As stalwart restaurants close, new ones fill spaces based on consumer demands. Authentic Indian and Mexican restaurants are among them, as well as a cocktail den, a raw bar, a barbecue outpost and two restaurant chains.
Read on to learn more about restaurants that have recently opened as well as those to debut in coming months.
Two spots Downtown
• Proper Brick Oven and Tap Room -- Demolition begins next week at 139 Seventh St. in the former Tambellini's location. Proper Brick Oven and Tap Room is scheduled for a late July-early August opening.
Owner Suzanne Hrach will offer 30 draught beers -- with an emphasis on local breweries -- and 25 wines by the glass, with some available via a temperature-controlled enomatic system. The menu at the 99-seat eatery will showcase pizza with seasonal toppings made in a wood-burning oven. The renovated interior will be "modern, casual and relaxed," she said.
• Eddie Merlot's -- The 300-seat steakhouse will open this fall at Gateway Center in space formerly occupied by Elements, a spokesperson confirms. The Platinum Restaurant Group, based in Fort Wayne, Ind., started the chain in 2001 and has expanded to Cincinnati and Columbus, both in Ohio; Louisville, Ky., and most recently Bloomfield Hills, Mich. In 2014, the group plans to open spots in Denver and Boston.
Named for the nickname of founder and wine connoisseur, Bill Humphries, the steakhouse has carved a reputation through tableside service, where servers filet fish, cut steaks and assemble salads for a dining audience.
Two Indian restaurants in Oakland
• Yuva India opened in early March at 412 S. Craig St. Mavin Kohi moved his family from Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh, after working at Dean & Deluca for several years. A slower pace and a demand for authentic Indian restaurants drew him to Pittsburgh.
There is no buffet available (and no website yet), though the kitchen that serves lunch and dinner boasts dishes from every region of India. Specialties include lamb shank, south Indian curries, chicken tikka masala and whole roasted fish with a spice crust.
• All India at 315 N. Craig St. opened at the end of March. It's a venture from Didar Singh, who owns India Garden in Oakland and Monroeville as well as Bombay Market on Centre Avenue.
Among chaats, the restaurant makes behl puri -- puffed rice and chips tossed with condiments, onions, potatoes and tomatoes -- as well as papdi chaat, a course of chickpeas and potatoes topped with spiced yogurt and chutney.
The menu also displays kathi rolls, Indian sandwiches filled with chicken, lamb or vegetables. Dosas, vindaloo, and an array of lamb and goat dishes are available, as well as items from the tandoori clay oven.
Rumfish Grille, the casual-upscale restaurant at 1155 Washington Pike, is a chef-driven concept that opened nearly two weeks ago in the Great Southern Shopping Center. General manager is Bob Flood, former wine director of Toast! Kitchen & Wine Bar in Shadyside. Eric Wallace, formerly of Up Modern Kitchen, also in Shadyside, took the reins as executive chef.
Rumfish Grille features a patio and raw bar that debuts this weekend, where lobster, clams, mussels, crab and 10 types of oysters a day will be available.
The Dallas-based chain Texas de Brazil features Brazilian sausage, chicken breast wrapped in bacon, rack of lamb as well as picanha, Brazilian barbecue carved tableside. It is scheduled to open Wednesday in a 7,500-square-foot space that will be the group's 27th location.
For the debut, customers can stop by the bar from May 6 to 10 to receive a gratis caipirinha cocktail, the national cocktail of Brazil. In the dining room that week, guests can also choose among a selection of free desserts.
Light dinner runs $24.99; standard dinner is $42.99.
The Pub Chip Shop, a long-awaited fish and chips joint, is scheduled to open next door to sibling Piper's Pub in May.
Owner Drew Topping was inspired to open the place during a 2009 trip to Scotland, during which he was impressed by pub fare that also included meat pies and pasties.
When the Victorian building next to his pub became available, he moved in. The shop will open in the historical home of W.C. Kessler's flower shop on East Carson.
Casa Reyna, a 72-seat restaurant next to Reyna Foods, will have a soft open at the end of May.
The restaurant has been three years in the making. In that time, owner Nicola DiCio has been building out the space by himself.
The design includes a miniature tortilla factory with a window through which guests can watch as corn is integrated into tortillas. "It's quite amazing," he said.
He plans to offer authentic dishes from three regions of the country: Oaxaca, Guadalajara and Mexico City, prepared by three cooks versed in regional ingredients and techniques. "This is not our interpretation of dishes," he said, citing the prevalence of Tex-Mex in Pittsburgh. "These dishes are the way it is if you travel to these areas."
The restaurant will offer a library of tequilas, margaritas made with fresh ingredients, as well as Mexican beers.
"We'll have plenty to drink," he said, "but the place is more about the food."
The folks behind Mitch's Barbecue will open a barbecue and homemade ice cream joint this summer at 16070 Perry Highway.
Pork and brisket are preferred proteins, grilled for hours in a huge pit owner Mitchell Evanitsky brought up from Aledo, Texas, in the '90s.
Brian Mendelssohn, principal in Botero Development in Lawrenceville, confirms a November opening for Rowhouse Cinema, a single-screen, digital cinema in the former Starr Discount space.
The 72-seat theater pairs with a to-be-named bottle shop with aspirations to sell "the biggest selection of beers in the region," Mr. Mendelssohn said.
Customers can drink during showtime or fill growlers to-go from four taps that will offer three local and one featured beer.
The shop will offer local and micro brews only. No macro beers will be sold unless they're brewed in Pennsylvania.
A restaurant will open next door, said Mr. Mendelssohn, although he isn't ready to name the client. "It will be a huge deal for Lawrenceville," he said.
The buildout has begun at 126 Highland Ave., a coffee and cocktail spot from the Strip District's Bar Marco folks that will open at the end of June (with a name yet to be determined).
The location was used as The Waffle Shop: A Reality Show, the public art space opened as a project for a Carnegie Mellon art class, from October 2008 to July 2012.
The chef will be bread maven Andrew Stump, formerly at Marty's Market in the Strip.
Melissa McCart: 412-263-1198 or on Twitter @melissamccart.