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The pop-up monthly Cornucopious market lets purveyors and eaters explore the local food scene 

It's a chance for chefs to experiment with dishes that might not be ready for a prime-time dinner service, says organizer Kit Mueller

There's little doubt the Pittsburgh food scene has grown in size and sophistication, but breaking into it without much knowledge or cash can be tricky.

That's partly why Kit Mueller has set up an open-air "pop-up artisan-food flea market" called Cornucopious, which will feature food from some of the city's trendiest chefs at more reasonable prices. (It's the same event as last year's Smorgasburgh, which only happened intermittently).

The idea, Mueller says, is to give anyone a chance to "get reintroduced or familiarized in what's going on in Pittsburgh's food scene. It just seemed like a no-brainer."

Located in a parking lot at 23rd and Smallman Streets in the Strip District, Mueller has teamed up with Marty's Market to host 30 vendors each week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., one Saturday a month through November. (The first will be May 17.)

Some notable restaurants have already agreed to participate, Mueller notes, including Fukuda and Butcher and the Rye. There will also be plenty of perennial favorites from vendors offering pierogies, juices and empanadas. Additionally, local craft brewers will be on hand with samples.

It's a chance for chefs to experiment with dishes that might not be ready for a prime-time dinner service, Mueller says, and engage with a different food audience. "It's a pretty easy low-risk platform for anybody in the food space to try new things, and frankly, get their name out."

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