Smoky Bones Bar & Fire Grill

Smoky Bones is a Florida-based mid-sized restaurant chain that has enjoyed some popularity throughout the United States for a few years. Mostly it does Kansas City-style barbecue with a variety of meats and a host of “Yankee sweet “sauces. In the south, barbecue chains tend to be pretty popular, but the north has a smaller number of chains with takes on the American classic. So how does this one stack up? Well, it depends on what you order.

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Pizza Milano

As the bustling Pittsburgh metro area has grown, its insatiable appetite for pizza has meant the fast growth of a lot of pizza shops around town. So it has been with Pizza Milano, a medium-range delivery and dine-in pizza chain which has now grown to five locations around the city. This spot’s take out pizza business is a boon both to college students and people around the city who love to dine in, and while you’ll find something a little different at each location, it’s all-in-all a pleasant place to eat.

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Olive or Twist

Downtown Pittsburgh abounds with great nightlife destinations, and Olive or Dive, along Sixth Street a stone’s throw from the river and many of the most exciting downtown venues, is among them. This spot offers a classy mix of martinis and live music to go with its upscale concept. With a section for a lively bar to listen to local acts, as well as a dining area that still feels intimate, this spot knows what to do with a compact space. It’s a nice spot for a date or a group of friends, at the same time.

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Church Brew Works

The craft beer boom has meant new breweries are popping up all over the place. Oftentimes new brewers get creative with the real estate; from long-vacant industrial spaces to innocuous strip malls, farmhouses, and old fashioned barns, you find craft beer spots just about anywhere. But to blow everyone else out of the water in creative re-use? Go for an old church building. So it is with Church Brew Works, sitting inside this massive old chapel in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, this one serves food and local beer into the late hours with its fearless motto: “And on the eighth day … man created beer.”

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Rivertowne

With something of a sports bar feel, Rivertowne attracts people to its four locations across Pittsburgh with an assortment of its own craft beers and apps that fill up the numerous Pittsburgh fans while rooting for their favorite Black and Yellow teams. The high-traffic locations where you find this spot often leave long lines, especially on game day, but I wasn’t attracted by the charm that brought others in the doors. The food is sloppy and the beers are forgettable.

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Harris Grill

As Shadyside has rapidly developed in east Pittsburgh, its new restaurant concepts have thrived with the advent of many new concepts springing up. Harris Grill does burgers, sandwiches, and other contemporary cuisine like few others. But where this spot really thrives, though, is in a very favorite meal where it faces stiff competition in this city: brunch. But in spite of the great well-known national brunch corners of Steel City, this spot holds its own handsomely.

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Steel Cactus

While the South Side in Pittsburgh has traditionally been beat known for its nightlife, many of those popular bars crowded during the weekend also have some of the most interesting restaurant concepts emerging in the city. Steel Cactus, a colorful Tex Mex concept, brings simple, high quality dishes like tacos and burritos to play with excellent ingredients for a delicious result. Steel Cactus might look like a spot you’d only frequent for a drink when the game is on, but it’s got an interesting set of foods to try that should not be ignored.

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Franktuary

Now with two spots and a food truck in the Pittsburgh area, Franktuary is sort of a funny concept. It’s the idea of a few Pittsburgh folks who decided it would be just splendid to have a church-themed bar. The menu is near-impossible to describe, thanks in part to the fact that they change the menu every day. What you can be sure of, though, is that you’ll find some really great hot dog options on the menu, and Sundays are a must-do for great brunch.

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Savory Hill (CLOSED)

Eastern Pittsburgh is served by a small but highly specialized bistro called Savory Hill. Nestled in the foothills of Moon Township, this spot is the brainchild of Tom Langan, who was formerly the executive chef at Heinz Field, and a name many Steelers fans may recognize, who left the organization to start his own restaurant. It’s the kind of story you can really get behind from the outset, but the fact is that the restaurant has the quality and the masterful use of ingredients that makes it stand out on its own.

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La Prima Espresso Co.

A downtown Pittsburgh coffee stand that brings a pleasant coffee experience to the crowded Strip District, La Prima Espresso Co. is a very old-fashioned coffee shop. Drop into this standing room-only spot along the one of the strip’s side avenues, and you’ll be treated to locally brewed and hand-made coffee creations. So take a cup and grab a table with a friend, you won’t regret it.

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