Game's On In The Square

Hey, sports fans, even if you can't get front row tix to cheer your favorite team on to victory, you can watch the game from some of the best seats in town — right in Market Square. That's right, now you can show your true colors, which might just happen to be Black and Gold, at any number of the Square's restaurants, grilles and watering holes. So, if you're looking for a spot to root, root, root for the Steelers, Penguins, Panthers, Dukes or any other home team this season, check out our All-Star lineup of Square joints where the game is always on.

New Diamond Market Bar and Grille: This rookie is creating a sensation with its All-American gourmet burgers and homestyle comfort foods. But the real power play here is a six-pack of wide screen, HD screens that always seem to be tuned to the Game of the Week. Open seven days a week, NDMBG always offers you a home field advantage with a drink menu of classic cocktails, wines and more than 20 draft beers on tap and 30 more bottled selections. For some pre-game action, the Monday-Friday Happy Hour from 5-7 p.m. knocks a buck off all alcoholic beverages.

Las Velas Mexican Restaurant: We like to think of Las Velas as the Square's version of the skybox. Perched above The New Diamond Market Bar & Grille, this spicy Mexican eatery provides a bird's eye view of the action below on terrazzo plaza every Monday through Friday. Everyone's a winner during Happy Hour with discounts on everything from Dos Equis brews to the specially mixed margaritas. With two TV screens above the liquor shelf, fans can stay tuned to nearly every bouncing bar sport from Big East hoops to World Cup soccer clashes.

NOLA On The Square: We don't know if the Saints will ever come marching in, but NOLA is the perfect place to chill during a Pens game with New Orleans inspired cuisine and live music. Open every day except Sunday, NOLA's three TV screens will help you catch every play of the big game from pre-season to playoffs. Happy Hour specials run the field from 5-7 p.m. every Monday through Friday with deep discounts on cocktails, brews and wines.

Fat Tommy's Pizzeria: Sports fans won't mind going out of bounds Square-wise to find a seat at Fat Tommy's Pizzeria. Located just around the corner from NOLA on lower Forbes Avenue, Tommy's delivers a tasty one-two punch of daily Happy Hour cocktail and beer specials and fresh-from-the-oven pies for loyal Steel City rooters. From 5 for 5 Bud Light pony bottles on Monday to $5 margarita's on Friday, Tommy's scores all week long with a pair of wide-screen TVs in its newly remodeling dining area.

Primanti's: From the multitudes of the Steelers Nation to the lovable Leftfield Loonies from PNC Park, Primanti's in the Square is a fan haven seven days a week from 10 a.m.- midnight. Whether you hold your own tailgate party in the Square with a mammoth "almost famous" cheesesteak and egg sammich or huddle close to the bar with a cool draft for that two-minute drill in the game's closing moments, Primanti's might just be the next best thing to being at the game itself.

Moe's Southwest Grill: Open on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., Moe's serves up tempting Tex-Mex dishes from the opening kickoff to the final gun during most Steelers games. While the Men of Steel grind up the competition on the field, you can conquer your thirst with a variety of brews or a cool, refreshing margarita. And if you did manage land some choice seats to a Pens contest or a Pitt basketball game, Moe's is an ideal starting point just about any day of the week for a bite to eat without paying big-league concession prices at the sporting venue of your choice.

The Original Oyster House: Now 141 years young, the Oyster House has been around longer than the Pirates, Pens, Steelers and every other team in town. From the bigger than life illustration of undefeated heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano behind the bar to the fabulous breaded fish sandwiches, the Original Oyster House scores a unanimous decision with its food, history and authentic hometown atmosphere. Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., the Oyster House is the place to relive Pittsburgh sports teams glory days and watch future champions in the making.


