Maggie Meskey
Maggie Meskey

Maggie Meskey is one of the city’s most loved and respected bartenders. Not only is she brilliant at what she does, but her petite frame packs such a big personality that everyone she meets becomes an instant fan.

She’s been a fixture at Butcher and the Rye but has since moved next door to the newly opened Tako, where she took the helm of the bar program and planned it from the ground up—focusing her skills on tequila and sake.

Life has been frenetic for Meskey since Tako’s opening but when she found time to take a break, she ate what she says is her best meal not only last week, but the whole season!

What was that meal?

It’s been such a crazy couple of weeks since Tako’s opening—I feel like all I ate were avocados and a slice of pizza here and there.

But last week changed all that. Rick, Tolga and I took a break and had a really late lunch at the new Szmidt’s Deli on Liberty Ave. and wow what an experience—I was thinking, this doesn’t even feel like downtown Pittsburgh right now.

We all ordered root beers and then they told us they made root beer floats, so why not. That was amazing.

We started with some pierogis. Really traditional potato and cheese with some sour cream. Really good. 

Then I ordered the Reuben and it was the best Reuben I’ve had in my life.

The house made rye bread was perfect, unlike any rye bread I’ve ever had. They didn’t use too much dressing, the homemade sauerkraut was amazing. And of course, they cure all their meat in house.

It felt like someone’s grandmother cooked a meal for me.

Then, just when I thought I couldn’t eat anymore, they brought out the carrot cake. And Glenn Hoover, whom I used to work with at Eleven, made it. It was so good. I love carrot cake.

The whole meal was so good, I’ve been back twice since. And had the Reuben each time. It wasn’t one of the best meals I had last week, it was one of the best meals I’ve had all spring!

Check out the NEXTpittsburgh story Szmidt’s Old World Deli.

Also check out where other Pittsburgh foodies have had their best meals.

Leah Lizarondo is a food advocate, writer and speaker. She is also the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, an organization that seeks to eliminate food waste to make an impact on hunger and the environment. She is the Chief Veghacker, recipe creator and curator at The Brazen Kitchen, where she writes about food and food policy. She writes about the intersection of food, health, innovation and policy.