Two new restaurants at SouthSide Works have closed. Literally. Two steel units were lowered by a crane into the yard in front of the Cheesecake Factory this week. This is only the beginning.
Slice on Broadway and Smokin Ghosts BBQ will occupy the two Town Center units. Tasty Taquitos will operate from a vintage draft to be permanently parked downtown. Levity Brewing will operate from a kiosk next to the new dog park across from the development. All new food providers are expected to be up and running within two to three weeks.
The units are built by MODLOGIQ at its factory in New Holland, just outside of Lancaster. The structures are 95% completed and are self-contained, can be trucked, lifted by crane and dropped in place in just a few hours – and ready to go in a few weeks.
says Jim Gabriel, president and CEO of MODLOGIQ, who grew up in Pittsburgh.
“I am especially proud that MODLOGIQ is doing this in an innovative, efficient and respectful way for my south side neighbors. Plus, it’s great to see an Old Quarter crane swinging through these 10-ton kitchens completely built into place in just a few hours.”
SomeraRoad is spending millions to reinvent SouthSide Works, which has had success as an apartment and office complex (with tenants like Amazon and American Eagle), but the retail component has struggled in recent years. Several large retail chains that started at SouthSide Works have closed or moved abroad.
For Don Garrett of Smokin’ Ghosts BBQ—who operates a semi-permanent truck on North Shore and another RV—this was too good an opportunity to miss.
“They recruited us,” Garrett says. “It seemed like a great idea, with everything coming in – new apartments, new offices.”
Garrett specializes in North Carolina-style barbecues—mustard and vinegar—which is not uncommon here. He does a whole pig roast and has strong opinions about Texas-style brisket.
Garrett claims: “Salt and pepper – that’s all a brisket needs.”
He’s also part of the 3 Taxi Guys’ barbecue team that compete in Memphis each year against the world’s best pork barbecue handlers. Run by the owner of a Pittsburgh Taxi Company, the trio uses a smoker made from a 1957 yellow checker.
Alondre Quintanar runs Tasty Taquitos, who will join Smokin’ Ghosts BBQ in the arena. “It’s good to have neighbours. We are passionate about feeding everyone. You know, the sun shines for everyone, so it’s not a competition.”
Quintanar already has a food truck and makes Mexican food at Evergreen Cafe in Point Breeze.
The changes are part of a plan to transform Town Center, which is the heart of SouthSide Works, from just a place with a fountain into something more active, says Chris McKeown, vice president of development at SomeraRoad. “The way to do that was to preserve some items – like the public event platform – and create things that you can use throughout the year, like food.”
Diners will be able to dine under a large pergola that is being built in the middle of the city center to provide shade from the sun and seating.
“We’re really creating this as a convenience for the greater south side, but also for office renters here,” McKeown says.