Severino also noted that the larger site of Morcilla will allow for dishes he can’t currently try at Cure, like more canning and a larger space to butcher whole animals. The kitchen will include a dedicated curing station, where executive sous chef Nate Hobart will create both Spanish and Italian-style charcuterie for Morcilla and Cure, respectively.
 
Similar to Cure, Severino will dictate Morcilla's design, sourcing counters, cabinets, tables and chairs from Pittsburgh’s Kramer Customs. Polished old-wood floors and ceilings and exposed brick walls accented by woodblock art prints by the nearby Tugboat Print Shop will give the space a lived-in, neighborhood vibe. 
 
Severino grew up in a small town in Ohio and has worked in fine dining establishments in several cities, but said the atmosphere of Pittsburgh, Lawrenceville specifically, feels like home. “It’s a blue-collar town,” he said, “and [my wife and I] really relate to it.”
 
Morcilla will be open summer 2015 for dinner on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with lunch and dinner served on Saturdays and Sundays.
 
 
Source: Cure, Justin Severino

Farm to Table Harvest Tasting celebrates the season, The Market Kitchen and new food startups

A new shared-use commercial kitchen in the Strip District will make its debut at the third annual Farm to Table Harvest Tasting on Nov. 16, offering inspiration to home cooks planning meals for the upcoming Thanksgiving and holiday feasting frenzy.

A VIP party before the Pittsburgh Public Market and Wigle Whiskey event will celebrate the opening of The Market Kitchen at the Public Market and the new food startups making use of the shared commercial kitchen.
 
More than 60 area vendors will provide a cornucopia of artisanal cheeses and breads, local meats, fruits and vegetables, sauces, jams, baked goods, craft beers, ciders, cocktails, wines and more. Products will be available to sample and purchase.    

This year's Farm to Table event will be held for the first time at the Public Market and Wigle Whiskey in the Strip District. Public Market vendors will participate at the venue's location at 2401 Penn Ave., and 24th Street will be closed with Farm to Table vendors lining the way, connecting the event to Wigle Whiskey at 2401 Smallman St.
 
The holiday event will also celebrate the launch of The Market Kitchen at the Public Market -- a shared-use commercial kitchen for food startups that want to start a business without the costs of a brick-and-mortar. During the VIP event at The Market Kitchen, chefs will offer exclusive sampling opportunities of hot mulled cider and cider cocktails, local craft brews and an exclusive Thanksgiving-inspired recipe book.
 
Kelly James, The Market Kitchen’s kitchen manager, explained that the seasonal cookbook was put together with recipes from Public Market vendors, chefs from across the city and future businesses using the new kitchen.
 
James also gave a preview of some of the Market Kitchen businesses participating in the VIP tasting. She said Root System Juice Company will debut a new recipe and Mix Salad Concept, a salad delivery company from Rachael Bane and Lia Vaccaro, will feature fresh salad ideas and samples. Second Breakfast, a breakfast-inspired venture featuring glazed waffles and crepes, will debut at the event. This new vendor to the Public Market will open on Nov. 19. And, Voodoo Brewery will be there sampling beer. James said Voodoo will soon launch a food truck that will use the kitchen as a food prep home base.
 
James explained that The Market Kitchen is a way to assist new businesses, from vendors to food trucks to caterers. She said this could be the startups' first step on the road to a bigger venture. 
 
“Now, they’re actually able to market themselves and live their dream,” she said about the kitchen’s opening and the ability to launch a food business without paying for a storefront. “It’s really exciting to give them a start.”

The Harvest Tasting is 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16. Advance tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for kids, though children ages 2 and under are free. The day of the event, Harvest Tasting ticket prices will be $35 and $15, respectively. The VIP Preview is from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. with tickets at $50, which includes the Harvest Tasting. 
 
 
Source: Pittsburgh Public Market, Kelly James, Farm to Table

Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey expand distribution throughout Pittsburgh

The popularity of craft beer in Pittsburgh means there's always a market for a new kid on the block. This time, it's the seasonal and core brews from California-based Port Brewing getting ready to expand distribution throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Already a fixture in Philadephia, Port Brewing will kick off its expansion in the Pittsburgh area with events around the city starting Nov. 17.  
 
