BZ’s Bar & Grill By: Suz Pisano
BZ’s Bar & Grill at 140 Federal Street sits right across from PNC Park and has been on my radar ever since they began renovations months ago. They’re finally open, and Nightwire gets to be the first to tell you all about it. Brandon Herriott is one of the owners. He’s the ‘B’ and his partners Bob & Laura Zoravkovski are the ‘Z’ and the investors in this new hot spot offering great food, amazing drinks, craft beers, happy hour, lunch specials and much, much more. They came together from an act of kindness, Brandon was asked by Bob to look over a proposal for a pending restaurant/bar acquisition, which he graciously accepted and wouldn’t take anything for his expertise and advice on this project. This simple act of kindness eventually put Bob and Brandon together as business partners and they landed on a concept and a location bringing together many years of working in the industry as well as the capital to invest in a dream. This new bar and grill promises to be a big hit year-round with interesting takes on comfort foods and favorites using only the best ingredients.
Let’s start with Small Plates. We tried the Hummus Trio ($8) served with Gremolata, Hot Cherry Pepper Relish and Bruschetta Mix. I can’t tell you which one I preferred, but there is plenty to share, they’re extremely fresh and made in house daily. The “to die for” choice in my book is the Duck Sliders ($9). I have to admit that I spied it on the website and was hoping to sink my teeth into one of these, duck confit, blackberry preserves and herbed cream cheese on the perfect little bun. Oh my! I grew up eating jelly and cream cheese sandwiches; I think it’s an Eastern European thing or maybe a Pittsburgh thing like “jumbo.” I love, love, loved these duck sliders. Also available are Beef ($8) made with brisket or Crab ($11). The Small Plates choices are plentiful with everything from wings, tacos, truffle fries, fried mozzarella to bruschetta and a goat cheese crostini. Salads are offered in Greek, Caesar, Capresanella- fresh tomato, mozzarella & basil. Additions include Portobella, chicken, shrimp, crab cakes, lamb or brisket. There are so many options at BZ’s that you’re gonna want to take your time while perusing the extensive menu.
Another menu item that caught my eye was the Shrimp Po’ Boy ($12), delicately fried shrimp, pickled cucumber, mayo, lettuce and tomato. Yum. And yum for the next day when I ate the leftovers! The pickled cucumber is delicious; don’t take it off! We also tried the Big Texan ($11), which is Brisket, pickled onions, hot Chinese mustard, cheddar cheese and BBQ Sauce. Quite a mouthful of flavor but the brisket is melt-in-your-mouth, cooked for hours and hours and hours. Not a sandwich for the meek. I have to mention the Gyro ($11) made with real lamb, marinated and cooked to perfection, not lamb lunchmeat. I can’t wait to try it.
Burgers are also served up at BZ’s. We were pleasantly surprised to try the Turducken Burger ($12) a deconstructed version of the mythical Thanksgiving bird. BZ makes their burger with turkey dark meat (yum) layered with duck confit and topped with a fried egg, arugula and sage aioli. Turkey, duck & chicken all represented in this delectable burger version. The turkey was so flavorful, perfectly seasoned, juicy and moist. You know I’m never a straight up turkey burger fan but I would highly recommend this burger, I’m even going to order it again on my next visit. It’s that delicious! The fries that accompany the sandwiches and burgers are lightly dusted with a secret house made seasoning, you’ll definitely eat every one. A nice enhancement to the thin cut fries- my favorite kind.
BZ’s also makes pizzas. They offer everything from the classic to the Racy Swine ($12) with house made chorizo, bacon, pepperoni, mozzarella, red chili flakes and marinara sauce. Absolutely delicious. The 4- cut pizza is a hearty meal or enough to share along with a salad. Other offerings include the Fungi, Spanakopizza, spinach and feta delight, Pear & Blue with walnuts and truffle oil, or the Bedded Duck- duck confit with goat cheese, olive oil, garlic and arugula. I mentioned that one last because it’s another thing I can’t wait to try. Pizza crust is house made and the perfect consistency for the toppings. I know good dough! I adore homemade pizza dough and have tried several recipes in my home kitchen.
