New Braddock Restaurant Seen As Economic Development Engine For Town In Transition

BRADDOCK (KDKA) — It’s been three years in the making, but a much anticipated Superior Motors restaurant in Braddock is set to open Saturday night.

Inside Superior Motors, readiness is all as an army of electricians and construction workers — marshaled by chef Kevin Sousa — fight a deadline to transform the old car dealership in a one-of-a-kind restaurant. For Sousa, the culmination of a dream.

“Thank you to everyone who has stuck by our side,” he said. “Thank you to Kickstarter, and thank you to everyone who believed that the project was possible.”

Some 2,000 devoted followers of the chef donated to Kickstarter to see Superior Motors come to fruition, and they stuck by Sousa as he battled construction problems, cost overruns and funding gaps — anticipating something more than just a great place to dine.

But more than just a restaurant, Sousa and company believe that the Superior Motors project will be a force for change — a driving wheel in the continuing revitalization of an entire community.

“We’ll feed off each other, literally,” Patrick Jordan, of Barebones Black Box Theater, said.

The idea is to make Braddock a destination — for people to get a fresh look at the struggling steel town as it tries to carve out a future. To that end, the building will also house the Barebones Black Box Theater, which will begin performing plays in September.

“You can come get something to eat. Get a good drink,” Jordan said. “Come up the hallway, and you’re in the theater and get a great show.”

But in addition to drawing outsiders in, Sousa says he’s committed to involving the entire community. He’ll get his organically-grown produce from nearby Braddock Farms, which has made a commitment to hiring and training local staff and will host a cooking school for young people.

“Everybody in town is going to know someone who had something to do with this project,” Sousa said, “and I think that creates a sense of accomplishment and pride.”

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