Per an agreement with Wilson-McGinley, Port Brewing, which is headquartered out of San Marcos, Calif., will begin selling core and seasonal products from its Port Brewing and Lost Abbey labels in the newly added market this year. The company’s full portfolio of offerings will be available next fall.
 
Adam Martinez, media and marketing director for Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey, said the Port Brewing side offers American reds and hoppy beers, while The Lost Abbey brand produces the brewery’s Belgian-style and sour beers. Some of the first seasonal favorites to hit the Pittsburgh market will be the High Tide, which boasts a hoppy flavor, and Santa’s Little Helper, an imperial stout.
 
“We certainly did our homework and due diligence to find the right wholesaler partner to represent our brands in the western PA region,” said Brian Sauls, national sales manager for Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey. “We feel Wilson-McGinley represents the same core values as Lost Abbey/Port Brewing. And, that contagious passion and enthusiasm for great craft beer, shared with our current amazing group of distributors, makes this a partnership we are looking forward to.”
 
Fritz Wilson and Jack McGinley opened Wilson-McGinley, Inc. in Lawrenceville in 1949. They currently represent 12 counties in western Pennsylvania and handle more than 150 brands.
 
To help serve the market, Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey have hired their first East Coast sales representative, Matt Pushinsky -- who has previously worked in Pennsylvania with Belukus Importing and in California with Sovereign Brands.
 
“Pittsburgh is an exciting and enthusiastic market to work in,” Pushinsky said. “I look forward to opening the new territory and working with Wilson-McGinley to bring Port and Lost Abbey to western PA.”
 
Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey Chief Operating Owner Tomme Arthur said the Pittsburgh expansion was attractive because of the beer’s success in Philadelphia. 
 
“The people in the great state of Pennsylvania have embraced our beer,” Arthur said.
 
Founded in 2006, Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey produce an extensive line-up of continental and American-inspired ales and lagers. The company’s beers, many of which are aged in oak barrels for 12 months or longer, are recognized for their complexity, unique flavors and bold styles.  
 
To celebrate the new partnership, Arthur will travel to Pittsburgh for a week of events at bars, six-pack shops, grocery stores and restaurants. The schedule can be found at lostabbey.com/pittsburgh/.
 
 
Source: Brewbound.com, Tomme Arthur, Adam Martinez

Local chocolatier plans $2.5 million expansion in Lawrenceville, creating 51 jobs

Continuing to advance his JOBS1st PA initiative, Gov. Tom Corbett announced last week that Edward Marc Brands, Inc., a manufacturer of gourmet chocolates, will expand operations in Allegheny County and create 51 jobs in the City of Pittsburgh.
 
Edward Marc Brands, operator of The Milk Shake Factory in South Side, has entered into a lease of a 50,000-square-foot space in Lawrenceville on 38th Street at the former Geyer printing site near the Allegheny River and 40th Street Bridge. The company plans to invest more than $2.5 million at the new facility, and has also committed to creating at least 51 new jobs and retaining 36 positions during the next three years.
 
“Pennsylvania is the keystone of American manufacturing, and by partnering with companies like Edward Marc Brands, we are promoting the growth of this job-sustaining industry,” Gov. Corbett said. “I am pleased that we are helping fourth-generation chocolate manufacturers grow where the family tradition started: right here in Pennsylvania.”
 
The Lawrenceville expansion will support the newly launched line of confections called Snappers, a gourmet sweet snack made with pretzels, caramel and chocolate. Edward Marc Brands, Inc. is a boutique-style chocolatier founded by the Edwards family in 1914. The Snappers line has received nationwide media attention on programs like The Today Show, Good Morning America and Fox Business TV.
 
Edward Marc received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development, including a $100,000 Pennsylvania First Program grant that facilitates investment and job creation, $51,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits and $22,950 grant for WEDnetPA that will be used to train the expanding workforce. The company was approved to receive a $500,000 loan from the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund.
 
“Our family business is built upon innovation and the dedication of hardworking Americans. We are honored to be recognized as a leader in job creation and food manufacturing in the state of Pennsylvania,” said Chris Edwards, Edward Marc Brands, Inc. CEO.
 
