In the early 1900s, Allegheny County sent its juvenile delinquents to Thorn Hill School for Boys in then-rural Wexford.
A new restaurant near the historic site will pay homage to those boys with scratch-made food, draft beer, whiskey and moonshine and a “Rebel Without a Cause” aesthetic. But feel free to bring your kids.
Thorn Hill Tap House is set to open in March on VIP Drive, just off of I-79. The eatery occupies 4,600 square feet of the former Kings Family Restaurant, which also houses a Starbucks Coffee and a Bank of America. Thorn Hill will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and late-night cocktails.
Owners Marc and Robin Teklinski thought the area lacked a food-forward, family-friendly establishment where adults could enjoy a good beer.
There will be seating for 165, including 20 barstools and a year-round patio. During warmer months, the garage doors can be opened to let in the summer breeze. A space near the front entrance will handle to-go and third-party delivery orders. Worth noting: Takeout containers are compostable and fluorine-free.
Marc Teklinski, a South Hills native, has spent a lifetime in the restaurant business.
His parents ran the 1902 Landmark Tavern in Market Square and the Viking Inn on Banksville Road, and Teklinski carried on the family tradition by earning a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Purdue University. His career took him from the Las Vegas Strip to a 20-year stint at Primanti Bros. About a year ago he branched off on his own.
He knows the public, with boundless options for dining out, is concerned about where their food is coming from.
At Thorn Hill Tap House, the spotlight will shine on gourmet burgers. Customers can choose a beef patty with a signature blend of chuck, brisket and short rib, cage- and hormone-free chicken or an Impossible Burger. Other menu items include hand-chopped salads and upscale pub offerings that are fresh, never frozen.
There will be 18 taps at the bar pouring local and craft brews and an assortment of whiskey and moonshine … beverages those Thorn Hill boys might have snuck into the dorms after a long day of working in the fields.
“As we were researching this area, they’re what inspired us,” Marc Teklinski says. “Our concept is essentially those hard workers and the rural, nitty-gritty history of this area through Prohibition times.”