Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Critics Rate Gypsy Cafe, Mallorca, Girasole

IN THE NEWS: The Tribune-Review's Kellie Gormly reviews Gypsy Cafe (1330 Bingham St., South Side, 412-381-4977), while Luis Fabregas considers Mallorca Restaurant (2228 E. Carson St., South Side, 412-488-1818) and Michael Machoskey visits Girasole (733 Copeland St., Shadyside, 412-682-2130). pittsburghlive.com ... The Post-Gazette's Munch column visits Si Senor (in the basement of the U.S. Steel Tower at 600 Grant St., 412-201-1811). post-gazette.com ... City Paper's Angelique Bamberg and Jason Roth review Legume Bistro (1113 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square. 412-371-1815), while Colleen Van Tassell considers Penn Avenue Fish Company (2208 Penn Ave., Strip District. 412-434-7200). pittsburghcitypaper.ws ... Pittsburgh Dish visits Folino's (1719 E. Carson St., 412-488-8108). pittsburghdish.typepad.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mag's Best-Ofs Include Tessaro's, Pamela's

IN THE NEWS: Pittsburgh magazine's Best of 2007 readers picks include: Bruster's, Ice Cream; Sonoma Grille, Wine List; The Harris Grill, Outdoor Dining; Ruth's Chris Steak House, Fine Dining; Tessaro's, Hamburger; Primanti Brothers, Lunch Spot; Blue Horse Coffee, Coffee Shop; Pamela's, Breakfast Spot; and Prantle's Bakery, Bakery. ... The magazine's Deborah McDonald reviews The Cafe at the Frick (7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze, 412-371-0600. pittsburghmagazine.com ... The Post-Gazette's Bob Batz Jr. reports on a memorial tribute to Joe Chiodo, who for five decades ran Chiodo's Tavern in Homestead, to be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at the historic Pump House at The Waterfront, Munhall. Chiodo died Aug. 26 at age 89. For more details, call 412-381-0882. ... Munch visits Grill 747 (1502 East Carson St., South Side. 412-381-2072). ... Elwin Green examines the summer closing of The Mighty Dog hot dog and sandwich shop off Frankstown Road. post-gazette.com ... The Tribune-Review's Mark Houser reviews Del's Bar & Ristorante DelPizzo (4428 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield, 412-683-1448), while Michael Machosky considers Remedy (5121 Butler St., Lawrenceville, 412-781-6771), and Kellie Gormley reviews Little Athens of Sewickley (518 Locust Place, 412-741-1230). pittsburghlive.com ... City Paper's Angelique Bamburg and Jason Roth review Tomato Pie Cafe (885 East Ingomar Road, Allison Park. 412-364-6622), while Colleen Van Tassell considers Kretchmar's Bakery (664 Third St., Beaver. 724-774-2324, www.kbakery.com). pittsburghcitypaper.ws

Zagat Buzz reports that to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the James Beard Foundation is hosting a series of food festivals and special dinners in 20 cities nationwide. The events kick off on September 18th in New York with a lavish menu inspired by Beard at Four Seasons. The celebrations continue the next week with elaborate dinners cooked by first-rate toques in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Short Hills, NJ and Washington, DC. All of the events are unique, with different chef lineups and dining formats ranging from gala dinners to walk-around tastings, so check the individual city pages for details. Though prices for the dinners vary, all of them will be followed up on September 29th with special events at local Williams-Sonoma stores where chefs will be offering cooking demos, book signings, specialty food tastings and kids' educational activities free of charge. For more information about the event, logon to www.jbftasteamerica.com. zagat.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Critics Rate Legume, Muriel's, Zaiaka

IN THE NEWS: The Post-Gazette's China Millman reviews Legume (1113 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square, 412-371-1815, www.legumebistro.com), while Munch goes to Royal Caribbean (128 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty. 412-362-1861), Cristina Rouvalis profiles chef Brandon King at Bettis Grille 36, and Diana Nelson Jones previews Bistro to Go (415 E. Ohio St.). post-gazette.com ... The Tribune-Review's Sally Quinn reviews Muriel's (856 Western Ave., North Side, 412-322-0476), while Kellie Gormley considers Zaiaka Authentic Indian Cuisine (924 Presque-Isle Plaza, Route 286 East, Plum, 724-325-1247 or www.zaiaka.com). pittsburghlive.com ... The City Paper's Angelique Bamberg and Jason Roth give three and a half stars to The Chelsea Grille (515 Allegheny Ave., Oakmont. 412-828-0570). pittsburghcitypaper.ws

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Hartner's, Acanthus Restaurants Close

