Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mt. Lebanon Restaurant Fairlane to Open in Dec

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mt. Lebanon Restaurant Fairlane to Open in Dec

Article excerpt

When Lauren Zanardelli and Graham Foster took their first class at Johnson & Wales in 2010, they were already setting about to change the course of their lives. They just didn't realize quite how much at the time.

Both were embarking on a second career. Ms. Zanardelli, a Bethel Park native, had graduated from Virginia Tech and taught first grade for several years in North Carolina before getting an itch to do something different. Mr. Foster was a personal trainer and cyclist, likewise looking to scratch a new professional yen.

Food and cooking was something they'd both been passionate about, and at ages 29 and 25, respectively, they took a leap of faith and enrolled at the Charlotte, N.C., campus of the famed school that specializes in all elements of the hospitality industry.

"It was 'Stocks, Sauces & Soups,' and the chef instructor was this very big and very serious former Marine," she said of the class of 30 students - most of them still in their teens - seated at tables of four. "He sat kind of catty-corner from me at the same table."

To paraphrase "Casablanca," of all the tables at all the culinary schools in all the world .

They clicked almost instantly, and over the next few years, they'd travel to Europe, intern at Michelin-star restaurants in New York, start a food truck in Mr. Foster's hometown of Greenville, S.C., and then take it out to Portland, Ore., before returning to Pittsburgh two years ago.

"I lived away for 10 years, and my parents would send me things in the mail from newspapers and magazines about the food scene in Pittsburgh - it was their parental passive-aggressive way to tell me to move back," she laughed.

Next month, the couple, now married and living in Brookline, will open Fairlane, a new restaurant on Beverly Road in Mt. Lebanon in the former Block 292 space, which before extensive renovation, was an auto body shop - hence the name, Fairlane, taken from the classic Ford sedan of the 1950s and '60s. …

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