Japanese gastropub delivers quality fare at reasonable prices.
Talk about a long lunch break.
Longtime South Side favorite Café du Jour reinstituted lunch service earlier this month after a six-year hiatus, and in doing so ‘got the band back together,’ as the saying goes.
Head chef and proprietor Paul Krawiec welcomed his friend and protégé Christopher “Locke” Cook back into the tiny open kitchen roughly six years after leaving to develop a menu and run the kitchen at nearby bar and music venue, The Smiling Moose. He had worked at Café du Jour since 2001, shortly after the restaurant opened. Around the same time as Mr. Cook’s departure, Mr. Krawiec became a new father and he subsequently suspended lunches. Though he always intended to restart them, he became a father for a second time and once again lunch was put on the back burner.
In the meantime, his friend Mr. Cook left “the Moose” as its affectionately called last year and took an extended professional sabbatical. When he was ready to get back in the kitchen, he called his old friend. They revived lunch and kicked it off with Star Wars-themed menu on May the 4th (be with you).
Recent lunch items included a tomato tarragon bisque with butter-poached shrimp and citrus crabcakes with harissa aioli and a mango jalapeno salsa, and the pair will collaborate on the entire Café du Jour menu.
Mr. Cook’s return has also brought something new to the restaurant: a Facebook page. Although social media has become the coin of the realm in the service industry to reach new and returning customers, the technology-averse Mr. Krawiec had never even set up a web page for the restaurant.
“Pretty soon we might even start taking credit cards around here,” Mr. Krawiec-joked of his cash-only and BYOB establishment.
Café du Jour is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 1107 E. Carson St. Information: 412-488-9695; https://www.facebook.com/cafedujour1107/
•The sixth annual Northside Sandwich Week -- “The Lord of the Onion Rings” -- will feature the popular Sandwich Sampler Event from 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday at Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory and the “Le Tour De Sandwich” North Side bike tour from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday.
The event highlights the sandwich-making skills of 12 popular North Side restaurants, bars, and delis.
The Sandwich Sampler, includes an outdoor beer garden with specialty craft beers from Penn Brewery and Southern Tier Brewing, and is $35 per ticket. Attendees sample special sandwich creations from all 12 restaurants and onion rings provided by the Priory, and will vote for the next North Side Sandwich King (or Queen).
“Le Tour de Sandwich,” is a guided bike tour that includes a pedal past this year's participating restaurants and stops at previous winners. The $20 ticket includes route map, samples at five restaurants, and water.
Tickets and information: http://sandwichweek.pittsburghnorthside.com
•Huszar will host its second annual Traditional Hungarian bacon roast, Saturday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at their North Side location at 627 E. North Ave.
Traditional Hungarian bacon roasts, called Szalona Sutes, include guests roasting their slab-bacon over open fire pits, which is then served on fresh sourdough bread with peppers, onions, and tomatoes. A shot of brandy, one bottle of Karlovacko beer, dessert, and live entertainment are included in the $35 per-person fee.
Space is limited for Bacon Roast and reservations are required by calling (412) 322-8795.
•Kaya will host their annual Strip District block party, KayaFest, on sunday, May 28, from noon to 11 p.m. The all-ages free event includes live music all day and food and drink for purchase including pork belly skewers, street tacos, grilled corn with chipotle aioli and a pig roast. Information:
•BRGR opened its fifth area location Downtown on Monday at 535 Liberty Ave., in the site of the former G&G Noodle Bar.
•Marathon Diner is now open in the AirMall at Pittsburgh International Airport, offering travelers “diner food with a Greek flair.” The 536-square-foot restaurant offers all-day home-style breakfast and Mediterranean-infused diner fare ranging from breakfast to burgers and gyros to sandwiches, salads and soups.
Drew Janis has operated dining concessions at Pittsburgh International Airport since it opened in 1992. The new Marathon Diner pays homage to Marathon Restaurant, an establishment owned by his grandfather and great-uncle in downtown Pittsburgh’s New Diamond Market building during the 1930s. Marathon Diner’s walls are adorned with historical images of the original restaurant.
•Wheel and Wedge will opening a new retail cheese shop in June in the EngineHouse 25 Wines tasting room at 3337 Penn Ave. in the Strip District. The shop will have a large selection of local and domestic cheeses along with accoutrements such as crackers, mustard, pickles, etc. Customers will also be able to purchase bottles of wine during the extended hours. Retail cheese and wine sales will take place from noon to 5 p.m., Wed-Sat and noon to 4 p.m., Sundays. Additionally, the bar will be open for wine by the glass and cheeseboards from 5 to 9 p.m., Thursday through Saturday.
Dan Gigler: email@example.com; Twitter @gigs412