IN THE NEWS: Hartner's Restaurant, a Cranberry Township dining institution since 1951, has closed and will be replaced by a Walgreen's, Pittsburgh Business Times reports. ... The Times also looks at the growing number of area non-chain Mexican restaurants, including soon-to-be opening Patron's Mexican Grill in Wexford, near the junction of Routes 19 and 910. ... The Times also reports that Fort Walton,Fla.-based Cuppy's Coffee will open its first area drive-thru coffee shop in the Chartiers Valley Shopping Center in Bridgeville in the next few weeks. With its first franchisee established for the new location, the company is actively seeking others with the ambition to build 20 to 30 locations in the Pittsburgh area. The company serves Caffe D'arte coffee from Seattle, along with mochas, lattes, cappuccino, fruit smoothies, Chai teas and Italian sodas. pittsburgh.bizjournals.com ... Pittsburgh Dish reports that just a week after receiving a rave review in the City Paper, Acanthus restaurant has closed to the public and is only entertaining private parties for 12 or more. pittsburghdish.typepad.com ... The Post-Gazette's Bruce Dobler reviews The Tuscan Inn (2684 Wildwood Road, Hampton, 412-486-7696, thetuscaninnzc.com), while Bob Podurgiel considers Nicaraguan eatery Rivas Restaurant on West Main Street in Carnegie, and the Munch column goes to Courthouse Tavern (310 Forbes Ave., Downtown. 412-338-8608). ... post-gazette.com ... Kellie Gormly reviews Tusca Mediterranean Tapas (2773 Sidney St., South Side, 412-488-9000), while Alice T. Carter considers Red Star Brewery and Grille (101 Ehalt St., Greensburg, 724-850-7245 or online). pittsburghlive.com ... Pittsburgh City Paper's Angelique Bamburg and Jason Roth review Bado's Cucina (3825 Washington Road, Peters Township. 724-942-3904). pittsburghcitypaper.ws ... Pittsburgh magazine's September 2007 Best of Pittsburgh issue includes Best Coffeehouse 61C Café (1839 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/521-6161). wqed.org/mag

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Big Mac Museum Restaurant Debuts

IN THE NEWS: The Tribune-Review's William Loeffler reports on the opening of The Big Mac Museum Restaurant, which will serve a full McDonald's menu (9061 Route 30, in North Huntingdon), while Luis Fabregas reviews Penn Brewery (800 Vinial Street, Troy Hill, 412-237-9402), Kellie Gormley visits Double Wide Grill (2339 E. Carson St., South Side, 412-390-1111), and Michael Machosky considers Village Candy (344 Beaver St., Sewickley, 412-741-1490). pittsburghlive.com ... The prospect of an Allegheny County pour tax may compel the local hospitality industry to organize in a way many say it never has before, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports. Led by Sean Casey, owner of The Church Brew Works, a bevy of well-known local restaurateurs are working to establish a new business league to formally oppose a 10 percent tax on alcoholic drinks that's expected to be voted on by Allegheny County Council in December. The new organization -- informally called Friends Against Counterproductive Taxation -- includes both fine-dining institutions, taverns, brew pubs and breweries, bridging a long-time divide between wine and beer interests in the region. ... The Times also reports that Bruschetta’s owner John Lewis, citing declining sales at his flagship restaurant on the South Side, is opening a third Bruschetta’s, this one in Murrysville. pittsburgh.bizjournals.com ... The Post-Gazette's Munch column visits Pacific Ring (1900 Murray Ave, Squirrel Hill, 412-421-3338, www.pacificringpittsburgh.com). post-gazette.com ... The City Paper reviews Remedy (5121 Butler St., Lawrenceville, 412-781-6771) and previews the 35th Annual Greek Food Festival begins Wed., Aug. 29, through Sept. 2. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (302 W. North Ave., North Side, 412-321-9282). pittsburghcitypaper.ws

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Reviewers Rate Imagines, Wooden Angel

IN THE NEWS: The Post-Gazette's Pat Jennings reviews Imagines (631 Painters Run Road, Upper St. Clair), while Munch goes to Rick's Sports Bar & Grill (5400 William Penn Highway/Route 22, Murrysville). post-gazette.com ... The Tribune-Review's Michael Machosky considers 28-year-old Allegheny Sandwich Shoppe (822 Western Ave.), while Mark Houser reviews Wooden Angel (308 Leopard Lane, Bridgewater, Beaver County) and Karin Welzel features Mojo Bistro (172 Lincoln Ave., Bellevue). pittsburghlive.com ... The City Paper reviews Acanthus (604 W. North Ave.) pittsburghcitypaper.ws ... EatItAndLoveIt.com visits Crepes Parisiennes (207 S. Craig Street, Pittsburgh).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Organic Pizza Fusion Chain Set for Area

IN THE NEWS: Pizza Fusion, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based franchise that claims to be the country's first organic pizza chain, has established its first franchisee in the Pittsburgh area, Pittsburgh Business Times reports. Wende Goncz, a anesthesiologist who lives in Pine Township, signed on with the franchise last month. She expects to have a lease in place for the region's first Pizza Fusion location slated for Pine by the end of the week. ... The Post-Gazette's Bruce Dobler reviews Marzoni's Brick Oven & Brewing Co. (4643 Route 8, Hampton), while Munch goes to Eat Unique (305 S. Craig St., Oakland). post-gazette.com ... The Tribune-Review's Sally Quinn reviews Jerome Bettis' Grille 36 (393 North Shore Drive), while Michael Machosky considers The Cafe (2516 E. Carson St.) and Kellie Gormley weighs in on Muriel's (856 Western Ave., muriels.net) ... The paper notes that Capital Grille, which has nearly 30 restaurant locations nationwide, is making its Pittsburgh debut Aug. 27 in in Piatt Place at 301 Fifth Ave., downtown. pittsburghlive.com ... City Paper reviews The Shiloh (123 Shiloh St., Mount Washington). pittsburghcitypaper.ws

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bruster's Ice Cream Teams with Nathan's

