Little Bites: Local restaurant news

Wood fired pizza Downtown

Pizza by the slice and bar pies have long been an option for a fast lunch Downtown. Now there's more than one choice for wood-fired pizzas.

City Oven opened at 336 Fourth Ave., Downtown, about a year ago. It's a fast-casual spot with a wood-fired wings and a half-dozen pizza variations, where a red pie with San Marzano tomatoes, provolone and mozzarella starts at $10.79. City Oven offers flatbread pies, rather than Neapolitan-style ones.

Stone Neapolitan Pizzeria opened this past winter at 300 Liberty Ave. (the former State Office Building, now the River Vue apartments) near Point State Park. It's a bare-bones outfit that promises traditional thin crust in 90 seconds. A margherita rings in at $6.35, with a cracker-thin, blistery crust and a sheen of San Marzano tomatoes and cheese.

Customers can create their own pie with said margherita, the marinara without cheese ($5.25) or the bianca ($5.65) base, followed by one of four types of olive oil (extra-virgin, chili, garlic and white truffle). Choose from dozens of toppings, which include roasted mushrooms, fontina, and hand-pulled mozzarella that owner Rich Werner makes himself.

A fan of Neapolitan pies, Mr. Werner said he wanted to offer this style that hasn't been as popular in Pittsburgh because it has not been as widely available until now. "Anywhere you go for this style pie, you pay $20," he said. "I wanted to offer something more affordable."

A few blocks away in Market Square, the newly opened Il Pizzaiolo turns out handsome pies in an oven custom-built by artisans flown in from Italy. Executive chef Richard Sphatt oversees the kitchen that produces traditional margherita pies ($14) as well as such delectable variations as the Santa Lucia with cherry tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, basil, olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil ($15).

Il Pizzaiolo has opened with a ready following culled from the Mt. Lebanon flagship location. This pizza garners a higher price for the restaurant's central location, warm dining room, polished service and extensive menu.

Slated for Downtown is Proper Brick Oven and Tap Room in the former Tambellini space on Seventh Street. Owner Suzanne Hrach will offer 30 draft beers with an emphasis on local breweries, and 20 wines on tap. The menu at the 99-seat eatery will showcase pizza with seasonal toppings, made in a wood-burning oven.

Is Pittsburgh craving pizza beyond its stuffed crusts, Sicilian slices or "pizza-parlor pizza"? These businesses are banking on it.


The GoodTaste! Pittsburgh show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Pittsburgh Marriott North in Cranberry. The event includes wine and food tastings, celebrity chefs (including Savoy's Kevin Wright and Root 174's Keith Fuller), cooking demos, food activities for children, and more.

Tickets are $12 per person online at and $15 at the door. Children under 12 are free.

Booze history at Franktuary

Lawrenceville's Franktuary will host the first class in its Sunday School series, A Brief History of Alcohol and Religion, on Sunday. Wigle Whiskey distiller Eric Meyer leads the lesson, while bartenders showcase four drinks with spirits rooted in monastic tradition: a Chartreuse cocktail, Draai Laag Belgian-style beer, wine from Burgundy and Wigle Whiskey. Sausage, cheese and monk-made chocolate will be served, with vegetarian options available.

The event is $55. Email to RSVP.

STOOGE Cheese Plates

Starting at 4 p.m. Sunday at Parkway Theater in Stowe, Aaron Stubna is selling cheese plates for a Stooge-fest fundraiser. The food choice is a nod to the early Stooges episode "Horses' Collars," set in the Old West, where Curly loses it every time he sees a mouse, and the only way to calm him down is to feed him a piece of cheese. Hence the famous line, "Moe! ... Larry! ... The cheese!"

Mr. Stubna plans to serve three types of cheese, plus crackers, bread and olives, as well as more traditional theater fare, at the benefit for his Community Reel Arts Center, a nonprofit group that is renovating the circa 1935 theater at 644 Broadway Ave.

Mr. Stubna and his group have big plans for the place, which was most recently a church youth center, with the vision of turning it into "a hip, lounge-style theater" with a cafe -- serving food, coffee, beer and wine -- in the front and playing films in a 75-seat screening room in the back.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under.

For more on the event or the project in general, you can email him at or call 412-766-1668.

Wild Purveyors' Beer pairings

On Tuesday, Wild Purveyors and East End Brewing Co. will celebrate Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week and spring's arrival at Wild Purveyors, 5308 Butler St., Lawrenceville.

Four beer pairings from East End Brewing will compliment Pennsylvania cheeses and local foods.

Prior to the event, $15 tickets can be bought for the 6 or 8 p.m. tastings by following links on Twitter @wildpurveyors or @eastendbrewing. Tickets will also be sold for $20 at the door.

The event is just one of scores of tastings and other events during Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week, which starts Friday and runs through April 27. You can read more about that in today's Food & Flavor section.

Some of these items first appeared on the food and drinks blog The Forks at


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