Little Bites: Acorn to sprout on Walnut Street

Acclaimed Chicago-chef-turned-Pittsburgh-transplant Scott Walton will open Acorn, a 60-seat restaurant with a full bar and a rustic New American menu, later this summer at 5528 Walnut St. in the former home of Thai Place.

Mr. Walton studied at the Joliet College of Culinary Arts in Illinois and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. In Chicago he worked at the prestigious Olympia Fields Country Club, opened the uber-popular Markethouse and Howells & Hood restaurants.

He moved to Pittsburgh three years ago, after his wife, a North Allegheny graduate, took an executive position here with FedEx. Mr. Walton initially explored opening a restaurant on the South Side, but that never came to fruition. Instead, he took a job as the executive chef at Heinz Field, overseeing the day-to-day operations, purchasing and menu planning for the luxury suites and major functions at the stadium.

“This is the place we wanted to plant our seed,” Mr. Walton said of Shadyside and the restaurant’s name.

More restaurant news

• Morcilla, the nationally acclaimed Lawrenceville restaurant, will begin a much-anticipated brunch service from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Details are available on its website:

• Lidia’s in the Strip District welcomes new executive chef Daniel Walker. The Kansas City native was a former sous chef at Lidia’s Kansas City and at Lidia’s flagship New York City restaurant, Felidia’s, where he worked alongside Lidia Bastianich herself.

Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant is conducting an anonymous online survey to gather data about how consumers make decisions on where to dine: Founded in July 2015, Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program focuses on a restaurant’s social equity, economic and environmental impacts. Restaurants are certified following an initial assessment of 149 sustainable actions across seven broad areas of focus: general, waste reduction, water conservation, energy efficiency, people, responsible sourcing, and nutrition. More information:


• Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley will host its first Muddled + Mixed spring fundraiser from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday. The event will feature cocktails by Nicole Battle of tako and DiAnoia’s Eatery, Amanda Schaffner of The Butterjoint & Legume, Collin McNamee of Soba, Michael Mincin of Allora Wine Group as well as cocktail making demonstrations by Rob Ricci of Boyd & Blair Vodka and small bites from Soba, DiAnoia’s Eatery and Mezza Luna Cafe. Tickets $45 at the door. Information:

• It is perhaps the ultimate symbol of La Dolce Vita, and once again Pittsburgh bartenders will celebrate the Italian classic during the fifth annual Negroni Week from Monday through June 11 to raise money for various charities. The Pittsburgh chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild will host a kickoff event from 7 to 10 p.m. Monday at Smallman Galley in the Strip District. The event is open to the public. Guests making a $5 donation to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will receive a drink ticket for Smallman’s specialty negroni, the “You’re Killing Me Smallman,” inspired by the movie “The Sandlot.” The new class of Smallman Galley chefs will have food available to purchase, and there will be a cash bar for the event.

• Moving from one Italian liqueur to another, Vallozzi’s Pittsburgh will host the first local Festa di Limoncello (Limoncello Festival) from 1 to 4 p.m., June 17 at its Downtown restaurant. The celebration of the citrus-y Sorrentine digestif will feature house-made limoncello (bottled on site), handcrafted limoncello cocktails, small plates of authentic Italian fare from the Vallozzi kitchen, citrus-y sweets, breezy Amalfi coast-inspired décor, and world music provided by local DJs. Tickets are $65 in advance via limited to 100 guests. Tickets may be available at the door in limited quantities for $75. Availability of door sales will be announced on Vallozzi’s social media pages and the Festa Di Limoncello Facebook event page.

• Amanda Wright, head chocolatier and co-founder of A519 Chocolate in Millvale, will pair up with Barsotti Wines of the Strip District to exhibit six pairings of chocolate with wines from around the world at 6 p.m. June 12 at Barsotti Wines location at 2828 Smallman St. (rear, enter on Mulberry Way). Tickets are $30 per person; RSVP to

Dan Gigler:; Twitter @gigs412.


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