IN THE NEWS: After growing a successful franchise selling desserts, Bruster's Real Ice Cream is ready to serve up a full meal. The Bridgewater, Beaver County-based ice cream chain recently began a strategy to co-brand its stores with The Nathan's Famous Corp., the publicly traded New York-based hot dog chain known for its nationally televised Fourth of July hot dog-eating contests, Pittsburgh Business Times reports. So far, six of Bruster's 260 locations have become two-in-one Bruster's/Nathan's stores, including the region's first in Dormont. ... The Post-Gazette's Elizabeth Downer looks at happy hours, including Palomino (Four Gateway Center, Suite 100). .. Leslie Fleischer reviews Muriel's (856 Western Ave., North Side, www.muriels.net), while Munch goes to The Garden Cafe at Heinz Hall. ... The paper notes: The Capital Grille, an upscale steakhouse chain that topped a 2006 Consumer Reports reader survey, will officially open to the public at Piatt Place, Downtown, Aug. 27 at 5 p.m. ... Marlene Parrish looks at outdoor dining, including Church Brew Works & Restaurant (3525 Liberty Ave, Lawrenceville; www.churchbrew.com). post-gazette.com ... The Tribune-Review's Brianna Horan features The Stone Mansion (1600 Stone Mansion Drive, Franklin Park), while Alice Carter reviews Palate (212 Sixth St., Downtown, www.palatebistro.com) and Michael Machosky visits Istanbul Grille (305 North Craig St., Oakland). pittsburghlive.com ... City Paper reviews King Tut (200 Rodi Road, Penn Hills). pittsburghcitypaper.com ... Pittsburgh magazine's Deborah McDonald reviews Cafe Roma (4770 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield). wqed.com/mag ... PittsburghDish.typepad.com raves about Muriel's brunch.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tusca Tops 'Post-Gazette' Readers Poll

IN THE NEWS: Tusca (2773 Sidney St., SouthSide Works) has been voted Best Overall Restaurant in the Post-Gazette's just-released readers poll. ... The Post-Gazette's Marlene Parrish looks at outdoor dining, including The Coal Hill Steakhouse and Grandview Saloon (1212 Grandview Ave., Mount Washington; www.coalhillsteakhouse.com). ... Pat Jennings reviews Paradiso (One Oxford Centre, Third Floor, 301 Grant St.), while Munch visits Oishii Bento (119 Oakland Ave., Oakland; www.oishiibento.com). ... The paper notes Atria's Restaurant & Tavern (atrias.com) is opening a new restaurant in Richland, the eighth location in the Pittsburgh area. It is at 5517 William Flynn Highway. post-gazette.com ... The New York Times' David Laskin writes a travel piece about a Pittsburgh weekend with kids, and includes the restaurants the original Primanti Brothers (46 18th St.), Ataria's Restaurant and Tavern (103 Federal St.), and Golden Palace (206 Shiloh St.). nytimes.com ... The Tribune-Review's Liz Zemba reports that a July 29 fire destroyed Bub's Perry Pizza on South Liberty Street in Perryopolis. ... Brianna Horan features Jimmy G's (1822 Main Street, Sharpsburg). ... Luis Fabragas reviews Casbah (229 S. Highland Ave., Shadyside), and Michael Machosky visits Garden Cafe at Heinz Hall (600 Penn Ave.). pittsburghlive.com ... Pittsburgh City Paper reviews Tusca, and also visits Big Mama’s House of Soul (1603 Penn Ave). pittsburghcitypaper.ws ... EatItAndLoveIt.com drops by Sushi Boat (128 Oakland Ave., Pittsburgh).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Courthouse Tavern Set for Downtown

IN THE NEWS: George Leventis thinks enough of the business opportunities in Downtown's Fifth and Forbes corridor that he invested $500,000 there to open the new Courthouse Tavern in the space formerly occupied by the Chart Room Cafe, Pittsburgh Business Times reports. This week Leventis, who operated the now-closed Bridge Cafe on Carson Street, will take a small step toward helping revitalize a Fifth and Forbes business district that's faced years of controversy, delay and decay. The long-time proprietor of Peter's Pub in Oakland opens his Courthouse Tavern in a distinctive property that formerly housed the Chart Room, a favorite haunt of opponents of former mayor Tom Murphy's large-scale retail redevelopment plan for the district in the late 1990s. pittsburgh.bizjournals.com ... The Post-Gazette's Virginia Phillips reviews The Cafe at the Frick (Frick Art & Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze, frickart.org), while Munch goes to Red Oak Cafe (3610 Forbes Ave., Oakland, redoakusa.com). post-gazette.com ... The Tribune-Review's Mark Houser reviews Alchemy, at Bigelow Grille (Doubletree Hotel, 1 Bigelow Square, Downtown), while the paper also reviews Palate Bistro (212 Sixth St., Downtown). pittsburghlive.com ... The City Paper reviews Thai Tom Yung Kung (247 Edgewood Ave., Edgewood). pittsburghcitypaper.ws

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, July 16, 2007

Laforet Closes Doors; Blue Reviewed

IN THE NEWS: The Post-Gazette notes the last days of Laforet, while the Munch column visits Smokin' Joe's Saloon (2001 E. Carson St., South Side Flats). post-gazette.com ... The Tribune-Review's Sally Quinn reviews Blue (1701 Duncan Ave., McCandless), while Karin Welzel visits Eleven restaurant (1150 Smallman St.). pittsburghlive.com ... The City Paper reviews Palate (212 Sixth St., Downtown). pittsburghcitypaper.ws ... EatItAndLoveIt.com reviews Tai Pei Chinese Restaurant (1124 Freeport Rd, Pittsburgh).

By Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

California Pizza Kitchen Is Coming

IN THE NEWS: After years of nibbling around the region's crust, California Pizza Kitchen is ready to enter the Pittsburgh market. The Los Angeles-based gourmet pizza restaurant is in lease negotiations to open its first Pittsburgh location at South Hills Village in Mount Lebanon, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports. ... The Post-Gazette's Gretchen Trent reviews Sassy Marie's (422 Foreland St., North Side), while Munch goes to Tango Cafe (5806 Forward Ave. in Squirrel Hill). post-gazette.com ... The City Paper also reviews Sassy Marie's. pittsburghcitypaper.ws. ... The Tribune-Review's Sally Quinn reviews La Tavola Italiana Restaurant & Pizzaria (1 Boggs Ave., Mt. Washington), while Karin Welzel considers Helen's Restaurant at Seven Springs Mountain Resort (777 Waterwheel Drive, Somerset County). pittsburghlive.com ... Pittsburgh magazine's Deborah McDonald reviews Seviche (930 Penn Ave., downtown). wqed.org/mag

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Proposed Alcohol Sales Tax Chaps Owners

IN THE NEWS: A measure introduced by State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, that would add a 10-percent tax on alcohol sales in Allegheny County has raised the ire of local bar and restaurant owners, Pittsburgh Business Times reports. Called House Bill 1629, the tax was proposed in reaction to another measure that would bring $700 million in transportation funding and raise local funding obligations for public transportation. ... New York-based blogger Andrea Strong's thestrongbuzz.com visits Pittsburgh standbys Fatheads (1805 Carson Street) and Primanti Brothers (46 18th Street). ... The Post-Gazette's Christine O'Toole reviews Our Cucina (1469 Bower Hill Road, Upper St. Clair, ourcucina.com), while Munch visits Lina G's Cafe (130 Brownsville Road, Mount Oliver). post-gazette.com ... The Tribune-Review's Karin Welzel reviews Tonic Bar & Grill (971 Liberty Ave., Downtown), while Luis Fabregas considers Cafe Allegro (51 South 12th Street, South Side) and Michael Machosky visits Red Robin (175. E. Waterfront Drive, Homestead). ... The paper also reports that Trilogy restaurant (620 Liberty Ave., Downtown) has announced Jay Whittenberger has been named its new executive chef. Whittenberger comes from Sedeo Cafe in Powell, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. pittsburghlive.com ... The City Paper's Angelique Bamberg and Jason Roth review The Library (2304 E. Carson St., South Side). pittsburghcitypaper.ws. ... Blogger EatItAndLoveIt.com stops by Outback Steakhouse (9395 McKnight Road, Pittsburgh).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Critics Post Grades for Classroom, Library

IN THE NEWS: The Tribune-Review's pittsburghlive.com Karin Welzel reviews The Classroom Restaurant (133 Camp Lane, McMurray, Washington County), while Alice Carter visits The Library (2304 East Carson St.) and Michael Machosky stops by downtown's Mexico City. ... Carole Napolitano blogs a rave of Chinese restaurant Liang's Hunan Chinese on Liberty Avenue. ... The Post-Gazette's post-gazette.com Christine O'Toole reviews Tusca (2773 Sidney St., South Side), while Elizabeth Downer reviews the downtown French bistro Palate www.palatebistro.com, and the Munch column visits Jerry's Curb Service, 1521 Riverside Drive, Bridgewater. ... Pittsburgh City Paper pittsburghcitypaper.ws reviews breakfast spot Eggs N'at (8556 University Blvd., Moon Township). ... Blogger EatItAndLoveIt.com reviews Emiliano's Restaurante & Cantina (8600 McKnight Road, Pittsburgh).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

'Soup Nazi' Eatery Set for Downtown in Fall

IN THE NEWS: The Original SoupMan, featuring the well-known soups of Al Yeganeh, is preparing to land downtown, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports. A local franchisee will lease a 1,171-square-foot location in the Forbes Garage at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Smithfield Street in the fall. The inspiration for the "Soup Nazi" character on "Seinfeld," Yeganeh's original soup shop was a fixture in midtown Manhattan until closing in April 2006. ... The Times also reports that Christian Fyke is optimistic his new Rivertowne Pour House in Monroeville will succeed, despite the spotty track record brew pubs have had in Pittsburgh over the past decade ... The Post-Gazette's Munch reviews Mercurio's Mulberry Creamery (733 Copeland St., Shadyside). post-gazette.com ... City Paper's Angelique Bamburg and Jason Roth review Urban Fusion Cafe (801 N. Negley Ave., Highland Park). pittsburghcitypaper.ws ... The Tribune-Review's Karin Welzel reviews Pino's Mediterranean Bistro (6738 Reynolds St., Point Breeze). pittsburghlive.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, June 11, 2007

