Spirit of the Strip | art | music | food & drink


The NITS-e-gram will be short and sweet this month as we ask you to please join us on June 4, for an exhibit of photographs from the Spirit of the Strip – Behind the Strip PhotoWalk and find out which photo will be selected to represent the “Spirit of the Strip” for 2009.

The event will be held from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Guardian Storage Solutions, 2839 Liberty Avenue, entertainment will be provided by John Vento and the Nieds Hotel Bank and some of your favorite Strip merchants will be providing refreshments.  Your $10 donation will support the work of Neighbors in the Strip.  For more information, visit www.neighborsinthestrip.com.  To RSVP, e-mail cynthiahelffrich@yahoo.com or call 412-201-4774.

Top Chef coming to the Strip District!

It’s Baaaack! Bravo’s “Top Chef: The Tour 2,” a nationwide 21-city promotional tour featuring a brand new state-of-the-art customized traveling 18-wheeler semi-truck, with an expansive space to accommodate more fans for each on-site demonstration, will visit Pittsburgh, PA on May 20 on its sixteenth city-stop. Bravo, Comcast, and Foodland will bring “Top Chef” passionate fans and affiliate partners the ultimate culinary experience, complete with cooking demonstrations and food tastings hosted by former winners and chef’testants. Watch what happens when “Top Chef: The Tour 2” pulls up to a farmer’s market, mall or food festival.

The “Top Chef” truck is an impressive 44-foot self-sufficient moving vehicle equipped with power and water, and includes a state-of-the-art kitchen. The truck will expand outwards with its kitchen, stage, demonstration area and 60 seats, all under an enclosed canopy. Additional guests will be able to view demonstrations from outside of the seating area or from a 50” plasma television in the activity area. “Top Chef: The Tour 2” is sponsored by Quaker and produced by mobile tour specialist, LeadDog Marketing Group. To learn more about “Top Chef: The Tour 2” visit www.bravotv.com/thetour.

“Top Chef” Chef’testant Season Five’s Ariane Duarte and Season Four’s Spike Mendelsohn
Wednesday, May 20. Three live interactive shows:
10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.; 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.; and 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
“The Strip District,” 21st Street between Smallman and Penn. Ave, Pittsburgh, PA.
The show is free; seating is first come, first served

PhotoWalk in the Strip



Neighbors in the Strip (NITS), in partnership with talented photographers from all around Western PA, are seeking “The Spirit of the Strip.”   The third annual Spirit of the Strip PhotoWalk  will be held in the Strip on Saturday, May 16, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and continuing throughout the day.  This year the focus will be “Behind the Strip” – discovering the hidden secrets of the Strip that are not known to the general public.

The Spirit of the Strip-Behind the Strip PhotoWalk will begin with a breakfast for the photographers at Pamela’s P&G Diner in the Strip.  After breakfast the photographers will disperse through the Strip to pursue their vision of what the Strip District is all about.  On June 4, 2009 an exhibit of the photographs will be held at Guardian Storage Solutions brand new facility at 2839 Liberty Avenue in the Strip.  A panel of judges will select the image that best reflects The Spirit of the Strip.  Those who attend the exhibit will be asked to vote on their favorite photograph for “The People’s Choice” Award.

For more information, contact Becky Rodgers, Executive Director of Neighbors in the Strip at 412-201-4774, or email rhrodgersyahoo.com.

(photo from a previous PhotoWalk, by Marc_714 (check out his work on Flickr).



Stay up on what’s happening with NITS and the Strip…read our monthly e-grams.  Beginning April 2009, our monthly e-grams will be sent directly through Constant Contact. If you would like to receive these, Click Here To Sign Up

The following article is excerpted from the most recent edition of the NITS e-gram

Cork Factory Garners Two Prestigious Awards
ULI 2009 Award of Excellence

The Cork Factory, a signature McCaffery Interests Inc mixed-use development in the Strip District has been named the winner of the “2009 Award of Excellence: The Americas” by the Urban Land Institute. This is an unprecedented third thime McCaffery Interests has been recognized by the Urban Land Institute for its leadership in setting new standards in thoughtful and creative land-use practices.

The ULI Award of Excellence is widely recognized as the land-use industry’smost prestigious recognition. The 2009 winners were chosen from a field of nearly 150 entries. Projects were evaluated on the basis of financial viability, the resourceful use of land, design, relevance to contemporary issues, and sensitivity to the community and environment.

