The road to Penn Ave’s explosion of openings has been a rough one.  Rewind five years back and driving down the stretch in Garfield felt more akin to a leisurely ride in a war-torn country with pot holes serving double time as kiddie pools for the neighborhood (for those that rode the 88 with us you know what we are talking about here).  Then came the over budget, seemingly endless $5M reconstruction that had many business owners on the street debating closing their doors.

Today the stretch is home to some of the nicest streetscape in the city with stormwater gardens, futurist and fun illuminated light cubes and more.  Yet 18 months after the project wrapped up, development of the stretch has still been a bit slow…until now.

2017 is set to be a huge year for the somewhat sleepy stretch of Penn.  Joining Commonplace Coffee, Daily Bread, Apetka, Spak Bros and Boom Concepts; the additions to the street are poised to make Garfield the neighborhood destination that Lawrenceville and East Liberty have long benefited from.   Here is what is in the works.


The Greefield beer bar is looking to open its second outpost at 4568 Penn Ave.  Look for the same expansive selection of brews joining a full-scale menu of wood-fired dishes and two massive garage doors with streetside dining/drinking.

Helltown Brewing

This WesMoCo brewer has set its sights on a taproom at the corner of Penn & Matilda for summer 2017 and is looking to thirsty Pittsburghers for support.  Rather than go the Kickstarter route, these guys are launching a mug club with some great perks for beerheads (like free beer and entry to their opening party).  More information on the taproom and mug club can be found here.

Primanti Bros. 

This addition was a bit of a lightening rod.  Really?  Primanti’s? Why?  But hear us out.  Sometimes what hits the spot isn’t an heirloom tomatoes salad but a sloppy capicola and a Miller Lite.  And when that times comes, Primanti’s will be waiting for you.

Gluten Free Goat Bakery & Cafe 

You have seen their cinnamon sugar doughnuts at coffee shops across town and now this flour-free bakery is setting up their own space.  Expect a full lineup of baked goods including cakes, cookies and doughnut alongside an espresso bar.

Spork Pit 

2016 robbed us of one of our favorite bbq spots in town (Union Pig & Chicken), so we are happy to see someone picking up that slack nearby.  The team from Spork is planning a largely outdoor Texas-style bbq spot at the corner of Aiken & Penn.  While the inside will seat 30, we hope this becomes another outdoor destination akin to Cantina’s patio as Pittsburgh is hard-pressed on fun, open air dining.

Coming soon.

A video posted by Crown Barbershop ( on

Crown Barber Shop 

Aiding in the hours-long waits that can be experienced across town, Scooter Clowney (formerly of Graham’s) will open a three-chair barber shop next to Daily Bread in the very near future. But don’t think that these will be easy seats to snag either…we still need more barber shops in the city.

Two New Richard DeShantz Concepts

A pioneering space in the neighborhood, when Salt of the Earth closed, many were bummed for the loss of their favorite burger and a beautifully designed space.  After sitting vacant for two years, Downtown’s restaurant darling Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group (tako/Meat and Potatoes/Butcher/Pork & Beans) has two concepts in development for the property.

While the visions for both are being refined, both are poised to serve exceptional dishes with Chef Dave Racicot as an owner/chef in the project.  Also look for much needed outdoor space to be included in both projects.  A trip to Tulum, Mexico brought inspiration for open air dining and wood-fired grill for one of the spaces.