It has almost been a year since Downtown's Market Square
opened to the public after a $5 million redesign and renovation. With the reopening of Las Velas Mexican Restaurant, and the ongoing Summer in the Square event series, the newly formed Market Square Merchants Association hopes to draw more foot traffic than ever to this historic public space.
"[We] want to make sure that Market Square is the most vibrant place to go in any scenario in the city," says Mike Geiger, owner of Moe's Southwest Grill, member of the merchants association. "You can get any type of food that you want. There is always music playing, there is always some type of activity going on."
Market Square's newest restaurants include Winghart's Burger and Whiskey Bar and NOLA on the Square. And Las Velas Mexican Restaurant, which closed following a fire last December, celebrated a grand reopening this past week.
Katie Zawrotniak, of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, says the buzz around Market Square goes back to the revitalization efforts put forth by the city in 2006, culminating in last year's renovation project. The redesigned square is closed to vehicular traffic, allowing for larger, more cohesive events.
Summer in the Square features different events each day of the week: on Monday, live acoustic music; Tuesdays, the downtown branch of the Carnegie Library brings books to the square; Mid-Week Music on Wednesdays; and on Thursdays, fresh produce and prepared foods draw overflowing crowds during the popular farmers market and accompanying Noon Concert Series.
Fridays begin the day with crafts and storytelling for kids, free exercise classes at noon, and during the evening, live music and happy hour drinks during Friday Night Live.
In addition to the St. Patrick's Day celebrations and the Summer in the Square events, Market Square is planning to host the Pittsburgh Zombie Fest for a second year this coming October.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Casey Mahaven, Mahaven Events and Mike Geiger, Moe's Southwest Grill