3 new restaurants to watch out for this fall

Restaurant openings are rolling in this season with the debut of Or, The Whale, Acorn on Walnut, as well as The Twisted Frenchman underway. Next on the docket there’s an oyster bar and chowder house, a Fairmont Pittsburgh restaurant reboot and a Downtown seafood spot connected to a stylish neighborhood bar. Read on.

Merchant Oyster Co: 4129 Butler St., Lawrenceville

Who’s behind it: Chef-owner Dennis Marron.

The details: Growing up on the Jersey Shore, Mr. Marron spent days on boats and on docks fishing and crabbing. So it makes sense that Merchant Oyster Co., a sibling restaurant of the newly opened Or, The Whale in Downtown’s Distrikt Hotel, speaks to the regional eats of his youth.

Look for reclaimed boat details inside such as lights from an old ship, glass buoys, oars and all things nautical. The downstairs features super cool bar stools with an etching in the wood created by electricity, while the upstairs cozy space is outfitted with rocking chairs so it feels like a doc or a porch.

As for the menu, the raw bar will display more than a dozen oysters as well as steamers, mussels, clams and soft-shell crabs when they’re in season. Four chowders will be on the menu, along with a lobster roll — and yes, a New Jersey favorite — pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich.

Choose from among 20 brews on the drink menu as well as a solid wines-by-the-glass list — there’s canned wine and vino on tap, too. Look for drinks such as the Nor’Easter, a take on the Hurricane, as well as the resurrection of the Cosmo.

The opening date: Mid-to-late October.


Fl. 2: Fairmont Pittsburgh, 510 Market St., Downtown

Who’s behind it: Fairmont Pittsburgh.

The details: A new American restaurant on the second floor with a brasserie-style menu and a raw bar, Fl.2 — short for Floor 2 — will replace Habitat, the top dog restaurant for the Downtown hotel since 2010. There’s no head chef; a spokesperson says it’s an employee collaboration, with an emphasis on local ingredient sourcing along with local beer and spirits.

The design is the wow factor, with the Barcelona-based Lazaro Rosa-Violan spearheading the look reboot, which has mixed wood, carpet and leather among blues, metallic finishes and marble accents. Floating light fixtures illuminate midcentury furnishings in a room that includes a mosaic cityscape of Pittsburgh as well as a central bar with lit-glass and a brass canopy.

The opening date: Oct. 27.


Penn Cove Eatery and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood Bar: The Clark Building at 701 Liberty Ave, Downtown

Who’s behind it: Henry Dewey and Angela Earley of Penn Avenue Fish Co. in the Strip District as well as cocktail maven Spencer Warren.

The details: Following Penn Avenue’s closing its Forbes Avenue space Downtown, Mr. Dewey and Ms. Earley have found an interesting follow-up location — and they’re teaming up with Mr. Warren for their newest duo-project.

Two spaces are joined by a hallway, with the Penn Cove side featuring to-go soup, sushi and salads. There’s also a menu board of seafood-focused dishes available for walk-up ordering. Look for a wine shop selection in this room, put together by Mr. Warren, who’s also overseeing Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood Bar that will offer a separate menu and full-service for evening service. Mr. Warren has earned national appeal having overseen the drinks program for Richard DeShantz’s restaurants and Acacia, as well as the now-closed Embury.

The address lists both 245 Seventh St. and 701 Liberty Ave. for the liquor license.

The opening date: October/November.

Melissa McCart: mmccart@post-gazette.com.


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