Tambellini's on 51 Closing Set For June 30

IN THE NEWS: Tambellini's on 51, a local dining institution for more than 60 years, is set to be retired, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports. After buying the South Hills restaurant from Andrew Tambellini last July, Ed and Anna Dunlap will close the Route 51 landmark at the end of June. "We tried it for six months under the Tambellini banner and it wasn't working," said Dunlap, whose other restaurant holdings include Le Mont on Mount Washington and two Cafe Euro restaurants. Dunlap said the plan is to close Tambellini's on June 30 and spent the next two and a half months on a long-needed renovation of the restaurant's 25,000 square foot facility. Dunlap said he expects to invest $1.5 million on a full renovation that will feature decor patterned after a villa in Tuscany. In September, Dunlap will reopen the eatery as Amici Ristorante. An Italian word meaning friends, Amici will feature Tuscan Italian cuisine in a more casual atmosphere, the Times reports. ... The Post-Gazette's Munch column visits The Bagel Factory (5885 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill), while the paper notes Trilogy's new executive chef Jay Whittenberger, who comes to the downtown Pittsburgh restaurant from Sedeo Cafe in Ohio. post-gazette.com ... The Tribune-Review's Alice T. Carter reviews Pacific Ring (1900 Murrary Ave., Squirrel Hill). The paper also notes, ""Three Courses for $30" will be offered during Pittsburgh Restaurant Week June 25-28 at more than 60 area restaurants, in addition to their regular menus. The program was created and is produced by Pittsburgh Celebrates! and is presented in partnership with Visit Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association. Among participating restaurants are Cafe Allegro, South Side; Ciao Baby Ristorante, Market Square; DiSalvo's Station Restaurant, Latrobe; Helen's Restaurant, Seven Springs Mountain Resort; Lucca Ristorante, Oakland; McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant, South Side; Rockwell's Red Lion, Elizabeth; and The Terrace Room, Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown. Details at www.pittsburghcelebrates.org." ... Critic Karen Welzel reviews The Original Fish Market Restaurant (The Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh, 1000 Penn Ave., Downtown). pittsburghlive.com ... City Paper's Angelique Bamberg and Jason Roth review Tamarind Flavor of India (257 N. Craig St., Oakland). pittsburghcitypaper.ws

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Jerome Bettis Grille 36 Opens

IN THE NEWS: The Post-Gazette reports, "Jerome Bettis Grille 36 will open June 5 in the DelMonte Building on the North Side, just across from Heinz Field, where the retired and beloved running back played. He worked with Ft. Lauderdale-based Celebrity Ventures Inc. to develop the eatery and nightspot, which will feature a signature "Jerome 36-ounce Steak" as well as, in the bar, 36 different martinis, 36 different beers and 36 different vodkas, in honor of the number he wore on his Steelers jersey".... The paper also notes, "The landmark Chesterfield's Restaurant along Route 30 in North Huntingdon has a date with a wrecking ball. Formerly the Ben Gross Supper Club popular in the 1960s, Chesterfield's has been a fixture in the Norwin area for almost a quarter-century. According to owner Barbara Braun, Pittsburgh-based Walnut Capital Development has purchased the restaurant. "A Walgreen's and a Starbucks is going into the space.)" ... The paper's Anita Srikameswaran reports, "Some restaurants and bars that adopted smoke-free policies won't put ashtrays back on their tables, even though a county ordinance prohibiting smoking in indoor workplaces was stubbed out (recently) by a state court. Allegheny County's smoking ban was in effect in dining and drinking establishments for the first 14 hours or so of May 1, until Commonwealth Court issued an injunction preventing its implementation in those establishments. A three-judge panel ruled that because of a clause in the state's Clean Indoor Air Act of 1986, Allegheny County did not have the authority to enact the ordinance at all. Nonetheless, Sonoma Grille, Downtown, decided to stay smoke free. It formerly allowed smoking in its lounge." ... The paper also reports that popular Luma Restaurant, Aspinwall, has opened its second eatery -- complete with outside patio seating -- at 186 Castle Shannon Blvd. in Mt. Lebanon. ... The Munch column drops by Mojo Bistro (172 Lincoln Ave., Bellevue). ... Staffer Bob Batz Jr. writes, "I love a new pocket-sized book titled, Where We Like To Eat n 'At! Subtitled "Celebrating Pittsburgh Neighborhoods," the cute self-published booklet presents mini-profiles of 57 (get it?) little eateries around the region." post-gazette.com ... The Eat'n Park restaurant chain will be totally smoke free, its operator says. Homestead, Pa.-based Eat'n Park Hospitality Group Inc. says its 68 locations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia will be cleaned over the next two weeks and that the change to smoke-free restaurants is immediate, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports. ... Tribune-Review critic Karin Welzel reviews Palazzo Ristorante (144 Sixth St., Cultural District, Downtown), while Michael Machosky stops by Amani International Coffeehouse & Cafe (507 Foreland St., North Side) and Luis Fabregas visits Church Brew Works. ... The paper also reports, "Palate is the name of the latest restaurant to open along Sixth Street in the Cultural District, Downtown. The theme is a Parisian bistro, offering French fusion cooking with a flair, by executive chef Ryan Racicot and owner John Valentine, at 212 Sixth St., across from Heinz Hall." pittsburghlive.com ... The City Paper's Angelique Bamberg and Jason Roth each award three stars to Jake's Beef & Bar-B-Que (1500 Washington Road, in The Galleria, Mount Lebanon). pittsburghcitypaper.ws ... Pittsburgh magazine's June 2007 issue announces its annual Tour De Fork 25 best restaurants list, beginning with Acanthus (604 W. North Ave., North Side.). ... Critic Deborah McDonald reviews Top 25 notable Original Fish Market (1001 Liberty Ave., Westin Convention Center hotel, downtown). wqed.org/mag ... Blog EatItAndLoveIt.com reviews D’s Six Packs and Dogz (4320 Northern Pike, Monroeville). ... Pittsburgh Dish pittsburghdish.typepad.com checks out Muriel's.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

JoJo's Makes Top 10 Diners List

Bon Appetit magazine's June 2007 issue runs Roadfood authors Jane and Michael Stern's list of America's top 10 diners. Writes the Sterns, "Diners used to be thought of as greasy spoons with dubious night-owl clientele — a reputation earned a hundred years ago when the first ones were established in decommissioned trolley cars in rough urban areas of the Northeast. But when indoor plumbing was introduced in the 1930s, they cleaned up their act and became known as a source of good square meals. As American as apple pie, the diner is one of our country's unique contributions to the world's culinary culture. Here is our honor roll of 10 primo diners where the food is good, prices are low, and the atmosphere is blue-plate bliss: Avalon Diner, Houston; Becky's Diner, Portland, ME; Blue Benn Diner, Bennington, VT; Connelly's Goody Goody Diner, St. Louis; Dutch Kitchen, Frackville, PA; JoJo's, Pittsburgh; Mickey's Dining Car, St. Paul; O'Rourke's, Middletown, CT; Summerton Diner, Summerton, SC; Wasp's Snack Bar, Woodstock, VT.