McCaffery Interests formed a joint venture with local businessmen, Chuck Hammell and Ribert Beynon for the acquisitio and development of the former Armstrong Cork Co. factory in 2004. The building had been vacant for 31 years following the close of the factory and during that time five different development teams failed in their efforts to redevelop the project.

Historic Preservation Award

Closer to home, the Cork Factory was also selected to receive an award from the Historic Review Commission for its outstanding efforts toward sympathetic historic restoration and rehabilitation, The Historic Preservation Award Ceremony will be held on May 1 at noon in the City Council Chambers.

Pittsburgh Marathon 2009 coming thru the Strip!


The Pittsburgh Marathon is on Sunday, May 3, and a good view of the action is just a short stroll down the hill.   The streets will be closed, which always makes for a festive atmosphere, and many businesses in the Strip will be open that day, even offering discounts if you have this flyer from our sister organization Neighbors in the Strip.  There will also be bands and many types of music performance along the race route–10 performances in the Strip alone!

If possible, it definitely would be best to walk.  Road closures for the start line area – Smallman Street from 11th Street through 13th Street – will begin at 6:00am and continue until 1:30pm.  Marathon start time is 6:30 am for the walkers, 7:30 am for the runners.  The race starts and ends in the Strip, so there will be ample opportunity to cheer on the participants.

Check the Pittsburgh Marathon 2009 site for more information, including a map of the race course.

N.I.T.S E-gram

nitslogo.jpgThe NITS E-gram is in!

As always, all kinds of great stuff. Check out the whole edition.

The Yum Report

Where else but the Strip can you get the freshest and tastiest seafood to satisfy your family during Lent? Specials on seafood are abounding at Wholey’s www.wholey.com . Yum and Sib are planning a run on the Canadian Cold Water Lobster Tails. Benkovitz Seafoods, in addition to their seafood specialties for Lenten fasters, is offering a full menu of traditional Jewish foods, from gefilte fish to kugel, for Passover through April 16. All items are available to eat in or for takeout and can be sampled during the day. Remember, Wholey’s and Benkovitz both offer free parking, so there’s no excuse not to visit them!
And as long as we’re discussing parking, don’t forget to stop by Right By Nature (which also has free parking). Preview specials at www.rightbynature.net/page2.html. Even if fish isn’t your dish, you can still skip meat on Friday with a delicious vegetarian entrée and RBN offers a great selection of natural or organic products to choose from. Another option for meatless Fridays is the Pittsburgh staple – Pierogis! Homemade pierogis can be had at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church on Saturdays and a fat and yummy version can also be found at S & D Polish Deli (these have become a new staple of the Yum pantry).
But this season is about more than just fish and other non-meat meals. It’s also about chocolate! If your willpower is strong enough start stocking up now at Mon Aimee Chocolat and Fudgie Wudgie for the best chocolates the city has to offer.

And, if you think you are beyond the age for an Easter Basket – think again! Palate Partners is offering an Easter Basket for grown-ups with chocolates that go very well with wine. Visit http://www.palatepartners.com/giftbaskets1.html and get started on a gift basket for your favorite Honey Bunny.
There are at least two not to be missed dining opportunities in the Strip this Easter (and Yum is still trying to figure out how to do both). Eleven is planning an Easter Brunch from 10 am – 3 pm. Yum and Sib were present at the Valentine’s Day brunch which had a similar menu and it was superb! Check the menu at
http://www.bigburrito.com/eatbig/09/03/index.html and make your reservations early!
Equally intriguing to the Easter Bunny in Yum is the one time only Easter brunch at the Enrico Biscotti Café. There are only about 30 spots available, so act soon or forever hold your peace. From bread basket, to frittata, to house made ravioli with pancetta and asparagus, and much, much more, this tantalizing menu promises a brunch that will curl your toes!
And finally, if you, like Yum, Sib and the Steel Magnolia, can’t get enough of The Pittsburgh Popcorn Company’s delicious gourmet popcorn, they are offering a special Easter Tin with your favorite flavors. We haven’t seen it yet, but there’s no doubt we will be popping in soon!
Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg with regard to the springtime holidays in the Strip. So be sure to come on down and enjoy the spring weather in Pittsburgh’s Historic Market District.
P.S. Congratulations to Sushi Kim on Munch’s wonderful review of their barbecue buffet! To read the whole article visit www.post-gazette.com/pg/09078/956682-46.stm.
P.P.S. The Ladies Philoptochos from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church will be selling fresh Easter bread from 9 am – 4 pm on April 10-11 in front of Stamoolis Brothers. Yum!

Strip District neighbors offer wine classes

Palate Partners announces the 2009 Winter Wine Class Schedule

Wine 101 Series

January 13, 20, 27, 6:30 PM (Tuesdays)

“Wine 101” is a three part series of ‘tasting basics’ to help newbie wine students begin their process of wine education. Students will taste 5 grapes (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Syrah) to understand the classic wine varietals, tasting techniques, and classifications. Students will also learn the effects of soil and climate on wine by tasting 4 different Chardonnays and 4 different Cabernets from around the world. Various wine-making techniques will also be explored.

$75 for the series, includes wines and materials.

California Cabernet

Thursday January 22 6:30 PM

For any one that has taken Mike’s “Learn the Basics” class they have heard him tell students the importance where grapes are grown. During this class we put that knowledge to the test as we taste five different California Cabernets from different parts of the state to develop a better understand of the effects of “terrior”.

$35 per person

5-Wine Tour Of Spain

Thursday, February 5, 6:30 PM

Since Mike and Deb returned from Spain where they sampled wines and savored the local ‘sabor’, they have been wanting to share their experiences with Pittsburgh. Dreadnought has represented various wines from the many regions of Spain for years. This evening’s class will share their experiences and knowledge, and students will sample several Spanish wines, as well as one of the most praised Spanish dishes—Paella! (pie-eh-yah)

$40 per person

Chocolate and Wine

Friday, February 13, 6:30 PM

Join us the day before the most romantic day of the year, St. Valentines Day, for a very special class that will show you how to compliment a fine wine, with those delicious chocolates that the sweethearts just adore receiving as a token of your deepest affections.

$40 per person


SO Pre-Paid Non-Refundable RSVP IS REQUIRED!

While the Palate Partners have become very popular with their wine ‘tasting’ series, this is a CLASS and not a casual tasting.

All classes will be conducted at our retail store at 2013 Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District. These classes may also be purchased by private groups and businesses. For additional information and to make

reservations call 412.391.8502 or e-mail info@palatepartners.com

Deliciously Different Ideas
Palate Partners/Dreadnought Wines
2013 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Happy Holidays from our neighbors!



Hustle, bustle – ’tis the season.  If you get a chance to kick back and enjoy some holiday libations, take that opportunity to look at the December NITS-egram or The Strip Guide to the Holidays.  It may just offer the suggestions you need to enjoy a perfect, non-harried Holiday Season.

But, if things do get hectic, remember:

1.  Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face, and

2.  One kind word can warm three winter months.

From the staff of Neighbors in the Strip, we wish you all the best of the season.


Looking for something special for the holidays?


Yes, Virginia, there is an ultimate holiday shopping guide for the Strip.  Click on the links below for the sections that interest you or go to www.neighborsinthestrip.com for the entire guide. Following these very inclusive guides you’ll be able to finish your shopping lickety split.  And, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll shop, you’ll drink, you’ll want to bake cookies and you’ll have the best holiday presents EVER!  Yes, the guides are long, but, geez they do offer great ideas from nearly every store in the Strip!

Top 5 Reasons to Shop in the Strip
Yum’s guide to Holiday Dining & Entertaining
Steel Magnolia’s Guide to Shoppin’ Til Y’all DropChum’s Guide to A Festival of Holiday Food
Fluff’s Guide to Gifting Outside the Box
Sib’s Guide to a Purely Pittsburgh Holiday
Who Are Yum, Steel Magnolia, Chum, Fluff and Sib?  to find out.
So grab your spouse, significant other or friend and if they poop out during your shopping extravaganza – prop them up with a Guinness in one of the Strip’s fine houses of refreshment and start stacking your bags by their bar stool.


Happy Shopping and Happy Holidays!

New grocer opens in the Strip District

Right By Nature is a grocery store with a purpose: to bring affordable organic produce to Pittsburgh residents. Lucky for us, the new store is located in the Strip District, in the newly renovated Cork Building.

The store balances a mix of organic, natural and convention foods, a challenge that must meet the demands of available supply, and the needs of customers. As a throng of early bird shoppers eagerly checked out, one saying “I’ll never have to shop at Giant Eagle again,” Stone described a business model based on his years as a organic buyer who worked throughout the country. Read the Pittsburgh Business Times article

So, if you’re yearning for some unadulterated broccoli, head on down to Right By Nature.

2021 Smallman St
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 232-0805