Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Porch - Oakland

I had a chance to get out to Eat N Park Hospitality Group's new concept restaurant The Porch at Schenley in Oakland. Located in Schenley Plaza, The Porch is virtually in the heart of the University of Pittsburgh campus. A lot of thought went into The Porch's architectural and interior design, especially given its prominent spot on Forbes Avenue, directly across from the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Chapel on the Pitt campus. It is a wide open building, with the kitchen visible from the bar and the bar visible from the whole of the dining room. It features floor to ceiling windows surrounded by flat, rustic stones. There is an abundance of outdoor seating as well. The building is apparently certified as LEED Silver.

The menu is simple and tasty -- comfort food with oomph. I had the rib eye steak (about $19) with fried and roasted potatoes and found it exemplary: though not super thick, the meat was incredibly flavorful and cooked just right (medium rare in my case). They also offer duck and pork main course items that looked quite tasty. The Porch has a long list of "This and That," which are there version of small plates. I did not have a chance to try them, but a number of them looked good -- cornbread in a skillet or shrimp and grits.

The Porch also specializes in a variety of pizzas, which are reportedly very flavorful with an excellent crust.

Here is the Porch's dinner menu.

Service was very good. We arrived late (after a terrible banquet meal at a different Oakland establishment), and they were happy to receive us.

The Porch is an exceptional addition to the Pittsburgh dining scene -- it's a beautiful space with simple, well executed foods

For Pittsburgh Magazine's view on the restaurant, click here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Priory is designated as "Bronze" Bicycle Friendly Business

Priory Hospitality Group is pleased and proud to be recognized recently as a "Bronze" "Bike Friendly Business" by the League of American Cyclists, a national organization based in Washington, DC dedicated to advocating for bicycle ridership and safety.  We won this award based upon our installing bicycle securing facilities, such as racks and bike shelters, on our hotel property.  We also invested in bike maps, and bike repair equipment for our guests.  For our staff, we created a changing area and shower for associates who would like to bicycle in to work in the morning.  This recognition comes on the heels of being recognized by Bike Pittsburgh as a "Bike Friendly Business."  The Priory Hotel is the only hotel in the Pittsburgh region recognized as "Bike Friendly" by these two organizations.

Pittsburgh is host to an array of bicycling amenities, including many nearby bike trails, including the beautiful North Shore Trail on the Allegheny River, running by PNC Park and the Rivers Casino.  Pittsburgh is also a launch point for the Great Allegheny Passage, heading through the Appalachian mountains, along the C & O Canal, and into Washington, D.C.  We welcome guests with bicycles here at the Priory, and if you are interested in choosing Pittsburgh as a stop on your bicycling vacation, we would be delighted to host you.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Grand Hall at the Priory Named Best Restaurant for 2012

We are pleased and honored, for the second year in a row, to have our Grand Hall at the Priory named one of Pittsburgh's "Best Restaurants" by Pittsburgh Magazine. We came in first in the "best banquet facility" category. Hats off to our General Manager Walter Czapliewicz and chefs Pete Phillipy and Michael Henney.

We'll be appearing at the Best Restaurants Show & Party at Heinz Field on June 4. If you're going, stop by and say "Hello!"

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Interesting Old Picture

Here's an interesting old picture that I received from one of our neighbors, Bette McDevitt. She had received the photo from her cousin. It shows Lockhart Street up to our Grand Hall (then St. Mary's Church) from the East, around Madison Avenue. Our Grand Hall is the church with the Bavarian onion domes, which were subsequently removed. The photo looks to be from the 1930's or so. If you were to look at this view now, all of the buildings would have been demolished up to our Grand Hall, and all you would see would be ribbons of highway. We have a shot from a similar angle in our blog archives, if you look under the tab "Priory History."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Grand Hall Named "Best of Knot" for Sixth Straight Year

Our Grand Hall at the Priory has been named a "Best of Knot" wedding venue by the influential website TheKnot.com for 2012, its sixth straight year for this prestigious designation.  The "Best Of" Vendors are voted on by brides and grooms who have hosted their weddings with us.  We are extremely gratified by this recognition, as it reflects the positive experiences our clients have had in our handling of their very special days.

Friday, May 4, 2012

New Book on Priory Gardens

Sherry Wood, our garden specialist, has been taking care of the gardens and grounds of our Blumengarten, hotel courtyard and front of our hotel for three years now, and they have never looked better.  Sherry's business is "Pedal Pushers," and she is exceptionally conscientious and competent.  Sherry and her husband Jeff were kind enough to make a book for us featuring photos from our gardens.  The book is gorgeous, and reflects a lot of time and care in its making.  We are grateful for such a wonderful gift.  It will be proudly displayed in our lobby, so if you are in to visit, please take a look!