Today's post is all about one of my absolute favorite restaurants in the city: Smallman Galley.
Guys, if you live in or are traveling to Pittsburgh any time soon, then please add Smallman Galley to your list of must-visit restaurants. This restaurant incubator program houses some of the best food in town. It's a great option when guests are visiting, too, because there's literally something for everyone. Plus, the food comes quickly, and is so delicious!
Smallman Galley houses four chefs on a rotational basis, each one bringing innovative ideas to the kitchen. The chefs will spend 1-2 years in the galley, after which time, they'll be rotated out for a new chef looking to try out their own creative dishes. Pittsburgh is currently on its second round of chefs at the Strip District location, and it has been so wildly successful that they opened a second location, Federal Galley, on Federal Street in the North Side.
Iron Born Pizza, Chef Pete Tolman
Chef Pete's signature is a pan-style pizza cooked in cast iron with a crisp crust but light interior. The recipe was created using a two-day ferment time with USA organic flour. Iron Born will also bring fine dining attention to detail in an approachable way to some of Pittsburgh’s bar room favorites.
It's honestly very difficult for me to choose a favorite of these four talented chefs, but Pittsburgh as a whole seems to select Iron Born Pizza as their #1 Smallman Galley favorite--so much so, that Pete is the only chef who will officially be signed on for a second year before leaving the space. His pizza truly is phenomenal; I've had it on multiple occasions, and it's so mouth-wateringly delicious, you will crave it for days afterwards.
Colonia, Chef Jesse Barlass
No stranger to Smallman Galley, Chef Jesse Barlass was the Sous Chef for one of its inaugural restaurants, Carota Café. The new concept he will bring to the space, Colonia, is designed to showcase the many diverse cuisines of Latin America.
The pupusa I tried from Colonia was the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. I'm generally not one for a ton of spice, and these certainly hit that sweet spot for my delicate palette. The slaw was a perfect compliment to the fresh cilantro topping and fresh baked corn tortillas--a great option for spring and summer fresh eating. (Side note: if Latin American cuisine is your jam, hurry in. Colonia will be wrapping up its tenure very soon!)
Banhmilicious, Chef Hoa Le
Banh mi is Vietnam's most iconic street food. Its soul lies in the heart of the sandwich: Viet fusion style fillings and accompaniments that create complex layers ranging from salty to sweet, and sour to spicy.
Chef Le's dishes are no joke. I'd never experienced Vietnamese food before trying Banhmilicious, and man have I been missing out! I can't even put into words how amazing these tacos were, and the banh mi sandwich itself was to die for. The combination of fresh ingredients, including cilantro, cucumber, and carrots, paired with the juicy pork [or tofu!] has my stomach growling just thinking about it.
Brunoise, Chef Ryan Peters
Chef Ryan Peters hails from Western Pennsylvania and has brought brunoise to Smallman Galley. The menu will highlight locally sourced ingredients and showcase Ryan's approachable take on fine dining.
Chef Peters has set the bar quite high when it comes to American classics with a twist. His food is definitely the most familiar to me, but by no means does that mean boring. All of Ryan's dishes feature local ingredients to create a selection of comfort foods where nostalgia meets fine dining. When I look at the menu, there's literally not one single thing I don't want to try.
Smallman Galley is split into three general areas: the bar/coffee shop (sit or stand at high top tables to enjoy espresso, happy hour drinks, or your meals), the restaurants (where you order food), and the dining hall. The decor is artsy and minimal--a modern take on your old school dining hall. You'll want to snap pictures for your Instagram account the entire time!
If you're local, get in quickly before these chefs rotate out! I'm telling you, you really don't want to miss this foodie hot spot.
Post & Photos by Lauren