Thirsty Scholar Bar and Grille – Food for Thought, Thirst for Knowledge

Thirsty Scholar Bar and Grille, located at 3610 Fifth Avenue in Oakland, is one of the area’s latest spots for good eats and cool drinks. Having opened in June of this year in the former location of the Campus Bookstore, Thirsty Scholar provides an enjoyable atmosphere – perfect for unwinding after work, going out with friends, or simply grabbing that burger and wings you’ve been craving. Mike Chizmar, owner of Thirsty Scholar, transformed his former book store’s ~5,000 square feet space into a lively and happening bar, grille and bottle shop and really enjoys serving up some of his establishments’ amazing bites and brews. Going from a book store to a bar and grille is quite a 180 degree turn, and Mike is happy he did. “We’re a family-owned restaurant – my wife, Joanne Chizmar, brother-in-law, Mike Meinert, and I are all mangers, and we love providing a place where the college students and the area’s employees can unwind!” said Chizmar.

Thirsty Scholar has incredible, mouth-watering food options, too, with ‘Daily Grille Specials’ for only $6 – featuring tacos, wings, quesadillas and appetizer specials on certain days of the week. “We press our own burgers and use Mancini’s Bread on all sandwiches and burgers for extra quality… Not to mention, we also make a fantastic grilled or fried chicken salad that’s topped with fires and cheese,” said Chizmar. “We know how busy everyone is in Oakland and actually offer a ‘Lunch Express’ option on the menu! ‘Lunch Express is offered Monday through Friday from 11AM-4PM featuring a burger and fries or a chicken salad – dine in or carry out – for only $6!” he continued.

Thirsty Scholar is also a bottle shop with many varieties of craft beers and other beverages. “We kept a little of our retail roots here at Thirsty Scholar and offer over 300 bottles of craft beer which you can mix-and-match as a six pack and 150 varieties of wine!” said Chizmar. “When we started, we knew that the restaurant and bar business would be a learning curve and that we were literally building it from the ground up, but we have a nice, aesthetically pleasing place now, and we welcome anyone who steps in!” said Chizmar.

Hours
Mon – Thurs: 11a – 12p
Fri: 11a – 1a
Sat: 4p – 1a
Sun: 12p – 10p

UPMC Presbyterian Kicks Off Wellness Wednesday

On Wednesday, September 13, 2017, UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland held its Wellness Wednesday kick-off event as a fun and informational day full of demos, tips, and a plant-based culinary workshop to promote healthy lifestyles to its busy staff.

“Wellness Wednesday is a great program for everyone at UPMC Presbyterian to promote wellness and to make our cafeteria a hub of health and nutrition… our goal is to expand this into a monthly program,” said Robert Franz, retail manager at the hospital. “This is a huge accomplishment, and it’s great to have such collaborative efforts from different departments within the organization to make this fun and informative event possible.”

The UPMC Presbyterian Cafeteria actually has a Silver Plate designation level through the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program.

Wellness Wednesday began with a healthy cooking demonstration at the entrance of the UPMC Presbyterian Cafeteria where Chef Ray Wesolowski and Dietitian Gretchen Zehner prepared a Mexican Quinoa for guests. They presented the recipe’s health benefits, answered questions and even served up delicious samples of the finished product! The day also consisted of other meatless food samplings and featured recipes with Kate Watts, Food & Nutrition Coordinator with the Humane Society of the United States, who held a presentation and discussion. UPMC Health Plan also hosted a Health Coach table for guests to have face-to-face conversations with experts, and MyHealth at Work gave employees a chance to learn more about the new UPMC Presbyterian clinic. Other informational tables were present as resources promoting wellness and healthy living.

A Plant Strong Culinary Workshop also took place in the Scaife Conference Center, featuring speakers from the hospital and the Humane Society’s Forward Food program. This workshop hosted a hands-on plant-based culinary and educational training for health professionals.

“We’re very proud of this event and the team that lead the charge: Chef Ray Wesolowski, Dietitians Gretchen Zehner and Elise Wade and Jean Nichloech. We hope to have other UPMC hospitals replicate Wellness Wednesday,” said Franz.

The Garden Grille and Bar – Passion & Creativity In Every Bite

The Garden Grille and Bar at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place located at 3454 Forbes Avenue in Oakland is your next stop to taste passion and creativity in every bite you take.

Larry Broderick, Director of Sales, and Chef Andrew Thompson know what food service is all about: remarkable hospitality and willingness to go above and beyond to give people an exceptional dining experience. From fresh and local seasonal menus to customized cuisine for events or grilled outdoor fast casual, The Garden Grille and Bar is always prepared to dish out quality.

On top of their everyday menu, The Garden Grille and Bar has seasonal menus that change every three to four months, and you know it’s fresh because its ingredients rely, well, on the season! Selections on the seasonal menus are mainly supplied from local farms, and the specials span over appetizers, sandwiches and salads, entrees, and even desserts.

“Our number one seller on our seasonal menu is our Greek Lamb Burger made with locally sourced lamb from Jameson Farms in Latrobe,” said Chef Thompson.

