Area 51 Barbecue Review – Tender Meats off Route 51

Area 51 Barbecue is now closed.

Area 51 Barbecue in Belle Vernon, PA, is one of those places that if you blink, you'll miss it.

It is not being unfair to say this is in a tiny two room house on the side of the busy route 51 with minimal signage, because that is exactly what it is.

Naturally, when we saw it we had to stop (or to be more honest, do a u-turn and pull back around) to give it a shot.

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Bar Frenchman Review – French Food and Unique Cocktails

Note: In July 2018 Bar Frenchman changed its name to La Riviera and closed in early 2019. Its sister restaurant, The Twisted Frenchman, closed in June 2020.

Bar Frenchman (now La Riviera) in East Liberty is a fine dining restaurant serving up French dishes in a modern, non-stuffy atmosphere. On our recent visit the cocktails were whimsical and impressive, the food was delicious and nearly perfect, and the service was on point.

The restaurant's supremely tall ceilings, tiled floors, and suspended lights all give off a more casual vibe than the Twisted Frenchman, Bar Frenchman's sister that offers a multi-course tasting menu experience on the second floor of the building. The relaxed atmosphere may seem at first a little incongruous with the menu style and pricing, but we think it keeps the restaurant from being too staid.

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Pittsburgh Poke – Healthy and Fast Seafood Downtown

Pittsburgh Poke closed in 2020 and does not appear to be returning.

Pittsburgh Poke brings the trendy Hawaiian raw fish salad known as poke right to the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. This spot serves up super fresh build your own sushi bowls and burritos, perfect for a healthy lunch on the go.

We visited Pittsburgh Poke on a Friday evening not that long before they closed. We were a little apprehensive as the place seemed shutting down and there weren't that many patrons, but we're glad we followed through as the meal ended up being surprisingly delicious.

That said, given that this spot closes at 7 PM on week nights, it definitely seems geared more for the weekday downtown lunch crowd.

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Bitter Ends Luncheonette Review – Fresh Flavors in Bloomfield

Note: Bitter Ends closed permanently in April 2022.

You may have seen the Bitter Ends pop up at the Bloomfield Farmers Market on Saturdays in the past, but now they've got their very own storefront in Bloomfield.

With farm fresh ingredients (straight from their own farm) and everything made from scratch including bread and pastries, soups, and sandwiches, we haven't been this ecstatic about a restaurant opening in a while.

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Tinsel Town Cocktails Review – A Laid Back Christmas Bar in Pittsburgh

Harris Grill closed their downtown location in December 2021. As such, this popup bar is likely not returning in future years.

Christmas in Pittsburgh is a big thing. We as a city go all-in for the holiday from Light Up Night until well after New Years.

The downtown Pittsburgh restaurant Harris Grill gets in on the holiday spirit and transforms their first floor bar space into a holiday pop-up known as Tinsel Town Cocktails.

While this one may not be over-the-top Christmas like nearby Miracle on Market, it does offer a laid back drinking experience during the holidays that downtown Pittsburgh could always use more of.

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All Clad Seconds Sale in Washington, PA – A Must for Home Cooks

Note: The AllClad Seconds Sale has not taken place since 2019. At this time we are not sure if it will return. If it does, we will update this article accordingly.

If you love cooking or know anyone who does, the All Clad Seconds Sale at the Washington County Fairgrounds should be on your radar.

This semi-annual event offers up deep discounts on “seconds” quality pots and pans from this high end cookware brand from Canonsburg, PA, and is one event we try to make at least once every year to pick up something new.

In this one we want to share everything you need to know about this event to ensure your shopping trip is successful!

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Wigle’s Barrelhouse Review – A Great Outdoor Drinking Spot

Wigle's Barrelhouse has been shut down since the start of COVID. We are unsure if this will reopen in 2022.

When Wigle Whiskey opened their barrelhouse in the North Side in 2014, we weren't entirely sure what to think.

The location on Spring Garden Avenue is a little off-the-beaten-path even for North Siders, and the seasonal operating schedule from May to October gives a limited window to check it out in any given year.

But after visiting this one several times over the years, for themed parties, bottle releases, or to simply enjoy a cheap cocktail with Wigle's stellar spirits, we have to say that this one has become one of our favorites.

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Distrikt Hotel Review – A Modern Business Hotel Downtown

Distrikt Hotel is rebranding to become the Joinery Hotel in 2022. This review is from our visit with the former branding. While we expect some details to be similar, we will update this review once we visit the updated facility.

What do you get when you take a historic Salvation Army and convert it to a modern and hip Pittsburgh hotel? You get the Distrikt Hotel– a boutique accommodation in downtown Pittsburgh.

The hotel opened its doors in summer 2017, and we rushed down to be one of the first guests for an overnight stay.

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Nu Bistro Review – A Unique Jewish Bistro in Squirrel Hill

Nu Bistro has apparently been temporarily closed since 2020 but we are unsure if it will reopen.

Nu Bistro in Squirrel Hill is the kind of place you could easily walk right on by. A Jewish restaurant in a Jewish neighborhood? Sounds okay, but not very interesting for those who do not know better.

Sure, Nu Bistro is the kind of place where you can get classics like a Reuben and other Jewish delicacies (which are readily available throughout Squirrel Hill).

But it's also the kind of place that takes totally not Jewish foods, turns them into Jewish versions, and does such an awesome job of the transformation that it makes you think those foods were Jewish all along.

So before you visit Nu Bistro, be sure to take all expectations and throw them out the window.

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Lola Bistro Review – International Cuisine in the North Side

Cioppino at Lola Bistro in the North Side

Lola Bistro appears to be permanently closed.

Lola Bistro on the North Side is a cute, cozy spot in a residential neighborhood that describes itself as serving international comfort cuisine.

Offering dishes from many different countries around the world and executing them all equally well is an ambitious goal, but in theory we are big fans of the concept. It's the kind of restaurant that we really want to like- but we think it needs a few tweaks before it will be there 100%.

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