Steak-Lobster-Tartare Eddie V's

The seasons seem to be changing on a dailyeven hourlybasis lately. But when spring eventually gets here and makes everything new again, it will bring with it a bunch of new restaurants, many of them Downtown. Union Standard, open just two weeks, already made a splash in the downtown culinary scene. On the North Side, the new Southern Tier Brewing Co., open just over a month, is drawing crowds not only for its beers but for its smoke house brew pub menu. Café 808 on Penn Ave. in the Cultural District started slinging sandwiches, salads, soups and subs just a couple days ago.

More arrivals are expected as new places put on finishing touches for spring debuts:

Talia Cucina & Rosticceria – Downtown

Located in the Alcoa Building, this new concept from owner Julian Vallozzi features traditional rustic Italian cuisine, elevated Italian street food and a bar dedicated to amari, the Italian herbal liqueur and digestif. The menu offers a classic fresh porchetta from the spiedo (the spit) along with other slow-roasted rotisserie meats, pizzas, and house-made pasta like ricotta gnocchi, and spaghetti served with clam and nduja, a spreadable salumi from Southern Italy (if you’ve never tried it, you need to.) A wide range of meat and seafood entrees are also on the menu.

The interior space is open and relaxed with a large bar area and a chef’s counter that will seat 10 for all those who like to watch the action up close. The lunch menu features several paninis made with rotisserie specialties.

Chef Steve Lanzilotti of Talia Cucina & Rosticceria (Photo by: Tom O'Connor)
Chef Steve Lanzilotti of Talia Cucina & Rosticceria. Photo by Tom O’Connor.
Chef Steve Lanzilotti of Talia Cucina & Rosticceria. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

Steve Lanzilotti will debut at Talia as executive chef after spending five years as chef de cuisine at sister restaurant, Vallozzi’s

Opens March 13th  (see website for more details)

City Works Eatery and Pour House – Downtown

This spacious restaurant and bar is taking over 10,000 square feet of the ground level of PPG Place. It features a large shaded patio area just off Market Square which is certain to be a happy hour magnet. City Works is heavy on brews with more than 90 local, regional and global craft beers drawing heavily from breweries in and around Pittsburgh. The menu is loaded with classic bar food, some with a twist. There’s a slate of burgers and “handhelds” (sandwich wraps, sliders and tacos), smoked BBQ ribs and “shareables” like duck confit nachos and truffle mac and cheese with bacon.

There’s also a full cocktail menu and more TV monitors than any sports bar could ever need.

City Works is the latest venture from Bottleneck Management, a Chicago-based restaurant group.

Opens March 11th (see website for details)

Mac & Toz Alehouse interior (Photo by: Mac & Toz Alehouse)
Mac & Toz Alehouse interior (Photo by: Mac & Toz Alehouse)

Mac & Toz Alehouse – Bridgeville

From Susan McMahon and Randy Tozzie who own Bakn in Carnegie, this neighborhood bar and grill will feature elevated comfort food, a curated whiskey collection and craft beers. The menu boasts a selection of hearty burgers and several variations of Tozzie’s macaroni and cheese including a “Langostino Pot” lobster version inspired by The Red Bull Inn restaurant chain that started years ago in Carnegie. Long since folded, it’s still remembered fondly by locals.

The new alehouse is moving into a space formerly occupied by the restaurant Sauce. It’s fully renovated with a beautiful backdrop behind the long bar composed of salvaged wood and metalwork details from Iron Eden of Bloomfield.

In addition to a selection of craft beers, cocktails and wines, the bar offers a special “mule” menu with variations of the classic cocktail. There will also be a “tasting wall” of bourbons and whiskeys allowing customers to sample the bar’s extensive collection of amber distilled spirits, including Vermont’s Whistle Pig and Pittsburgh’s own Wigle.

Expected to open by late March (updates available on their Facebook page).

Eddie V’s – Downtown

The large prime seafood restaurant with a classic and elegant dining room is opening in the newly renovated Union Trust building, on the corner of Grant Street and Fifth Avenue. It’s located on the opposite corner of the building from Union Standard. The menu features seasonal, fresh seafood flown in daily and premium hand-carved steaks in a “relaxed, upscale atmosphere.” Live jazz is a big part of the concept at Eddie V’sthere are more than 12 locations from coast-to-coast with Pittsburgh being the newest outpost.

The V Lounge, part of the restaurant, will feature locally and nationally acclaimed musicians performing on a nightly basis along with craft cocktails, a large wine list, and a special happy hour menu.

Eddie V’s is part of the Darden Restaurant Group which owns The Olive Garden chain.

Opens March 6th  (see website for details)

New BRGR location on Liberty Avenue (Photo by: BRGR)
New BRGR location on Liberty Avenue. Photo by BRGR.

BRGR – Downtown

The gourmet burger eatery will bring its signature burgers and popular handmade shakes Downtown for the first time. The new Liberty Avenue location is within walking distance of Market Square. Renovations are currently underway to transform the former G&G Noodle Bar into the fifth BRGR location. The restaurant will have seating for 90, a full bar and outdoor patio service. BRGR is part of the Pittsburgh-based S+P Restaurant Group.

Opening late spring (see website for details)

Yuzu Kitchen – Downtown

Located in the heart of the business district on Wood St., Yuzu Kitchen will feature ramen dishes, tapas-style appetizers and robata grill items. Robata (short for “robatayaki”) in Japanese cuisine is similar to food barbecued on skewers. The menu will feature food with influences from Japanese, Chinese and Korean cuisines. Yuzu Kitchen recently held a pop-up event at The Livermore to give customers a taste of some of the dishes they plan to have on the menu.

The owner is Teejay Li, who has been operating Thai Foon in Robinson Township for the past several years.

Opening late spring (follow updates on their Instagram page)

Condado Taqueria Downtown

This Columbus-based restaurant group will open its first Pittsburgh location on Liberty Ave. in the space formerly occupied by Tonic. The taqueria features a  build-your-own taco system where customers tailor preferences using order forms they fill out themselves. Taco filling options include fresh veggies, cheeses and meatsincluding house-made chorizo and braised beef, with vegan options available. A full bar with extensive margarita, whiskey, tequila and craft beer options will play a major part. The owners are planning to add a rooftop deck to the space for outdoor dining this summer.

Opening late March (see website for details)

Ki Ramen – Lawrenceville

A restaurant and bar with traditional ramen as its main focus, Ki Ramen will serve different broths with the unique twist of homemade noodles instead of what most ramen places use. The restaurant concept is a joint project from Lawrenceville chefs Roger Li of Umami and Domenic Branduzzi of Piccolo Forno, In an effort to build anticipation for its opening and glean feedback for shaping its menu, the Ki Ramen chefs have been holding almost monthly “pop-up” events at various locations around town, including The Livermore, Market Street Grocery and DiAnoia’s Eatery.

Opening late spring (for the most recent updates, follow them on Instagram and Facebook)

Tom O'Connor is a photographer and writer currently based in Pittsburgh.