The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the Governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.
 
Source: Office of Governor Tom Corbett

Bloomfield welcomes 4121 Main, a mixed-use arts space and espresso bar

4121 Main, a mixed-use space featuring quality handmade items, curated vintage wares, art and an espresso bar, is coming to Bloomfield. The 4121 Main venture is a partnership among Thommy Conroy and Quelcy Kogel, the stylists behind Harvest & Gather, and local coffee expert Kira Hoeg.
 
The 4121 Main brand premiered at the curated Trade Union trunk show, where it provided pour-over coffees, whole-grain baked goods, prints and artisan products. While the shop is not yet open for regular business hours, 4121 Main’s will join with Unblurred for its first public event on Nov. 7. The partners behind 4121 Main invite Pittsburghers to enjoy an evening of art and Conroy’s new series of alphabet prints with a dark, fairy-tale theme, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 4121 Main St.
 
The space is a creative collaboration that will feature curated products with a common theme or style while providing quality coffee and espresso and whole-grain baked goods. 4121 Main will also host events, workshops and local happenings.
 
When 4121 Main does open with daily hours, the partners envision an evolving space influenced by their personal passions, experiences and seasonal baking and coffee products. Sometimes the shop may offer handmade ceramics, on other visits patrons may peruse a selection of vintage finds. The group promises quality products for the customer who shops with intention.
 
The varied influences come from Conroy, Kogel and Hoeg’s backgrounds, travels and interests. Conroy described the partnership as taking their available skills and creating a larger picture.  
 
Hoeg has an anthropology background and sees coffee as a cultural pastime. In addition to her experience with Pittsburgh coffee and espresso bars, she has traveled from Scandinavia to Turkey to California to explore how people are communicating with coffee and what other coffee and espresso retailers are doing in the United States.
 
“Exchanging time and moments has always been my interest in coffee,” Hoeg said about the type of atmosphere she envisions at 4121 Main, adding the she wants to create a coffee culture inviting ideas, dialogue and curiosity. Also important to Hoeg is the transparency of where the coffee was grown and the craft of roasting it. She will be sourcing from Heart Coffee in Portland and will be working on an espresso machine hand-built in Holland.
 
Kogel will provide the baked goods to accompany the espresso bar. She currently chronicles her passion for baking with whole grains and natural ingredients on her blog With the Grains. She said she hopes to offer cakes and breads that are “a wholesome way to satisfy your sweet tooth.”
 
Harvest & Gather’s Conroy and Kogel will rebrand under the 4121 Main moniker and will offer event-design services. Conroy described the group as “natural hosts and entertainers” and said this aspect will be part of 4121’s model.
 
The collaborative setting will also feature workshops and have a DIY-inspired element. The partners said they hope to offer how-to sessions from floral arrangements to entertaining and decorating tips.
 
The first event will be held on Friday, Nov. 7, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 4121 Main St. in Bloomfield between Liberty and Penn avenues.
 

 

Pittsburgh Public Market hosts first-ever Food Swap

From spicy wing sauce to eggs laid by backyard hens, if it's homemade or homegrown, it's up for grabs at the city's first-ever food swap.

The Pittsburgh Public Market and Good Food Pittsburgh’s Emily Catalano are hosting the Pittsburgh Food Swap on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 2-4 p.m. at the market.
 
Catalano says that the city has played host to smaller canning and themed swaps in the past, “but this is something that is a little more than canned goods.”
 
She says she first got the idea for while living in Philadelphia, where she attended food swaps. She was delighted to see the community come together — while some goods were made by professionals, the majority were shared by home chefs.
 
“It was a really awesome community feeling,” she said. 
 
When it comes to what foods can be swapped, almost anything goes. In Philadelphia and with swaps she's attended, Catalano saw homemade truffles, jam, extracts, cookies, whiskey, marshmallows and ravioli.
 
So what can’t be swapped?
 
“No Oreos,” Catalano said with a laugh. She also asked that any questionable homemade goods stay in the home pantry.
 
