Photo by Kristy Locklin.

Here’s a bit of good news: Chef Justin Severino’s Salty Pork Bits is opening to the public on Nov. 23.

Since the Lawrenceville storefront debuted in July 2020 it’s offered curbside pickup only. It’ll be open every Wednesday through Saturday at noon, with hours varying throughout the holiday season. This week, in addition to opening day, the location will operate from noon to 6 p.m. on Nov. 24 and noon to 9 p.m. on Nov. 27. Guests can shop in-store or pre-order for pickup online.

Starting at this Saturday’s event, Dancing Gnome will be onsite selling beers and offering tastings. The brewery will return on Fridays and Saturdays between December 3-18.

Salty Pork Bits is helping chef Justin Severino bring home the bacon during the pandemic.

The four-time James Beard Award semi-finalist’s charcuterie subscription service, which was recently featured in Esquire, kept him busy while his restaurant Morcilla was dormant.

“I don’t know where we would be without it,” he says.

Severino will soon open a Salty Pork Bits retail location at 5306 Butler St. in Lawrenceville, a site formerly occupied by the Full Pint Wild Side Pub. The 2,000-square-foot space will offer a variety of cured meats, pâtés, sausages, bacon and salumi board accoutrements.

Photo by Adam Milliron.

Shoppers will also be able to pick up frozen, uncooked sausages in a variety of flavors such as hot and sweet Italian, bratwurst, chorizo, morcilla and boudin noir. Severino wants to introduce prepared to-go foods as well, such as meatballs, sausage, peppers, and country-style sausage gravy.

During the 2019 holiday season, Severino ran a 200-square-foot pop-up shop in the Strip District. The tiny Salty Pork Bits location did so well that it stayed open into 2020.

And then COVID-19 hit.

Morcilla, the award-winning Spanish restaurant he co-owns with his wife Hilary Prescott Severino, was closed to customers, but continued to serve as the production facility and subscription fulfillment center for Salty Pork Bits.

Online sales are steady, so the couple purchased new equipment to meet the demand. They’re quickly outgrowing the space, hence the need for a new location.

Morcilla recently opened for takeout meals. Seeing beautifully plated food go out the door in a cardboard container pains the chef, but, in this new normal, it’s adapt or die. The restaurant will continue to be the hub of Severino’s charcuterie-making operation, while the new digs will boast offices, storage and an order packaging area. Curbside pickup will be available.

There will not be seating inside Salty Pork Bits. “We’re focused on making a product. Period,” he says.

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.