Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh opened today, for dinner. They’re still laying brick sidewalks and pouring concrete outside, but they’ve started pouring beer inside. It’s located in Southside Works, about 2 blocks from my work.
For the last few days, they’ve been training. Those with a special invitation could go eat free food while tormenting the waitresses-in-training with special orders, though you still had to pay for beer.
Well, Daniel works in Southside Works proper, instead of just next to it, so they all got invitations at his company. He went for lunch on Friday, and they invited our family for lunch on Saturday.
It was a nice day, so I rode down with Martine on the trail-a-bike, and Marla and Ezra drove out to join us (I still need to work on that). We met Kristan, and then waited for Daniel and Levi to arrive via bus from their St. Patrick’s Day festivities. They let us in before Daniel arrived to facilitate things. It turns out the “Invitation” was really nothing more than instructions to ignore the huge “We aren’t open, we’re in training” sign.
The food is provided in huge portions and would be expensive if we were paying for it. They have a veritable plethora of meat products whose construction you wouldn’t want to observe, as well as a larger than expected selection of “not German, strictly speaking” food, including vegetarian options. It tasted fine, but my dish was easy: Caesar salad with blackened salmon. Marla had Alfredo and enjoyed it. I tasted the Tilapia, which was also just fine. I guess I’m not a very good food critic, but my tastes lean more towards non-european ethnic foods.
The building itself is as just as you’d expect: it’s the nicest looking giant faux German beer hall in town. It has huge ceilings, and the “long bench” table seating. They don’t seem to use the “meet your neighbors” dining style as it would be done in Germany, but we had a fairly large party in a fairly empty hall, so it didn’t really matter.
Finally, the beer! Well, it’s German beer, Hofbräu beer. It’s now brewed on premises, but they got a bit of a head start; I think they had Penn Brewery contract brewing before they opened. They had the Hefeweizen, Lager, and Dunkel when we were there, but in general they’re also supposed to have a Light and one seasonal beer. Dan and I had a liter of the Hefeweizen, and the wives ordered a sampler. I think I prefer the Hefeweizen out of the choices they had there, with the lager taking a surprise 2nd place. It’s not Belgian, but they give you a whole liter to make up for the lower alcohol content. It’s also only a bit over $7 for 1l, which is less than some 20-35cl servings of Belgian beer on tap at Sharp Edge.
Now that I’ve gone once, I won’t be disappointed to follow my original plan, which was to not go at all for a few months, while I let everyone else try out the New Popular Restaurant. Though, they have around 500 seats inside, and they’re supposed to have several hundred more outdoors (though those aren’t done yet), so I don’t expect they’ll be really crowded until Oktoberfest.