Superior Motors starts pop-ups

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Events

sousa table

Kevin Sousa fans champing at the bit to sample the eats at Superior Motors, his much-anticipated Kickstarter-funded restaurant in Braddock, are in luck. 

This past Wednesday, the Pittsburgh chef announced a series of "R & D" pop-up dinners  to be offered this spring in his very own home kitchen, as a way to show folks what the food will be like. 

After so many months of planning, "it's time to get back in the kitchen," says Sousa, who recently was profiled on Eater.com.

The BYOB meals are sure to be one hot ticket: He says the first, on Feb. 2, sold out in five minutes after he tweeted a link for tickets on ShowClix. At 10:15 p.m., no less.  

SOUSA 3Mr. Sousa still can't pinpoint when, exactly, the 50-seat Braddock Avenue restaurant -- it sits opposite U.S. Steel's belching Edgar Thomson Works -- will open for business, other than to say it should be sometime in late spring. While original plans called for an early January/February opening, no one should be surprised that a project this nuanced and complicated would face delays, he notes. 

"There's inevitably going to be problems when you're moving 100 tons of old concrete."

But now that all the permits are in order and actual construction has started -- they're pouring new concrete this week, and will begin framing as soon as it's cured -- things should move fairly quickly, he says.

In holding the pop-up dinners, all of which will have just 10 seats up for grabs, Mr. Sousa hopes to get both positive and negative feedback on menu items he'll be testing. In keeping with farm-to-table philosophy, dishes will be seasonal and locally sourced when possible.sousa outside

He expects to hold at least three dinners, and maybe as many as six or seven, "if it's not a burden on my family or home," a former warehouse with a funky third floor (it's crafted from a shipping container) that used to belong to Braddock Mayor John Fetterman.

"It's the same way we played with Salt before it opened," Mr. Sousa says, referring to the Garfield restaurant he launched in Sept. 2010 and sold in Feburary 2014 to architects and co-owners Doug and Liza Cruze. 

In light of his new responsibilities with Superior Motors, he also closed Station Street Hot Dogs in East Liberty in November, and is in the process of divesting himself of Union Pig and Chicken, which he opened in 2012, with an arrangement to sell it to two employees. 

With guests seated at his own kitchen table, expect the meals to be very personal affairs -- more like an intimate dinner with friends than a night on the town. "But the vibe will mimic some aspects of Superior Motors," he says, with open, minimalistic interior spaces  and a gritty urban landscape on the outside.   

Guests will either score a seat at a six-top in front of a large window overlooking the historic Carnegie Library across the street, or at the counter facing the open kitchen (and working chef). Cost is $85, plus tax, gratuity and service charge.

The seasonal menu for February's first dinner isn't yet set, but Mr. Sousa says it will feature seven courses, including grass-fed beef and Lampost Farm chicken.   "It will be wintery, for sure."

Expect to see sous-vide action at future dinners, along with a "rustic impression" of the creative American food he's known for.

Proceeds benefit Superior Motors and Braddock Redux, a nonprofit that serves to better the community through training projects, art and green initiatives, and the creative re-use of existing projects. The restaurant is a case in point -- the site was one of the first indoor Chevrolet dealerships in the country, and the former convent next door eventually will house stagiaires and culinary and service interns.  

For info on future pop-ups, you can follow Mr. Sousa and Superior Motors on Twitter @SM15104 or on Facebook

Kevin Sousa photos


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What's dishing on the blogs: Bread and pizza

Written by Dana Cizmas on . Shared Plates

ES HBK Bakery 01201

This week, we uncovered the best bread in Pittsburgh and ate pizza for breakfast. Here's what's dishing on the blogs we follow:

On the local restaurant scene, Pittsburgh Magazine found the Best Baguette in Pittsburgh at Five Points Artisan Bakeshop in Squirrel Hill; Good Food Pittsburgh announced that Habitat introduced the new winter dessert menu; the girls from eatPGH paid a visit to Stagioni; and Dan from Pizza Walk with Me ventured out to Slice on Broadway.

