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Neighborhood News

Mayor Peduto Invites You!

Capital Budget ad

Make your voice heard! In June, the city will hold two Capital Budget Deliberative Forums that give residents the chance to learn more about what goes into the City’s Capital Budget, discuss needs and priorities in a small-group setting, and ask questions of an expert panel.

Residents will also have the chance to let the City know of specific Capital work in their neighborhoods that they would like to see done in 2016.

High resident participation is crucial to the success of the Capital Budget process, so please register for one of the two sessions below.

Wednesday, June 3
6:00-8:30 PM
Greenfield Senior Center
745 Greenfield Ave, 15207

Monday, June 22
6:00-8:30 PM
Southside Market House
1 Bedford Square, 15203

Each session will include:

  • A brief overview of the budgeting process.
  • Small-group discussions of budget priorities and resident’s needs.
  • An opportunity for residents to ask questions of an expert panel.

All participants are asked to commit to the entire 2.5 hours of the forum.  Food and refreshments will be provided.  While it is not mandatory, the city would appreciate your pre-registration.

Categories
Neighborhood News

Bike Share in Bloomfield Hits Bump in the Road

Bike Share 2Pittsburgh’s Department of City Planning is in the process of installing 500 bikes at 50 bike share stations throughout the City. Each station will hold a dozen sturdy bikes, require only two parking spots, and provide residents and visitors with safe, low-cost transportation. Once installed, the stations will be maintained by Pittsburgh Bike Share, which operates the Pittsburgh’ Healthy Ride bike-sharing system which is designed to to increase public transportation options in the city.

Three stations will be situated along Liberty Avenue, with proposed locations near the intersections of Cedarville, Millvale, and Baum. The proposed sites are now being questioned. In response, the Department of City Planning is reviewing the currently proposed locations and evaluating potential new locations.

To show their support of the bike share stations in their current proposed locations, more than 50 residents and business owners attended the April 28th meeting of Bloomfield Livable Streets.

Let Mayor Peduto and City Council know your opinion on the proposed bike share locations. Email sally.stadelman@pittsburghpa.gov, the mayor’s point of contact on this issue, and Councilwoman Deb Gross via District7@pittsburghpa.gov.

For updates on this and other related issues, attend Bloomfield Livable Streets monthly meetings on the 4th Tuesday of every month at the East End Book Exchange, 4757 Liberty Avenue, 15224. Meetings begin at 6 pm.

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Neighborhood News

SNAP Dollars Go Further at the Bloomfield Saturday Market

Butter Hill FarmThe Bloomfield Saturday Market has partnered with Just Harvest’s Fresh Access program to give SNAP users a $2 match for every $5 dollars spent in food stamps.

SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. The Fresh Access program is designed to enable SNAP shoppers to use their food benefits at participating farmer’s markets, and the matching funds may be used to purchase fruit and vegetables.

Program participants should stop by the Market’s red information tent to use their benefits at the Market.

SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. Just Harvest is working to end hunger by expanding access to healthy food.

How’s it working?

96% of food stamp shoppers rated the Fresh Access program as “Important” or “Very Important” for purchasing fruits and vegetables.

95% of food stamp shoppers rated the Fresh Access program as “Important” or “Very Important” in their decision to shop at farmers markets.

80% of food stamp shoppers said their produce consumption has increased as a result of the Fresh Access program.

99% of food stamp shoppers found the program easy to use.

Figures based on a survey of 122 Fresh Access customers in early 2014

Categories
Neighborhood News

Bread and Salt: “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine – and thou…”

Bread and Salt graphic for blog– Quote from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Rick Easton first discovered the sublime pleasure of artisanal bread while traveling in Morocco and later learned that almost every European culture also understands what Omar Khayyám was on about when he wrote his famous poem. 

If you’ve never quite grasped the meaning of The Rubáiyát, stop by Bread and Salt, Easton’s fine new bakery and discover for yourself the lyrical qualities to be had in a hand-crafted loaf of bread.

Easton, who opened his bakery at 330 Pearl Street in January, uses the finest ingredients to produce his breads. The result is a loaf that is both crusty and tender with just a hint of smoke.

A jug of wine and thou, indeed.

