Food & Drink

We delve into the local food scene, from the farms that grow your food to how it ends up on your plate.

So, What's The Deal With Pennsylvania's Liquor Laws?

Dec 30, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

For decades, Pennsylvania had some of the screwiest liquor laws in the nation. But this year, after decades of false starts and abandoned bills, the General Assembly finally passed laws to make it easier to buy alcohol.

This Pittsburgh Group Is Pioneering The 'Uber Of Food Recovery'

Dec 22, 2016
412 Food Rescue

Chances are,  all that leftover food from your office party or wedding might end up in a dumpster—and eventually the landfill. Unless a hero swoops in.

Because it’s the 21st century, that hero is a new app. It’s called Food Rescue Hero, and 412 Food Rescue—a nonprofit in Pittsburgh—has been working with local developers over the past 18 months to get it off the ground.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Nied’s Hotel in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood is one of a handful of bars where workers who clock out while most hit the alarm clock can still meet for coffee or a beer. Taverns that cater to third-shift workers aren’t a new concept to Pittsburgh, but over the years, their clientele has evolved.

In the wake of the presidential election, many in the LGBTQ community are organizing to protect legal progress they've made in recent years. For Kirsten Adorian, a home cook and nutrition specialist living in Brooklyn, New York, the call to help her community came naturally: She wants to feed them.

For Oakmont Seller, Protein-Packed Nutrition Began At Home

Dec 6, 2016
Marcus Charleston / WESA

Food makers, consumers and regulators have sparred back and forth over what constitutes “healthy” in food labeling for years. Last year, the makers of Kind Bars battled over their snacks’ nutrition merits.

Uniontown McDonald's Franchise Owner & Creator Of The Big Mac Dies

Nov 30, 2016
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

The Pittsburgh-area McDonald's franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago has died. James Delligatti was 98.

McDonald's spokeswoman Kerry Ford confirmed that Delligatti died at home surrounded by his family on Monday night.

Delligatti's franchise was based in Uniontown, about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh, when he invented the chain's signature burger with two all-beef patties, "special sauce," lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The region’s first pay-what-you-can restaurant is expected to open in January in New Kensington. Knead Community Café is modeled after similar facilities around the country that offer meals in exchange for donations or volunteer time.

Mary and Kevin Bode, cofounders of the café, said they wanted to renovate the $64,000 building with the hopes that it would spur revitalization in the city’s downtown.

Geoffrey Franklin / flickr

Big changes are coming to beer sales in Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation Tuesday that will allow the state's more than 1,000 beer distributors to sell suds in any quantity. That includes individual 32-ounce bottles, four-packs, six-packs and growlers.

The law takes effect in 60 days.

Patrick Doyle / 90.5 WESA


 A Pittsburgh group named A Few Bad Apples has three missions.

 

The first is to teach people the lost skills of making use of homegrown fruit.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

First in an occasional series exploring Essential Pittsburgh.

Jacqueline Wardle was working as the executive chef at Isabela on Grandview, a Mt. Washington restaurant, when she received a beguiling email: Instead of working for someone else, did she want to own her own restaurant?

Mike Mozart / Flickr

    

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United is a national organization that advocates on behalf of restaurant workers, and Pittsburgh is home to one of its chapters. In this episode of On The House, Larkin Page-Jacobs talks to organizer Jordan Romanus and server Heather Freeman about the change they hope to see in the industry.

On The House: Pairing Music With Your Meal

Oct 28, 2015
Brooke Annibale

At a restaurant or bar, details make up a diner’s experience. Lighting, décor, music -- Brooke Annibale’s embraces each to enhance the experience of eating out.

She’s a Pittsburgh singer and songwriter, and works for the Big Burrito restaurant group as a music programmer. In this episode of On The House, the work of the behind-the-scenes DJ to countless meals at Mad Mex, Casbah, Eleven and Kaya. 

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

One burger joint in Pittsburgh has repeatedly kept raw hamburger meat, lettuce and coleslaw at temperatures that allow bacteria to flourish. A chain restaurant’s worst violations in the past three years were a missing floor tile and a dirty floor drain.

Both restaurants have maintained their approved-to-operate green stickers from the Allegheny County Health Department, but one would’ve earned a ‘C’ and the other an ‘A’ if the county’s attempts to institute a restaurant grading system had passed.