He said a new menu will debut mid-August.

Every Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., you can catch some fun lunch items outside of The Garden Grille and Bar – right at the corner of McKee Place and Forbes Avenue.

“If you’re hungry and you want fast, we can do that here! At our Thursday grill-outs, we offer a grilled protein/vegetable, a side, and a water or soda all for $8. There’s something special about this one-day-a-week cookout,” said Broderick.

When the weather is on point, these Thursday grill-outs have served more than 70 people. 

The quality doesn’t stop there. The Garden Grille and Bar will even create customized foods and drinks for special events. “In my 27 years in the hotel industry, I can say Chef Andrew is one of the most talented chefs I’ve ever worked with,” said Broderick. “We once did an event for the Monroeville Rotary during the Kentucky Derby and Chef Andrew and his team re-created the official Kentucky Derby menu – serving everything from the official entrees, drinks, and even the salad… crawfish and red beets which everyone loved!”

“Our Culinary Supervisor, Mary Oravec, is also very talented and once set up an international-inspired tea station for an event,” said Chef Thompson. “We like sit down with people and say ‘here is our menu, but what do YOU want?”

With an exceptional team, everyone on staff shines both inside and outside of the workplace.

“The little things we do really resonate with customers. Through our Bright Hearted Committee, we like to recognize outstanding staff, said Chef Thompson. “We also love giving back to the community through events like holding ice cream socials at the local Veterans Hospital or having teams for the Pittsburgh Superhero Run in North Park to raise awareness of child abuse and the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk.”

You don’t need to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn to enjoy this phenomenal food and hospitality either.

“When you’re at the intersection of Forbes and McKee, look up! We’d love to have you in for a bite,” said Broderick. “People don’t think that they’re foodies, but we all are! When we eat something it will always remind us of an experience, and The Garden Grille and Bar gets that.”

Nellie’s Sandwiches – 23 Years Of Fresh, Quality Mediterranean Cuisine

If your taste buds are in the mood for some fresh, homemade Mediterranean cuisine, look no further than Nellie’s Sandwiches, located at 3524 Fifth Avenue in Oakland. As a popular Oakland staple, Nellie’s is a place brimming with both history and pride – and not to mention amazing bites!

“Having been in Oakland for 23 years, our customers have always been like family,” said owner, Nellie Abdulnour. “I have a real passion for feeding people fresh handmade, homemade foods. Everything we make is healthy, fresh and gourmet—made from scratch with love.

Nellie moved to the United States from Lebanon in 1980, owned Chahine’s Bakery in Squirrel Hill for 21 years, and eventually opened Nellie’s Sandwiches in Oakland.

Rania Abdulnour, Nellie’s daughter, stands by Nellie’s Sandwiches’ use of fresh and seasonal ingredients. “Nothing comes from a can here! We don’t skimp on ingredients, and we grow a number of the herbs and foods ourselves – everything from the grape leaves, to tomatoes for sauces – we even have an herb garden,” Rania continued. “With Pittsburgh’s growing foodie culture, Nellie’s Sandwiches really does have the quality you can taste. We’ve always believed in eating clean – even before it got popular!”

Nellie’s Sandwiches has always been a go-to place for Oakland’s many hospital employees and they specialize in catering. On Wednesdays at 4 p.m., you can find Nellie at the Mt. Lebanon Farmer’s Market.

If you have a hankering for some quality falafels, gyros, fresh rolled grape leaves, tabbouleh and other Lebanese cuisine, Nellie’s Sandwiches is your stop right here in the Oakland business district.

Nellie’s Sandwiches
Open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
www.nelliesonline.com

The Palace Bar & Grill

For Marian Edmonson, The Palace isn’t just a food and beverage establishment – it’s an adventure. The Palace Bar and Grill, located at 226 Meyran Avenue (former location of AD’s Pittsburgh Café), opened on May 11, and Marian looks forward to giving Oakland a wonderful place to socialize and relax. “We welcome everyone! …The Palace has a fun atmosphere anyone can enjoy,” said Marian.

Marian has dedicated her time, energy and talents into giving The Palace a fun and modern atmosphere. “We’ve repainted the walls, replaced the kitchen’s lighting system to eco-friendly LED bulbs, installed new floors in the restrooms and even updated the sound system,” she said.

The Palace Bar and Grill offers nightly drink specials and mouth-watering traditional bar foods, from wings to sliders and fries.

“The must-try specialty drink on our menu would be ‘The Palace’ made with clear liqueurs and other secret ingredients,” said Marian. “We also like to offer some fun, spontaneous specials! During the Stanley Cup, we offered $2 shots whenever the Pittsburgh Penguins would score a goal.”

The Palace Bar and Grill also loves to give back to the community and help others. “We want to be a good neighbor to everyone,” said Marian. “We recently held a fundraiser event benefiting the family of a slain woman in the Hill District – it was very special.”

The Palace Bar and Grill is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Saturday, and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit their Facebook Page.