Balvanera, a barrio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a lot like Pittsburgh’s Strip District: a historic neighborhood that’s a melting pot of cultures, flavors and creativity.
This fall, chef Fernando Navas and Pittsburgh native Meredith Boyle, partners in business and in life, will open Balvanera restaurant at 1600 Smallman, a newly renovated office and retail building across from The Terminal. The 4,400-square-foot brasserie will feature traditional Argentine fare, South American wines and craft cocktails.
The couple met while working at New York’s SUSHISAMBA, where Navas was the corporate chef and Boyle served as culinary manager.
In 2014, Navas debuted the first Balvanera on the Lower East Side. It’s been a go-to spot for authentic Argentine cuisine ever since. From composed vegetable dishes to housemade sausages and family-style plates, the menu and philosophy were inspired by the chef’s Argentine roots and his travels through Buenos Aires, Barcelona and The Big Apple.
“While I’ve continued my work with the SUSHISAMBA, Duck & Waffle and Sugarcane brands, Fernando went on to build Balvanera on New York’s Lower East Side where he was able to cook food that was true to his roots,” Boyle says.
“This second location is special because it ties my own roots — Pittsburgh culture and community — to the work we’re doing to shape Argentine food and beverage in America.”
McCaffery is the developer of three projects in the Strip: The Terminal, 1600 Smallman and a 3.5-acre site adjacent to The Terminal slated for development.
“Besides the fact that Meredith is from Pittsburgh, it’s a town that gave me a good feeling,” Navas says. “As a chef, I’ve been lucky to travel extensively. You can get a temperature reading in a city pretty quickly. Like, this feels right to be here. I feel that Pittsburgh embraces its history as much as its change, and the developing Strip District makes this especially apparent.”