New Troy Hill tavern offers a down-home atmosphere

Scratch F&B. Photo credit: Neil Strebig

Photo by Neil Strebig

The newly opened Scratch Food & Beverage in Troy Hill features locally sourced food and drinks.

By Neil Strebig

There’s something unique about the new Scratch Food & Beverage. Positioned on the corner of Lowrie Street at the location of the former Billy’s bistro in the heart of Troy Hill, patrons will notice as soon as they walk through the doors that this little tavern embodies the same amount of pride as the local neighborhood.

“We want to be a reflection of what’s happening in Troy Hill, in Northside, in Pittsburgh, in general,” owner Don Mahaney said. “We’re going to be really comfortable in our own shoes. We will be really ok with who we are, we don’t need to be the next anything because we are Pittsburgh. That’s what makes this place special. People want to gravitate to places where there’s an identity and you can’t have an identity if you’re trying to be something else all the time. I think we got that; we’re rooted. People love Pittsburgh and come back for a reason. You can’t find what you have here in other places.”

The goal of Scratch F&B is to be a local pub and hotspot for Troy Hill residents. As the new crowned king of Northside Sandwich Week, Scratch simply wants to offer quality food, drinks and an enjoyable atmosphere for their customers, according to Mahaney.

“We are making elevated cuisine more approachable and more familiar to people at a friendly price point,” manager Shipwreck Asunder said, “(We) Want to open the consumer’s eyes that they don’t have to spend an absurdly large amount of money to get a quality meal and a quality beverage.”

Scratch is led by Mahaney, Asunder and their executive chef, Chris Biondo. Each one brings their own unique talents and skills to the equation, but all three focus on one main goal, creating an establishment that will cater to its guests with a massive sense of local pride.

The trio’s passion fuels the creativity and ambiance of the place. You can feel their energy and commitment to making an impact on customers. They want Scratch to be a part of the community that has given back so much to them. They want customers to have a spot to call home because after all, all three of them call Troy Hill home.

As Mahaney points out, “bringing locally sourced, seasonal product” to guests has always been their goal. Their entire food product and selection is sourced right in their backyard from local farmers and butchers.

“We are never going to slight on our principles about sourcing food locally,” Mahaney said. “We’re never going to slight on our principles around price points.”

Even the draft selection is carefully selected by Asunder with the knowledge that each choice had to be within a 100-mile radius of the Greater Pittsburgh area. He boasts with pride about having the only ‘barrel’ of Genesse on tap in the city. A brew he describes as a “working man’s beer.” Asunder also hand crafts a wide array of infusions and cocktails that are offered as both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

It is examples like these that make Scratch F&B overwhelmingly authentic. Everything about Scratch F&B from the owner down to the Pennsylvania Dutch beverage coasters is authentic. The tables, the bar, even the book shelves were all handcrafted from locally workers. The décor and aesthetics help create the homely feel that Mahoney and company want to create for their guests.

The realness of Scratch and the trio behind it is refreshing. Scratch combines a unique sense of new style with a raw old-fashioned sense of home. As soon as you walk in you realize this is a place where you want to eat, have a beer, but you’ll stay for the conversation.

Scratch Food & Beverage kitchen hours are Tuesday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 3-10 p.m., and Sunday’s are the restaurant’s ‘Service Industry Day, featuring an all-day brunch from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.  The bar is opened Tuesday-Sunday till 2 a.m.

20151124_153024Photo by Neil Strebig

The bar at the recently opened Scratch Food & Beverage in Troy Hill.

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