La Gourmandine will take over the former Penn Avenue Fish spot on Forbes Avenue
There were a few backfires along the way, but Superior Motors in Braddock has officially started its engine.
Kevin Sousa’s restaurant on Braddock Avenue had its first of two invite-only events for family and friends Wednesday evening.
Known for his eclectic, and often exquisite, New American cuisine, Mr. Sousa was on the top of his game. The seasonal, hyper-local opening day menu included beef with chanterelle mushrooms, beef tartare with kimchi and katsuboshi and crispy walleye paired with wood-fired eggplant and shredded kale sourced from nearby Braddock Farms.
The restaurant is located across the street from U.S. Steel’s hulking Edgar Thomson Works, in the former site of one of the first indoor Chevrolet dealerships in the country. A large picture window allows diners a dramatic, panoramic view of the steel mill. The stylish 11-seat bar overlooks the busy kitchen and its signature wood-fired grill.
The project got off to a roaring start in January 2014, when it made history with a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $300,000 from more than 2,000 backers in 33 days. Yet when construction started the following November, Mr. Sousa quickly realized he would need a lot more time, and money, to renovate the site. In the end, it would cost more than $1 million to bring the restaurant to life.
Making good on his promise to support the community with a job-training program, many of Mr. Sousa’s 24-member staff are from Braddock and surrounding communities.
Superior Motors, chef Kevin Sousa's much-anticipated restaurant in Braddock, had a soft opening for family and friends on Wednesday. It opens to the public on Saturday. (Gretchen McKay/Post-Gazette)
This is the award-winning chef’s fourth restaurant. A graduate of the former Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts, he owned Salt of the Earth in Garfield from 2010 to 2014 and also ran Station Street Hot Dogs and Union Pig & Chicken in East Liberty.
Chris Clark, who ran WD-50 in New York for seven years and has also worked at Mezzo, Downtown, and as a consultant for Casellula on the North Side, is general manager. Peters native Jeremy Bustamante, who was bar manager at Salt of the Earth, heads the bar program.
Superior Motors opens to the public at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Gretchen McKay: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.