T&E Diner. Photo courtesy of the Joinery Hotel Pittsburgh.

The pandemic and its aftermath have hit the hotel business hard (see the demise of East Liberty’s Ace Hotel, which is now The Maverick). The Distrikt Hotel is destined for a similar transition Downtown, as it becomes the Joinery Hotel Pittsburgh, a boutique hotel concept by Hilton’s Curio Collection.

The Joinery Hotel concept is dedicated to bringing local businesses into the experience for guests. The lobby has an “offering table” with refreshments, books, board games, records and rental bikes, all provided by local favorites including Nicholas Coffee, Pittsburgh Winery, Voodoo Brewery, Amazing Books & Records, Get Hip Records and Thick Bikes.

Photo courtesy of Joinery Hotel Pittsburgh.

The restaurant, formerly or, The Whale, is becoming T&E Diner, a concept from New York-based Butler Hospitality that has been successful in other markets. It will open this summer.

“T&E Diner specifically is also rooted in the history of American cities, paying homage to the first generation of workers,” says Donato Coluccio, general manager of the Joinery Hotel. “Diners have been a core piece of American culture for decades, serving as a place where strangers and friends alike can gather together. What better way to extend Joinery’s message than with a modern diner concept?”

The menu for the T&E Diner location in Chicago features breakfast served all day, sandwiches, salads, and dinner featuring eggplant lasagna, salmon, chicken tenders, barbecue spare ribs, and braised short ribs. It’s open until midnight on the weekends.

The changeover from the Distrikt Hotel, which opened in 2017, will happen in June.

The building was constructed in 1924 in a distinctive Gothic Revival style as the home of the Salvation Army of Western Pennsylvania. It had been vacant for many years before the Distrikt Hotel’s extensive renovations, which added new features like an outdoor terrace on the 10th floor.

“Curio Collection by Hilton is a ‘soft brand’ that allows hotels to retain their own individual branding but are supported by the Hilton Worldwide portfolio,” notes Coluccio.

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.