Above: The bar at BRiX specialized in wine before the restaurant was transformed into Benjamins. (Photo by Kelsey Shea).
Northsiders who were looking forward to the opening of BRiX Winebar last September shouldn’t be too disappointed by the recently announced change of plans for the Allegheny West location.
BRiX owner Paul Tebbets reassures residents that Benjamins, the restaurant that will go into the historic Kinder building at 900 Western Ave., instead will be more or less the same as BRiX.
The main difference will be that burgers will be the star items on the menu rather than wood-fired pizza.
“It’s going to be a really simple, straight-forward neighborhood bar,” said Tebbets.
Last year the owners behind Toast! in Shadyside,Tebbets and Chet Garland, opened BRiX on Western Avenue, where they planned to offer affordable wine and wood-fired pizza, but zoning problems held up the project for over a year.
After briefly opening, BRiX closed its doors and left Allegheny West neighbors wondering what had happened to the much-anticipated new restaurant.
Rather than jump through hoops to install a wood-fired grill without the exhaust hood that city code requires, Tebbets and Garland decided burgers were a simpler option.
As far as the interior, Tebbets said they’re just planning to swap some of the tables for lounge chairs and couches, changing some of the art and incorporating several big screen TVs. Benjaminswill seat roughly 30 people and have a back patio for seasonal outdoor dining and pool tables.
Tebbets said that someone on Twitter noted that with both the East End’s BRGR restaurant and the Waterwork’s Burgatory opening new locations throughout the city, there wasn’t a need for any new specialty burger restaurants in Pittsburgh. However he noted that neither of those burger joints were coming to the Northside neighborhoods.
The Strip District’s Weiss Provisions Company will provide will deliver a custom grind of chuck beef to Benjamin’s for the burgers daily.
Tebbets hopes that Benjamins will open within the next two weeks.