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Fogo de Chao

Fogo de Chao coming to Pittsburgh
Fogo de Chao, the Brazillian steakhouse with 24 locations across the country, will open a restaurant in Pittsburgh in 2016. The steakhouse is the first confirmed tenant in Millcraft Investments’ 30,000-square-foot, mixed-use project, 350 Oliver in Downtown.

Fogo de Chao operates in the churrascaria dining style — a revelatory setup in which men dressed as cowboys walk from table to table, each armed with a different hunk of meat and a large knife. Diners are given coasters which are green on one side and red on the other. As long as the green side is facing up, the meat-bearing cowboys will know to approach you and offer you more steak wrapped in shrimp wrapped in bacon wrapped in championships. When you flip the coaster to red—which, let’s face it, there’s basically no reason to do—they’ll pass right by you. On rare occasion, they’ll approach a patron on the throes of a meat coma and inform him that he’s had enough, as the light is gone from his eyes. This may or may not have happened to me in Baltimore in 2007.

Pittsburgh Restaurant week is here! Again!
The latest incarnation of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week (which has somehow transformed into a two-week event) will kick off with a ticketed event at the Pittsburgh Opera this Thursday, January 8. Among the restaurants kicking in for this party include the Double Wide Grill, Eighty Acres Kitchen & Bar, Sirena Taco Joint, Lola Bistro and the Capital Grille. Tickets for the party are $50 in advance through Showclix, or $65 at the door.

The Restaurant Week preview will run from January 9 through 15, with the actual dining week lasting from January 12 to 18. Check out the full list of participating restaurants before you head out to eat. You can’t really go wrong with any of these, but Eat/Drink would be remiss if we didn’t express a special affinity for Willow in the North Hills. We’re excited to see what the $35.15 multi-course dinner has to offer.

The future is now!
“Back to the Future: Part 2” made a lot of predictions about how 2015 would look and startlingly few of them have come to pass. Well, here’s one we’re pretty sure wound up on the cutting room floor: the first drive-thru Panera Bread opened Tuesday morning at 8800 Covenant Road in McCandless. Celebratory promotions will run through Thursday.

There’s still no word if drivers will be given vibrating disks and asked to park while their food is prepared, but we’re betting against it.

Second annual Brew ‘N Chew
Brew ‘N Chew returns to the Monroeville Convention on Saturday for its second straight year. Tickets are still available to both the 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. sessions, each of which will run three hours. Brew ‘N Chew plans to feature more than 120 craft beers, a selection of foreign brews, about 50 food vendors, tailgating and tavern games, as well as a brewers’ roundtable discussion during the first session. Tickets are $60 and attendees have the option of shuttling to the convention center from points in Station Square, the Waterfront and the Big Mac Museum. For more information, visit the event page at Good Taste Pittsburgh.

Round Corner adding top-floor event space, eatery
Lawrenceville’s Round Corner Cantina, already one of Pittsburgh’s most popular destinations for tacos, margaritas and patio revelry, is adding a second-story restaurant and concert space which will be called Ballroom.

In stark contrast to the Cantina’s Tex-Mex fare, Ballroom will specialize in snacks and small plates of Japanese influence. Round Corner is running previews of Ballroom’s menu on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in advance of the new space’s opening, which is expected to come before winter’s through.

Kohinoor closed in Monroeville
After a whirlwind year which saw chef/owner Tamilselvan Thangadurai’s Indo-Pakistani eatery open in the side room of a hotel, become a fast favorite of Pittsburgh foodies, suffer a fire, close and re-open, Kohinoor has closed its doors for good. There’s no word yet on what Thangadurai will do next.

Belvedere’s closed following fire
Belvedere’s Ultra-Dive, the Lawrenceville bar known for its 80s nights, dance parties and eclectic clientele, will be closed for at least a month—possibly longer—after a fire damaged the space last week. The bar has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise money for the its displaced employees while restorations keep the space from opening.

Murphy moves on
After spending some time with Chef David Murphy in advance of the opening of Carmella’s Plates & Pints, I have to admit I’m sorry to learn that his tenure at the rustic new Carson Street spot is already over. Murphy, who came to Pittsburgh after working under a James Beard Award-winning chef at Uchi in Austin, has parted company with Carmella’s.

Kevin Lintelman, formerly the chef at Butcher and the Rye, is now running the kitchen at Carmella’s. Between a warm aesthetic and a well-run bar, the space still has a lot going for it and I’m eager to see the direction it takes from here.

Downtown getting an Arby’s
There are hallmarks which tell you when your city has arrived at the next culinary level. A new Arby’s isn’t one of them, but we’re getting it anyway. Arby’s Restaurant #8436 will open at 808 Liberty Avenue in Downtown on January 12, sporting the company’s new “Inspire” design. Get some, Pittsburgh.

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.