The owners of Atria’s and Juniper Grill are opening a grab-and-go barbecue joint in the Strip District later this month, offering Pittsburgh a stripped-down version of their usual full-service business model.
Choppin’ Block BBQ & Smokehouse opens on June 21, bringing wings, ribs, pulled pork, turkey, brisket, sausage links, bone-in chicken and an array of side dishes to lunchtime crowds.
Located at 2627 Penn Ave. in the former Opening Night Caterers facility and next to Savoy, the 480-square-foot eatery is set up like a deli, with walk-up counter service and outdoor seating available Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Bryce Stanford, the longtime executive chef at Juniper Grill’s Murrysville location, will bring his expertise to the new fast-casual restaurant. In addition to his stint at Juniper Grill, Stanford also served as executive chef at Iron Bridge Inn in Mercer.
“Chef Bryce has always had a passion for good — let me reword that — outstanding barbecue,” says Stephanie Holbrook, director of catering.
At Choppin’ Block, Bryce will prepare meats using five different homemade barbecue sauces. He’ll also be serving side dishes including Frito Pie, which is a gooey mix of homemade chili, Fritos corn chips, cheese, sour cream and choice of meat.
For folks who want a quick, but healthy, bite, Choppin’ Block will offer some lighter fare, such as house and seasonal salads and BBQ Bowls based with couscous.
Is this the beginning of a mini-chain? Depending on the popularity of the Strip District location, Holbrook says patrons could see more Choppin’ Blocks popping up around the city.
“The goal,” she says, “is to always open more.”