Coming off of an exceptional week of learning some cool things about some cool Pittsburgh people and places!

First off, what a party we had at Eddie Merlot’s this past weekend! They helped me put together an incredible evening and let us take over the entire lounge area, so a big thanks to them.  Chef Magg, Kim and all of the incredible staff were wonderful. The service was outstanding, the wine was flowing, and the food; always impeccable. When you frequent a place long enough, you can almost count on the fact that you will eventually have a bad meal or service. Not at Eddie Merlot’s.

This restaurant is always on point, the steak melts in your mouth and the ambiance is unbeatable.  We took tons of photos in front of their huge glass wine cellar. They have gorgeous private rooms that overlook the beautiful courtyard.  It’s a great place to host an event or go for a date night for so many reasons:

  • The Food & Beverage: It’s a scratch-made kitchen with prime hand-cut steaks with an extensive wine list.
  • Location, Location, Location: The location and parking couldn’t be easier. Its right at gateway center across from the Wyndham hotel and the parking garage connects straight into the restaurant which is free after 5 pm and no inclement weather concerns.

My favorite part beyond the food and the atmosphere is something even more important as I got to know Chef Jeff Magg.  I first covered Eddie Merlots for Savor Pittsburgh, which is an epic annual event where the finest chefs in Pittsburgh compete and all proceeds go towards UPMC Magee-Women’s Research Institute & Foundation.  It’s a great time and a great event, but it’s what I discovered once the cameras stopped rolling that just won my heart over. 

Chef Maag participates in endless philanthropic food drops all over the city and beyond all year and is heavily involved with several charities, but there is one charity, Best Buddies that has created a beautiful bond of friendship and mentorship that is extra special.  Best Buddies is the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending social, physical and economic isolation of millions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Chef Magg mentors a young man, Chef Chris Lofink and they do everything together! Chris cooks in the kitchen, he does deliveries with Chef Magg, and it’s simply just awesome. I got to see the photos and see the smiles that this bond brings not only in each other, through Eddie Merlot’s but through the City of Champions, and it is truly inspirational and time for everyone to know about it.  

Hidden Gem: Genoa’s Pizza

Turning the story now to an inside, secret skinny that some service industry peeps gave me on Saturday night. Genoa’s Pizza!  This place is a hidden gem if you’re looking for an awesome, off the beaten path, low key bar and pizza spot.  It’s snuggled in between 1st and Boulevard of the Allies on Market Street.  Don’t be surprised if you can’t see past the simple pizza parlor when you first walk in.  You have to cut through the Pizza Shoppe and loop your way to the back and BOOM, you’re in!

There is a full bar, cool mixed crowd, great bartender and did I mention they serve pizza until 3am? We had a table of 6 friends and we laughed and had such a fun, chill hang. It was great! Very NYC in the PGH! We met the nicest people and I made the coolest connection to one of my all-time favorite Pittsburgh celebrities, Mr. Water Heater! Yes, Mr.Water Heater.  I love to sing along to his catchy jingle, and it’s rumored that I once chased him down at the Home & Garden Show, which starts this weekend, by the way, that is held at the convention center to take a picture. I made a new friend, and am hoping to snag some great new apparel to show off my love for the famous Mr. Water Heater. 

You see, Pittsburgh, it’s all about our sense of community that is strong enough to anneal steel. That’s what it’s all about. And if you have a something N’at needs to know about, be sure to reach out so I can get the word out.

Next week it’s all St. Patty’s Day picks ; tune in for my top things to do and some Nat exclusives. Have a great week Pittsburgh!