As restaurant-goers know, the BYOB eatery is a staple of the local dining scene. But the owners of The Beer Market — now open across from PNC Park — have turned the tables on the concept. They'll provide the bottles ... while you can bring your own food.
"We don't have our own kitchen here," says general manager Tim Conti. But he hopes patrons won't see that as a shortcoming. "It's a simpler operation here because we don't cook food. We focus on the beer."
A look at the beer menu proves his point: There are 50 beers on tap and several hundred in bottles. And what's more, Conti says, the absence of a kitchen allows you more food options as well.
While customers are invited to bring their own food, they can also order out from nearby restaurants, whose menus are enclosed in binders at the table. "All you have to do is look through the menus, select a place nearby and they'll bring it right to you," says Conti.
Nearby restaurants include Giovanni's, Mullen's, Doubleday's and BZ's Bar and Grill: Together, they offer a full range of options including pizza, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and even upscale American bar classics.
The neighboring establishments serve their own booze as well, but BZ's chef Garrett Akans says area bars share a spirit of camaraderie rather than competition. The additional food orders also help boost his restaurant's bottom line. "It's a symbiotic relationship," he says.
Conti says that although he expects an occasional complaint, the general reaction to the concept is positive. "Let's say we had one menu, and it had a pizza and a burger: You might get sick of it," he says. "This way, you have a bunch of places to choose from."
In a nod to one of Pittsburgh's burgeoning food trends, Conti is also contemplating another idea: "Maybe I can get a few food trucks parked nearby."