“Any restaurant coming to Braddock, Pa., just outside Pittsburgh, would be cause for local celebration,” writes The New York Times. “Superior Motors has blown past all expectations.”
In a short, descriptive article about the restaurant in the Sunday travel section, writer Michael Meyer begins with the iconic Joe Magarac statue in Braddock: “A 15-foot man guards the entrance to U.S. Steel’s lone remaining Pittsburgh plant, smiling as he bends a rail with his bare hands.”
Braddock has been a food desert until recently, notes the writer. “The last place serving food was the canteen at the local hospital, which shuttered in 2010.”
Then Kevin Sousa opened Superior Motors which became a runaway hit in no time, named by Food + Wine as one of the top 10 restaurants in the country.
There’s good reason for that, writes Meyers.
“The restaurant’s modern American menu, created by the chef Kevin Sousa, walks the tightrope between down-home and elegant, serving stick-to-your-ribs dishes like roast duck with Swiss chard, and lighter, inventive fare including cold slices of raw cobia steeping in a shallow broth of spicy tomatillo, garnished with an avocado mousse.”
Sousa is quoted as saying,“We don’t take ourselves too seriously. It’s fine dining without being fussy or overly delicate. You don’t look at it and go, ‘I don’t even know where to start.’ You want to eat it.” He garnished “eat” with an expletive, notes the author.
Meyers mentions one of the menu’s most popular items, Crispy Pig Face, whose “pithy name belies its long prep time of smoking pork heads and shoulders.”
And he writes about how John Fetterman and Sousa walked around Braddock and Sousa fell in love with the place. In the print version, he says borough mayor John Fetterman is running for governor but it’s correct in the online story that he is running for lieutenant governor.
Sousa tells his story of moving into an old warehouse a few blocks away. “I had this idea of creating a restaurant that wasn’t chasing trends, but one that had no choice but to represent a place and time. Luckily people went for it.”
When banks rejected him, he turned to Kickstarter, where he set a record for raising $310,225 to break ground, writes Meyers.
“With Chris Clark, his general manager and an alum of New York’s beloved, shuttered, WD-50, Mr. Sousa oversaw every detail, down to the place settings, which include silverware balanced atop pieces of powder-coated c-channel steel.”
The description continues with the restaurant opening in one of America’s first indoor car dealerships, converted to the main dining room of exposed brick and board form concrete, and “lit by cylindrical bamboo sconces that echo the smokestacks across the street. Alternating between bites of the crispy salmon with sorrel, and the savory chicken with morels, my 6-year-old stared, rapt, out the plate glass windows at the blast furnace’s gas flares rending the nighttime sky.”
The writer also notes that more than half the staff are Braddock natives and borough residents eat for half-price.