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The Porch, with green roof, edible garden and urban views, now open in Schenley Plaza

Although Oakland’s Schenley Plaza fills with sunbathers and lunchtime crowds during Pittsburgh’s warmer months it is seldom used in more inclement weather.  But with the opening of the The Porch at Schenley  that should soon change.  The park’s first and only dine-in eatery opened on Monday, and  hopes to bring new life to this public space throughout all four seasons.

The restaurant is part of the Eat’n Park Hospitality Group.  Mark Broadhurst, direct of concept development, says The Porch aims to be a neighborhood bistro for a busy, vibrant Oakland.

“It's supposed to be a casual, come-as-you-are, no reservations place,” Broadhurst says.

During the day, it’s geared toward people in a hurry--students, professors, hospital staff.  Orders are placed at a counter, but food and all other service is brought tableside.  In the evening, the pace slows, and a wait staff takes over.  Broadhurst says the restaurant changes pace just like the neighborhood.

Designed by WD Partners of Columbus, Ohio, over half the building’s walls are glass, opening to views of the Cathedral of Learning, Schelney Plaza, and the Carnegie Museum complex.  The building was built to LEED silver standards, and utilized recycled and local materials. 

“We really focused on being in the center of an urban park,” Broadhurst says.  “We really wanted people to look outside onto the plaza, rather than focusing on what was inside.”

Broadhurst says the menu is based around the hearth oven and rotisserie, ensuring quick preparations.  Lunch items include salads and pizzas, and sandwiches like the house smoked turkey with cranberry and grilled onion chutney, and a slow roasted pork with ricotta salata.  The dinner menu offers many sharable plates, and extended rotisserie offerings, including prime rib, porchetta, and chicken roti.

The building features a green roof, which will include an edible garden in spring.  Broadhurst says a roof-top apiary is also under consideration.

Open seven days a week, for lunch and dinner, The Porch will also begin serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.  Schenley Plaza, 221 Schenley Drive.  412-687-6724.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Mark Broadhurst
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