Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rivers Casino Table Games are Here Soon!

The nearby Rivers Casino is set to launch table gaming on July 8, 2010. The new games will include blackjack, poker, craps, roulette and many others. Located a mile to the West of The Priory, with The Priory's complimentary parking and unfettered access to your car, the Rivers Casino is a quick and easy drive from the Priory. You don't even have to cross a river! And with The Priory's new Rivers Casino Package, which includes vouchers for slots gaming, a $50 certificate for use in the bars and restaurants in the casino (including the fabulous Andrew's Steakhouse), lottery tickets, and other goodies, a stay at The Priory is a no brainer if you'd like to try your luck at the tables!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Killer Joe" Opens at New Hazlett Theater

"Killer Joe," an explosive drama by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tracy Letts, opened at the New Hazlett Theater on June 24. It runs through July 10. The New Hazlett is located just blocks from The Priory, and presents a variety of inventive works, from plays with nationally known actors to music and performance art by artists from around the world.

The action follows a police detective who moonlights as a hired killer who encounters a family who wants to hire him to terminate the family matriarch with extreme prejudice.

Here is a 1998 New York Times review of a New York production of "Killer Joe" (which was first produced in 1993).

Some of the performances will be accompanied by music performed by Pittsburgh's Joe Grushecky, a frequent Bruce Springsteen collaborator.

Monday, June 28, 2010

US Women's Open in Pittsburgh in July!

The US Women's Open returns to Pittsburgh July 5 through 11, along with stars Michelle Wie Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel. The offical rounds start July 8, with the Championship rounds on Saturday July 10 and Sunday July 11. As with the men's Open in 2006, the Women's Open is being hosted by Oakmont Country Club, just to the Northeast of the city and an easy 12 mile drive from the Priory. If you're thinking about coming to town to watch the best women golfers in the world, we still have guest room availability (though Saturday the 10th is going fast, as it is also the Dave Matthews concert at PNC Park!). With our complimentary parking, it's an easy commute from the North Side's concentration of activities to Oakmont's historic links.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Regatta 2010 is Here Next Weekend!

The Three Rivers Regatta, the annual celebration of our waterways, is set to launch on July 2 through 4 - next weekend. The festivities include powerboat races, skydiving exhibitions, an "everything that floats" spectacular, concerts (including country star Craig Morgan and Beatlemania), and, of course, fireworks. The festivities take place in Point State Park downtown and on the North Shore (our side of the river) by Heinz Field. It's a fun and event filled weekend, and most of the events are free, so it's well worth a look.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Pittsburgh Vodka Story

When you think of Vodka, you think of Russia, Sweden, Finland, Poland, perhaps France, and . . . Pittsburgh? Maybe not Pittsburgh. But if you have the vision of Prentiss Orr and Barry Young, you do think that. Prentiss and Barry have built, from the ground up, a fabulous brand of potato vodka, Boyd & Blair. The vodka is distilled in a plant in nearby Millvale, and is exquisite for its smooth drinkability. You can find it in liquor stores and taverns throughout the state. If you're a fan of vodka, it would be crime not to try it.

The Boyd & Blair story is one of the amazing threads that makes Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers an endlessy fascinating place to visit and investigate.

Read Prentiss' and Barry's story, courtesy of Pop City, here.
See Dave & Dave's, from WQED, our local public television station, television report on Boyd & Blar for On Q Magazine here.

John Graf on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live

Click below to check out the video from today's segment on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live featuring our Winter White Wedding Giveaway!

Winter White Wedding Giveaway!

Our Winter White Wedding Giveaway is back - and this year it's better than ever! We are announcing the contest LIVE today on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live (check back for the video). KDKA is on board this year as our promotional sponsor and they'll be providing some great coverage of the contest and event! We also have several other sponsors stepping including Henne Jewelers, who will provide the rings, Izzazu Salon, who will be doing the bride's hair and many others who have offered up a tux, bridal gown, limo, flowers and more!

