food drink
Amazing Cafe veggie burger

Marty’s Market bar program taking shape
Will Groves, one of Pittsburgh’s most innovative and popular bartenders who has long manned the bar at Butterjoint, will leave the restaurant to help Marty’s Market establish its bar program.

In addition to orchestrating the list of draft beers, spirits and cocktails for the bar which will service the café at Marty’s (where, I might add, the brunch is definitely worth checking out), Groves will curate the market’s selection of bottled beers. He says that bar service, beer selection and a basic cocktail menu will “really complete the picture of what they’re trying to do.”

Groves is also looking forward to taking a break from tending bar.

“In an ideal world, I’m in bed by 10 or 10:30 p.m., then up at 6 in the morning. I’m a morning person,” Groves says. “I’m the unlikeliest bartender in the world.”

Groves has done similar bar consulting work, most recently for the The Oaks Theater in Oakmont. His final shift at Butterjoint will be Monday, February 2.

Coffee and beignets at Salt
As a freelance creative who works in art, design and film, Justin Nixon often has people over to his house for co-working sessions. And as is true of most creative co-working sessions, they drink a lot of coffee. Only at Nixon’s place, he’s the one who roasts it.

“We can only roast enough for four cups at a time,” Nixon says.

But that isn’t stopping him, his brother Austyn and friend Doug North Cook from setting up Alva—a ridiculously small-batch coffee operation which will run Saturday mornings at Salt of the Earth throughout February.

“We decided to make it an experience—to set up at a restaurant and have it be there for a little while,” Nixon says.

Alva will offer individual cups of coffee of numerous varieties made in the pour-over fashion. As a complement, Salt will bring back their celebrated beignets.

“There will be a lot of interesting options. We’ll have a Colombian, Ethiopian, an Indian variety,” Nixon says “When we order, we get whatever they have in season, so we wind up experimenting with a lot of things, a few of which I’ve never heard of before.”

Coffee and beignets will be available for both eat-in and takeout at Salt on February 7, 14, 21 and 28, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow Alva on Twitter and Instagram (@coffeewithalva) for updates on roasts and future setups.

Spoonwood Brewing to open later this month
Great news, Bethel Parkers! Tired of having to drive all the way into Mt. Lebanon or other points north through—gasp!—a tunnel in order to get your locally made craft beer? A solution is on the way.

Spoonwood Brewing will open later this month in Bethel Park. Steve Ilnicki, formerly of Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery on the Waterfront, is spearheading the project along with his wife, Patti, and Grand and Mary Lou Scorsone.

Spoonwood plans to offer a wide range of brews, including a cadre of beers made with Belgian yeast strains. They’ll also sport a wood-burning oven for cranking out pizzas, on top of its menu of salads and sandwiches. After a series of ongoing soft openings, the space is projected to open by the end of this month.

Pizza Cono closed
Pizza Cono, the Squirrel Hill storefront whose sign offered the simple, grammatically questionable promise “Pizza not flat anymore,” has closed. I’m not sure what took so long. Pizza Cono offered customers a cone of dough, filled with sauce and pizza toppings, then “cooked” in a rotating device under a hot lamp. Was the flatness of pizza a problem? Was conventional pizza, already celebrated for its convenience, too difficult for us to enjoy in our modern, information-driven lives? The answer, it seems, is no.

Snowtime treats!
The magic of wintertime has returned to Pittsburgh with most of the area now blanketed in a healthy four-to-seven inches of snow. And while snow is pretty and romantic and can get you out of work or school for a day, it’s also a big component of many delicious frozen treats.

That is, if it comes from some kind of a machine designed to create snow. This is our friendly reminder what we get out of the sky is what we put into it and what we put into it are greenhouse gasses from cars and fracking. We implore you, do not eat the snow unless you drown it in an alcohol solution of at least 40 percent. This has been a public service announcement.

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.