Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tarentum Station opens

sign for JG's Tarentum Station GrilleLast week JG's Tarentum Station Grille opened in the Tarentum train station. We had Pasta Misto Vegetale with chicken (which came in an enormous serving), Louisiana Chicken, and the crème brûlée for dessert. It was a good meal, all very tasty, in a very nice setting.

I am looking forward to seeing how the re-opened Tarentum Station will progress.

It seems like restaurants are opening all over the area. Villa Ballanca opened Saturday in Lower Burrell in the site of the former Arthur's, and I have not yet had a chance to find out what they offer. I've written recently about P&M Pizza in Arnold, and Steel City Grille in Lower Burrell. The appearance of all of these restaurants recently is a counterpoint to the messages I have been hearing over the last couple years about how the big restaurants at the Pittsburgh Mills are putting a pinch on local restaurants.

I suspect that these new restaurants are not simply a new generation of lemmings headed for the cliff. Steel City opened in a highly visible location and had crowds coming in as soon as they put out banners to announce they were open. (By offering better hours than Babe's, Steel City made it possible for me to visit and discover what they had to offer.)

P&M Pizza is in an almost invisible location, but brought in a large crowd primarily through word of mouth passing among people who knew the history and missed the old hang-out.

Sadly, Lees Chinese Restaurant closed its 4th Ave. Tarentum location last month. I suspect that changes to the recipes Greg Honzo had used may have eroded customer loyalty.

But whatever is happening in the Valley's dining scene today, it seems to be something distinct from the old, tired, and probably false story of businesses limping toward closing because of stiff competition from the mall.

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