Voodoo Brewing expands to Pittsburgh
Voodoo, the Meadville, Pa.-based craft brewery which has been one of Western Pennsylvania’s most popular since its founding more than a decade ago, is making a strong play to gain a larger share of the Pittsburgh craft beer market.

Last Friday, the brewery opened a satellite location at 205 East 9th Street in Homestead. But this isn’t another brewery (there’s no beer made on the premises), nor is it legally classified as a brewpub. Instead, thanks to the Commonwealth’s good-sense liquor laws, Voodoo Homestead qualifies as an off-site storage facility, which is capable of selling its product by the glass, growler or bottle—the same permissions allotted to the brewery itself. Think of it as a Voodoo outlet.

If you’re not familiar with Voodoo’s line of brews, pay this place a visit. Eat/Drink heartily recommends the Big Black Voodoo Daddy Imperial Stout and the Good Vibes IPA, and the Wynona’s Big Brown Ale is a nice and steady option for cold-weather beer drinking.

Two Penn Ave. openings coming soon
The reopening of the grand thoroughfare that is Penn Avenue through Garfield has no doubt provided a much-needed boost to the street’s existing food and drink scene, and two new establishments will look to join its ranks later this month.

Bantha Tea Bar, a tea house at 5002 Penn which we can only assume is named after the hairy, elephant-like creatures the Sand People of Tatooine rode around in Star Wars, is nearing completion.

Pints on Penn, the draft house which will take the space formerly occupied by Kopec’s Bar at 3523 Penn, appears nearly finished on the outside, but a visit paid earlier this week to check on the bar’s progress revealed nobody around, the windows and doors covered in plastic sheeting and the lights illuminating the sign left on. More on this as it develops.

Monterey Bay undergoing renovations
Temporary bad news for those among you who specifically prefer your fish served before a grand vista and everyone hoping to visit all of the local filming locations for the atrocious 2008 film adaptation of Michael Chabon’s Mysteries of Pittsburgh: Monterey Bay Fish Grotto, the Mt. Washington mainstay which for years has resembled a hyperbolic version of Ray Liotta’s living room in Goodfellas, closed last week to begin a $2 million renovation.

mossArchitects, hired to design the improvements, is touting a design that will be clean and minimalist, and will include a sub-restaurant, Sakari, on the existing restaurant’s lower level. Sakari will feature small plates and fresh sushi at an entirely new sushi bar. Monterey Bay projects to reopen in spring.

Dreadnought Wines reopens in Lawrenceville
Dreadnought Wines, the retailer of specialty wines and spirits which has called the Strip District home for years, has fully moved out of its old location and is now open for business in Lawrenceville at 3401 Liberty Avenue. The new location, which allows Dreadnought to expand its retail space to 5,000 square feet, also includes parking for up to a dozen cars on the premises.

Stadium food revolution
Welcome to a new segment here in Eat/Drink which we’re calling Stadium Food Revolution. From time-to-time, we’ll sample and review the fare available at Pittsburgh’s various sporting venues, concert halls and other outlets where the food is secondary to whatever the heck else is going on.

A last-minute offer of free tickets led a friend and me to the Penguins’ home game against Nashville on Sunday afternoon—a sparsely attended affair owing to dreadful weather and the impending professional football contest. When my friend offered to split a snack with me as thanks for inviting him along, we settled on the pierogi kielbasa nachos—in principle, a marvelous idea.

But, as if to match the Pens’ lackluster on-ice performance against the league-best Predators, this dish of a dozen or so miniature pierogies drowned in what I’ll begrudgingly concede was some kind of white cheese sauce, underperformed in all phases of the game. Topped with a generous helping of banana peppers (always a good idea), the only kielbasa to be found were three thin slices beneath the small heap of gooey, white lumps. Your $10.25 would be better spent on four 7-layer burritos at any local Taco Bell. That’s 28 layers, people!

That said, it’d be great to see a serious kitchen take a stab at a dish like this using real cheese and a variety of fresh ingredients. Brandon Fisher, have your people at Salt of the Earth get on this right away.

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.