Up and Autumn in the Square

Okay, so maybe the Pirates are a no-show in the World Series this year. But there are still plenty of ways to enjoy an Autumn Classic or two in Market Square now that baseball's ultimate championship series is underway. Leading off our lineup is the Farmers Market, which is down to its last few at bats before the season ends November 17. Though summer treats like corn on the cob and fresh berries won't make another plate appearance until next year, there's still plenty of farm fresh goodies on sale each Thursday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. You can touch all the bases with this roasted squash and sweet potato recipe that's perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Best of all you can find all the ingredients in the Square during the Farmers Market. This is cool-weather comfort food at its best.  It's also a great time to stock up on some frozen local meats to carry you through the winter.

We really like it when everyone gets along — especially when you're spending time in the Square. Yet, sometimes, difference do come between people. To discover how to resolve some of life's more trying disagreements, the wise minds of CLASP — that stands for Collaborative Law Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania — and the Collaborative Law Committee of the Allegheny County Bar Association will be holding court in the Square on Thursday to help interested parties discover how to resolve legal disputes such as divorce and other matters without matters getting hot and heavy.

We think that Market Square is already a pretty cool place. But, weather permitting, next Thursday, October 27th, the Mattress Factory will transform part of the Square  into an al fresco art installation as part of their The Space I'm In project. Tamatebako was designed by Japanese artist Yumi Kori and fabricated here in Pittsburgh by Point Park University Technical Director, Michael Essad and Point Park University Costume Supervisor, Joan Markert. Tamatebako is a large-scale enclosed structure, containing columns and "peep holes" of various sizes and widths, which the participants can pop up inside.  The contrast between the red and black fabric makes for a transformative experience. The larger project, The Space I'm In, is a multi-faceted project comprised of several different elements, designed by artists from around the world that uses elements of light, space, and sound to help learners of all ages to examine, experience and better-understand the environment that surrounds them.  Read the Director of Education Elizabeth Keller's thoughts about The Space I'm In project on Art21's blog. So if you're looking to get in touch with the artist within, stop by the Square from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. to check out the space you're in.

Next Thursday will mark the last time around for generous folks from Renewal by Andersen — the main sponsors of the Farmers Market. So make sure you drop by their booth for a last chance to find out how you can save money and enjoy year-round comfort in your home with their outstanding replacement windows. And if you're feeling lucky, enter your name in a raffle to win replacement windows for your home.

You'll also see some of the students from Point Park University reminding us its still Breast Cancer Awareness month so stop by to be pink and proud.

Well, here's a verdict we think would hold up as fair and Square in any court of law — just about every event is Market Square is a grand slam.


The Menu Expands In Market Square

 Let's just say that these days even we need to work overtime to keep up with all the new restaurants opening in and around Market Square. And while most of us can count more than a few of the current eateries among our favorites, the latest entries on the Square offer an even more diverse set of dining options that include everything from fresh takeout sushi to American-style comfort food and regional Italian cuisine from Naples. So get ready to dig in as we introduce you to newest dining hot spots on the Square.

The New Diamond Market Bar & Grill


After a few visits, the New Diamond Market Bar & Grill will be the kind of place where everybody knows your name. Friendly, familiar and fun — that's exactly the atmosphere owners Nick Nicholas and Jim Patrinos —they run Primanti's, too — wanted for their newest restaurant on the Square. Outside, the neon signs light up memory lane while the interior decor delivers a contemporary take on the cozy confines of a 1930s tavern from the Square's rough and tumble past. But not worry, the crowd inside is a good looking mix of casual upscale customers dressed in everything from designer business suits during lunch to Sid "The Kid" Crosby jerseys after a Pens victory.  And with a menu that features everything from comfort food delights like mac and cheese to all-American, man-size, cooked-to-order Angus burgers, you won't leave hungry. And we almost forget to mention a beer lineup so diverse that every day is Oktoberfest.