The Graf Family, owners of The Priory Hospitality Group, have given away a free Winter White™ Wedding the past two years to a veteran of the Iraq or Afghanistan War. This year the contest is no different, see details below:

Winter White™ Wedding Giveaway is open to any current or former member of the Air Force, Army, Marines or Navy, reserve units of those branches, or any National Guard unit, who has deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 and who is residing or has resided in any of the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland.

The winner will be announced at a special event later this year and the lucky couple will receive a complimentary Winter White™ Wedding reception at Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at The Priory in January, February or March of 2011. The winning couple will be drawn at random from the qualified entries.

The Winter White™ Wedding package celebrates winter by transforming the Grand Hall's magnificent room into a frosted wonderland with special decor and table settings, reminiscent of a German Christmas or Weihnachten. The special decor features 17-foot tall faux birch trees and a dance floor transformed into a fanciful skating rink. In addition to a full wedding reception, the package includes a special wedding night guestroom package at The Priory Hotel and a wedding cake from the Priory Fine Pastries.

To enter, please complete the back of this flyer and send to:
Winter White Wedding Giveaway

The Priory Hotel, 614 Pressley St.,
Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"I looked at Philly . . . but it was too dirty."

The words above belong to Rob de la Cretaz (that's an awfully cool name, BTW), a tech guru from New Jersey, describing why he chose to move to Pittsburgh over Philadelphia (and Boston and San Francisco). He lives in the up and coming neighborhood of Lawrenceville, just to the Northeast of downtown, and has taken to the city like a fish in water. Read his story, written by Elaine LaBalme of Pop City, here, which has some resonance for those looking for the best in the region -- sometimes it takes a new set of eyes for you to see what's right in front of you.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Don't Forget About NorthSide Now!

The latest issue of NorthSide Now! magazine has hit the streets, with interesting stories on the North Side's "Charm Bracelet" project, trying to physically connect the many cultural assets of the North Side, and an essay on the Allegheny Riverfront Park. Children's Museum Executive Director Jane Werner is on the cover, with two of her young customers.

Be sure to visit the companion website,, which offers a plethora of information on what's happening on the North Side.

The next issue of NorthSide Now! magazine is slated for publication in late July, featuring former Steeler great Franco Harris. Be sure to keep an eye open for it!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Just Don't Drive Your Boat Under Any Bridges

Dave Matthews and his eponymous Band make an appearance with the Zac Brown Band at nearby PNC Park on July 10. Dave is a local favorite, making at least one or two appearances a summer in Pittsburgh. The Priory is located less than a hop, skip and a jump from PNC Park (more like a hop and a skip), so stop by to see us if in town for the concert.

It is reported that Dave and the band will be traveling in their tour bus, however, so it is recommended that you keep your boat away from any bridges near the ballpark until they clear out.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Flying High at the National Aviary

The National Aviary, located just a short walk from The Priory, is the nation's premier bird zoo. The Aviary has been on an aggressive expansion campaign for the past several years, having opened the Penguin Point exhibit last year (with up close interaction with South African penguins!) and the Grasslands exhibit this year. The Aviary will be shortly opening up a new avian theater, where visitors can view fantastic feats from the trained birds. The Aviary is an ever-changing canvas, and is well worth a visit when you're in town.

See here for a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article on the Aviary's expansion.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Best Restaurants Announced

Pittsburgh Magazine has released its "Best Restaurants" issue, naming the Top 25 restaurants in the region, as well as classifying the best by cuisine category, and naming a cadre of "Classics" which are restaurants which are flat out excellent year in, year out.

Among some of my favorites listed are the Big Burrito Group's Eleven, Kaya and Soba. Eleven has an inventive, continental-themed menu with super-fresh ingredients and impeccable service. Its attention to detail is immaculate, and the service is as professional as any in the city. Soba offers a soothing environment, with and Asian fusion cuisine and an absolutely killer bar which opens onto Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. Kaya is located on Smallman Street in the Strip District, and features Caribbean cuisine in a hip, open space.

