Last Updated on November 1, 2022 by Angie
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Federal Galley follows in its sister restaurant's (Smallman Galley, now closed) footsteps in that it is a restaurant incubator that features four chefs in a food hall format.
Each chef receives a small stall in which to prepare their meals and has a contract for a variable length of time that will allow the galley to rotate new chefs in and out over the years. If you were a fan of Smallman Galley in the Strip District, then this one is for you.
Much like our review for its sister restaurant, we visited Federal Galley no fewer than five times after opening and in this review will be breaking down our meals from each chef individually!
Given to Fly
Given to Fly opened its fried chicken sandwich concept in April 2022 with ten sandwich options ranging from Nashville hot, lime habanero, Korean barbecue, truffalo (truffle-infused Buffalo sauce with blue cheese), and more.
You'll do well to come hungry to this one as the sandwiches are massive, with two big strips of perfectly fried chicken and ample toppings. These are the kind of sandwiches you'll need a plan of attack to eat because they are truly that large. Don't be afraid to get messy here and use some of the drippings for the fries (which are ordered a la carte as a side)!
On our first visit we tried the Nashville hot and lime habanero and really enjoyed the flavor profiles on both. While not the hottest Nashville sandwiched we've ever had, this one had a nice slow burn that built up with every bite that you'll start feeling three or four bites in and the lime habanero had a healthy lime kick that did not overpower the tangy barbecue sauce.
But really, it is the fry on these sandwiches that is the winner as they are exceptionally crispy while the chicken inside was moist and juicy. This alone makes us want to return to try all the options available as when you start with a good base chicken, the rest tends to fall in line!
Shaka opened at Federal Galley in August 2019 with the aim of providing Hawaiian fusion dishes. The starting menu consisted of poke and rice bowls, pho, plus snack and brunch options.
As a big poke fan I naturally gravitated to the truffle tuna poke- a decently sized bowl featuring rice, about eight or nine large hunks of tuna, avocado, roe, seaweed salad, pickled ginger, and more. While the flavors worked quite well together for the number of ingredients, I would've liked a bit more of the truffle lemon sauce to bring it all together as it felt a bit lacking.
Beyond the bowl, I picked up a two-piece order of the Hawaiian Egg Rolls- deep-fried egg rolls stuffed full of pulled pork, onions, and pineapple. This was a wonderful side and the copious amount of pulled pork helped make up for the $6 price tag.
I'll be looking forward to ordering from this one soon- especially to try their Hawaiian Bibimbap and other rice bowls!
Federal Galley felt like it was missing something ever since Michigan & Trumbull left, and thankfully in late 2021 a new Detroit-style pizza concept, Driven, opened its doors to fill the void.
At the opening, Driven's menu was a lot like what you'd expect from a conventional pizza shop- sticking to classic topping combinations without straying too far out there like other Detroit-style places in the city. Their pizza hits all the hallmarks of the style with thick, puffy crust (possibly the thickets we've had to date), crispy cheese on the edges, and ample toppings abound.
While we generally like weird and out-there toppings on our Detroit pies, we have to admit, you also can't go wrong with the classics. And, in the case of Driven in particular, now that we've visited a few times we can safely say this one keeps getting better with each passing pie!
Go for a Drink at the Bar at Federal Galley
In addition to the four chefs at Federal Galley, the restaurant is home to a standalone bar that features 30 draft beers (a majority from Pennsylvania), craft cocktails, a rotating country-based cocktail menu, and wine on draft.
The bar is in a unique space that was previously a bank vault that was opened up to allow patrons to order drinks on both sides. This is a novel feature you don't see at too many restaurants and is a really beautiful design.
After opening week kinks the restaurant added set lines on either side of the bar for patrons to get drinks in an orderly fashion (needed during their 4:30 to 6:30 happy hour that is 50% off everything), so be sure to look through the bar to judge the line on the other side- it very much could be a faster option!
As far as the cocktails are concerned, we sampled all of the ones from their special menu which at the time of opening featured ingredients from the Philippines. If you want mixers such as ube (purple yam), lychee, pandan, or jackfruit these ones are must-tries.
Our personal favorite from the first batch was the Luya, featuring Maggie's Farm white rum, coconut rum, Aperol, ginger, lychee, and lime as it had a nice balance of flavors without being too sweet like some of the others. We really could drink this one all the time!
Overall, aside from the opening kinks of getting drinks in a relatively fast period of time, Federal Galley has a fine bar that lives up to the standard set by their sister restaurant Smallman Galley- just the way we like it.
The Incubators are Taking Over
Up until this point we've resisted the urge to compare any of the chefs to those at the now-closed Smallman Galley.
It isn't a stretch for us to say that Smallman Galley was one of the best restaurants in Pittsburgh. In fact, we often considered making it our #1 restaurant after the second class of chefs maintained the high quality we loved about the first class.
The concept of the incubator restaurant is unique, thrilling, and something we're proud to have originated in Pittsburgh. (Our stack of receipts from our many visits for this review reflects this sentiment.)
Federal Galley takes this concept, runs with it, and knocks it out of the park with a bigger and more inviting space in the North Side that we look forward to frequenting many times in the future.
Federal Galley is located at 200 Children's Way in the North Side, within the Nova Place building on the west side of Commons Square. There are a few metered parking spots on Children's Way and significantly more along the Commons Square that we park in when visiting.
Looking for more restaurants in the North Side? Check out Nicky's Thai, Peppi's, Huszar, or Threadbare!
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