When Chef Randy Tozzie opened Bakn in Carnegie three years ago, he seriously underestimated how much Pittsburghers loved pork.
“I had hundreds of pounds of bacon, but couldn’t cook it fast enough,” he says with a laugh. “I’d run out of food before the next order could come in.”
Since then, Tozzie, a Pennsylvania Culinary Institute graduate, and his partner Susan McMahon have doubled the swine supply and added a second location at Marshall Village in Warrendale.
Although 500 square feet bigger than the original hotspot, the new North Hills eatery operates under the same premise: Give people the opportunity to “pig” out for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Popular menu items range from omelets, French toast and slow-braised short ribs to bacon-stuffed pancakes topped with cheddar, egg, arugula, bourbon maple syrup and — you guessed it! — more bacon. Signature sandwiches, such as the half-pound Pig Pen Burger, come on a toasted bun with applewood-smoked bacon, braised pork belly, egg, tomato and dressed arugula. There’s even a one-pound BLT.
For folks who want to go whole hog, there are bacon flights available. Guests can order six different types, all seasoned in-house: applewood, barbecue, candied, cajun, sriracha and cracked black pepper.
Tozzie says he’ll regularly rotate the bacon offerings at Bakn; past options have included wild boar, coffee-flavored and nitrate-free.
Even the drink menu is a squeal.
Bacon-infused vodka is found in the Martini, the Bloody Mary and The Elvis, a liquid ode to the King’s favorite sandwich made with Frangelico, banana liquor, cream and a thick strip.
At age 40, Tozzie left a successful sales career to pursue his passion for cooking. The focus on bacon has been a huge hit.
The ingredient, he says, is versatile, and can either enhance the flavor of soups and traditional dishes or serve as a meal in and of itself.
“Everyone really enjoys bacon,” he says. “It’s comforting and fun I make that a big part of my menu.”