The “O” is Re-Opening!

Image: JoAnne Klimovich Harrop – Tribune-Review

Former University of Pittsburgh students, Maurry Mendelovich and Jamie Rodgers, reminisced in a recent Trib article about the many nights they spent at the Original Hot Dog Shop in Oakland.

The two are friends and business partners with Mero Restaurant Group and have leased the space to bring the “O” some new life after its closing in April following 60 years of business.

One section of the space will be used to host a taco restaurant called Viva Los Tacos, which will serve “MexiCali Street Tacos” and margaritas. The other is subleased to Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, headquartered in Las Vegas. Both are scheduled for spring openings.


Pittsburgh, PA, July 7, 2020

The Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) has received a $160,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to fund a multi prong effort to help Oakland businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: Oakland Safe & Strong and the Oakland Enhancements Project — includes one of the city’s first outdoor dining areas utilizing street and sidewalk space to accommodate social distancing safety needs.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation’s initiative is designed to support new ideas to spur economic recovery throughout Western Pennsylvania. Out of the 235 submissions received by the foundation, OBID’s proposal was one of 37 chosen for initial funding.

“The Foundation has a long history of supporting creative projects in Oakland, and with good cause,” said Sam Reiman, Director of the Foundation. “Oakland is one of the economic and cultural epicenters of Southwestern Pennsylvania, so initiatives such as this have positive impacts that reach well beyond Oakland’s borders. We applaud OBID for its efforts to help lead the way in safely recovering from the economic impacts of this pandemic.”

OBID will collaborate with many partners including the City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and Qualaris Healthcare Solutions, Inc. Grant funds will be used for a Shop Safety business compliance program, a Gift Card incentive program and amenities for expanding outdoor dining areas such as tables, chairs and street barriers.

“We were absolutely thrilled to have been selected by the Foundation and we are ever grateful for their support” said Georgia Petropoulos, OBID Executive Director. “These unprecedented times call for innovative and out of the box solutions and we could not have brought our ideas to fruition without the support of our Foundation champion.”

Georgia Petropoulos is also a member of the City of Pittsburgh’s COVID-19 Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) Task Force on Streets and Mobility that developed recommendations to support the reopening of Pittsburgh during the Covid-19 health crisis.

For additional information about the Oakland Business Improvement District, or any ongoing projects, visit


Formed in 1999, the Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) is the region’s second largest place management organization in Pittsburgh, representing a diverse group of decision makers including property and business owners, universities, hospitals, city government, community and cultural non-profits.

Founded in 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation is the largest foundation in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Foundation’s 2019 endowment was $2.7 billion and its Trustees in 2019 awarded 172 grants totaling $129 million, focused on the Foundation’s strategic priorities: economic development, education, environmental conservation and human services.

Avenu Company Spotlight: NurturePA


NuturePA, Inc., a charitable, non-profit organization, is connecting parents with the information and resources they need – exactly when they need it.

Kate Brennan is their enthusiastic and passionate Director of Operations. Here she talks about how they use technology to support new moms and how Avenu is supporting their small non-profit:

What is one thing people are surprised to learn about you/your company?
At NuturePA, volunteer mentors support moms during the first three years of her baby’s life – all through an innovative text messaging program. We use our custom developed software to connect volunteer mentors with moms so that they leave the hospital with support already in their pocket. Volunteer mentors use our software to share parenting information, make referrals to community resources, and, perhaps most importantly, build relationships during a critical time in the life of a mom and her baby. People are often surprised at the meaningful relationships that develop between moms and their mentors without them ever meeting face-to-face. Bottom line — we are supporting moms so they are better able to nurture their babies.

One goal for 2018?
We plan to expand our volunteer pool to 100 mentors so that we can support upwards of 1000 moms and babies. For more information about volunteering with NurturePA, go to our website and click on Mentors.

Why Avenu?
Avenu provides a professional space in very convenient location for our small non-profit to hold meetings, trainings, and a drop in space for day-to-day work. We also love the neighborhood and appreciate its proximity to one of our partner hospitals – UPMC Mercy. We’re proud to have our name on the door at Avenu!

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.

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

Oakland Welcomes The Law Offices Of Matthew S. Feinman

Are you looking for legal service but you do not want to spend an arm and a leg to get it done? Stop by the Law Offices of Matthew S. Feinman, located at 3504 Fifth Avenue in Oakland. Having already helped many clients with law services in contracts, small business, real estate and entertainment, Attorney Feinman is as reliable and versatile as he is affordable.

“I’m not a nickel-and-dime kind of guy,” said Matthew, “and I’m definitely not the kind of attorney who overcharges and underworks…I’m typically in the office by 9AM, but given certain situations I’ve been known to be in here as late as 2AM working for a client,” he continued.
Despite only working in Oakland since last December, Oakland stretches deeper back into Attorney Feinman’s roots. Feinman can attribute all of his law education and degree to Oakland’s very own University of Pittsburgh. His first office was located in the Barco Law Building of the University of Pittsburgh, which led to his transfer over to his current office down the street. But why stay in Oakland?

“I love the atmosphere of Oakland,” explains Attorney Feinman. “I can go into any store, and I swear I haven’t yet met anyone here unhappy with what they’re doing.” Feinman also notes the practical perk of working in Oakland. “It’s convenient! I live in Squirrel Hill, and I can walk to my office if necessary. It’s also great for my clients because I’m in close enough proximity that they don’t have to pay $20 in parking just to see me for a half hour.”

The Law Offices of Matthew S. Feinman specialize in many categories, such as small business law, contracts, real estate, tenant/landlord relations, entertainment and bankruptcy — among others; however, Feinman makes sure to clarify the following: “I serve everybody and anybody. No matter who calls, I’ll have a way to help them out.”

Law Offices of Matthew S. Feinman
3504 Fifth Ave
1st Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15213