– c fryday

Categories
Neighborhood News

Tessaro’s: A Second Addition to a Bloomfield Tradition

By Carol Fryday, Bloomfield Development Corporation

It’s a Friday night and the line at Tessaro’s is out the door. Inside expectant diners stand three deep at the bar waiting for a table while waitresses in black aprons skillfully navigate the crowd, serving those already seated at one of the booths along the wall.

Despite the usual weekend crush, Tessaro’s has always been well worth the wait, but an expansion into the building next door should help alleviate the overflow.

Front door
Tessaro’s welcoming front door on Liberty Avenue.

The new space, which is the culmination of five years of meticulous planning, will include a brick-walled party room and a courtyard charmingly tucked inside an enclave of row houses.

When Kelly Harrington bought Tessaro’s in 1985, he kept the bar’s name, but changed the menu. Harrington was on a quest to perfect the hamburger, and he succeeded admirably, developing a recipe that calls for a proprietary blend of Choice-grade chuck, shoulder, brisket, short ribs, spencer steak, New York Strip and filet, all of which are freshly ground together each morning by in-house butcher, Dominic Piccola.

This meat is then cooked over an open flame burning cured hardwoods, including oak, maple, and hickory, that produce temperatures ranging anywhere between 400 and 600 degrees. On any given weekend night, Courtney MacFarland, who has headed the cooking staff for over 28 years, grills up to 550 burgers to order.

Tessaros famous burger. It's not surprising that more than one vegetarian has lost their innocence at Tessaros.
The famous burger. It’s not surprising that more than one vegetarian has lost their innocence at Tessaros.

For those who enjoy dinner theater, Courtney and crew also serve up a nightly performance that can be seen through a large window in the main dining room. Customers can watch as wood is fed into hearth, the meat is hand formed into half-pound patties and then seared on the grill, and the cooks control the resulting flames the only way they can, by beating them back with water.

Given that the restaurant has been serving burgers that food critics put on the short list of best in the U.S., it’s not surprising that on weekends it’s standing room only.

This is the second addition to the restaurant, which was originally housed at 4601 Liberty Avenue, a narrow brick storefront on the corner of Liberty and Taylor. To accommodate a growing clientele, Harrington bought the building next door, knocked out walls, and incorporated that space into the restaurant in 1995. He later purchased a third, adjacent building, as well as two buildings in the back, but tragically passed away in 2009 before realizing his plans to expand yet again.

Today, 30 years after Kelly first opened Tesssaro’s, his sisters, Moira and Mike, are carrying out their brother’s vision. With the blessing of their mother, Tee, who now owns the restaurant, the sisters began working on the addition in 2010.

Tessaros family mural large
Tessaros is a family business, as evidenced by several murals depicting the Harringtons at the restaurant. This one captures the nine siblings and their parents at the bar. Left to right: Kelly, Moira, Mike, Ena, Lisa, Dennis, Pegin, Erin, Myles, Shawn and Tee.

This required jumping through a number of bureaucratic hoops, including applying for an extension of the liquor license; requesting an exception to use the space behind the building for commercial, rather than residential, purposes; and an exemption from the zoning board to incorporate the new building and the four backyards into the business.

Additionally, before they could apply for a building permit, they had to procure a sidewalk café permit, an encroachment permit, a permit to consolidate the lots, and a plumbing permit. They also spoke with several neighborhood organizations, including the Bloomfield Development Corporation, to determine if there were any objections to their plans.

The Harringtons also applied for, and were awarded, two Streetface Grants from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. This program pays up to 30% of the cost of improving and extending a commercial building’s façade.

The first grant will be used to allay the cost of exterior improvements along Liberty Avenue, including new windows, lighting, and signage. A second will be used to install a new window, door, and awning along the side of the building that faces Taylor Street.

After the contractor broke ground on the project last summer, the back yards were excavated and a French drain was installed to allow for drainage before pavers were laid for the patio. In addition, an exterior wall was demolished, and then rebuilt with large plate glass windows overlooking the courtyard.

It’s been a long time coming, but by summer diners will be able to enjoy their meals at Tessaro’s al fresco.

In addition to burgers, the restaurant offers a full menu that includes steak, ribs, chicken, and fish all of which are fresh and grilled to order. To find out more about the restaurant and read the menu, go to www.tessaros.com.