Little Bites: Local restaurant news

• Two Pittsburgh restaurants, Morcilla in Lawrenceville and Whitfield at the Ace Hotel in East Liberty, have been named among 50 national finalists for Bon Appetit magazine’s Best New Restaurant. Of chef Justin Severino’s Morcilla, the magazine said, “The best Spanish food you can find outside San Sebastián is in … wait for it … Pittsburgh,” and it called Whitfield “a natural addition to Pittsburgh’s energetic restaurant scene.” The list will be whittled down to 10 on Tuesday.

• Tonight and Friday are the last two nights to try the four-course summer farm menu at Shadyside’s Soba (, which combines locally grown produce at its seasonal peak with seafood and poultry. On Monday sister restaurant Casbah (, also in Shadyside, will begin a four-day, five-course corn and tomato festival with a tasting menu by chef Dustin Gardner built around these two seasonal items, including corn cheesecake served with tomato jam and blueberry ice cream. The cost for both is $45 with an optional wine pairing for an additional $20.

• A dozen contenders will vie for the title of the ’Burgh’s best burger at the fifth annual Pittsburgher Burger Bash & Chef Competition on Aug. 20 from 2-7 p.m. at SouthSide Works. Competitors include Bill’s Bar & Burger, Claddagh, Day La Soul Catering, Nox’s Tavern & Grille, Pig Iron Public House, Table 86 by Hines Ward, The Fire Side Public House, The Summit and Twelve Whiskey Barbecue. Tickets are $40 and include a sample from all participants and live music. Charity beneficiaries are Girl’s Hope of Pittsburgh and pit bull rescue Biggie’s Bullies. Tickets: or at the door.

Black Forge Coffee House in Allentown will celebrate its one-year anniversary Sunday with an evening of live entertainment including comedy, DJs, burlesque and live music. Samples from Apis Mead & Winery and Rock Bottom Brewery that incorporate Black Forge coffee will be available, as will food from Leena’s Food Truck, Pittsburgh Smokehouse, Onion Maiden and cake and cupcakes made by Threefifty Bakery. The event isn’t free but rather “pay what you can” to help cover costs.

Cafe Phipps at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens recently earned the Platinum Plate designation as a Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant and was designated as an Allegheny County Live Well Restaurant. A Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant demonstrates commitment to managing the social and environmental impacts of its operations as central to its strategy for business success. To be designated as a Live Well Allegheny Restaurant, the business must first indicate its intent to work along with the county to promote that residents of all of its 130 municipalities can be healthier together, and partake in activities, events and foods that are age-friendly and vibrant, and contribute to a thriving community.

BJ’s Brewhouse has opened at South Hills Village. It is the second Pittsburgh-area location of the Southern California-based casual chain, which is known for its pizzas and beer. 


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