Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Changes in Works for 3 Downtown Restaurants Ownership to Shift in Market Square

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Changes in Works for 3 Downtown Restaurants Ownership to Shift in Market Square

Article excerpt

Get ready for big changes in Market Square dining - which may lead to a raising of the bar for Downtown Italian fare.

Mt. Lebanon's Il Pizzaiolo founder and chef Ron Molinaro along with business partner Bob Wolfinger will take over three restaurants from Yves Carreau's Big Y Group: Poros (2 PPG Place), Perle (25 Market Square) and NOLA on the Square (24 Market Square).

The deal "is not officially signed," says Mr. Molinaro, "but all parties are in agreement." The liquor license is currently in the transfer process. As for the acquisitions, "The part I'm really excited about," he says, "is that it allows me to attract really high-level talent."

Stage one of the shake-up will roll out in early June, with Poros converting to another concept potentially overseen by a Washington, D.C.-based chef Mr. Molinaro has recruited to relocate to Pittsburgh.

At the same time, the now closed Pizzuvio - Mr. Molinaro's property at 268 Forbes Ave. near Market Square that he opened with Mr. Wolfinger in December 2016 - will also rebrand and open as a new concept.

In the meantime, NOLA on the Square and Perle will continue to operate under new ownership until the Poros and Pizzuvio locations are up and running well, says Mr. Molinaro. The team hasn't decided on changes to those locations.

Mr. Molinaro acknowledges that it's an ambitious timeline for Poros and Pizzuvio, but they are committed to it. "We want to get it right the first try," he says.

A separate source says the new operators would like current staff to remain employed.

Mr. Molinaro is behind all the Il Pizzaiolo locations, including those in Marshall and Indiana Township. He opened the flagship in Mt. Lebanon in 1996, a pioneering restaurant in and beyond the region for introducing diners to true Neapolitan-style pizza - thin-crust pies made from Caputo "00" flour, topped with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala that comes in a once-a-week shipment from Italy his staff picks up at the airport. …

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