Smoke Barbecue Taqueria has opened in Lawrenceville

Written by Melissa McCart on . Openings

smoke2Fans are delighted that Smoke Barbecue Taqueria has quietly opened this week at 4115 Butler St. in Lawrenceville. So much that there have been small crowds peeking in the windows and waiting around outside. The staff is still in training and the hours are irregular, so be flexible if you visit this week.

Smoke is BYOB, which is easy enough with Atlas Bottle Works next door. It will soon announce cold beer selections in honor of the opening.

And, starting next week are Smoke Mondays, when you can bring Smoke tacos into Row House Cinema next door while you watch a movie. 

Owners Jeff Petruso and Nelda Carranco opened Smoke in Homestead in 2011, originally as a take-out place. The couple from Austin, Texas, debuted with a menu of smoked meats, homemade tortillas and artisan drinks. The menu has expanded to include breakfast tacos and migas served all day as well as share dishes such as brisket salad, duck quesadillas, slaws, beans and various iterations of mac and cheese.

The owners had grand plans for the Homestead location, "including a bar on the main floor, a courtyard in the back and perhaps a small brewery in the basement," reported the Post-Gazette in a 2011 Munch column.

As it turns out, said Mr. Petruso back in September 2013 when they announced the move to Lawrenceville, "We need a bigger space."

Here's the menu for now,  thanks to a reader. 


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The Vandal to open in Lawrenceville in early spring

Written by Melissa McCart on . Openings

thevandalHave you seen the demolition at 4306 Butler St. in Lawrenceville? It's a build-out from Joe Hilty and Emily Slagel for The Vandal, a 30-seat restaurant they're hoping to open in early spring.

Mr. Hilty had been a manager at Bar Marco before he decided to break off for this project. Emily Slagel is the owner of Mid-Atlantic Mercantile across the street.

Their inspiration for the place has been shaped by recent trips in Iceland and Europe. She said the restaurant will be a "warm, community-focused space," with a beer garden and outdoor patio that will open later in the year.

The Vandal will serve lunch and dinner for eat-in or takeout, six days a week, with a menu of snacks as well as sandwiches. A dinner-only menu will include a short list of items such as a bucket of fried chicken or steak frites. Meal prices will fall in an affordable range of $8 for lunch and $14 for dinner.

They'll also sell housemade lavender-hibiscus soda and Mr. Hilty’s favorite Korean apple soda. Otherwise, it's BYOB, with the potential for collaborations with breweries and bottle shops.

Check out the menu preview on Monday, Mar. 2 at Bar Marco in the Strip. For reservations, call 412-471-1900 or visit thevandalpgh.com.

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Allegro Hearth owner to open Lawrenceville vegan restaurant

Written by Melissa McCart on . Openings

MauramoriOmar Abuhejleh, the owner of Allegro Hearth Bakery in Squirrel Hill, has signed a lease at 5202 Butler St., in what had been Mauramori Cafe, now closed. 

He wrote to me in an email that sometime in May, he plans to open a casual "vegan-coffee shop-bakery-cafe," focusing on traditional American fare and savory pastries for breakfast and Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods for lunch and dinner.

There will be a full-service espresso bar, where he'll serve coffee from Commonplace Roastery. Everything will be made from scratch in-house. And,"the business will be completely separate from Allegro, with no overlap in the offerings."

Google Maps photo

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Longhorn Steakhouse opens today in McCandless

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Openings

02022015longhornexterior

At 11 a.m. today, this LongHorn Steakhouse opens at 9150 Covenant Ave. in McCandless.

Just before that, at 10:30 a.m., managing partner Brian Doemel will be part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

And then, things will start sizzling.

The 6,363-square-feet restaurant, the newest of nearly 500 of them in 40 states, seats more than 240 diners -- and creates up to 100 new jobs.

Its hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sun. through Thurs. and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fri. and Sat.

LongHorn Steakhouse Managing Partner Brian Doemel photos

02022015longhorninterior

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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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Staghorn Home & Garden Cafe has opened in Greenfield

Written by Melissa McCart on . Openings

staghornThe week before Christmas, Mark and Kate Morris opened Staghorn Home & Garden Cafe, a retail store and coffee shop at 517 Greenfield Ave., a couple blocks from their home. Named for the animal and the fern, the new place lets Kate expand her side business, Road to the Lakehouse, specializing in terrariums, graphics, vintage wares and garden-inspired products. 

The 20-seat coffee shop will brew Zeke's coffee. It's also serving croissants, scones, biscotti, cookies and brownies from Enrico as well as ice cream sandwiches from Leona's. In the future they plan to offer specialty coffee drinks and more food selections.

"We're up-and-running in six weeks," Mr. Morris said. "We are planning to grow." The Morrises had been eyeing the building for awhile and jumped on it when it was listed.

For now, the cafe offers wi-fi and hours for an early riser: 6 to 10 a.m. Mon. and Tues., 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Weds., 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thurs., 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fri. and Sat. and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun.

Staghorn Home & Garden Cafe Facebook image

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