While sitting and chatting with Brandon, he suggested that we should try another specialty of the house: Mac and Cheese. We were presented with a Mexican Mac and Cheese ($15) with chorizo, goat cheese in their four-cheese classic mac, which we all loved. The Lo Country ($16) version adds pimento cheese and fried chicken! There’s even a Crabby ($16) mac and cheese!
If you’re a BLT fan, BZ’s just might be your spot. They offer a Classic ($8), Black N Bleu ($9) bleu cheese gremolata dressing, or a BLT du Jour featuring a bacon of the month. Yes, bacon. For $3 they will add 3 ounces of bacon to anything on the menu. Think of the possibilities!
This is a perfect opportunity to mention the Maple Bacon-infused Old Fashioned that we sampled. It was just one of the many signature drinks brought to BZ’s by Bar Manager Matt Nalepka. He’s a transplant, too, and also an award-winning martini maker! Pittsburgh will be happy to have him serving up some very special cocktails. I think having a cocktail is like having a little celebration, something you might never have at home. Cocktails are meant to be savored. At BZ’s, homemade syrups and stellar ingredients had us passing drinks around the table all evening. The Elderflower Fizz was heavenly, presented in the perfect glass with a lavender garnish. The Berry Sophisticate was so exotic, the blueberry garnish made me feel like I was in paradise. The Thai Coconut Tea was a nice twist on a favorite but my two favorites were the Key Lime Pie (order one!) and the Dirty Martini served with a pickle and spicy pickle juice. Wow! I snagged that drink immediately and claimed it as mine. I’m so looking forward to returning to BZ’s to try something new!
Now for the ever-changing craft beer selections. If you can’t land on one beer selection, try a flight. (Flights are the perfect complement to any mac and cheese choice, especially in these cold winter months. I think I’ll have my next mac and cheese at the bar!)
Entrees at BZ’s include Pepperonata ($15,) a hot Italian sausage served with onions, sweet peppers, and marinara sauce with Gemelli; Mushroom Ravioli ($15); Scampi Pasta ($15) (adding chopped bacon to that is an extra $3); and Dry Aged Ribeye ($26), which I cannot wait to try! A Fish Dish is offered in limited quantities as is a daily special.
We shared the Chicken Marsala ($14), and we all loved the roasted vegetables, which included Brussels sprouts, carrots and potatoes as the side. The Marsala was rich and delicious, and the chicken cooked to perfection. What a beautiful meal. And don’t forget to save room for their homemade desserts, S’Mores Cheesecake ($6), totally to die for, Chocolate Lava Cake ($6) and Dessert Du Jour. Very close attention is paid to presentation, and service at BZ’s promises to be great. Brandon’s experience in absolutely every aspect of the restaurant industry is evident in the professionalism and level of pride offered at this brand new establishment.
Weekly specials at BZ’s include:
Monday: Red Blooded Mondays–$6 BLTs or Burgers with Fries, 20% off Big Bottled Beers and a featured Bloody Mary
Tuesday: Backyard BBQ Tuesdays–House made BBQ platter for $10, includes 2 Sides and canned beer specials
Wednesday: Hump Day Happy Hour–specials from 5:00pm-9:00pm. Karaoke/DJ/Name That Tune and DJ Bromeo starting at 7:00pm
Thursday: Ladies Night–Special $5 Martini menu from 5:00pm-close, ½ off select apps. DJ Bromeo at 7:00pm. Monthly drawing giveaway.
Friday: Early Recess –Happy Hour specials from 3:00pm-7:00pm.
Saturdays start at 9:00pm–$5 Bombs and Beat The Clock starting at 10:00pm. $1 Domestic drafts
that go up a buck every hour till regular price. The establishment with the most employees present (must have at least 5 to qualify) will receive a free $100 tab.
Sunday: SIN Sundays–Service Industry Night
Happy Hour Specials: Monday – Friday (normal hours are 5pm-7pm) $3 draft beers, $6 Specialty Drinks and Martinis, ½ off Wine, and ½ off selected appetizers.
BZ’s Bar and Grill is located on the North Shore at 140 Federal Street next to PNC Park. 412-323-BZBG(2924). They are opened daily Monday through Sunday 11am-2am. Check them out on the web at www.bzbarandgrill.com