Mike “Scarfo” Scarlatelli has plenty of reasons to smile.
He’s opening another restaurant in Cranberry Township and making his own brand of beer.
The Smiling Moose 2, a suburban version of his South Side spot, will open at 8032 Rowan Road around July 3, just in time to mark the 18th anniversary of the original location.
Scarlatelli is a familiar face on the punk rock scene. He’s been a touring musician most of his life, drumming for bands such as Submachine, Bunjie Jambo, The Reggie Bannister Band, German Shepherd and Irwin. He also worked as a cook at Il Pizzaiolo and as a bartender at Jimmy D’s.
He opened The Smiling Moose — named after a defunct dive bar he frequented in Minneapolis — in 2003. Since then, the venue has hosted thousands of punk, rock and metal shows while also serving upscale pub fare.
“People are always surprised by that,” he says with a laugh.
The menu is bursting with salads, sandwiches, burgers, tacos, sliders and sides. A pop culture fanatic, Scarlatelli names a lot of the food after movie characters. The Jack Sparrow Burger is a fresh Angus beef patty topped with a cheddar pierogi, red wine caramelized onions, sharp cheddar, rum aioli and dressed red cabbage. You can also opt for Pizza the Hutt’s Pizza Bread.
When the pandemic hit and live concerts were canceled, the gourmet grub and loyal customers kept the bar afloat.
The new location will boast the same menu with additional kid-friendly items and online ordering will be available.
Scarlatelli, who lives in Seven Fields with his wife and children, wanted to have a business closer to home. He used to set up The Smiling Moose food cart in a parking lot at the corner of Rowan Road and Route 19. The locals loved it, which inspired him to search for permanent digs.
The Smiling Moose 2 is located in a large building next to the Rowan Road Driving Range and the Cranberry Dek Hockey Rink.
While watching his daughter’s team play there, Scarlatelli met an established brewer — he refers to him only as Mr. White — who agreed to collaborate on a line of Smiling Moose beers. You can already find a couple of them on tap at 1306 E. Carson St., including 3 Beards Pale Ale and Hazy Like a Moose IPA.
They make the suds on the second floor of the South Side bar, which is currently closed to the public. It’s a small operation, but one Scarlatelli is passionate about. In 2019, he partnered with Stick City Brewing Company in Mars to create The Smiling Moose IPA and dabbled in homebrewing.
Now, he’s got a bunch of beers on deck that will only be available on draft at the two Moose sites. In the future, Scarlatelli might can the beers and sell to-go four-packs.
Scarlatelli thinks his beer and signature cocktails will be a big draw in Cranberry. The building has housed numerous restaurants over the years, but none of them served alcohol.
Crews are giving the space a Moose makeover: red and black walls accented with hockey-themed décor (Scarlatelli played semi-pro), old concert fliers and artwork by Rick Bach, who also designed the logo.
The front dining room contains a long, butcher block bar, while the back room features a garage door that looks out over the driving range. Scarlatelli plans to put picnic tables outside and invites fellow hockey moms and dads to come in and have a burger and a beer after their kids’ games.
“I can’t wait for people to check the place out,” he says. “We’re all about hockey, rock and roll, good food and good beer.”