Wednesday, July 1, 2009
A notch up from hillbilly grub
By Scott Beveridge
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – An unpeeled banana dusted with paprika and melted cheddar isn’t on the menu at Double Wide Grill, a restaurant in an old filling station in Pittsburgh.
But that’s what a server delivers on a recent Sunday afternoon as a joke to the bartender at the kooky 2-year-old business on East Carson Street in the Pittsburgh, Pa.'s, trendy South Side district.
“That’s why I love working here,” said the bartender named Carly, who bears a mild resemblance to Jennifer Aniston, but as a dark brunette. “Your foods up,” she said while passing the silly tapas to me and others while flashing her infections smile.
Of course no one else takes her up on that side dish, but there is plenty of other he-man food being passed around this joint, where auto is king.
The business at Carson and 24th streets will bring a smile to anyone's face. An old green pickup truck strung with Christmas lights is suspended above the bar while recycled chrome step bumpers double as foot rests.
Gas pump nozzles pull double duty as coat racks, and mirrors framed in car tires can be found in the rest rooms. Meanwhile, hubcaps line the ceiling and empty metal gallon-sized oil cans hang over the tables as chandeliers.
The menu is similarly as quirky. The “On Tråys” are loaded with beef, pork and chicken, and can be mixed and matched on build-your-own TV dinner-style metal plates. The hubcap potato discs with garlic and herbs would best complete each meal.
There are vegetarian selections, too, including that nothing food known as tofu. The unlikely vegan who might land here could also select a house trailer salad with sweet corn and avocados.
This restaurant in what was once a bland four-bay concrete-block garage is another gift to the city by Scott Kramer and Steve Zumoff, owners of the coffeehouse down the street where young bohemians with robins egg blue hair mingle with middle-aged nerds over organic tea.
It’s noisy at the Double Wide, though, and especially so on nice days when the garage doors are up and a fleet of Harley-Davidson motorcycles rumbles away from the neighboring biker bar.
This place and all of its hillbilly charm is a NASCAR fan’s fantasy. The only things missing are shots of moonshine and the smell of high-octane engine fuel.