Regina vegan pizza from Black Cat Pizza.
The Regina vegan pizza from Black Cat Pizza is made with crushed tomatoes, cashew mozzarella, marinated cherry tomatoes, sea salt and basil. Photo courtesy of Black Cat Pizza.

The pop-up food scene has been buzzing through the Burgh. These daring dining options can be a way for chefs to showcase their innovative ingredients, think outside the box and generate a loyal following — which leads to more permanent brick-and-mortar spaces throughout the city. 

While these special events may seem elusive, you can take the guesswork out by finding and following these local culinary geniuses on their social media channels. It’s the best way to discover new menu drops, special events and upcoming dining opportunities. Here are a few of our favorites. 

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James Beard Award semifinalist Fet-Fisk is curating dinners all over town until its permanent restaurant opens in Bloomfield. Fet Fisk’s Nordic-inspired menu items have been feeding the city since 2019.

Black Radish Kitchen is the newsletter you look forward to seeing in your inbox. Offering interesting pairings that create a full multi-course meal such as Belly Baskets, as well as ticketed events for pairing dinners or themed BYOB tastings, Black Radish finds creative ways to nourish the Burgh. 

For an evolutionary tale of how Instagram turned small-batch orders into a sensational success, look no further than Saint Ravioli. Their pasta-loving congregation is a great example of how social media fueled the demand — a brick-and-mortar shop soon followed. The business still takes orders online, though, so follow along on their Insta account to get all the flavor combos you never knew you needed to be stuffed into a pillowy square of dough.   

Pierogies from Polska Laska
Olive Beals started pierogi pop-up Polska Laska to feed her friends and family during the beginning of the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Polska Laska.

The Polish pop-up Polska Laska is taking Pittsburgh’s beloved pierogi to brewery pop-ups, pierogi drops and special events like hands-on skills classes. You’ll have the classics, as well as some seasonal and specialty flavors, so keep tabs on where chef and owner Olive Beals is next via her Instagram.

Guest chefs

A Thai dish from deadfish
Deadfish Pittsburgh serves Thai food at Scratch & Co.

A go-to restaurant where you can often find a rotation of chefs surprising diners is Scratch & Co. The Troy Hill restaurant’s chef rotation gives diners the ability to have variety under one roof. The Thai tastings of Deadfish are available on Mondays, with some phenomenal flavors. Look forward to more meals in June, as the chef is currently away in Thailand and hopefully bringing back inspiration for Pittsburgh taste buds.  

Tuesdays are for tacos at Scratch. Tacqueira Acosta is a New Mexico-inspired menu with those beloved chile flavors and fresh salsa roja and salsa verde gracing the plates. With a veggie option, there is something on the menu for any tostada or taco lover. These mobile New Mexican meals also come by way of a food truck, so follow along on Acosta’s social channels to see what else they are cooking up in the city.  

Also often found at Scratch & Co, G.S. Sando Co.’s Japanese sandos look like art and taste even better. Japanese milk bread has a pillowy texture and if you haven’t had the opportunity to try a sandwich featuring this fluffy loaf, this is the perfect introduction. In addition to plating these and other specialties in Troy Hill, chef Gary Marshall is bouncing around with collabs all over town.   

Pop-up pizza 

Potato and sharp provolone pizza from Black Cat Pizza
Potato and sharp provolone pizza from Black Cat Pizza. Photo courtesy of Black Cat Pizza.

Black Cat Pizza is leveling up your humdrum pizza delivery orders. The Roman-style rectangular pizzas bring to mind Italian street slices. Crust defies logic, with crisp edges but airy crumb pockets in the center — the dough is the star of the show. Not to be upstaged, the topping selection is full of delightful pairings, offering both vegan and dairy choices. 

Bread & broth

Brothmonger warms bowls and hearts, one quart at a time. The small-batch soup is available at The Thyme Machine breakfast pop-up series. Subscribe to their newsletter to get updated servings in between soups. In the past, they’ve partnered with Crustworthy, another local small-scale gem. Follow along as they post sales, bread drops, seasonal menu items, and other order opportunities for pastries and sensational sourdoughs.   

Bread from Forno Brenci
Organic whole wheat bread with cranberries, raisins, pecans and seeds. Forno Brenci is author and chef Daniele Brenci’s bread baby. Photo courtesy of Forno Brenci.

Another bread and pastry pop-up is Forno Brenci. Found at the Bloomfield Saturday Market and occasionally at Tina’s on Saturdays, this pastry and bread pop-up delivers the dough. This summer promises a return of a few focaccia favorites and sourdough breads. One loaf and you’ll never want store-bought bread again.

Veggie heavy

While the beloved vegan eatery Onion Maiden has closed for in-house dining, hopefully this means the owners will make space in their busy schedule for Chick Habit. In April, their vegan chick’n pop-up series collaborated with vegan ice cream parlor Sugar Spell Scoops. For now, you can find Onion Maiden at the Bloomfield Saturday Market — but keep tabs on what comes next by following them on social media.    

While Nooch is also taking a spring break, it’s specifically for our veggie-loving foodies to follow. Creating a following since last year, Nooch has carved a niche in vegan dining in the Pittsburgh area. Keep an eye out for upcoming summer events.    

Breakfast pop-ups

While many lamented when Bitter Ends closed its doors in 2022, chef Ryan Chavara is still on location seasonally, slinging sensational sandwiches. Thursdays through Sundays outside of the luncheonette, The Thyme Machine serves up takeaway breakfast sandwiches and doughnuts. The fried mortadella on the menu is an addition to your breakfast you didn’t know you needed in your life. 

An everything bagel with scallion cream cheese
Everything bagel with scallion cream cheese from Three Brothers Bagels. Photo by Abbie Synan.

Three Brothers Bagels offers the breakfast carb you need in your life. The co-owners took their time living in New York City as inspiration for creating these torus-shaped treasures. Feel good about your order because a portion of profits goes to Inspired Hearts & Hands, a nonprofit that provides support to Pittsburgh families experiencing poverty. With four locations for pickup, the North Hills-based operation offers the ability to grab and go.    

Just desserts

Main meals can’t have all the fun when it comes to creativity and the pop-up scene. 

Piccolo Piazza Company makes small-batch flavors of artisanal gelato with big tastes. Follow along to see updates on periodic additions to their core menu, however, their staple flavors offer a wide variety. Fresh quality gelato is like having a small slice of Italy right in your freezer.

Carrot cake gelato
Butterfat Gelato offers flavors including Aperol Spritz sorbetto and white chocolate amarena cherry gelato. Photo courtesy of owner Lauren Brock.

Butterfat Gelato is another small-batch dessert purveyor that isn’t like your average pint out of the frozen food aisle. Follow Butterfat’s Instagram account to keep up with the seasonal flavor profiles and stay in the know about upcoming pint and quart drops.