June 28 is the grand reopening of the 22-room hotel in Shadyside that was purchased by the Priory Hospitality Group last year.
In pondering the age-old question, "What's in a name?" Munch turns introspective and wonders what if Parents of Munch (POM) had given the brown-bagged vagabond another name ...
Bunch? Munch would be a banana picker with a wedgie.
Hunch? A gumshoe who can't walk and chew gum at the same time.
Lunch? As in food for fish, which is what Munch is gonna be if one of these restaurant owners ever finds Munch on the street.
Punch? Toothless. For the same reason above.
Tunch? A Steelers lineman turned color-commentator. (Not so bad, eh?)
But the POM dubbed Munch as such and set destiny in motion for your friend and humble narrator to guide you weekly through the triple-bypassed heart of Pittsburgh's greasy spoons.
But what if your last name is LeBrew? A shoo-in that you'd have to own a bar some day, right?
That appears to the case at Le Brew House Restaurant and Taverne, in the longtime East Carson Street home of the many incarnations of the old Mill Site Tavern. Not simply a clever way to say "Beer here!" Le Brew House is owned and operated by Orrin LeBrew and his family with the excellently sudsy surname. (By this rationale, Kris LeTang should be an astronaut, but Munch digresses.)
Le Brew House fits in nicely in the area east of 18th Street on Carson, which generally speaking caters more to a grown-up crowd than the kids that tear up the other half of the neighborhood.
It's a cheerful place, with handsome interior woodwork. Historians will be glad to know that elements of the Mill Site's antique bar and tap system remain intact. Service was consistently as warm as the bright paint selections on the walls, which are decorated with particularly nice local artwork.
Specializing in breakfast, lunch and dinner sandwiches -- and of course, beer! -- Le Brew House is off to a good start.
Munch stopped in for a solo breakfast and perused the menu of standards -- French toast, Belgian waffles, Greek omelet to name a few ($7.29-$8.99). Munch had a well-made bacon and cheese omelet with wheat toast and homes fries, onions and peppers ($8.59) while sitting on the sunny sidewalk patio, scanning the Sunday paper and watching the walks of shame done by the neighborhood's twenty-somethings.
Munch popped in again later in the week for dinner with Roommate of Munch (ROM). Again, the menu is basic -- sandwiches and burgers ($6.99-$9.59) -- but well-prepared.
ROM enjoyed his hot sausage burger ($8.99), topped with a fried egg, pepper, onions and provolone, while Munch was quite pleased with the Thanksgiving sandwich ($9.59). Constructed of carved turkey breast, and cornbread stuffing and warm cranberry sauce served open faced, it was a nice offseason reminder of Munch's favorite holiday.
The bottled beer selection includes craft brews from Rogue, Founders and Philadelphia Brewing but, with only five taps, the draft beer options are limited. However, the inclusion of the lip-smacking local Church Brew Works Thunder Hop IPA ($4.25) was much appreciated by Munch and ROM, who knocked a couple back while watching the -- altogether now -- ABOVE .500 IN JULY PITTSBURGH PIRATES.
Great service, good sandwiches and good beer in comfortable environs seem like a layup for success, but Munch, impressed so far, hopes the menus expand. More good food, more good beer, pretty please.
Of course, that's easy for Munch to say. It's not Munch's blood, sweat, tears and major financial risk going into the place; nor is it Munch's name on the door.
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