Maggie's Farm rum

Social House Seven coming to Downtown
A new restaurant/bar/lounge/event space from the AMPD Group will take over the space at 123 Seventh Street in Downtown this summer. Social House Seven, which will take over the space that’s been vacant since Bossa Nova closed last year, will feature a 60-seat bar, a 175-seat restaurant and a 2,300-square-foot Japanese-style lounge to go with a custom built robata grill and sushi bar.

Social House Seven will offer lunch and dinner service seven days a week in addition to Saturday and Sunday brunch. The lounge will be open Thursday through Saturday evenings. It will be the AMPD Group’s second foray into Downtown after opening Ten Penny last year.

Pittsburgh has four Beard Award nominees
Nominees for the 2015 James Beard Awards, which aim to recognize America’s best restaurants, were announced last week, and the short list includes four local nods—two more than Pittsburgh received last year.

For the second straight year, Cure’s Justin Severino is nominated for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic, and Butcher and the Rye is up for Best Bar Program.

Bar Marco’s Jamilka Borges is among the candidates for Rising Star of the Year, and chef Bill Fuller and Tom Baron garnered acknowledgment among the country’s best restaurateurs for their handling of the Big Burrito Restaurant Group.

The Beard Foundation will announce finalists on March 24, and while I wouldn’t tell you to go liquidate your Roth IRA and throw down your kids’ college funds, I think Severino is a very good bet to advance this year.

Pittsburgh spirits clean up in Austin
Pittsburgh was well-represented at the American Craft Spirits Association’s annual convention last week, with Maggie’s Farm and Wigle both bringing home hardware.

Maggie’s Farm cleaned up the rum competition, taking home gold and best-in-class awards for its Queen’s Share Double Barrel, silver medals for its other two Queen’s Share rums—aged and unaged—and a bronze for its flagship white rum.

Wigle Whiskey’s Deep Cut Rye won gold and best rye whiskey. Wigle’s Malted Rye and Organic Wheat each took silvers in the whiskey category, and their ginever also won a bronze medal in the gin competition.

Primanti’s launches new sandwich
As a part of its Hell Bent or Heaven Sent promotion, Primanti’s unveiled a new sandwich called the Tempting Trio last week. The sandwich, which features genoa salami, capicola and fresh mortadella—all from Parma Sausage in the Strip District—is featured as the sinful option against the Lenten-friendly Colossal Fish Sandwich.

“You can have your sandwich Hell Bent or Heaven Sent, but you can’t have it without French fries and cole slaw inside!,” the company announced in a press release.

Regardless of where you go when you die, Primanti’s is determined to help you get there soon.

Smoke open in Lawrenceville

I was going to tell you, but if you have Facebook, Twitter or actual friends, you were almost certainly bombarded with pictures of tacos within minutes of this happening. Smoke’s soft opening broke Pittsburgh’s internet for the first time since the G-20 Summit took place here in 2009.

Stadium Food Revolution, episode 2
Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist each scored two goals and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 of 35 shots as I nursed a Diet Dr. Pepper and a bag of peanuts in the Penguins’ 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Sunday evening. The food and hockey were near perfectly paired in their mediocrity.

Matthew Wein is a local writer, editor, blogger, storyteller and proud native Pittsburgher. Once described as "a man of things," he covers city design, spirits and craft beer for NEXT, where he keeps all of the editorial meetings light-hearted and interesting. His interests include sorting books, looking at old things and candles which smell like old-growth pine forests.