Little Bites: Pittsburgh Restaurant Week returns next week

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week returns next week with special deals and menus for Pittsburgh diners, and all signs point to the weeklong event being an even bigger food fest than one this past January.

Sixty-nine area restaurants from Sewickley to Point Breeze to Cranberry are participating, reports event director Brian McCollum, a software engineer who co-writes the Pittsburgh TasteBuds blog, "which is 12 more than in winter." It runs from Aug. 12 to 18.

Many of the dining deals already have been posted on the event's website ( (Click on the restaurant's name for individual menus.) Pino's Contemporary Italian Kitchen in Point Breeze, for instance, is among the many restaurants offering $30, three-course prix fix meals while others will feature dishes specially priced at $20.13 (for the year). Personally, I can't wait to sample the fare at Skinny Pete's Kitchen in Avalon, which is not far from my house. They'll be dishing up a "field-to-fork" salad with house-made tomato and parmesan dressing and flatbread topped with black Angus beef and grilled mushrooms.

If you absolutely, positively can't wait to sink your teeth into what the chefs are cooking up, or just want to be among the first to get a preview, there's still time to buy tickets to a cocktail party-style Kickoff Party tonight. It runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at The National Aviary on Pittsburgh's North Side and will include samplings along with festive cocktails. Tickets cost $50 per person and can be purchased in advance through, or you can pay $60 at the door; price includes admission to the aviary.

Vocal about Pittsburgh restaurants on social media or a personal food blog? The weeklong celebration also will include a Food Blogger Dinner at 7 p.m. at Sausalido on Aug. 13. For an invitation (required), you need to fill out a form; to RSVP, you'll have to pony up a $5 deposit that will be good for $5 off your restaurant bill. The dinner will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen.

You can see if your favorite restaurant is participating at

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