Restaurant Scene: Plenty of new places opening around Pittsburgh this season


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So much is happening on Pittsburgh's dining scene that it demands another update of places that are scheduled to open this fall or early next year. Here's a look:

• Blue Line Grille and Uptown (1014 Fifth Ave.) plans to open adjacent to Consol Energy Center in late October for the restaurant, early November for the bar. Partners Kevin Nord and James Mendelson, formerly of Doc's Place Bar and Restaurant in Shadyside, have chosen Austrian-born Christian Mayrhofer as chef. Mr. Mayrhofer ran the kitchen at McCormick & Schmick's and has worked in Europe, Asia and South America before settling in the region in 1997. The four-story building will house the 12,000-square-foot bar and restaurant and 10 lofts.

The fourth location of Burgatory (299 W. Bridge St., West Homestead) aims to open in the Waterfront in December or early January across from AMC Loews Waterfront 22 Cineplex. With slogans like "Blessed be the Burger" and red plastic pitchforks used as burger toothpicks, the restaurant plays with its moniker on a menu of wings, onion rings, nachos, burgers and shakes.

• Butcher and the Rye hopes to open in mid-October across from Heinz Hall (212 Sixth St.) in the space formerly occupied by Palate. The 100-seat sibling to the wildly popular Meat & Potatoes from chef Richard DeShantz and partner Tolga Sedvik will feature an extensive bourbon and rye selection, classic cocktails, charcuterie and small-ish plates.

In the space next door to Cafe io, the family-friendly Mt. Lebanon restaurant plans to open a deli and bottle shop (300 Beverly Road) by late October or early November. The restaurant that debuted as Iovino's Cafe rebranded itself as a neighborhood restaurant in 2011, with a menu of Mediterranean and American dishes as well as casual salads, burgers, smoothies and shakes.

• The Pub Chip Shop (1830 E. Carson St.), a long-awaited pie and chips joint, is scheduled to open next door to sibling Piper's Pub on the South Side in the next couple of weeks, now that nearly all permits have been approved. 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.

• Dive Bar & Grille (5147 Butler St.) will open in Lawrenceville by late November in the space that was formerly Alchemy N' Ale. The restaurant is a sibling to the 3-year-old Perry Highway location in Pine.

Co-owners Gordon Judge and Clint Kuskie are veterans of Bar Louie in Station Square and the Waterfront, where they met 10 years ago.

The menu will feature 110 items, such as buffalo chicken or Reuben eggrolls, which are popular in the Pine location. Happy hours will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, when Mr. Judge said the restaurant will offer "aggressive discounts," such as $1 off specialty drinks, half-priced menu items and $6 Belgian beers.

Olivia Crocker and Tom Kazar will be opening a bar and restaurant with New American cuisine, Dorothy 6 Blast Furnace Cafe (224 E. Eighth Ave.), in Homestead this fall. It's named for the Duquesne Works' furnace that residents fought to save from demolition. At one time it had been the largest in the world. Ms. Crocker and Mr. Kazar have been working on the space since April 2012.

The 300-seat steakhouse Eddie Merlot's (444 Liberty Ave.) will open in February at Gateway Center in the space formerly occupied by Elements. 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.

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.

The patio is shaping up at Gus's Cafe (4717 Butler St.), the beer-centric restaurant with a gluten-free menu that will open in Lawrenceville. Though the opening was projected for October, plans have been delayed by hearings and getting approval for permits. That may mean the place does not open until November or December, said owner George Haritos, whose family owned Harris Grill in Shadyside and sold it in 2003. Gus's is named for Konstantinos "Gus" Haritos, the original owner of Harris Grill, which opened in 1951. He died in 2001.

Pittsburgh native Allegra Escatore has returned to the area from Mendocino, Calif., to serve as chef. Mr. Haritos also plans to sell lambics, Belgian brews and local nano-brews, among others.

Restaurateurs behind Spoon and BRGR in East Liberty, Brian Pekarcik and Richard Stern, are heading Downtown, where they'll open their newest concept: an American dim sum eatery they'll call Grit & Grace (535 Liberty Ave). The restaurant will open in late fall in the space that housed Taste of Dahntahn, now closed.

"There are lots of young people in Pittsburgh who want to eat late at night," he said. "We wanted to offer more of this, as well as options for the pre- and post-theater crowd."

Grit & Grace will be open for lunch, dinner and late-night, seven days a week

• Hop Farm (5601 Butler St.) hopes to open by Sept. 28, the second craft brewery to open in Lawrenceville, following Roundabout, which debuted this summer.

Matt Gouwens, has been home brewing for five years (Hop Yard Brewing Co.), growing varieties of hops in his yard. When he decided to open his own space, he partnered with a Cranberry farmer who would have the time to tend to them. Right now, he's using a variety, though eventually he plans on using more locally grown hops.

For the debut, Mr. Gouwens will offer three beers -- a saison, a nut brown and an IPA, available first as growler-fills, then in cans once he earns federal approval required for labels, which the state requires.

Within the year, Mr. Gouwens plans to fire up the kitchen to offer small plates.

"Once we get a liquor license, it'll be more of a pub atmosphere," he said.

• Lupi & Leo (201 West Drive) in Greensburg will open between the end of October and the beginning of November. It's the second venture from the folks behind Pinocchio's Pizza and Sandwich shop in Yukon, Westmoreland County. The 50-seat restaurant will have a lunch and dinner menu that includes crepes Devonshire, shrimp and grits, gnocchi with goat cheese, pizzas and sandwiches made on house-made bread.

• Penn Avenue Fish Co. has a month wait until the Downtown location (308 Forbes Ave.) can sell liquor. At first, the restaurant plans to serve craft beer, wine and sake that pairs well with fish, co-owners Angela Earley and Henry Dewey said.

Eventually Penn Ave. Fish Co. will expand to spirits in the spring after it builds out the second floor where it plans to construct an oyster bar. Although the restaurant will offer beer and wine this season, plan on a year before the build-out will be complete. The Strip District location will remain BYOB.

• Smoke BBQ Taqueria has signed a lease to occupy a space in Lawrenceville (4115 Butler St.). Co-owner Jeff Petruso hopes to open in November. It's not clear whether the restaurant's Homestead location will close.

The restaurant is in the early stages of applying for a liquor license, something its original location on East Eighth Avenue in Homestead does not have. The taqueria is a Pittsburgh-area favorite for its bold flavors, slow-cooked meats and fundamentalist approach to quality ingredients.

It will reside next door to the Rowhouse Cinema and Atlas Bottle Works, which will carry more than 500 local, national and international brews as well as growlers to drink while watching movies or to take home.

Come November, Szmidt's Old World Deli (5430 Penn Ave.) plans to take over the building that has housed Quiet Storm on Penn Avenue in Garfield for 12 years.

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 watch bread, pierogies and pastries being made.

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.

• Sienna Merkato (942 Penn Ave.) will open Downtown in a three-story space with a 3,000-square-foot rooftop deck, with restaurant floors named Emporio, Mezzo and Il Tetto for the roof. The deck is expected to have a bar and dinner seating with a view of Downtown. The rooftop will feature a retractable roof for open-air dining in warm weather. Matthew Porco of Sienna Sulla Piazza will oversee the kitchens at the new location.

region - dining

Melissa McCart: 412-263-1198 or MMcCart@post-gazette.com or on Twitter @melissamccart.


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