Closing of Quiet Storm in Garfield makes room for Szmidt's Old World Deli

Come November, Szmidt's Old World Deli (pronounced Szmeeds) plans to take over the building that has hosted Quiet Storm on Penn Avenue in Garfield for 12 years.

Quiet Storm is scheduled to close in October and has not yet found a space in which to reopen.

Szmidt's owner Darren Smith plans to build out the deli's second location as a restaurant, bar and glass-walled bakery where customers can see bread, pierogies and pastries as they're made.

"I'm so excited I feel like an 8 year-old waiting on Christmas," Mr. Smith said. "It's been my dream since I could dream."

Mr. Smith opened his first shop in Greenfield in 2011, named for his Polish grandparents. Szmidt's bakes Pullman loaves and rye, cures meat and pickles in-house. The shop was in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's nominations in February for the city's best reuben.

Rick Swartz, executive director of the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation, confirmed the building is under a sales agreement with Mr. Smith as he finds financing to buy it.

Friendship Development Associates has to sell the building before the group disbands later this year.

"They were hoping the existing tenant would have been able to purchase the building but the tenant is not in that position at the moment," Mr. Swartz said.

An adviser to the association, David Brewton, confirmed details.

"We never wanted Quiet Storm to leave," he said.

Once it became clear the restaurant would leave, Mr. Smith got wind of the vacancy and approached the group.

"Darren has a dream of sharing his sandwiches with the world," he said.

Pittsburgh city councilman and Democratic mayoral nominee Bill Peduto has stepped in to help Quiet Storm find a new location.

The cafe "has become a community center," he told Chris Potter of Pittsburgh City Paper. "It's the Ritter's of a new generation."

Quiet Storm joins Shadow Lounge and Abay Ethiopian Cuisine, both of which closed this summer, as trailblazers that helped revitalize the very neighborhood they're leaving, citing raised rents and competition for real estate.

"We're looking for a fresh start, whether it be in a new home, as a partner to an existing establishment, in a yurt or on wheels," Quiet Storm owner Jill MacDowell wrote in her September 4 Facebook announcement. "Ideas & investors welcome. New project(s) in the works. Stay tuned."

She linked to Abay's closing letter from June 6.

"Part of the reason people have such strong opinions about restaurants is because they are personal to them," Abay's owner, Jamie Wallace, wrote. "The dining experience is an emotional one."

Melissa McCart: 412-263-1198 and on Twitter: @melissamccart.


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