Just in time for porch-settin' season, Harris Grill -- and its popular patio -- is back in action.
Last August, a fire closed down one of Ellsworth Avenue's best-loved spots, leaving Shadyside al fresco diners and boozers bereft.
The fire, the cause of which was never officially determined, started outside and climbed a wooden fire escape. While most damage occurred in non-customer areas, such as the office, there was plenty of rebuilding, repairing water damage and clean-up to do. A new metal fire escape was also added.
But three weeks ago, the frozen cosmos were once again flowing and the Wrongest Desserts Ever were, uh, doing what they do, much to the delight of folks who happily waited an hour or more for a table. The much-vaunted Bacon Night -- Tuesdays, for those inclined to pig out on piggy parts -- is also back.
The cheeky menu, friendly servers and intelligent beer list remain.
"It's been a strong reopening," says co-owner Alex Fruzynski. "We're getting a chance to have our first honeymoon." He said the customer base has been loyal and forgiving, if even "a little too forgiving." Fruzynski explains that during the invite-only soft reopening, he had to pry improvement suggestions from guests responding to surveys.
On a recent night, during a Pens playoff game, the wait wasn't quite so long, but the patio was once again full.
"It's been a long, dark eight months," said Jane Dille, sipping a beer with her friends Tausha Adams and Amy Baron, who were both enjoying the venue's signature pink alcoholic slushie. "We were here the night they opened."
The place isn't much different from before, the women agreed. The addition of a weekend brunch, says Adams, is a great idea -- especially on Saturdays.
Newly minted Pitt grads Emma Rezic and Kristi Elser were celebrating graduation --again -- with beers and snacks.
"I was really bummed!" said Elser of the fire. "I went home for two weeks, came back and it was gone! This is my second or third time back -- or fourth, or fifth ..."
5747 Ellsworth Ave.