Blue Sparrow parks its food bus for good at Dancing Gnome | Pittsburgh City Paper

Blue Sparrow parks its food bus for good at Dancing Gnome

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CP Photo: Jared Murphy
Inside the Blue Sparrow bus, 2019
If you've been to a Pittsburgh brewery over the last several years, you probably know Blue Sparrow. And if you don't know their global street food, imagined in endlessly inventive ways, you probably know their iconic 1956 Greyhound bus that has appeared all over the city since 2016.

And now, the bus has been parked.

Since January, Blue Sparrow has taken up a permanent spot at Dancing Gnome Brewery in Sharpsburg, giving customers the same bus, but with a new menu.

For Blue Sparrow owner Luke Cypher, this has been a dream in the making.

“Dancing Gnome has been one of our home base spots for over six years,” Cypher tells Pittsburgh City Paper. “We’ve not only had a weekly food truck pop-up at their tap room but have done dozens of special events, as well as food-and-beer collaborations."

He adds that, in 2021, when Dancing Gnome grew into a new space that "seats four times the capacity," it was "a natural conversation of how to build something bigger and better together.”

The Bus will operate from Wednesday through Saturday.

Blue Sparrow has not abandoned traveling altogether, as the food truck will still be found around the city serving the company's classic menu.

Putting down roots with the bus allows Blue Sparrow to dabble in dishes they had always wanted to try, but may not have had the leverage to pull off.

“Global street food has many amazing avenues to explore but the original truck does have some execution limitations,” Cypher says. “The bus has not only a brick oven, but more cook, cooler, and prep space.”
click to enlarge A crowd gathers in and around a brewery outfitted with ample windows and stylish lighting.
CP Photo: Owen Gabbey
Dancing Gnome taproom in Sharpsburg
I got a chance to try their Pork Gyoza dumplings, which felt like an extension of what Blue Sparrow is known for, a new spin on a classic. They were literally bursting at the seams (word to the wise after I sprayed juice everywhere). There’s a little bit of kick on the backend, but overall, they’re a delightful shareable.

Central to the new menu, however, is Blue Sparrow's pizza program. I ordered the Michaelangelo's Bacon Pickle Pizza, named after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' penchant for an unorthodox pie. It came perfectly crispy and cooked, with an excellent balance of the salty and the sweet. The bacon and pickles worked with the Miso butter and cheese to create a pizza that, I'm not proud to say, I ate in one sitting.

Cypher says Blue Sparrow's pizza pop-ups enabled the food truck to pivot in 2020 after the pandemic canceled the 25 weddings and "even more festivals" the business had scheduled. "Pizza helped keep our lights on in a crazy time and quickly became conceptually something we wanted to continue in a larger capacity.”

As for his favorite Blue Sparrow pizza, Cypher recommends the War Pigs.

“It features a miso-rubbed, slow-roasted pork belly, black garlic kewpie mayo, and our house-fermented kimchi," says Cypher. "That pie slaps.”

The Blue Sparrow Bus at Dancing Gnome. 1025 Main St., Sharpsburg.