There’s a lot for local beer lovers to look forward to this year, but if you can’t wait to wet your whistle, a pair of breweries/restaurants just opened their doors. While the buildings might be familiar to generations of drinkers in Monroeville and McKeesport, what’s on tap is brand new.
The Brewery at Luciano’s
Beer is flowing again at 312 Center Road in Monroeville.
The building, which once housed the Parkway Tavern — and more recently, Rivertowne Pour House — is now The Brewery at Luciano’s.
Owner Dan Pasquarelli, who has operated restaurants throughout the region for four decades, has been working on the place for more than two years, giving it a brighter, more inviting décor, expanding the kitchen, upgrading the bar and even renovating the restrooms.
After overcoming pandemic-related shutdowns and supply chain backups, The Brewery at Luciano’s opened for business in February. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Pizza dough and sauce are made fresh daily using Pasquarelli family recipes, which are also used at Luciano’s Italian Brick Oven in White Oak, Lucci’s Pizza & Pasta and the Brick House Tap & Grill in Irwin, and Luciano’s Restaurant in Mars. (Also, try the calzones, sandwiches and salads.) Pasquarelli, who emigrated to the U.S. from Italy when he was 3 years old, named his restaurants after a family member back in his homeland.
And what goes better with a hot pizza than a cold beer?
The 15-barrel system pumps out beverages such as Luciano’s Italian Pilsner, a crispy, dry-hopped lager; Tela Cold IPA, with notes of grapefruit and lemon; and Sogni D’Oro Belgian Strong Gold, a boozy winter warmer clocking in at 8.5 percent ABV. The Brewery gives a nod to another local business, Moio’s Italian Pastry Shop, with Nonna’s Tiramisu Stout, a liquified version of the famous dessert.
Now, that’s amore.
Tube City Brew Works and Restaurant
Chris and Heather Tricarico moved to Pittsburgh with a dream of opening a pizzeria.
When the New York natives discovered that the Lemon Tree — McKeesport’s beloved, but long-condemned restaurant and banquet facility — was still on the market, they decided to turn lemons into lemonade. Or, in this case, beer.
Located at 623 Long Run Road, Tube City Brew Works and Restaurant is now open for business. Hours are 4 to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but online reservations are recommended.
“If you’re a McKeesport resident who’s over the age of 50, chances are you’ve attended a wedding here,” Chris Tricarico says. “It’s pretty cool to be bringing this place back to the community.”
The new owners have transformed the old building, which is now divided into two distinct settings: a laidback sports bar and a rustic dining room.
After leaving Bridges & Bourbon Downtown, chef Michael Allison put together a menu of elevated bar food, including mac and cheese, poutine, pierogies and burgers inspired by different parts of the world. The Meaux, France Burger, for instance, features brie, mushroom duxelles, lettuce, tomato, onion and truffle aioli, while the Portland, Maine Burger is covered with blueberry cream cheese, bacon jam and coffee rub. There’ll be a fish fry held every Friday during Lent and brunch is served on Sundays.
Of course, you’ll want to wash down all that gourmet pub grub with some suds.
Chris Tricarico has been a home brewer for 14 years. A whiskey bourbon stout he made early on wowed his no-nonsense grandfather, a police officer and World War II veteran who isn’t a fan of “fancy” beers.
“I impressed him with the complexity of it,” he says. “That’s the beer that inspired me to pursue this.”
Tricarico’s making a variety of beer styles and seltzers in small batches. There are currently two brews on tap, but that list will eventually grow to 12. While they don’t can their beers, growlers will be available soon.
“I’m very much driven by what the most people are going to enjoy,” Tricarico says, citing quaffable pilsners and ales.
A history buff, Tricarico wanted to use McKeesport’s nickname, Tube City, for his brewery to honor its steel-making heritage. He was delighted to learn that a Tube City Brewing Co. operated in the town before Prohibition and again from 1933 to 1955.
He’s keeping a lookout for vintage Tube City collectibles to display.
“This town has some cool history and we’re happy to be a little piece of it,” he says.