Troy Hill Restaurant Intriguing Guests With Insect Proteins

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Health coaches are always preaching to eat a balanced diet, watch your calorie count, cut down on fats, etc.

A restaurant in Troy Hill has a unique way of doing some of those things – as long as it doesn’t bug you about what is in your food.

“I was just talking to a woman this morning. She asked about the two and said, ‘What do you have on the menu?’ I said, ‘Right now, we are working with crickets and meal worms.’ She said, ‘I could do crickets, but no way could I do meal worms.’ I was like, I can totally respect that. She said, ‘Well how do you use them? Are they just on a plate?’ People are curious, so we are able to talk about these things,” Scratch Food & Beverage Owner Don Mahaney said.

The owners, chef, and staff refer to some items on their menu as insect protein.

“The things you have to be concerned with any protein you bring in, the time and temperature controls. You have to make sure that it comes from a licensed provider. So, we did all that homework and made sure everything was inspected by the USDA, and the FDA and that it got to our door and then we take responsibility for that protein from that point forward,” Mahaney said.

Fans of the hit CBS show “Survivor” have seen live bugs used as immunity challenges many times. Contestants were asked to eat them just like the natives would.

Mahaney said he would never do that — just like he would never bring a live pig into the restaurant to use as pork.

“You are going to get them either in a whole roasted form and they come in a bag. They are shelf stable for a year. There is no moisture content there at all. Or, you are going to get them in a tofu block. A tofu block is just a milled product that is just pressed,” Mahaney said.

The menu at scratch changes daily.

“There are crickets in the pesto, which brings again a nice nutty sort of earthy flavor to the pesto, and there is mealworm in the gremolata, which does the same thing, but with a slightly different flavor profile. And then, these candied crickets are sort of garnishing the top of the dish,” Mahaney said.

Scratch Food & Beverage is located in Troy Hill and is open six days a week, but they are closed on Mondays. Visit their website here.

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