2012 Tasted Good: The Best New Restaurants That Opened In Pittsburgh

December 26, 2012 6:00 AM

(photo credit: Walnut Grove via Facebook)

(photo credit: Walnut Grove via Facebook)

(photo credit: Walnut Grove via Facebook)

This year saw some great expansions, rehabilitations and reimaginings of traditional fare in Pittsburgh. The South Hills and East Liberty seemed to have been the biggest beneficiaries of new food venues. Whether you are looking for street tacos, casual barbecue or something a little more upscale, the best new restaurants that opened in 2012 to rave reviews.

Best New Hot Dog Hang Out
Station Street Hot Dogs

6290 Broad St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
(412) 365-2121

Although it originally opened in 1915 and again in 2006, the Station Street was re-imagined and re-opened by brothers Kevin and Tom Sousa and designer Jay Famelli Feb. 1. Located in East Liberty, the hot dog shop serves both all-beef and vegetarian hot dogs in styles such as New York with sauerkraut and grain mustard, and Hawaii with pineapple salsa, bacon, sweet soy sauce and mint. It also offers fresh-cut fries and started a Korean barbecue menu for dinner. Hot dogs range from $5 to $8 with a side of fries for an additional $3.

Best New Barbecue Joint
Union Pig & Chicken

220 N. Highland Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
(412) 363-7675

Also located in East Liberty, Union Pig and Chicken opened Feb. 23, a casual barbecue restaurant courtesy of Chef Kevin Sousa. In addition to barbecue sandwiches, fried chicken, ribs and brisket, Union Street also offers locally produced Wigle Whiskey, beer and cocktails. Enjoy sides of meaty mac, greens, warm potato salad and whoopie pies. Lunch combos are available for $7 to $10 and dinner combos are $20. Harvard & Highland, Keivn Sousa’s newest cocktail bar is located on the 2nd floor of Union Pig and Chicken.

Best New Expansion
Walnut Grill

660 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
(412) 668-0951

Walnut Grove (now Walnut Grill) opened its newest restaurant May 4 in Mount Lebanon to add to its locations in Wexford and Fox Chapel. The new restaurant replaces Molly Brannagan’s, which closed last year. Walnut Grill is known for its delicious dishes, great service and well-chosen wine list. Appetizers such as sweet chili boneless wings, sushi grad ahi tuna and stuffed banana peppers range from $8 to $14, and entrees such as sweet and spicy grouper, Tuscan artichoke chicken and chicken spinach feta pasta range from $17 to $26.

Related: Best Mediterranian Cuisine in Pittsburgh

Best New Hibachi

3229 W. Liberty Ave.
Dormont, PA 15216
(412) 388-1800

Celebrating its grand opening April 30, Katana Sushi Hibachi & Chines is a welcome addition to Dormont. Katana serves Thai, Chinese and Japanese-style dishes that are freshly prepared from traditional recipes. It also features an innovative sushi menu and table-side hibachi cooking. Traditional Bento boxes, Chines dishes such as General Tso’s  and sesame chicken , sushi rolls and hibachi are available for lunch and dinner daily. Prices range from $7 to $15 for lunch and $10 to $25 for dinner.

Best New Street Tacos
Las Palmas

675 W. Chestnut St.
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 225-9046

In September, Las Palmas opened its third Carniceria in Washington, Pa. This combination Mexican grocery store, deli and taco stand is fast gaining a cult following in the Pittsburgh area. Las Palmas has chosen to open its largest store in Washington and serves its hand-made tacos for $2 each. Diners may choose from any of the daily meats such as chicken, chorizo, pork and steak, which are slow cooked with authentic seasoning. The taco shells are layers of corn tortilla, and the toppings include fresh cilantro, hot and mild sauces, pico de gallo and guacamole. Many customers eat the tacos on site in any weather, but they are conveniently packaged for take-home to enjoy during a game.

Related: Best Chefs Heating Up the Culinary Scene in Pittsburgh

Jennifer Stockdale is a native of the greater Pittsburgh, PA area. She is a restaurant marketer and wine enthusiast and one of the hosts of the East Coast Wine Geeks Podcast. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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