Don’t fret, foodies! Your favorite Pittsburgh chefs and pre-pandemic dishes are still around, even if their surroundings are a bit different. Here’s the scoop on some new dining spots that’ll feel wonderfully familiar.
Roger Li, the owner of Lawrenceville’s Ki Ramen and Ki Pollo, believes change is good for the soul.
In December, after a flood shut down Ki Ramen at 4401 Butler St., Li decided to combine the two eateries’ menus, add new dishes and create a new concept called Nanban.
Longtime fans of Li’s food will still be able to get their favorite fried chicken, ramen and baos at Nanban, which now occupies the renovated Ki Pollo storefront at 4407 Butler St. The former Ki Ramen space up the block will reopen in the near future as an entirely different restaurant.
Nanban launched two weeks ago. It’s open from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
At the fast-casual eatery, customers place their order at the counter and can either take their Asian soul food to go or sit in the dining room or at an outdoor table.
Li says the chicken sandwiches are still big sellers and his wife, Claudia, who is Argentinian, continues to make a variety of empanadas, including beef, ham and cheese and spicy pollo. Stop in for weekly specials to experience new flavors in an old spot.
Chef Stephen Eldridge and his wife Susan Cope have been a part of Galley Group since its inception.
Provision PGH debuted at the restaurant incubator’s original Smallman Galley location in the Strip District in 2015. Two years later, they moved the upscale American eats concept to Federal Galley on the North Side. It ends its run there on Sept. 5.
But the couple isn’t leaving the space at 200 Children’s Way anytime soon.
On June 9, they introduced Culture, so they’ll be dishing out Mediterranean grub for the next year or two.
It’s the food Eldridge cooked when he was just starting out in the restaurant business in Chicago, where he worked under James Beard Award-winning chefs.
The Chicken Pita is already a big hit with Galley customers. The chicken is marinated in herbed yogurt and topped with greens, pickled onions and hummus and wrapped in a grilled pita. You can also spring for a big plate of Shakshuka — tomato, onions, peppers, herbs, mushrooms, two eggs, olive oil and chickpeas with warm pita on the side. Or try an order of braised beef short ribs with roasted broccoli, balsamic onions, red wine jus and house frites.
There are also kid-friendly munchies and, on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a brunch menu is offered. Try the Hot Mess, a Moroccan goat and potato stew with two dippy eggs, Manchego cheese, pickled onions and cilantro.
Although Provision is saying goodbye to Federal Galley (in May it also bid farewell to its satellite kitchen at Hop Farm Brewing in Lawrenceville), Eldridge and Cope plan to open a brick-and-mortar version at an undisclosed location in the North Hills by the end of the year.
The eatery also will sell local produce and grab-and-go items, such as jars of Provision pickles and fry sauce, and offer meal plan and meal delivery services.
The drink menu will feature classic cocktails such as a frozen piña colada and other favorites.
Eldridge says he’s grateful for his time with Galley Group, which just opened a new four-kitchen facility in Bakery Square, but it’s time to let someone else take a shot at launching their culinary dream while he builds his own in the suburbs.
Grainne Trainor can see light at the end of Liberty Avenue.
Her long-awaited Bloomfield eatery is slated to open by late summer.
G’s on Liberty, located in the former Alexander’s Italian Bistro, will be a neighborhood joint featuring modern American cuisine and Irish hospitality. (G is short for Trainor’s Gaelic name.)
The first floor of the restaurant will operate while work continues on a second bar area downstairs that will host performances and fundraisers.
Trainor, an original co-owner of Oakmont’s The Mighty Oak Barrel, and chef Eric Libering, who helped her launch Allison Park’s now-shuttered Blue North, are anxious to start wine tastings at the new Bloomfield spot. The events were big draws at Trainor’s former establishments.
In preparation, the G’s team is sampling wines from a small army of longtime vendors.
“We’re getting some interesting products that are approachable and affordable,” Trainor says. “We’re always trying new things.”
Each month, themed wine tastings will be held on two consecutive nights. Libering will prepare three different hors d’oeuvres to complement the highlighted wines. The bites will not be available on the regular menu, which will feature a seasonal assortment of modern comfort food such as the Seafood Trio: grilled scallops, shrimp and salmon on tomato-saffron coulis with Yukon Gold potatoes and garlic spinach.
The special events, which will accommodate up to 50 people and require reservations, will also include presentations from winemakers, vendors and other vino experts and an informational sheet on the selected wines.
Trainor, who was born with the gift of gab, will make the rounds to chat with customers … an activity she’s been looking forward to for more than a year.