IN THE NEWS: Pittsburgh Business Times reports, "The former COO of the world's largest pizza chain, Jerry Buss, sounds ready to plunge his fingers into some fresh dough. After a brief retirement, Buss, a 30-year veteran of Pizza Hut's executive ranks, and his family are relocating from Dallas to Pittsburgh where, in a single acquisition his Seven Fields-based Aurora Huts LLC became one of the largest pizza restaurant operators in the region. In late March, Aurora Huts bought 53 Pittsburgh-area Pizza Hut locations from Pizza Hut's corporate parent, which had been operating the restaurants for more than 20 years. Now, Buss has aggressive plans to establish the franchise as a family-run business, with his three children all playing leadership roles. A first order of business for the Buffalo, N.Y., native is to renovate and modernize the Pizza Hut locations." ... The Tribune-Review's Karin Welzel visits Rizzo's Malabar Inn Italian Restaurant (Route 119, Crabtree in Westmoreland County), while Mark Howser reviews Sharp Edge Bistro (510 Beaver St., Sewickley). pittsburghlive.com ... The Post-Gazette's Munch column stops by Cuzamil Restaurante Mexicano (2109 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill). post-gazette.com ... City Paper's Angelique Bamberg and Jason Roth review Seviche (930 Penn Ave., Downtown). pittsburghcitypaper.ws ... EatItAndLoveIt.com visits Bahama Breeze (6100 Robinson Center Drive) and Mexi-Casa (3001 West Liberty Ave). ... Blogger Pittsburgh Dish pittsburghdish.typepad.com reports that construction is due to begin soon for East Ohio Street's Bistro to Go, to be operated by local caterer Nikki Heckman.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dee's Cafe on Esquire List; Laforet Closing

Esquire magazine's second annual Best Bars of America list is out in the June 2007 issue. They include:

Lou's Pub & Package, Birmingham, Ala.; J Lounge, Golden Gopher, The Edison, The Broadway Bar, La Cita, Bordello, Redwood, and Bar 107, Los Angeles; Musso & Frank Grill, Hollywood, Calif.; The Polo Lounge, Beverly Hills; Beach Ball, Newport Beach, Calif.; Brennan's Pub, Marina Del Ray, Calif.; Bourbon & Branch, The Owl Tree, Vesuvio, and Zeitgeist, San Francisco; The Sportsman, Sonora, Calif.; Cruise Room, and El Chapultepec, Denver; Jimbo's, and Churchill's Pub, Miami; The Clermont Lounge, Atlanta; Lewers Lounge at the Halekulani Hotel, and La Mariana Sailing Club, Honolulu; The California Clipper, The Red Lion Pub, Bungalow, The Matchbox, Hideout, and Chipp Inn, Chicago; The Red Key, and Nicky Blaine's, Indianapolis; The Old Seelbach Bar, Louisville; The Chart Room, The Bar at Tujague's, Fritzel's European Jazz Pub, and Napoleon House, New Orleans; The Brewer's Art, and Shamrock Inn, Baltimore; B-Side Lounge, Cambridge, Mass.; No. 9 Park, Boston; Doyle's Cafe, Jamaica Plain, Mass.; The Bar at Seldom Blues, Detroit; Miller's Bar, Dearborn, Mich.; Bulldog NE, and Nye's Polonaise Room, Minneapolis; Half Time Rec, St. Paul; John D. McGurk's, St. Louis; Any bar on the Strip, Double Down Saloon, and Petrossian Bar, Las Vegas; Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, Little Branch, The Bar at Keens Steakhouse, Minetta Tavern, Jimmy's Corner, The Angel's Share, The Brooklyn Inn, The Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel, Flatiron Lounge, The Saloon, San Domenico Restaurant, Spuyten Duyvil, 21 Club, Grassroots Tavern, Bill's Gay 90s, Julius', and Pegu Club, New York City; Freddy's Bar & Backroom, Brooklyn; Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Queens; Thomas Street Tavern, Charlotte, NC; Andyman's Treehouse, Columbus, Ohio; The Library Bar & Grill, Norman, Okla.; Friendly Lounge, The Grey Lodge, and Southwark, Philadelphia; Dee's Cafe, Pittsburgh; Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, and Robert's Western World, Nashville; La Tuna, San Antonio; Donn's Depot, Austin; The Inwood Lounge, Dallas; Shooting Star Saloon, Huntsville, Utah; Sambar, Zig Zag Cafe, and Fu Kun Wu, Seattle; Hawk 'n' Dove, and The Tune Inn, Washington, DC; Holler House, Milwaukee.

