5 Pittsburgh Pop-Ups to Watch

Where exactly do pop-ups pop up? The pop-up is a cost-friendly option for chefs with a vision before they open their own restaurant. Pittsburgh food scene darling Fet-Fisk began as a pop-up of Chef Nik Forsberg. Last time I dined there, someone said they had “been coming to it since it was a pop-up.” Pop-ups are a sort of early investment in an idea. In turn, that allows them to be much more conceptual and zanier. They’re extremely word of mouth—one of the few things in modern life that operates through that sort of serendipity. Through a combination of my own foot traffic and an Instagram survey of friends and colleagues, I’ve compiled five pop-ups to follow in Pittsburgh.

Les Deux

With their motto “Good Taste is a Moral Obligation,” espresso popup Les Deux makes a lofty promise. I encountered Les Deux at a pop-up at vintage design store Not Usual Studios and had a perfectly rich and balanced Americano that definitely fulfilled its moral obligation to good taste. The coffee cart’s title, meaning “the two” in French, references that it’s run by two friends who prefer the flexibility and ease of the pop-up cart over a physical store. They have a commitment to “quality, craftsmanship, and good taste were esteemed over what was common or easy” and believe that “those things satisfy the soul, and that beauty is something we need in our daily life.” They’re also available for catering at any event.


SHAG is the project of former Carnegie Museum of Art curatorial assistant Hannah Turpin, recommended to TABLE by Silver Eye Center of Photography curator Helen Trompeteler. Turpin says SHAG is a “a queer community space centered on serving top notch boozy-bevvies and mocktails amidst a high design retro atmosphere that makes you feel as though you’ve escaped to a utopia of friends, lovers and self.” Turpin has been building out a moodboard of concept through the Instagram that highlights queer history and femme aesthetics. Her sensibilities as a photography curator come through. I’m excited to see what Turpin brings in the summer 2024 hard launch of the pop-up.

To You

To You is a series of intimate dinners staged by Chef Devin Tucker. He describes it as “focused around the wonderful people and places I have worked at” and a “celebration of their contributions to the service industry and also the abundance of wonderful communities in Pittsburgh they help grow and support.” TABLE reader and former South Side Z:Lounge owner Courtney Rehak recommended this to me. Courtney had steak and grilled romaine salad at Tucker’s May version of it in Station. The next iteration, with a new menu, will be at EYV in Deutschtown on June 25th.

Bridge City Brinery

Bridge City Brinery may very well soon become part of a physical space. The owners are crowdfunding a coffee shop and restaurant through Honeycomb Credit. Many pop-ups eventually reach this stage, and the crowdfunding offers chefs an opportunity to start independently owned businesses rather than focusing on investors’ wants. As a food truck, though, you can find City Brinery serving burgers like The Honky-Tonk Hellraiser (pickle brined fried chicken thigh, chipotle sorghum BBQ Sauce. roasted apple mayo, sweet & spicy pickle napa cabbage) or the simply named Vegan One (Braised Mushroom Patties. Fresh Herb Chimichurri. Soy Pickled Carrot and Daikon. Marinated Cucumber). Writer and TABLE contributor Zara Yost clued me into this one!

’77 Club Pizza

’77 Club Pizza, a project of couple Dustin Boutillier and Brittani Pascal, makes custom personal pizzas with concepts like the “Plantasia” (Bulgarian Feta, roasted garlic, and arugula), Toda Las Flores (spinach cilantro chutney, peas, roasted carrot purée, crisp potato), or The Shutout (celeriac purée / fontina, black pepper / grana). Writer and gallerist Margaret Kross told TABLE about this place. it most recently held hours at Two Frays Brewery in Garfield but will also take orders. Their Instagram also has a “77 Club Pizza Bites” playlist. The vibe of ’77 Club pizza bites is apparently DEVO, Talking Heads, Lily Allen, and a British indie rock cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire.” This is a master class in the eclectic specificity of the pop-up.

Story by Emma Riva / Photography via Les Deux

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