Museums typically showcase art in carefully curated rooms. At Mattress Factory, however, the room itself is the art. Since 1977, the museum's two buildings have housed a permanent collection of contemporary installation art—room-sized works that engulf the entire space. In Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Dots Mirrored Room, mirrored ceilings and walls infinitely reflect a trio of fluorescent dots painted on a white formica floor. In Greer Lankton's It's all about ME, Not You, astroturf lines a floor covered in artful arrangements of grotesque dolls that form shrines to artists such as Patti Smith and Candy Darling.
To further immerse guests, Mattress Factory's exhibitions are paired with educational programs that range from lectures to hands-on art projects. Along with stimulating the public, the museum stimulates the growth of artists through its residency program, which invites participants to create installations while living near the museum, a much more practical alternative to hiding a secret cot in the coatroom.
It's hard to miss Hog's Head Bar & Grill?locales know it affectionately as "the pig bar", owing to the glowing porcine-shaped signs that flank the rustic exterior. Inside, things are just as quaint and twice as cozy: the wood paneled dining room welcomes guests to settle and sup on upscale pub classics like black angus burgers or hearty steak and egg sandwiches, served on hoagie rolls. There are pizzas too?seven specialty pies to be exact, all hand-tossed and dotted with toppings that range from sun-dried tomatoes to scallops. Also inviting is the wrap-around bar, where patrons can slide onto a bar stool to sip draft beers and watch the game as it plays out on overhead TVs or in the reflective sunglasses of the person sitting across from them.
Chef Dan Bartow, along with his wife, mother-in-law, and other skilled cooks, know how to keep people coming to their restaurant, Legends of the North Shore. Their delicious Italian cooking attracts locals as well as patrons from all over the tri-state area. If you plan to stop by as well, know that they are open from 11AM to 8PM Monday, 11AM to 9PM Tuesday – Thursday, 11AM to 930PM Friday, and 4PM to 930PM Saturday. Legends isn’t cheap, but to their credit they do offset their prices by allowing customers to bring their own beer, so you won’t be gouged on alcohol like at most restaurants. Instead of depending on drinks to turn a profit, Chef Bartow and company have stayed in business for over a decade by the merit of their food alone.
Modern Cafe is an ironic name for an establishment that's been around for more than 80 years, especially since it serves up a menu of such timeless fare. The sandwich-centric selection features classics such as reubens, an award-winning gyro, and tuna melts alongside Mediterranean staples including gyro salads and pita chips with hummus and tzatziki. The noteworthy Spartan sandwich packs in so much steak, gyro meat, veggies, cheeses, and tzatziki sauce that it's wrapped like a gyro rather than folded like a conventional sandwich or jammed inside an after-dinner mint.
Modern Cafe also offers dozens of whiskeys and vodkas and more than 140 types of beer, with varieties from Penn Brewery, Great Lakes, and Bell's frequently among the 12 tap selections. Besides the cafe's allure as a hangout with TVs, a dart machine, and an internet jukebox, it's also a beacon for movie buffs looking to visit one of the filming locations for Wonder Boys.
Wednesday-Night Wine Flights merge science and education, two ideas that have been divided since a series of high-school chemistry teachers was arrested for dancing on laboratory tables in 1987. Sample three wines that have been hand-selected to complement three Cassis appetizers. Small-plate possibilities from the menu of French-influenced American fare include dumplings, baked brie on toasted baguette slices, and black-olive tapenade with sliced radish dippers. The owner and head chef selects wine and food pairings a week prior to each flight, so if you'd like to know what comestibles are coming, check the Cassis Facebook page on Tuesday evening, or simply call ahead.
Carmi Family Restaurant has walls, tables, and its very own kitchen?at first glance, these factors make it a run-of-the-mill establishment. But this brick-and-mortar restaurant arose out of overwhelming demand and governmental petitions for chef Michael King's southern soul food, which he originally prepared through his catering operation, Catering Kings. As buzz about on-the-go soul food swept the area, King and his wife "became victims of their success" and were forced to open their own storefront, according to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Pittsburgh City Paper's reviewers slaked their appetites on "terrific" waffles and chicken with a "thick, heavily seasoned crust that provided plenty of crunch." The author of Baking, domesticity, and all things mini polished off "every last crumb" of the gravy-drenched meatloaf and buttered up the staff who were "friendly and charming right from the start."