Stonepepper’s Grill – By: Monique DeMonaco
Stonepepper’s Grill’s tagline is Food You Luv to Love! That certainly turned out to be the case when a small group of Nightwire staff braved a cold February night to review Stonepepper’s Robinson Township location. The minute you walk in the door, the eclectic mix of industrial architecture, natural stone and copper hues lets you know a lot has gone into designing something contemporary…industrial chic meets warm and inviting! Restaurant veterans Jeff and Barbara Joyce knew what they are doing and it shows. Many of you may remember 1902 Landmark Tavern in Market Square. Throughout their more than 30 years in the business, the Joyce’s have always followed trends, diligently researched suppliers, frequented food shows and taken note when they have traveled to cities such as Boston and New York.
When they felt the time was right, they decided to move away from the fine dining model of the 1902 Restaurant and use their creativity and innovation to create something fresh and new, Stonepepper’s. From the moment you sit down, the options are tempting, whether its an interesting micro-brew to quench your thirst, a fun cocktail such as the Big Bang Berry libation (my personal favorite), a nice glass of wine or a simply delicious old fashioned milkshake…you won’t be sorry.
While they certainly offer an expanded menu, it is not at all overwhelming. Whether it’s their “tried and true” wings ($7.99) you’re after, a large enough to share order of the Double Secret Sauce Fries with Bacon (not to missed, by the way) or something a little more health conscious such as the lettuce wraps (9.49)~ the appetizers set the tone to let you know this place isn’t a chain. But rather, a thoughtfully designed menu that offers Foods You Luv to Love by people who understand what it means to run a successful “mom and pop” restaurant in today’s competitive marketplace. With chains seemingly on every corner, Stonepepper Grill sets itself apart. The appetizers were not only delicious, but also generous enough to share so after taking the edge of our hunger, we settled in to watch a few minutes of basketball while we awaited our entrees.
At Stonepepper’s Grill, they take their salads seriously. Seriously now, there are 14 different salads on the menu and each one looked better than the last. Not only are their salads delicious, but also they are visually appealing. They are known for their “bodacious salads” and I’m not surprised. Each one is brimming with freshly chopped ingredients presented in rows so you can clearly see what you are getting…lots of freshly chopped vegetables and toppings. We’ve all had the experience of ordering a “specialty salad” other places only to have to search for the “specialty” amongst “ no better than average” salad greens. That doesn’t happen at Stonepeppers.
Personally, I loved, loved, loved the Grilled Salmon Salad! ($14.49) The salmon is topped with an orange glaze that has the taste of marmalade without the heaviness or overpowering sweetness. The salmon sits atop generous rows of slivered almonds that give it a refreshing crunch, flavorful black beans, freshly chopped red peppers, crisp greens and orange slices, that provide an unexpected flavor flash. While you can choose from any one of the more than 12 house-made dressings, I recommend the mango vinaigrette.
With so many tasty entrée options to choose from, we decided to sample and share several of them. A couple of the guys went for burgers. These are not your typical burgers! With 11 burgers to choose from, whether it’s their signature SPG Burger made with 100% Angus beef ($9.29), “Shakin’ with the Bacon” double cheeseburger ($12.99) or the Hickory Bacon Burger ($10.99), my personal favorite, you won’t be disappointed. Keep in mind, the most expensive burger on the menu is $12.99 so that makes Stonepepper Grill the obvious choice for great burgers AND shakes. By the way, their fries simply can’t be beat…crispy AND flavorful.
When it comes to sandwiches, Stonepepper’s has something for everyone. Whether it’s the Maryland Lump Crabcake Sandwich ($12.99), the Steak Bomb,” ($10.49), the brand new California Turkey Avocado and Bacon Burger ($10.99) or the Chicken and Cranberry Wrap, sandwiches are another great choice. While its offered as a side, the Chinese Coleslaw is not the conventional heavy creamy coleslaw most of us grew up with. It is light, fresh and the uncooked ramen noodles sprinkled on top give it a nice crunch…a truly light and healthy option. Regardless of which sandwich you choose, you can’t go wrong, all were delicious. The breads are all fresh, the meats are plentiful and toppings are well chosen.
If pizza is more to your liking, Stonepeppers knows what they are doing. Their state-of-the-art brick oven bakes up delicious thin and crispy pizza crust that serves as the perfect platform for their signature SPG “Hot Oil” Pizza. An idea they came up with when the Joyces were visiting NYC… a flavorful cheese pizza drizzled with Hot Pepper Oil that provides a nice “kick” that could become addictive. I had never heard of “Hot Oil Pizza”, but I am a convert now…as a matter of fact, I’m taking my family back there this weekend to get more!
Our final entrée of the evening was a house specialty, Pasta Jambalaya! It is a innovative twist on a classic dish. Instead of the typical rice, Stonepeppers uses linguini so you can get all the flavors of hot sausage, Cajun grilled shrimp, chicken and mix of banana peppers, sweet peppers and green onions tossed in a delicious creamy Cajun sauce. Fragrant, colorful, rich (but not heavy)…enough said!
For those who have room for dessert, whether it’s an Old Fashion Hot Fudge Sundae, delicious Carrot Cake, New York Cheesecake or a Double Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Bean Ice-cream, all can be had for just $5.99!
Stonepeppers celebrates Happy Hour everyday from 4:30 – 7:00 with lots of reasons to be happy. All appetizers are $5…even their Big Bang Shrimp appetizer which is a house specialty and generous enough to share. If delicious shrimp isn’t your thing, consider a brick oven quesadilla or a healthy, yet flavorful, sun-dried tomato hummus with fresh veggies and pita bread.
Stonepepper’s has it all~ great food with generous portions, delicious drinks to quench any thirst, a welcoming and attentive staff AND relaxing atmosphere…stop in sooner verses later because you are going to want to go back for more Foods You Luv to Love!
They have two convenient locations: Robinson Twp. – 1200 Settlers Ridge Center Drive – Open: Mon-Sat: 11am – Sun: Open at Noon – 412.788.0202. Upper St. Clair – 1614 Washington Road – Open: Mon-Sat 11am – Sun: Open at Noon – 412.854-4264 – for more information visit www.stonepeppers.com