Some new additions which I've blogged on in Restaurant Row include Toast!, Avenue B and Pangea. All are excellent and well worth a visit.

One favorite in the Legends category is the Carlton, located downtown. The Carlton is a classic, with exquisitely prepared fresh fish and chops, typically offered with an inventive sauce. It's wine list is extensive, and its serving staff is exceptionally knowledgeable.

It's always interesting to go through the listings to see which restaurants were included and which were not, and some of those left off are worth arguing for. In any event, though, the Best Restaurants list provides some fodder for what to try and where to go in the Pittsburgh culinary scene, and you usually can't go wrong with any restaurant on the list.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

McCartney to Open Consol Energy Center

Former Beatle Paul McCartney is returning to Pittsburgh after a long hiatus to perform the inaugural concert at the new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Consol Energy Center. the concert is set for Wednesday, August 18; tickets go on sale on June 15. McCartney last performed in Pittsburgh in 1990; his lone visit prior to that was with the Beatles at the now vacated Civic (Mellon) Arena in 1964.

McCartney is obviously a world icon, and the city is looking forward to hosting him. Here's to an exciting kick-off to a beautiful new building!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Miss Saigon at the Benedum Center

Miss Saigon, the hugely popular Broadway musical about a doomed love during the Vietnam War, opened at the Benedum Center theater on June 8 and runs until June 20. The production is being staged by the Pittsburgh Civic Light Orchestra, which always puts on highly professional shows, and Miss Saigon is certainly worth a look if you're in Pittsburgh and want a taste of the cultural district. You can order tickets directly through the CLO website.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June Outdoor Wine Tasting in Priory Courtyard

Our next Priory Hotel wine tasting in our garden courtyard is Thursday June 17. Our wine host is Joe Barsotti of Barsotti Wines. Our tasting theme this time is the wines of LaMancha, the region of Spain which was home to Cervantes' famous character, Don Quixote. The wines we are tasting are all from the Bodega Finca Antigua winery:

Viura Blanco 2008

Garnacha 2007

Tempranillo 2007

Crianza 2006 (50% Tempranillo / 20%Cabernet Sauvignon / 20% Merlot & Syrah)

As always, the wines are paired with some scrumptious offerings from our chefs, Mike Henney and Pete Phillipy. For June, we are offering

A warm cheese fondue display throughout the event

Pairing No. 1: Seafood Sausage on Pita Chip w/ Pesto Cream Cheese

Pairing No. 2: Seared Pork Tenderloin w/ Onion Marmalade

Pairing No. 3: Smoked Duck on Zucchini Bread Crouton

Pairing No. 4: Sesame Marinated Sirloin Brochette w/ Soy Glaze

Tickets are $50 apiece, and may be purchased by telephoning our Gene Lucente at 412 323-9394, or by e-mailing Gene at

If It's the Art Festival, It Must be Raining!

Ceramic Artist Tim Peters now showing at the Three Rivers Arts Festival; above left - Kris Kristofferson; above right - Patty Griffin

The 50th edition of the Three Rivers Arts Festival kicked off last week and will run until Sunday June 13. Though known for its battles with the forces of nature, it looks like the weather for this coming week will be temperate and pleasant. Concentrated in the vicinity of Point State Park and Gateway Center, the festival offers a variety of displayed paintings and photography, along with food and an expansive artisans' village. Look for Florida-based ceramic artist Tim Peters, who stays with us every year. Tim is a hugely talented fellow and a heck of a nice guy. You can be sure that you will come home with a beautiful ceramic piece if you patronize him.

Kids are in the mix too, as there is an extensive mix of art-related activities and crafts for children.

