From the summer weather, to hot jazz, to spicy sauce, NOLA on the Square’s
grand reopening promises to bring the heat.
NOLA, Pittsburgh’s downtown destination for New Orleans, La. — NOLA — cuisine and live jazz music, announced the entertainment line-up for its reopening celebration, kicking off July 15.
Opening in 2011, NOLA was a Market Square staple until a fire
forced it to close its doors on Feb. 24, 2014. Just less than six months later, NOLA is ready to start serving Cajun and Creole favorites again.
“Luckily, we were very organized about it,” says John Ajay, corporate beverage director for The Big Y Restaurant Group, general manager of Perlé and assistant general manager of NOLA, about the renovation. “We were able to move pretty quickly on this.”
The reopening will feature several events, including a weeklong JazzFest — a nod to New Orleans’ popular spring music festival. NOLA’s JazzFest will run from July 15 to July 19 and feature a different artist every night. The Fri., July 18 and Sat., July 19 events will host multiple performances.
“Friday and Saturday are sort of a jazz marathon,” says Karen Poirier, president of KeboWorks
and NOLA media preview. She explains that the Friday performances will run from 4PM to midnight and Saturday’s acts are all day from noon to midnight.
After JazzFest, NOLA will return to its regular live music schedule with performances Wednesday, Friday and Saturday beginning at 8PM.
On July 30, NOLA Chefs Andrew Hebson and Leonard Pisano will go head-to-head in a Chef vs. Chef battle of the hot sauces contest to be decided by a panel of Pittsburgh celebrity judges. The panel includes WQED’s Director of Programming and host of QED Cooks
Chris Fennimore; popular food and drinks writer Hal B. Klein; and comedian and WDVE morning show personality Bill Crawford.
The chefs will use dueling Louisiana hot sauces Crystal and Tabasco creatively in their recipes. Patrons have the option to join in on the fun and order from the hot sauce battle menu or stick to NOLA’s traditional menu.
NOLA will also debut Speakeasy as part of its reopening. Dedicated to craft whiskeys and beers, Speakeasy is a companion bar to Perlé, NOLA’s upstairs neighbor, also reopening July 15.
Poirier calls Speakeasy “a new destination” and private event venue for NOLA. She added that “Speakeasy is the mancave complement to Perlé,” which Poirier describes as a romantic, late-night tapas lounge. Decorated in a dark, masculine style with club chairs, Speakeasy will operate Friday and Saturday nights from 8PM to 2AM.
In addition to the launch of Speakeasy and Perlé’s comeback, the bars will also introduce a Vintage Champagne Room — located between Speakeasy and Perlé. The Champagne Room will host upwards of 500 bottles from Dom Pérignon to Moët & Chandon to Ace of Spades.
While the paint is fresh and the art is new, NOLA is still the Market Square restaurant Pittsburgh knows and loves — complete with its popular open-air kitchen.
“We’re just really looking forward to opening back up," Ajay says, noting that both customers and neighboring businesses have shown encouragement during the renovation process. "We’ve had a lot of support over the past few months. It’s a nice little neighborhood we have in the Square.”
Source: Karen Poirier, KeboWorks, John Ajay