PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Esquire Magazine has named 100 restaurants that America can’t afford to lose during this pandemic, and two local restaurants are on the list.
One is better known than the other, and KDKA money editor Jon Delano spoke with the owners of both, along with the Deputy Editor of Esquire.
We all have favorite restaurants we’d hate to see closed forever because of COVID. Esquire Magazine took a look across the country and came up with their list of 100 to keep open that’s, admittedly, a very subjective list.
Well-known for its hamburgers in Bloomfield, Tessaro’s co-owner Moira Harrington had just heard the news.
“This morning, I got a text and I downloaded the link, and I was very pleasantly honored to be mentioned in such an esteemed category,” said Harrington on Monday.
Under this headline — “Restaurants America Can’t Afford to Lose” — Tessaro’s got a write-up, noting when it comes to burgers, “yinzers know.”
“Our food and drinks editor, world-renowned food writer Jeff Gordinier actually called out Tessaro’s as his pick,” Esquire’s deputy editor, Ben Boskovich, told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.
Boskovich, who grew up in Pittsburgh, admits he’s never been to Tessaro’s, but he picked J & J’s Family Restaurant on Mt. Washington, a favorite haunt when he and his buddies lived nearby after college.
“It felt like home there even from the first time we walked in. The folks at J & J were so kind and welcoming, and the food is unbelievable. It’s as good a Pittsburgh breakfast as you can get really,” says Boscovich.
“We’re honored,” says Nancy McClaren, whose family has owned J & J’s for generations.
“It’s nice of people to think of us at this time. It means a lot to know that we’re in people’s thoughts.”
Can these restaurants survive COVID?
“Been terrible for us. We’ve had to lay off 95 percent of our staff,” says Harrington.
What’s the key to survival, say both Harrington and McClaren?
“We’ve had tremendous support from our customers,” noted McClaren.
Esquire’s list is incomplete, says Boskovich, saying each of us must do more to help our favorite restaurants this winter: “The entire industry deserves to stay alive and thrive but do everything you can while you still can.”