IN THE NEWS: Pittsburgh Business Times reports, "Laforêt, long one of Pittsburgh's best restaurants, is closing in July (July 14). Owners Michael and Robert Uricchio have sold the Highland Park restaurant to Joseph Tambellini, the executive chef at Franco's Trattoria in Dormont, who expects to reopen the restaurant as a new Italian concept. For more than 10 years, Laforet garnered a strong reputation for its contemporary French cuisine. It was named the city's best restaurant by Pittsburgh magazine and was recognized by national publications Gourmet and Wine Spectator." ... The Post-Gazette also weighs in on Laforet's impending shuttering and announces dining critic Elizabeth Downer's departure from the beat to concentrate on her wine column. ... The Munch column visits Remedy (5121 Butler St., Lawrenceville). post-gazette.com ... Karin Welzel of the Tribune-Review pittsburghlive.com reviews Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen & Wine Bar (229 S. Highland Ave. in Shadyside), while Michael Machosky visits McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon (211 North Shore Drive, North Side) and Sally A. Quinn stops by Mojo Bistro (172 Lincoln Ave., Bellevue) .

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, May 14, 2007

America's Best Restaurant Cities

"Today ... most major cities in the U.S. have the kind of gastronomic diversity and regionality that is rich in every department, and even if you’ve visited recently, you can be sure that next time you go, there’ll be more new and enticing restaurants than you could possibly visit," writes Donald Burnam in a recent ForbesTraveler.com piece, "America's Best Restaurant Cities." "It’s getting hard not to have a great meal anywhere in the U.S.." Burnam continues.

Forbes' Top 10 Restaurant Cities:
1. New York City
2. Chicago
3. San Francisco
4. Los Angeles
5. New Orleans
6. Houston
7. Washington, D.C.
8. Atlanta
9. Boston
10. Las Vegas

Rankings were based on: Overall number of restaurants above the fast food level; Number of fine dining restaurants with national and international standing; Solid representation of regional American food; A wide segment of second-tier restaurants that would include seafood, steakhouses, and independently chef-owned restaurants; Breadth and depth of ethnic restaurants, especially if the city has neighborhood such as a Chinatown; A significant number of neigborhood restaurants where the locals tend to eat out regularly; A well-traveled clientele that regards eating out in that city one of the real pleasures of going there.

IN THE NEWS: The Post-Gazette's Elizabeth Downer looks at BYOB restaurants Orchids and Cafe Zinho. ... The paper The Munch column visits Little Tokyo (636 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon) and reports that Eric Fisher of Jimmy G's in Sharpsburg is the winner of the Simon SuperChef trophy and title of "Simon SuperChef Pittsburgh." post-gazette.com ... The Tribune-Review stops by Sushi Too, 5432 Walnut St. in Shadyside. pittsburghlive.com ... Pittsburgh City Paper gives two stars to Pho Kim 88, 4100 Library Road (Route 88) in Castle Shannon. pittsburghcitypaper.ws ... Blogger Eatitandloveit.com reviews D’s Six Packs and Dogs (4320 Northern Pike in Monroeville) and Fajita Grill (5865 Ellsworth Ave. in Pittsburgh).
Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Primanti Brothers Honored at Beard Awards

Chicago's Frontera Grill won Outstanding Restaurant of the Year and Michel Richard of Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington, D.C. was named Outstanding Chef at the 2007 James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony. Hosted by CBS Early Show anchor Hannah Storm, the Beard Awards were held May 7 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York's Lincoln Center. More than 60 awards were presented by the country's pre-eminent nonprofit culinary organization, in its 20th anniversary celebration, and more than 1,600 industry leaders attended the ceremony. Other top awards went to: New York's L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, named Best New Restaurant; Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca.) received the award for Outstanding Restaurateur; and David Chang (Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York) received the Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Celebrity and culinary superstar attendees included Stephanie March, Ted Allen, Katie Lee Joel, Martha Stewart, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Thomas Keller, Jose Andres, Tom Colicchio, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Padma Lakshmi, and Marcus Samuelsson. The Foundation's Media Awards took place at a separate event at the Hudson Theatre at Millennium Broadway Hotel on May 6. All Award winners received a bronze medallion etched with the image of the late James Beard, the esteemed chef, cookbook author, and food journalist. There are no cash awards. Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognizes outstanding achievement within the fine food and beverage industry in North America. For full awards results, please visit http://www.jamesbeard.org.

Beard Award highlights are:

AMERICA'S CLASSICS: Primanti Brothers, Demetrios Patrinos, Pittsburgh, Pa.; The Pickwick, Christopher Wisocki, Duluth, Minn.; Doe's Eat Place, The Signa Family, Greenville, Miss.; Aunt Carrie's, Elsie Foy, Narragansett, R.I.; I

Brookville Hotel, Mark and Connie Martin, Abilene, Kan.; Weaver D's, Dexter Weaver, Athens, Ga.

BEST CHEF, GREAT LAKES: Grant Achatz, Alinea, Chicago

BEST CHEF, MID-ATLANTIC: R.J. Cooper, III, Vidalia, Washington, DC

BEST CHEF, MIDWEST: Celina Tio, The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.

BEST CHEF, NEW YORK CITY: David Waltuck, Chanterelle, New York, NY

BEST CHEF, NORTHEAST: Frank McClelland, L'Espalier, Boston

BEST CHEF, NORTHWEST: John Sundstrom, Lark, Seattle

BEST CHEF, PACIFIC: Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière, San Francisco

BEST CHEF, SOUTH: Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

BEST CHEF, SOUTHEAST: Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur, Ga.

BEST CHEF, SOUTHWEST: Nobuo Fukuda, Sea Saw, Scottsdale, Ariz.

BEST NEW RESTAURANT: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Chef-Owner: Joël Robuchon, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING CHEF: Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF: Michael Laskonis, Le Bernardin, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT: Frontera Grill, chef-owner: Rick and Deann Bayless, Chicago

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.

