Pittsburgh is known for many things, Steel, bridges, Universities. Food isn't one of them. Yet in the few years this famed city may well become the Lyons of America. It is the hottest and most popular destination for foodies right now,surpassing even Manhattan for good restaurants.
Jeff Gordonier wrote about it in today's New York Times Food section. He visited the city known for Carnegie Steel and Carnegie Mellon University.The vibe of the city is changing. There are still marginalized areas however the town on the whole is on the upswing. Companies like Google, Uber and Facebook have relocated there, trying to scoop up the latest tech grads from the city's major universities such as Carnegie Mellon Duquesne and a slew of several others. Another reason is that
real estate is very cheap.Old storefronts are now being turned into trendy eateries thanks to chefs who can afford to buy the property.It also helps to have good press. Zagat named Pittsburgh the number one food city in the country while Vogue proclaimed it a happening place to visit, even stating that New Yorkers are toying with the idea of moving there.. For chefs, though, there was
still the problem of crime. Justin Severino who started Cure in the Lawrenceville section had to deal with prostitutes drug dealers and thieves. He stuck in there, though now offering a trendy menu that has a tasting menu and salumi dishes.
Other chefs are following his lead, despite the fact that some fo the older townspeople find the new dishes not to their liking or too foreign. Still ,many are adaptable enjoying dishes as wild boar and rabbit at eateries such as Piccolo Forno, thanks to the culinary deftness of chef Dominic Branduzzi.Then there is a new concept, created by two young entrepreneurs, Ben Marica and Tyler Benson. These former Navy men have brought a kind of tech incubator to Pittsburgh's food scene. Their Smallman Galley consists of four kiosks in which different chefs showcase their their cooking for eighteen months. The neat part is the chefs pay absolutely no rent, The goal is to acquire a following and then go from there with it .. The creators see this as a way of catering to the young techies from Google and Uber who are also living in the area.It is a great symbiotic relationship guaranteed to boost Pittsburgh's standing and economy. However there are some chefs who have seen this happen before, namely in Brooklyn and San Francisco. The more popular a neighborhood gets, the more expensive it will be Rents rise , people move out , businesses either struggle or close.Others say give it five years and then see if Puttsburgh is still thriving according to Chef Severino of Cure.
Right now Pittsburgh is experiencing an explosion of good chefs and good restaurants, It's shedding its' old grey steel town image for a newer, more vibrant one,Will it be the Lyons of the New World? Quite possibly yes!