Is Pittsburgh Becoming A 'Foodie' Destination?

Sep 23, 2015
Nick Amoscato / flickr

Pittsburgh's evolving food scene has been gaining national attention. Is it enough to make the city the country's next great food destination? This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of food in Pittsburgh.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

From vegetable garden bounties to sliced and diced ingredients to plated meals, pictures of food are ubiquitous on social media. Anyone with a smartphone can make beautiful photographs of food.

Larkin Page-Jacobs

You’ve decided to open a restaurant: the lease has been signed, renovations completed, equipment purchased and staff hired. All you have to do is buy a liquor license to get things rolling. Not so fast, says attorney Mark Flaherty. He and his firm specialize in all things liquor licensing and in this episode of On the House, Larkin Page-Jacobs talks to Flaherty about what you’ll have to do to legally pour wine, beer and spirits in your restaurant.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

    

The golden French fries and basket of wings ordered at the bar or restaurant are made delicious through the frying process. But the oil used in restaurants and commercial kitchens can’t go down the drain, so it’s set aside for pickup. Companies big and small specialize in the collection and recycling of the grease.

In Pittsburgh, Fossil Free Fuel is one business that reuses the residual oil. In this segment of On The House, Larkin Page-Jacobs looks at where the grease goes.

Larkin Page-Jacobs

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette dining critic Melissa McCart took a roundabout path on her way to Pittsburgh. She’s worked in restaurants since she was a teenager and first started writing about the dining scene in Washington D.C. in the early 2000s. She moved to south Florida to become a critic in the Ft. Lauderdale area and made the leap to the Post-Gazette three years ago. In this segment of On The House, Larkin Page­-Jacobs asks McCart about her role as a critic and what makes Pittsburgh's dining scene unique.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

 


Salt of the Earth opened in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood in 2010, and it was unlike any restaurant the city had seen before. The menu was adventurous and ever-changing, the minimalist design was warm and the high-end food belied its location in one of the city’s poorer communities. Recently the architect-owners announced Salt would close Aug. 1 so they could focus solely on their architectural practice. 

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

In "Oliver!" the musical adaptation of Charles Dicken’s "Oliver Twist," orphan boys at a workhouse sing “food glorious food” as they fantasize about a bountiful spread. That vision is realized in the small, eponymous bakery in Pittsburgh’s Highland Park neighborhood. In this segment of On The House, Larkin Page-Jacobs talks to owner and baker Tom Hambor about the tricks and tips he’s learned over a lifetime of baking.

Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

Bill Fuller is the corporate chef for the big Burrito Group, a restaurant company that began in Pittsburgh two decades ago. Fuller grew up in Dubois, a small town a couple hours northeast of Pittsburgh and pursued degrees in chemistry before learning about the upstart restaurant group. He joined the team as a chef and today big Burrito has a portfolio of 5 specialty restaurants, 13 Mad Mex restaurants and a catering company.

In this segment of On The House, Larkin Page-Jacobs visits the kitchen at Eleven in the Strip District to ask Fuller what exactly the corporate chef job entails.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

Eating can be mundane. Throwing another item in the grocery cart, ordering the same dish at your go-to restaurant or grabbing something from the fridge. It’s all apart of the routine. But it doesn’t have to be.

In this installment of On the House, food writer and teacher Jessica Server tells Larkin Page-Jacobs about using food as a conduit for mindfulness, exploration and reflection.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA


Produce distributor Paragon Foods is a behemoth in the region, providing fresh produce, dairy and poultry to institutions large and small, including Pittsburgh Public Schools, Google, Olive Garden, Mad Mex and Meat and Potatoes — even universities, hospitals and living facilities. In this episode of On The House, Larkin Page-Jacobs visits Paragon’s Chief Operating Officer John McClelland at their Lawrenceville facility.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

Making a living wage in the restaurant industry can be tough. Servers and bartenders rely on tips for the bulk of their income, and in the kitchen, the wage is set by the business owner.

Recently the restaurant Bar Marco made waves by announcing it would pay all of its workers a living wage. But at least one restaurant in Pittsburgh — Dinette in East Liberty — has been paying above industry standard for years.

Public domain, via Pixabay

    

Meat is in demand, and prices are up — 11 percent for beef and pork from 2013-2014. And as people pay more per pound at the counter, they may be more selective and interested in just how their meat gets from the farm to the butcher to the dinner table.

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