Eat: Four new menus at Smallman Galley

The biggest opening in Pittsburgh this week is actually four openings. Smallman Galley, the unique launchpad for ambitious chefs and new restaurants, opens its doors on Tuesday, December 15th  with four separate restaurants run by four different chefs. Created by former Navy Lieutenants Tyler Benson and Ben Mantica, Smallman Galley gives the chefs spaces to cook the menu of their dreams.

Perhaps more importantly, it also provides them with essential training in everything from writing business plans to leasing a storefront. If all goes well, their 18-month tenure at Smallman Galley will lead right into a restaurant of their own.

Tomorrow, the first group of chefs will debut their diverse concepts. Try beef cheeks and grits at Stephen Eldridge’s meat-focused Provision PGH, or put vegetables at the center of your plate at Jessica Lewis’s Carota Café. Rafael Vencio takes a global approach to classic American comfort food at Aubergine Bistro, and Jacqueline Wardle is creating the greatest things on sliced bread at Josephine’s Toast.

But Smallman Galley encourages you to think “and” rather than “or,” with a communal setup based on European food halls. Diners can order from any or all of the restaurants, then grab wine, local beer and cocktails from a central bar (run by Will Groves). The space will be constantly changing as chefs refine and rework their concepts—and after a year and a half, a new crop of hungry chefs will take over.

Smallman Galley will be open all week with limited hours, posted over on their Facebook page.

Drink: Stumptown Coffee at Ace Hotel

There are lots of good things to eat and drink at East Liberty’s new Ace Hotel. You could snack on the decadent butcher’s plate (it featured bacon jam and lamb rillettes the night we dined) at the Whitfield, the hotel’s meat-focused restaurant. You could drink locally from your room’s minibar, which is stocked with tiny bottles of Wigle rye whiskey and Pittsburgh Winery wine. And for coffee geeks, the lobby’s espresso bar is a welcome addition to Pittsburgh’s rapidly growing coffee scene.

Like their seven other hotels around the world, the Ace Hotel Pittsburgh will brew beans from Stumptown Coffee Roasters. The iconic Portland roaster, founded by Duane Sorenson in 1999, is often credited with revolutionizing coffee in America, sourcing beans responsibly and roasting them carefully. And now the Ace is bringing the celebrated beans to Pittsburgh.

The lobby coffee bar, which opens every day at 6 a.m., serves up espresso drinks and cold brew on a nitro tap. And the Ace not only tolerates non-guests hanging out in their lobby—they encourage it. “We want this to be a space for everybody in the community,” explains Khuong Phan, who heads up food and beverage communications for the Ace. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi and programs nightly entertainment in the lobby, positioning themselves as a gathering space for the community as well as tourists.

Read more about the Ace here.

Do: Snap up cheap tickets for the Pittsburgh Winter Beerfest

Another season, another beer festival. On February 26th and 27th, the Pittsburgh Winter Beerfest will return to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. And for a limited time, Early Admission tickets are available for the price of a regular ticket, meaning an extra hour of beer at no extra cost.

Beerfest is one of the biggest beer festivals in Pittsburgh. Last year’s lineup featured more than 300 craft beers from around the country, including cracks at coveted brews like Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin and Bell’s Hopslam. And a portion of the proceeds goes to support Animal Rescue Partners, meaning your blowout evening of beer guzzling is not (well, not totally) self-indulgent.

Normally, Early Admission tickets—which grant you access to all the beers an hour early—cost $55 in advance. But for a limited time, you can pick one up for just $45, the cost of a regular ticket. ‘Tis the season for free extra time to drink tiny mugs of delicious beer!

Get more information and purchase tickets here.