Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Or, the Whale - New Pittsburgh Distrikt Hotel Restaurant Unveils Peculiar Name

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Or, the Whale - New Pittsburgh Distrikt Hotel Restaurant Unveils Peculiar Name

Article excerpt

Turns out, it's a literary reference.

That, probably more than anything else was the biggest reveal during a media tour earlier this week of the new Distrikt Hotel, Downtown, and its signature restaurant, the peculiarly named "or, The Whale."

The announcement of the forthcoming restaurant attracted as much attention because of its name as it did the name behind it: acclaimed chef Dennis Marron, who opened The Commoner restaurant at the Hotel Monaco, Downtown, in January 2015.

This will be the second high-profile hotel restaurant he'll open here, and Mr. Marron said it's a somewhat obscure reference to the Herman Melville classic "Moby-Dick." The book went to press in Britain originally as "The Whale" - A month later it was published in New York as "Moby-Dick" with the subtitle "or, The Whale."

Got all that?

The New Jersey native grew up with big seafood houses and steak houses, and he wanted to combine the two into a nautically themed restaurant. This will be the centerpiece of the independent boutique hotel, housed in the former Salvation Army building, which dates to 1923.

"I wanted to take those things I grew up with and combine the best way I knew how," he said. "The first place I worked was called Hook Line & Sinker, and it was right next to a place called What's Your Beef?"

The restaurant will be in what was once a gymnasium, indoor track and pool added to the building in 1927.

All of the bones are in place, but the finishing touches remain for the 115-seat restaurant that expects to open in late July. The 185-room hotel itself is slated for a July 31 grand opening. It is only the second Distrikt Hotel in the country; the other is in the Manhattan's Garment District (hence the name). It's been three years in the making. Greenway Realty Holdings bought the building at 453 Boulevard of the Allies and an adjacent parking lot Downtown in 2014 for $2. …

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