All food must be individually packaged. Containers of soup are great, but don’t bring a pot. Participants must sign a waiver that their food is safe for family, friends and neighbors to enjoy. She suggests labeling food with safe-to-consume-by dates.
 
Catalano said she went on a spicy kick for the swap and is contributing wing sauce, pickled jalapenos and bread and butter pickles. She said others who have signed up are bringing eggs from backyard hens, strawberry plants and baked goods.
 
Only those sharing items can participate in the swap, and attendees must register for this free event online. The swap begins at 2 p.m. with mingling and sampling; after 30 minutes of greetings and tastings, the swap commences.
 
Catalano said contributors should bring samples for others to try. It works like this: Bring 15 packages of cookies, leave with 15 different items from other swappers. Catalano suggested bringing 10 to 15 items to trade.
 
Sometimes you don’t get everything you want. "But most of the time, you end up getting a pretty decent haul,” Catalano said.

 

Fairmont Pittsburgh Chef Jason Dalling will host a one-day, pop-up BBQ stand Friday

Fairmont Pittsburgh Executive Chef Jason Dalling will launch a one-day, pop-up BBQ stand at Andys Bar on Fri., August 29.
 
Julie Abramovic, public relations manager at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, says the pop-up menu will be "simple" and stems from Dalling’s “love for this type of casual cuisine.”

The limited menu will feature a house smoked, grass fed brisket sandwich with pickle and tomato aioli and a peanut braised pulled pork sandwich featuring pineapple and jalapeño aioli — both sandwiches are $12 and come with a side of “old school” coleslaw. All items will be available to-go from a street-side stand along Fifth Avenue.
 
“I came up with the concept because we’re already doing a lot of these house-smoked items for [events], and I wanted to bring them to a larger audience," Dalling says. "Andys is a great outlet for this concept because it is casual and accessible. Depending on how popular the BBQ is, we may decide to offer it more regularly.”
 
Abramovic invites BBQ enthusiasts and the downtown lunch crowd to celebrate the unofficial end of summer and take advantage of this one-day event. She adds that the possibility of future events will be true to the pop-up concept, only announcing the occassion a few days prior.
 
For more information, follow social media campaign “Meat Us at Andys” on Twitter at @FairmontPGH and @AndysPgh.
 
Source: Fairmont Pittsburgh, Julie Abramovic                        
 

A bag of produce is your ticket to Red, Ripe and Roasted at Phipps

A bag of fresh produce can gain you admittance to the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens 10th annual Red, Ripe and Roasted tomato and garlic festival Sun., August 24.
 
Held on the public garden’s sustainably managed front lawn and in the Outdoor Garden, this family-friendly event features cooking demonstrations, a tomato contest, a farmers’ market and activities for kids—all to benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
 
“In general, the event is a celebration of summer and the bounty of summer,” says Jordyn Melino, Phipps exhibit coordinator. She says it's also about sharing this “bounty” with those in need.

While highlighting western Pennsylvania’s quintessential crops, the festival encourages guests to share the season’s harvest with the Food Bank. In 2013, the festival resulted in the collection of 2,174 pounds of food.
 
By donating a bag fresh produce to help community members in need, festival participants will be admitted for free to both Red, Ripe and Roasted and to the conservatory. Guests can experience attractions from the Butterfly Forest to the Summer Flower Show, featuring bright blooms and model train displays, during event hours from 11AM to 4PM.
 
Café Phipps will prepare and share a variety of delicious dishes to sample, there will be cooking demonstrations, a Phipps-grown garlic roast and a farmers’ market featuring organic and Certified Naturally Grown produce—guests can purchase their produce for donation at this market.
 
Another popular festival activity is a tomato contest where home gardeners are invited to enter their ugliest, smallest or largest ripe tomatoes for a chance to win prizes. The event will host a variety of discovery activities to entertain children of all ages. Let’s Move Pittsburgh and several other local organizations will also be in attendance to engage event-goers.
 
Garden writer and television/radio host Doug Oster — author of Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil — and food writer Miriam Rubin, author of Tomatoes, will also be in attendance to present some of their favorite recipes and sign copies of their books.
 
Source: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Jordyn Melino
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