As seen on Snapchat (SummerWind41490)
I love checking out new restaurants in Pittsburgh. I'm a big believer in taking full advantage of the city you live in. If you haven't noticed, I'm a very proud Pittsburgher. I feel like Pittsburgh is my child and it is my duty to brag and show off what my love has to offer ;)
If you are not in the know, Pittsburgh is BOOMING (did you catch that Antonio Brown/DJ Khaled reference, haha!). And it's not just (biased) me who thinks that. Here are some major outlets that have recently featured Pittsburgh:
- Washington Post
- Bon Appetit
- Zagat names Pittsburgh #1 food town in the country
- New York Times 36 Hours in Pittsburgh
- The Atlantic
- The Huffington Post
- Wall Street Journal
As a side note, Pittsburgh is also very popular in the tech industry which the inner nerd in me absolutely loves. Apple, Uber, Google, and Oculus/Facebook all have offices here, which is pretty darn cool if you ask me.
Anyway, back to the real reason for this post: The other night I went to Smallman Galley with some friends. Smallman Galley is located right next door to Pamela's in the Strip District. It recently opened this winter and I had been itching to try it!
It's a unique concept in that it is a restaurant/chef incubator. There are 4 'spots' for chefs available in the space. The chefs go through the 18-month program to see if they can make it in the restaurant industry while they learn valuable tech/business skills that are necessary to open their own restaurants. The 4 restaurants currently at Smallman Galley are Carota Cafe, Aubergine Bistro, Josephine's Toast, and Provision.
If you've ever been to Eataly or Chelsea Market in Manhattan, It's kind of a similar experience in that you go up to the counter and order directly from the restaurant... but all of the food is on the higher end spectrum. There's a separate seating area with a full bar and the bar menu has craft cocktails created by each of the chefs plus a full bar and wine list. They also have an espresso/coffee bar, too and it is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The atmosphere is very industrial with exposed brick walls, reclaimed wood tables, a gorgeous copper bar, and high ceilings. I would describe it to anyone as a 'hipster/trendy Eataly/Chelsea Market type food hall'. We went at around 7 pm on Wednesday night and it was absolutely packed which is great, but unusual for Pittsburgh.
The bar was excellent, I had the Raising Hell cocktail by Chef Stephen Eldridge and it was delicious. It had a fresh jalapeno margarita flavor but with a smokey kick. I then chose my meal from Carota Cafe which was the Pot Au Feu (a hearty French beef stew). My meal was absolutely wonderful and full of flavor.
My only reservations are that my portion was a little small for the price. I ate the entire stew, but the meat portion was (in my opinion) too small and afterward, I wasn't completely 'full'. Since it was crowded, it was also kind of annoying to have to sit at the bar to order a drink, pay separately for the drink, then go up and wait in line for the food, then wade through the crowds of people to go back up and pick up my food and carry it back to my seat. Not too much of an annoyance, but just enough that it makes me want to mention it. It is a 'food hall' concept after all, so this is the novelty of the experience, after all!
I think it is a great spot for groups of friends but also, would be cute for a date night-- just maybe not your first few dates with someone because of the way the dining experience is set up. Great for just meeting for a drink at the bar, too, or even a coffee in the morning!
All in all, I loved Smallman Galley and will most definitely be back for more! It's a really innovative concept and something really cool for Pittsburgh! I definitely recommend checking it out. Also, be sure to check out my Pittsburgh Restaurant Guide, here.
What I wore: