The Porch at Schenley Pittsburgh


What can I say? The Porch is amazing. Before you even read my post, I recommend you get there and experience it for yourself.

The Porch was recommended by my niece, but I was a little apprehensive about it. I had heard that it is, “College student food.” So, I’m thinking burgers, noodle soup, and french fries.  – The Original Hot Dog Shop (aka The O) kind of food. It is centered in college town of Pittsburgh, but I would not call this student food. It is affordable, but I don’t think students eat that well. I consider this casual fine-dining.

The Porch opened in November 2011. When I first walked up to the newly constructed building, I was transported in by its open window design and contemporary style. The Porch is located at 221 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA. The building gives Schenley Plaza a facelift.

My niece and nephews Birthdays are all within a month of each other, so I decided to take them out to dinner to celebrate. And, mostly to spend much needed quality time with them. I hope you enjoy our celebration…

the-porch-at-schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethIt was about 6:30 on a Saturday, the beginning of prime-time dinner hour. I was a little concerned there might be a wait. The Porch does not take reservations, however, they promote on their web site a wait list. You give them your cell phone number and The Porch will text you when a table is ready. They also post on their site the average wait time, so you can use your smartphone to check before even getting there. We walked in the door and was greeted by our friendly hostess and was seated.

They also have outdoor seating, and the side walls (garage doors) open up to the plaza. Once the weather gets warmer, I’m going to have to plan a lunch outing with my co-workers. They are going to love this place.

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethThe interior is very clean and environmentally green. The windows surround The Porch filling the room with warm natural lightening.

The kitchen is partially opened to the dining area. The sound does not interrupt your experience. From the outside you can gaze into the kitchen from the big picture window; lined with fresh baked bread and homegrown spices.

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethI really appreciated the style. You are surrounded by cool elements that are soothing to your sense of sight.

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethAbout the design:

The Porch at Schenley is a final piece of the plaza’s decade-long revitalization project. Created by Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, it is the first full-service restaurant in the area. Mark Broadhurst, director of concept development, wanted The Porch to have an “at-home” feel, so he called upon international design firm WD Partners, known for its environmental sensitivity, to create the building’s green design.

– By VALENTINA, Pittsburgh Magazine

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethHomemade farm bread ($4) served with homemade honey butter and jams. The butter and jams were just the perfect touch of sweetness, and the bread was better than Mancini’s. Shhhh.

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethAlligator soup ($6). Odd for most, but it tastes like bacon. You thought I was going to say chicken, didn’t you? Little chunks of potatoes, alligator, and Nicole said, “It’s just like tortilla soup.” You can’t even tell you’re eating alligator.

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethI of course had to have one of their specialty beverages. This bad boy is their Pineapple Sage Margarita ($8). The pineapple is so subtle, it tasted just like a regular margarita with sage. – Still very good, but I was expecting something different.

The Porch also has homemade seasonal soda; which was very tasty.

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethThe menu has a lot of variety. It truly is hard to pick something. Thank goodness we had a party of four. We all tried to order something different. They have five different pies and we ended up with three.

This is the Verdure Al Forno ($11). Our tables favorite. The pizza has roasted mushrooms, roasted red pepper, oil cured olives and fresh oregano. By far the best fire cooked pizza I’ve had since my chef friend, Jess, cooked Glen and I a pie. Outstanding!

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethNicole and Brandon trying to decide what to get. We wanted it all. I think our waiter had to come back three times before we could decide.

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethCalamari ($10) served with crispy zucchini and a spicy marinara sauce. Again, this was high on my list of bests.

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethThe BBQ Chicken ($12). This is delicious if you like BBQ sauce, but I’m not a fan. The pizza is topped with roasted chicken, red onion, pineapple, cilantro and drizzled with BBQ sauce. I’d really love this pie if they put the BBQ sauce on the side. – I’m sure I can request that next time.

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethWho wants to join me for happy hour? $3 drafts! I’m there! Since I had a margarita, I’m not sure of the beer selection.

What? 1/2 off pizzas. I still need to try the Bianca: Fig jam, goat cheese, mozzarella, arugula, and truffle oil ($13). I’m thinking that the Bianca is going to be my all-time favorite.

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethDillon and me. I see a slight smile. He’s still a teenager, so he’s just learning.

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethCan I do all caps here? THIS IS THE BEST DUCK. The best! Blown-away. We all agreed on this one. Duck Legs ($20) are charred ramps served on fava bean (a Hannibal Lecter favorite) salad, foie gras, and a blueberry-champagne sauce. All I needed was a nice Chianti. Demons sing.

the porch at schenley, photo by Jenny MacBethThis is the Piggie Pie ($14). The pizza is topped with house-cured meats, mozzarella and basil. It faired well with us, but not our favorite.

Hats off to The Porch. We were blown away. Dillon walked away saying, “Wow! This was really nice. Thank you.” I loved it so much that The Porch is the first restaurant making my “Pittsburgh Favorites” List. I will definitely be heading back again and again. – I want to try everything on the menu.



Del’s Bar & Ristorante DelPizzo

Del’s is located at 4428 Liberty Avenue in the Bloomfield section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Del’s Italian Restaurant is owned by third-generation Delpizzo family. They have been on Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible. Seems that Del’s is pretty famous, and I can’t believe I’ve never heard of it.

Del's exterior, photo by Jenny MacBethLast week, a few of us went for their lunch buffet. When you first walk in, you think it’s small, but it continues from one room to the next. Each area has a different look. We are greeted by our waiter, Rocco. Rocco ROCKS! Loved him. He pointed out a flyer on the table talking about Restaurant Impossible. The reruns are on April 28 and 29, 2012. My DVR is set.

photo by Jenny MacBethWhy is it when you eat at a buffet, you feel the need to pile it on?

Being a bit of a germ-a-phobe, buffet’s can make me quiver. However, I talked to my inner self and said, “Self. It’s $7.95 all you can eat Italian food.” – I got over it quick. You can order off the menu if you can’t handle it, but it’s $7.95. Unheard of.

The buffet had lasagne, meatballs, chicken parm, fish, hot sausage, a few different pastas, pizza, green bean Alfredo, and salad. I skipped right over the salad and went straight for the heavy. I tried a little of everything. If you’ve been reading my posts, then you know that Italian food using red sauces have to be really yummy for me to eat it. Well, I loved their lasagne. Delicious.

A big meatball fan – Del’s meatballs are pretty good. Still, my favorite meatball is Monroe Hotel in Butler.

Rocco told us to make sure we try their green bean Alfredo. I’m glad I did. Yummy!

The fish was nom nom too. It had a lemony taste in the breading. Perfect.

photo by Jenny MacBethOn their excellent customer service…

As I mentioned, each room has a different look. My friend Wiv, loved the butter-cream color of this room. She inquired with Rocco for the name of it. Rocco brought out the owner. The lady was super sweet. She said that she might still have some paint upstairs and would check on the name. A few minutes later…

photo by Jenny MacBethShe gave a can to Wiv to take home and use. Now that’s what I call a doggie bag.

I highly recommend trying Del’s. Great customer service. Fun staff. Good food.

We did not have an issue with parking, but I could see it being a problem during rush hours.




Sunday night, we met up with our friends Christy and Mike for dinner at Spadafora’s. They recommend that us foodies try it. Spadafora’s is located at 3932 William Flynn Highway, Allison Park, PA  15101. Just like Sieb’s Pub, this restaurant is close by and we never discovered it. I’m going to need to pay attention more when I’m driving.

Spadafora's, photo by Jenny MacBethBeer selections were slim picking, but the wine list has a lot to offer. I opted for a good vintage of Riesling. The place is pretty small, and the indoor decor does not match the delicious dishes. The atmosphere is very casual and simple but the dishes have a lot of complex layers.

For starters I had their shrimp bisque. Sorry, but no photo. I can say it was moan-worthy with big chunks of shrimp.

Diavolo, photo by Jenny MacBethMike and I had one of the specials. Tiella Diavolo. – A spicy traditional Sicilian pasta dish: rotini with marinara sauce, miniature meatballs, zucchini, eggs, provolone and mozzarella with hot banana peppers. The portion was big, and I couldn’t finish it. I love the different layers of textures in this meal. A+

salmon, photo by Jenny MacBethAnother special, Christy had the Baked Wild Salmon with Korean BBQ Sauce. – Served on a bed of fried julienne potatoes and roasted broccoli and carrots. I love Salmon, but I’m not a fan of BBQ sauce. Imagine that! I didn’t taste it, but could tell it was yummy from all the praise from everyone else.

chicken scallopini, photo by Jenny MacBethThe Boy also ordered from their specials. Bacon and Brie Chicken in White Wine Garlic Butter Sauce. – Romano batter chicken covered in a white wine garlic butter sauce. Topped with melted Brie cheese and bacon. Served with sautéed spinach and roasted red tomatoes. This was amazing. I would say the best Romano chicken I’ve had in a long time. I wanted to order another one to go. A++

dessert, photo by Jenny MacBethFor the sweets we shared Praline ice cream rolled in crushed pecans and smothered in caramel sauce,  and a Molten Chocolate Lava Cake. Its perfect liquid center literally melts in your mouth. Did you know that the lava cake was the result of a major culinary disaster? A cook took them out of the oven to soon, and the centers where still liquefied. Since there was no time to cook them further, the Chef simply introduced the dessert as chocolate “lava” cake! (from

Reservations are not needed for this Italian bistro.The service was good, but a little slow at filling the water glasses. Being big water drinkers, I’ll ask for a pitcher of water the next time we go. I’d also recommend they carry a few Italian beers for us beer drinkers.

Spadafora’s Marinara Sauce was voted “Best in the Burg” 2010 and in 2011 Pittsburgh Magazine’s “Best Kept Secret” and 2011 “Best Non-Chain Italian Restaurant.” I would have to agree. The Boy and I are not fans of chain restaurants, and this is a small pleasure close by. Not to mention, it’s very hard to find really good Italian food. Spadafora’s is at the top of my list.



Sieb’s Pub

Friday night, I headed out with my friend Carey to see a high school musical of My Fair Lady. It was amazing. Shout outs going to my other friend Monica’s son, Drew. Outstanding job as Colonel Hugh Pickering.

Before we headed to the musical, we had to eat of course. Carey introduced me to a family-run neighborhood pub called Sieb’s located at 3382 Babcock Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15237. The funny part is that it’s very close to me, and I never knew it. It reminded me of Ireland with all the Irish decor and live music. It’s more modern than an old Irish pub in Ireland, but had that same fun atmosphere.

live music, photo by Jenny MacBethThe place is pretty big with plenty of parking. Considering it was prime-time dinner hour on a Friday during Lenten season, the wait wasn’t long, however, we opted to sit at the bar.

bar wench, Photo by Jenny MacBethThe staff was friendly and outgoing. Our Bar Wench immediately greeted us, and was patient to help me decide on the perfect beer. Irish pub equals an Irish beer on tap. Smithwick’s was my choice for the evening.

Beer Battered Fish, Photo by Jenny MacBethThe menu has something for everyone with traditional flavors. It can take me a long time to make a food decision because I want it all. I didn’t even look at the full menu until I put my order in. I had the beer battered fish sandwich – deep fried and served on a kaiser roll with coleslaw. The fish portion is not overwhelming as some pubs. It is the perfect size without needing a To Go container.

Mini Crab Cakes, Photo by Jenny MacBethCarey had mini crab cakes – a creamy blend of seafood, rolled in breadcrumbs, deep fried and served with a chipotle ranch dipping sauce. Oh my lord! They were so good and I loved the sauce. I rarely find a good crab cake when eating out. I highly recommend you try this.

I’m definitely going back with the Boy. I want to try their aged white cheddar lobster mac & cheese. The menu description says, “Clumps of Succulent Lobster.” Doesn’t that just sound yummy? That’s moan-worthy without even tasting it.

And, for dessert, I need to try Sieb’s funnel cake fries served with different sweet dipping sauces. I hear their heavenly.

Sieb’s talented chefs and staff are worth a visit to experience yourself.