If you've gone fishing in the Square in the past to reel in some sushi, you probably come up with an empty line. Now, the catch of the day can be found wrapped, rolled and ready to eat at Sinobi2Go. Nicely tucked in on Market Street between the Prantl's/Mancini shop and New Diamond Market Bar & Grill, Sinobi2Go serves a big surprise on the traditional fish dish found in the Square with sushi rolls filled with turn, salmon, yellowfish and even brisket marinated in a spiced sweet Korean barbecue sauce. And for a Korean version of the good old American hotdog, order a Bulgogi Festival, a tasty combo of a wiener topped with Korean barbecue sauce, frank sausage and kimchi, a spicy, pickled slaw, which legend says slows the aging process. They also have a selection of tasty Asian beverages in a case by the check out. There is a small counter for dining in. But Sinobi2Go is aimed at the takeout crowd that wants to dine al fresco in the Square. Stop by on Monday October 17 for their Grand Opening Celebration, free samples of Sushi and Asia Dogs all day and you can register to win Sinobi prizes.

La Cucina Flegrea

Scheduled to up later this month, La Cucina Flegrea is a newcomer to the Square, but savvy city foodies know that chef/owner Anna Fevola delighted diners for nearly a decade at her Squirrel Hill spot next to Jerry's Records. Though Anna's changing her location, she won't tamper with the traditional Naples-flavored recipes that earned her a strong following. Anna promises a menu that is still big on whole fish entrees, veal, and pasta. Now, if you're wondering just where in the Square to find La Cucina Flegrea, you will need to look up at bit as the eatery rises above it all in a second floor space on Graeme Street. Once you go in the doorway next to Bella Sera, it's short walk up the steps to Anna's graceful, yet comfortable bar and lounge where the after-work crowd can unwind on sleek sofas with custom cocktails and find affordable Italian fare. So if you're looking for a "step up" in Italian dining, La Cucina Flegrea is worth the climb.

Of course, work moves on at Vallozzi's on Fifth Avenue, and you check back here for more details about the new restaurant opening in the former Ciao Baby location. Remember, whatever your appetite there's no better deal than a Square meal! 


Welcome To Zombie Square

Normally, we're ready to boast that Market Square is the liveliest place around. After all, just about anytime of the day, there's something great happening in the Square. But this Saturday — from noon- 9 p.m. — the heart of city goes completely "undead" when an expected 5,000-plus bodies rise from the grave for the ghoulish return of Zombie Fest and Walk in the Square.

The "brains" child behind the family friendly Zombie Fest is Mark Menhold, whose unbeautiful mind dreamed up this creepy celebration of the walking dead among us. And just to prove that zombies can indeed be the "life" of a party, there will be ghastly games during the Zombie Olympics, straight from the crypt cuisine that's to die for and death metal hardcore tunes from Four Barrel Ghost and Fistfight in the Parking Lot for a real monster mash. And did we mention that it's all for a good cause?

That's right. While zombies usually prowl for fresh flesh, these walking dead will help feed hungry Pittsburghers with donations of non-perishable food items for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Sure, they might be stone-cold lifeless killers, but you can't say that Pittsburgh's zombies don't have a heart — and if they don't, they'll settle for just about any other body part. Speaking of worthy causes, cash donations will be accepted for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure fund to battle breast cancer.

Just so that everyone has a little skin — not to mention blood and guts — in this game, Zombie Fest 2011 is looking to recapture bragging rights to the world's record for the largest single-day gathering of the undead. Right now, Seattle claims the title at 4,522. So Mark is urging as many of the area's zombies to get working on their worst looks to bring home the crown to the city of the living dead. Best of all, being part of the fun at Zombie Fest's second year in the Square won't cost you an arm and leg — literally — because admission is absolutely free.

If zombie watching is more your style, drop by the Square this Saturday, grab a cafe seat at your favorite Square watering hole or eatery, order your favorite dish and beverage and take in all the gut-busting sights during this one of a kind invasion of the world's most lovable creatures from the crypt. Who knows, you might even end up dancing in the street with a zombie conga line.

For the full schedule of events check out the official website: PittsburghZombieFest.com