Carnegie gets a Peruvian charcoal rotisserie, Kennywood gains a Primanti Bros. and the August Wilson Center presents a special event with dishes themed around Wilson’s plays. Plus: Alternate Histories Happy Hour in Greenfield! These are the new restaurants in Pittsburgh you need to know about.
El Pollon, one of only a few authentic Peruvian charcoal rotisserie in the Pittsburgh region, is now open in the former Bakn space on East Main Street in Carnegie.
According to proprietors Luis and Marisa Neira, in their hometown of Lima there are rotisserie chicken restaurants “on every block.” This is their first “polleria” in Pittsburgh; El Pollon has three locations in West Virginia and one in Florida.
“I had so many customers in West Virginia that kept asking me when I was going to open in Pittsburgh,” Maria says in a press release. When they found the Carnegie space they decided it was the perfect fit.
El Pollon is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In addition to chicken, the menu includes specialty Peruvian dishes like Lomo Saltado (stir-fried beef with onions, served with tomatoes and French fries; pictured above) and Bistek a lo Pobre (steak and eggs with fried potatoes and fried onions).
On weekends, you can try their hand-crafted ceviche. The restaurant sources ingredients from local farmers. And they shouldn’t run out because they say the oven is large enough to roast two dozen chickens at once.
In what they’re (very accurately) billing as a “Yinzplosion,” Primanti Brothers is opening a location inside Kennywood Park’s “Lost Kennywood” section. It’s the first amusement park location for Primanti’s and will include the restaurant’s classic coleslaw-and-fries-topped sandwiches and other menu favorites.
It’s a historic year for both of these Western Pennsylvania mainstays; Kennywood opens for its 125th season on April 22, and Primanti’s is marking its 90th anniversary this year.
The Primanti Bros. Kennywood location will open later this spring.
Mike and Amber Evans opened their third Pittsburgh area PrimoHoagies location on April 20. The new PrimoHoagies eatery in Downtown Pittsburgh joins the couple’s locations in the Strip District and McMurray. The New Jersey-based chain restaurant’s menu includes cold and hot hoagies, cheesesteaks, wraps, vegetarian options, and antipasti salads.
“We are so thankful to our enthusiastic team and amazing customers for the tremendous success of our first two PrimoHoagies locations,” Mike Evans says in a press release.
The Penn Avenue store is now open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
There are also locations in Pleasant Hills and one coming soon to Bethel Park.
On April 22, Alternate Histories Studio kicks off its new Saturday Happy Hour series. The working art studio in Greenfield will host a different brewery, maker and DJ at monthly Saturday events through September, with food from Mexican restaurant La Palapa.
First up is Necromancer Brewing, the work of Ex Libris Fibers, run by Greenfield artist Rita Johnson, and former Upstage fixture, DJ EZ Lou.
“The Alternate Histories Studio opened last year with a big street event celebrating the release of East End Brewing’s Greenfield beer, but then with the holidays I got busy and wasn’t able to do as many community events as I wanted,” says Alternate Histories artist Matthew Buchholz. “My goal has always been to invite people down to the space to see some local art, get some food and drink, and hang out with friends and neighbors while listening to music. What more could you want?”
All the monthly events are family-friendly, and well-behaved dogs on leashes are also welcome. In addition to being a working studio, there’s a retail space where you can purchase Alternate Histories cards, prints, T-shirts and books. Need a vintage image of Godzilla menacing one of Pittsburgh’s bridges, or a giant monster version of Andrew Carnegie on a rampage? Alt Histories has you covered. The event runs from 3 to 7 p.m.
A Taste of the American Century
August Wilson African American Cultural Center
On April 26, the August Wilson African American Cultural Center is hosting an “experiential dinner” with food and dessert items mentioned throughout the playwright’s “American Century Cycle” of plays.
The menu starts with a happy (half) hour featuring gumbo (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), and shrimp and grits (featured in several Wilson plays). The buffet dinner will include, among other dishes, fried pork chops (“The Piano Lesson”) and red beans and rice with sausage (“Seven Guitars” and “Two Trains Running”). Sides will include cornbread and garlic mashed potatoes. Dessert options include bread pudding and King Cake.
There will also be a demonstration by chef Mike Barnes of Roux Orleans, who will share his special take on the American Century Cycle recipes. The dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. Get tickets here.
Whisper Nest, the beloved Millvale dive bar with a chill, 1970s lounge aesthetic, closed on April 1. There was hope that someone might step in to keep it running, but alas, it doesn’t look like that came to be.
220 North Shore Drive, North Shore
I was previously unfamiliar with the term “eatertainment concept,” but the good news is that there’s one coming to the North Shore. It involves dining and entertainment and will occupy the first floor of a new six-story, mixed-use building and plaza located near PNC Park.
HiLife Hospitality is the lead design architect on the project, and partner Herky Pollock calls it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a once-in-a-lifetime location.”
More details will come later this year and the site is slated to open in time for the Pirates’ 2025 season.