OUTSTANDING SERVICE: Rick Tramonto, Gale Gand, and Richard Melman, Tru, Chicago

OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL: Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards, Cupertino, Calif.

OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE: Mark Slater, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR: David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York, NY

IN THE NEWS: After years of advertising on local cable television and months of establishing franchise operators, Sonic has committed to its first Pittsburgh-area location, Pittsburgh Business Times reports. The Oklahoma-based drive-through restaurant chain announced that it will open at the Village at Pittsburgh Mills in Frazer Township. ... The paper also reports that the smoking ban in Allegheny County bars and restaurants has been snuffed again, at least temporarily. A state appellate court on May 1 issued a stay on the smoking ban, Allegheny County Solicitor Michael Wojcik said. The ban on smoking took effect at midnight April 30 when Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Michael A. Della Vecchia declined to extend an injunction he issued in January that delayed its implementation. But Commonwealth Court Judge James Gardner Collins effectively overruled Della Vecchia when he granted a request for a temporary injunction. Wojcik said the injunction request was filed by an attorney for Mitchell's Restaurant and Bar and the Smithfield Cafe, the restaurants that filed the original suit. The stay will be in place indefinitely, Wojcik said. ... Post-Gazette critic Elizabeth Downer awards three stars in her review of Seviche, 930 Penn Ave. in the Cultural District, while the Munch column visits Famous Dave's barbecue ... The Post-Gazette's Torsten Ove writes a worthy obituary of Josephine Giaramita, the owner of La Tavola Italiana (The Italian Table) restaurant on Mount Washington. ... Luis Fabregas of the Tribune-Review critiques downtown's Original Fish Market, 1000 Penn Avenue, at the Westin Convention Center Hotel -- as does Pittsburgh magazine -- while the Tribune-Review's Michael Machosky reviews Orchids International Vegetarian Restaurant, 4519 Centre Ave. in Oakland ... Pittsburgh City Paper considers Sewickley Speakeasy, 17 Ohio River Blvd. in Sewickley.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Sunday, April 29, 2007

James Beard Awards Await

Roughly the dining out equivalent of The Academy Awards, The James Beard Foundation annual awards ceremony takes place Monday, May 7, at the Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. Go to www.jamesbeard.org for the complete list, but here's a partial list of national nominees:

-- Outstanding Restaurant: Boulevard, San Francisco; Frontera Grill, Chicago; Magnolia Grill, Durham, N.C., Picholine, New York; Spiaggia, Chicago.
-- Best New Restaurant: A Voce, New York City; Chochon, New Orleans; Cut, Beverly Hill, Calif; L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, New York City; Momofuku Ssam Bar, New York City; Restaurant Guy Savoy, Las Vegas.
-- Outstanding Restaurateur: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif; Keith McNally, Balthazar, New York City; Richard Melman, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (R.J. Grunts, Wildfire, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!), Chicago; Drew Nieporent, Myriad Restaurant Group (Tribeca Grill, Nobu, Rubicon), New York City; Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jean Georges restaurant, New York City.
-- Outstanding Chef: Tom Colicchio, Craft, New York City; Lee Hefter, Spago, Beverly Hills, Calif.; Jean Joho, Everest, Chicago; Paul Kahan, Blackbird, Chicago; Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, D.C.
-- Rising Star Chef: Nate Appleman, A16, San Francisco; Graham Elliot Bowles, Avenues at The Peninsula Hotel, Philadelphia; David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York; Patrick Connelly, Radius, Boston; Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park, New York City.

Restaurant magazine just released its list of the world's top 100 restaurants. (http://www.theworlds50best.com/2007_list.html) Here are the U.S. entries:

The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca. (No. 4)
Per Se, New York City (No. 9)
Jean Georges, New York City (No. 18)
Le Bernardin, New York City (No. 26)
Charlie Trotter's, Chicago (No. 30)
Daniel, New York City (No. 32)
Alinea, Chicago (No. 36)
Chez Panisse, Berkeley, Ca. (No. 40)
Masa, New York City (No. 56)
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the Four Seasons, New York City (No. 64)
Peter Lugar, Brooklyn, NY (No. 69)
Nobu New York, New York City (No. 89)
Gramercy Tavern, New York City (No. 90)
WD-50, New York City (No. 91)
Zuni Café, San Francisco (No. 98)
Alex at Wynn, Las Vegas (No. 100)

IN THE NEWS: Joe Costanzo Jr., former owner of The Primadonna Restaurant, plans to open casual bistro Cafe Costanzo sometime in June 2007, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports. The paper also cites brewery expansion plans of the Church Brew Works (www.churchbrew.com), with two additional tanks to launch two Belgian-style beers, as well as the upcoming launch of sushi bar-Asian fusion restaurant Tamari on Butler Street sometime in the next few months. pittsburgh.bizjournals.com ... The Post-Gazette's Elizabeth Downer awards three stars to North Side's Acanthus, 604 W. North Ave. And the column Munch stops by Kelly's Riverside Saloon, 1458 Riverside Drive, Bridgewater. www.post-gazette.com ... Pittsburgh City Paper's Angelique Bamber and Jason Roth each give two and a half stars to the Taqueria Cuzamil, 2019 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill. www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws. ... The blog eatitandloveit.com takes Steve Sheetz and his sandwich shop Sheetz to task for the "HUGE mistake by getting rid of your veggie subz." ... The blog pittsburghdish.typepad.com drools all over the cupcakes from Food Glorious Food, 5906 Bryant St, Highland Park. ...