On the local food menu, Leah from Brazen Kitchen improvised a Pizza Stuffed French Toast for breakfast. Jessica from How Sweet It Is opted for a ridiculous Marinated Kale and Whipped Ricotta Pizza. The Brown Eyed Baker taught us how to make Homemade Flour Tortillas. Haute Pepper Bites whipped up a killer Three Bean Chili and Bill from Three Dogs BBQ found a recipe for German Smoked Goose Breast. Yum Yum tried her hand at Pastitsio, Linda from Dinner Plan-it experimented with tasty Gypsy Kielbasa Unstuffed Cabbage, while Kathy from Chew Me! prepared a simple Thai Chicken Rice.

For some dessert, head over to How Sweet It Is and try this crazy good Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Marshmallow Frosting and Bananas, or to the Brown Eyed Baker for her favorite Better Than "Anything" Cake.

See you here next week!

Pittsburgh Magazine photo

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Senti soft-opens tomorrow in Lawrenceville

Written by Melissa McCart on . Openings

senti
Senti Restaurant from Franco Braccia and his wife Annette Ishida will soft-open tomorrow with a limited lunch-and-dinner menu and a 25-percent discount. In exchange, they're asking diners to give feedback on food and service.

The new restaurant is one of several Italian restaurants now in Lawrenceville, including San LorenzoMatteo's and Piccolo Forno as well as the Italian-inspired Cure. It's located in the ground level of the new Doughboy Square apartments at 3473 Butler St. 

Mr. Braccia, who is from the Abruzzo region of Italy, left his position as general manager of Lidia's in the Strip District to open his own place. He has been in Pittsburgh for about eight years, having worked at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel for his first three. Before he moved here, he worked in New York at the Plaza Hotel. 

Many of the recipes at Senti are inspired by his longtime friend Enrico Scolari, a Michelin-starred chef from Italy, who is in town for the opening. Shawn Carlson will serve as the restaurant's executive chef; he has cooked at Verde Mexican Kitchen + Cantina in Garfield and worked as the opening chef at Bridge Ten Brasserie on the South Side and at Baum Vivant in Shadyside (both of which are closed). "He has a delicate sensibility as far as cooking," said Ms. Ishida. 

The opening lunch menu costs about $10 per person. Selections include an array of salads, pasta and fish, poultry and meat choices. The dinner menu lists eight to 10 small plates, a soup, a selection of pasta and a few entrees. This week there also is osso buco. 

Wine lovers, here's your cue. Mr. Braccia is an oenophile who has installed an Enomatic wine system that will be stocked with more esoteric and hard-to-find, special-order Italian wines. The Enomatic preserves wines and allows more diners to sample wines by the glass. Following the soft opening, diners will be able to buy a pre-paid card and serve themselves. 

Senti website logo





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What's dishing on the blogs: Haute Pepper Bites and comfort food

Written by Dana Cizmas on . Shared Plates

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This week, we have lots of tasty comfort food, but first I'd like to introduce you all to one of our blogger buddies – Samantha Hartzman from Haute Pepper Bites. Here's what's dishing on the blogs we follow:

Sam Hartzman is the voice behind Haute Pepper Bites, a delicious local blog that is "the result of many years spent obsessing about food, food shows, and food related causes." The blog also came to life "in honor of my family since everything I know about food quite literally comes from watching them and being too much of a busybody to stay out of the kitchen."

In the pages of Haute Pepper Bites you'll find delectable dishes from Potato Keftedes to
Stir-Fry and Egg Rolls, as well as a heap of family favorites from her grandmother's recipe box that includes a wonderful Lemon Cloud Pie, a boozy Irish Coffee Pie, a lovely Pineapple "Brickle" Cake, sweet Cranberry, Coconut, Oatmeal Crunch Cookies, a mean Chicken Florentine Casserole, rich Bacon, Bleu Cheesed Brussels, and many, many more. So, head over to Haute Pepper Bites and start cooking!

In other food news, Jessica from How Sweet It Is was craving insanely good Slow Cooker Short Rib Sauce with Bucatini. Bill from Three Dogs BBQ made hearty Bock BBQ Sauce with Pulled Beef and Broccoli Slaw. Yum Yum went with a sides dish of Parmesan Chive Smashed Potatoes. Chef Chuck from Cooks and Eats introduced us to the beautiful delicacy of caviar. Katy shared the readers' picks of top 10 recipes of 2014 in her BakingDomesticityandAllThingsMini kitchen, while Leah from Brazen Kitchen showed us how to boost our breakfast repertoire. If you're longing for a sweet breakfast, try Brown Eyed Baker's fluffy and moist Banana Muffins.

