David Bernabo

Pittsburgh's restaurant scene has evolved dramatically over the past 40 years, and the documentary Food Systems, Chapter 1: A Night Out, explores the transformation. Director and Pittsburgh native David Bernabo said the films touch on different parts of the restaurant industry.

Courtesy Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants

Pittsburgh restaurant owners, chefs and farmers have teamed with Sustainable Pittsburgh to launch the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program, which recognizes southwestern PA restaurants for their efforts in operating energy efficient and socially responsible establishments, especially as the city’s eateries garner increasing national attention.

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.

Tzuhsun Hsu / Flickr

Last month Bar Marco, a trendy restaurant in the Strip District, announced that they plan to do away with tipping this Spring. There’s been an outpouring of interest, curiosity and praise from all over the country.

Bar Marco Co-Owner Bobby Fry and Events Coordinator Andrew Heffner talk about how they came to this decision and how they plan to make it work.

A no-tipping policy has pros and cons for owners, servers, and customers. Offering their perspectives are Meg Fosque, the National Development Director for Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), as well as Kevin Joyce, owner of the Carlton Restaurant in Pittsburgh and a member of the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.

According to Fry, Bar Marco made the decision to discontinue tipping after encountering research that suggested eliminating the practice could help mitigate some of the restaurant’s scheduling concerns. Workers in restaurants and retail environments often face schedule fluctuations that make their financial and personal lives difficult, Fry says. Bar Marco’s plan to cease the tip system involves creating a conventional forty-hour schedule for its employees and paying the kitchen staff the same as the servers: a standard yearly salary of $35,000.

Being Busy is So 2015: Social Club, Jan. 9

Jan 8, 2015

Let’s talk about New Years Resolutions.  

Want a new hobby? Sip beer and learn about the brewing process while meeting brewing experts at Pittsburgh Brew N Chew!

Perhaps your goal is to try new things. Schedule a reservation for that so-hip dining spot during Pittsburgh Restaurant Week.

How about the old classic: “This year, I’ll get in shape!” Grab a kettlebell and get ready to pump some iron at a free class at Get Fit at Stout Training Pittsburgh.

Or, maybe you just want to enjoy life a bit more: prepare your best belly laugh for Second City’s N’Ats All Folks show – a comedic act making fun of everything Pittsburgh.

The Allegheny County Board of Health voted to move forward on crafting a new restaurant grading system that would give eating establishments a letter grade from "A" to "C."

Vegan Pittsburgh Wants To Help You Find Your Next Meal

Feb 26, 2014
Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s reputation as a meat and potatoes kind of town is changing. As more diverse cuisine becomes popular, even the most old-school mom-and-pop sandwich shops are expanding their menu options for all dietary needs.

Vegan Pittsburgh is a project of Voices for Animals that is making it easier for people looking for vegan food to connect with options by way of a website and decals in restaurant windows.

If you want to know how your neighborhood sandwich shop or your favorite sushi restaurant fared on its last health department inspection, you can find that information online, but those reports can often be full of jargon and difficult to interpret.

Now, the Allegheny County Health Department is working to make that information easier to digest by implementing a four-tiered grading system for restaurant inspections.

Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the county health department, said they’re still figuring out how that grading process would work.

Kevin Sousa, award-winning chef and owner of Salt of the Earth restaurant in East Liberty, has an ambitious plan to bring a community-driven restaurant to Braddock, PA.

And he’s appealing to the Pittsburgh community for help.

Sousa is working with community groups such as the Braddock Youth Project and Grow Pittsburgh to create a community-based, world class restaurant, which would include housing.

Liz Gosselin / Flickr

All over the country there has been a resurgence in down-home, comfort foods, especially heading into the winter months. In Pittsburgh home-style meals have never gone out of style and these days regional cuisines are being translated by and for Pittsburgh diners.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette restaurant critic Melissa McCart notes that Pittsburgh takes great pride in their home-style meals and picked up on another restaurant trend, single concept restaurants.

What's on the Menu for Fall Dining in Pittsburgh?

Sep 18, 2013
Muy Yum / flickr

If this week’s weather has put you in the mood for Autumnal spices and rich-flavorful comfort foods, you’re in luck. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette restaurant critic Melissa McCart says in the coming weeks, roughly  20 new restaurants will be opening in the Pittsburgh area.

"We're seeing a lot of casual fare. But then again we're also seeing casual small plates with more refined details," says McCart.

Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Even though the Steel City is hundreds of miles away from the southern border, Pittsburgh has recently seen a rise in restaurants offering authentic Mexican cuisine. The new establishments are finding Pittsburghers to be eager customers.

One such customer is food critic Melissa McCart. A fan of Mexican food, McCart says these authentic restaurants have brought an increased variety of regional flavors.  McCart points to how Pittsburgh has begun to approach a Tex-Mex favorite: the taco.

“Six years ago you might not have seen a tongue taco or a chorizo taco, but now you can find them at four or five different places,” says McCart.

Although the number of restaurants has been rising, McCart says the important trend is the variety of styles and approaches within the cuisine.