La Gourmandine will take over the former Penn Avenue Fish spot on Forbes Avenue
John and Sukey Jamison, the Latrobe-based lamb farmers coached by the late great Julia Child, are getting into the restaurant business.
They’re joining forces with Brooks Broadhurst, who, in September, left his position after 20 years as senior vice president of food and beverage for Eat’n Park, to open Block 292, a sustainable foods market and restaurant. It’s set to open in late spring in a former service station on Beverly Road in Mt. Lebanon.
“You get an A on a test. You get fired from a job. The answer to either is often, ‘Let’s go out,’” said Mr. Broadhurst. “Everything that happens in life revolves around food and drink. In Block 292, we want to provide different avenues for people to recognize these kinds of events.”
Mr. Broadhurst remains on the board of directors for Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, which includes the fast-casual staple of the region and four specialty restaurants — The Porch, Six Penn Kitchen, Delicious Raw and Hello Bistro.The company is connected to Parkhurst dining, which includes college and corporate centers.
The plan is for the Jamisons to supply lamb and to source beef and pork for a sustainable butcher shop, selling humanely raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat.
“Proper practices make everything better,” Mr. Broadhurst said.
The Jamisons have also been a liaison to the chef, their daughter, Eliza Jamison, who is returning from New York. There she has headed kitchens at Esca and Market Table and Telepan, and worked the line at Le Bernardin and Cafe Boulud in West Palm Beach, Fla. She has also practiced butchery at her family’s farm and at Martin Pescador Lodge in Patagonia, Chile.
Brooks Broadhurst makes a plan
A resident of Mt. Lebanon for more than 15 years, Mr. Broadhurst has been contemplating breaking away from the family company to start his own business for some time. And he’s been talking with the Jamisons since 2014, when the building he now owns went up for sale.
“I’d been looking at this spot for years,” he said. “I really wanted to do something with it.”
Mt. Lebanon is increasingly becoming a neighborhood for creative types, with Steven Foxbury of Yellow Couch Studio and his wife, Kim Fox, the artist behind Worker Bird, calling it home. It’s also the new location for Commonwealth Press and neighborhood residence for Wendy Downs, founder of Moop bags.
Mr. Broadhurst has finalized blueprints for Block 292, which has a 2,200-square-foot front room that will include an 8- to 10-seat bar with a few beers on tap and a focus on wine. It will also house a 50-seat restaurant with glass-plated garage doors that face the street.
The market side will include a butcher shop with a rotisserie as well as a primarily local produce section, refrigerators and a small prepared foods section. The shop will eventually have online ordering and grocery delivery.
The 2,000-square-foot back area will include the kitchen, restrooms and private dining for 15 to 20 people. Lawrenceville-based Wildman Chalmers is doing the design.
Mr. Broadhurst has developed strong working relationships with farmers such as the Jamisons as part of Eat’n Park’s commitment to local food, led by Jamie Moore, director of sourcing and sustainability,
Overseeing this level of sourcing for a new restaurant and market is a hands-on process, Mr. Broadhurst said.
“I knew that this wasn’t something I could manage from afar in my job with Eat’n Park.”
While lamb, pork and chicken are readily available locally, beef is more challenging to source, he said. At times, the market will “cast a wider net,” he said, “especially for USDA prime beef.”
That said, “we’re not going to specialize in rib-eye,” he said. Although the market will sell it, it won’t be the focus of beef sales, considering it’s an expensive cut and represents a fraction of an animal.
The Jamisons diversify their offerings
Lamb has been the Jamison’s bread and butter since they left the energy industry to farm in 2000. But lately, the family’s U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified meat slaughter and processing plant in Bradenville has allowed them to work with private farmers who adhere to sustainable practices for raising cattle and pigs.
They recalled Mr. Broadhurst’s first conversation with them about this project. “This may seem off the wall,” he said. In fact, they didn’t think it was odd at all. Because they had been working with Mr. Broadhurst for so long, they trusted him.
“It was providential,” Ms. Jamison said.
Their daughter was not originally part of the plan. “It just kind of happened,” Mr. Jamison said. “She was getting tired of living in New York, and she wanted to come home.”
It helped that she had plenty of butchering experience as well as years working as a chef, starting with schooling at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Since graduating in 2003, she has primarily worked in New York restaurants, with the exception of a few years in South Florida and Maine.
Construction starts this week on Block 292. Mr. Broadhurst said its opening date is driven by a request.
“I promised my son, who goes to Lincoln Elementary across the street, that it would be open before the end of the school year,” he said.
“He wants to be able to walk over with his friends to have lunch.”
Melissa McCart: 412-263-1198 or on Twitter @melissamccart.