On the restaurant front, Yum Yum reviewed Picnic Cafe in Dahlonega, Ga., Pittsburgh Magazine informed us that Pittsburgh Chefs Share Secrets for Perfect Soup, and Good Food Pittsburgh dished about the new menu at Soba.

See you here next week!

Haute Pepper Bites photo

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Friday news roundup: A coffee shop, a juice bar and a rooftop beer garden

Written by Melissa McCart on . The Forks blog

For your Friday round-up, here are a few bits of news:

Apjuice1) Plans are moving along for a coffee shop close to one of my favorite places in the city, the art house La Hutte Royal in Troy Hill.  At yesterday's zoning board hearing, attendees learned a little of the proposed plans -- that may include a rooftop deck -- for 1800 Rialto St. in what had been an antique shop until several months ago. I will keep you posted as plans develop. 

2) Appalachian Juice Co. will be opening by the end of the month at 5608 Walnut St. in Shadyside. The company opened in July in Connellsville and decided to move to a location with more foot traffic. Expect sandwiches, snacks and a selection of juices such as these

3) Dreadnought Wines and Palate Partners will close in the Strip District the end of the month and will reopen the beginning February at 3401 Liberty Ave. in Lawrenceville. Partners Mike Gonze and Deb Mortillaro bought the building that will offer more space and parking for customers. If you haven't been, be sure to check out Dreadnought tastings. The shop allows customers to choose from a deeper selection than a PLCB shop, provided they buy at least $50 worth and can pick up the purchase two business days later. 

4) The city is abuzz about the opening of The Commoner and Commoner Corner at the Kimpton's Hotel Monaco, Downtown, on Jan. 20. Diners can make reservations by calling the hotel (412-471-1170) or by securing one on Open Table starting Jan. 13.  The hotel is moving forward with plans for a ninth-floor rooftop beer garden in the spring, confirmed general manager Matt Rafferty and Allegheny County Health Department records. 

3) Pittsburgh Restaurant Week runs Jan. 12-18. I'm not always convinced that it's a deal for diners, but it does encourage them to rally around local businesses during what can be slowest weeks of the year -- especially given recent weather. Show support for your favorite participating spots and perhaps use it as an opportunity to try a place that's new to you. 

Appalachian Juice Co. Facebook


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What's dishing on the blogs: Sinful and sophisticated

Written by Dana Cizmas on . Shared Plates

14. SR Sugar Snails

This week, we're welcoming the new year with a sinful display of sweet treats and sophisticated dishes. Here's what's dishing on the blogs we follow:

At Simply Romanesco, I baked beautiful Sugar Snails to comemorate twenty five years since the tumultous Romanian Revolution. Katy made cute Five-Ingredient Chocolate Graham Cracker Toffee cookies in her BakingDomesticityandAllThingsMini kitchen. Sugar Pixie whipped up an Easy Vanilla Buttercream Cake to celebrate a special birthday. Jessica shared a yummy and Embarrassingly Easy Chocolate Covered Grape Skewers recipe at How Sweet It Is, while the Brown Eyed Baker opted for Chewy Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

The savory menu also includes a mouthwatering selection! Culinary Cory put together a simple yet tasty Pear Salad with Chopped Candied Dates and Crumbled Blue Cheese. Haute Pepper Bites went for perfectly Spicy Asian Wings. Jessica from How Sweet It Is indulged in fun Chili Garlic Chicken Skewers with Yogurt Sauce. The Brown Eyed Baker enjoyed a comforting Slow Cooker Whole Roasted Chicken. Yum Yum prepared ridiculously delicious Braised Lamb Shanks with Olives, Lemon, and Tomatoes. And Bill from Three Dogs BBQ showed us how to properly cook goose. To wash it all down, try Linda's Figgy Old Fashioned at Dinner Plan-it.

On the Pittsburgh restaurant scene, Chef Chuck from Cooks and Eats paid a visit to Nola; the girls from eatPGH checked out Noodlehead; Good Food Pittsburgh announced that Sinful Sweets Chocolate Company added chocolate-covered jalapenos to their menu, whereas Pittsburgh Magazine proclaimed that starting in April, Bar Marco is eliminating the standard tipping practice at the end of the meal.

See you here next week!

Simply Romanesco photo

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