One of Pittsburgh’s best chefs by any measure and one of its best breweries are joining forces.
Justin Severino, and his wife Hilary Prescott Severino — of Lawrenceville’s acclaimed restaurants Cure and Morcilla — will be turning East End Brewing Co.’s tasting room into a casual restaurant this spring.
“I see a fun opportunity to cook food that doesn’t fit into Cure or Morcilla’s menus,” says Justin Severino. “I love the idea of cooking food that goes with beer — it’s automatically going to be fun and unpretentious. The things that I love about food the most are where it comes from, and the culture behind it, and I think this is going to be a fun way to cook old-world food, like peasant food, that’s super-technique driven: spaetzle, poutine, haluski, smoked items, braised brisket, falafel and pita.”
Though Severino is renowned for his whole-animal butchery — his restaurant Cure features the city’s most extensive charcuterie program — the new space will be very vegetarian-friendly, though carnivores won’t be forgotten.
“Spaetzle with Brussels sprouts is vegetarian, but you can put corned beef on it,” notes Severino. “The poutine we’ll have with Monkey Boy (East End beer) gravy and cheese curds. We can also do it with crispy chicken skin.”
Expect “pastrami, corned beef, some good, old-fashioned sandwich-driven salamis,” he says, plus some serious bread baking.
The new space at East End Brewing Company will have room for 80 seats in their 17,000-square-foot brewery in Larimer. The taproom is about 2,000 square feet. Severino and East End’s Scott Smith tell us they’re excited to be collaborating.
“Scott and I have been friends for a long time,” says Severino. “He was one of the first people I reached out to when I moved back to Pittsburgh. I think the work he’s been doing with beer is really impressive. If anyone in Pittsburgh is a beer icon, it’s him.”
The name will most likely be something simple, he says: “I think it will be The Brewpub at East End Brewing.”
In other foodie news: Morcilla is also gradually coming back to life in Lawrenceville after a burst pipe earlier this month flooded the dining room. (Update: On March 8, Severino announced that Morcilla will reopen on April 4 — exactly three months after that burst pipe damaged his restaurant.)
“Our entire dining room is gutted down, both sub-floors and walls,” Severino says. But ever the entrepreneur, he’s using the redesign to improve acoustics (“Morcilla is crazy loud and I know that.”) and perhaps even rethink the menu.
Severino is a three-time James Beard Foundation award nominee for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. He’s also a winner of Food & Wine’s The People’s Best New Chef Mid-Atlantic, and Morcilla was ranked #4 in the country by Bon Appetit in their Best New Restaurants issue.