You'll also want to catch the free concert line-up. Highlights through the end of the week include Kris Kristofferson on June 11 and Patty Griffin on June 13, as well as a wide spectrum of local talent. Concerts take place in Point State Park.

Monday, June 7, 2010

American League Invades PNC Park

The Pittsburgh Pirates, our scrappy young Major League Baseball team, gets its first visits of the year from American League ballclubs in June. First up, on June 15 -17, are the Chicago White Sox, a team we don't see too often in Pittsburgh. The team from the Windy City's South Side is 20-27. The Sox are led by outfielder Alex Rios (9 HR, .309 BA) and slugging first baseman Paul Konerko.

Next up from the American League are the Cleveland Indians, on June 18-21. Cleveland is 17-28, and struggling a bit. The Pirates play well at home, so both this and the White Sox matchups figure to be competitive series for the Bucs.

The Priory is located only a ten minute walk from PNC Park, and our Pirateball Package offers some real value for those who are Pirate fans or who just want to visit what many say is the best ballpark in America.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Final Carlton Restaurant Wine Dinners for Summer 2010

Kevin Joyce, Proprietor, Carlton Restaurant

The Carlton Restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh consistently offers among the best, most professional service in the city and one of the most creative, well executed menus. It's extensive wine list is legendary, and the Carlton is a personal favorite of mine.
The Carlton is, unfortunately (from my standpoint; fortunately from their standpoint) taking a hiatus while the restaurant undergoes a massive renovation starting in the end of June. This means no Carlton wine dinners for a while. The two swan song wine dinners for the summer are on June 11 and June 18, and the proceeds of the wine dinners go to the restaurant's staff while they await the restaurant's re-opening in the fall. One of the dinners features a taste of an '81 Chateau Margaux, a rarity if there ever was one.
If in Pittsburgh on these dates, treat yourself to one or both of these dinners. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Take that, San Francisco!

Forbes Magazine in May ranked Pittsburgh as the most liveable city in the United States. The factors the magazine considered included access to arts and recreation, cost of living, health care and proximity of major universities (University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne and many others). Pittsburgh was ranked number 10 last year, so the jump in 2010 was substantial.

By the by, here is another interesting story from Forbes about why Pittsburgh deserved to host last September's G-20 conference.

Friday, June 4, 2010

"Urban Dreams" Art Show at Fein Art Gallery

The Fein Art Gallery, located just a few blocks away in Deutschtown's East Ohio Street business district, is hosting its latest show "Urban Dreams." Sponsored by the Pittsburgh Society of Artists, "Urban Dreams" "calls upon artists to express the hopes and fears of globalization as it relates to our own urban environments." The Fein Art Gallery one of several anchor businesses along East Ohio owned all or in part by Bruce Klein, which includes the Photo Antiquities Museum and Bernie's Photo Center.

The Opening reception is set for this evening, June 4, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Fein Gallery

Thursday, June 3, 2010

GM Tim McGlothlin Runner Up for Statewide Award

Our own Tim McGlothlin, General Manager of the Priory Hotel-Pittsburgh, was the runner up for the statewide General Manager of the Year in the Spirit of Hospitality Awards awarded by the Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association. Tim was runner up to Rob Howell of the Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort of the Delaware Water Gap.
Tim was named Manager of the Year by the Greater Pittsburgh Hotel Association in January. We're very proud of Tim for his hard work ethic and commitment to customer service!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What's Up at the Warhol?

The Andy Warhol Museum, located just four blocks from the Priory, is winding up some of its more titillating exhibits of recent vintage this month. The "Playboy Redux: Contemporary Artists Interpret the Iconic Playboy Bunny" and "Bunny Yeager: The Legendary Queen of Pin-Up" special exhibits, both of which debuted in March, are ending their runs on June 19-20. If you're not interested in the special exhibits, the Warhol Museum offers a fantastic array of permanent exhibits which draw visitors from all over the world. Click here for more information on Warhol Museum special exhibits.