Snacks N'At: Dorothy 6 Blast Furnace Cafe, Homestead
It used to be there weren't many businesses better than running a bar in Homestead. While the steel mills were smoking, the money flowed as steady as the Monongahela River.
But it hasn't been that way in a long time.
“You don't have a big office building with 20,000 people walking across the tracks when the whistle blows,” says Tom Kazar, who grew up in Homestead.
That's the challenge Kazar faces, with his charming new bar-restaurant, the Dorothy 6 Blast Furnace Cafe.
First, the name: Dorothy 6 still carries a lot of weight in the Mon Valley. Once, it identified one of the fire-breathing steel giants that ruled the region, employing thousands at the U.S. Steel Duquesne Works. Kazar took the name only after careful consideration.
“It was the biggest-producing blast furnace on the Mon,” Kazar says. “I wanted to name it after a blast furnace. ‘Dorothy' stuck, because my brother — who passed away a few years ago — he was a ‘high-climber,' who actually cut Dorothy down.”
Kazar has vivid memories of the old, unpretentious bars of Homestead. The Dorothy 6 Blast Furnace Cafe isn't that — it's a restaurant as much as it is a bar. But it's clearly a goal of Kazar's to re-create that same warm, inviting, familiar atmosphere.
The look is a curious mishmash of industrial-era relics and some surprisingly posh decor. Everything is given a soft, sepia-toned glow by hanging antique lights and a massive glass chandelier worthy of a turn-of-the-century hotel. A giant, metal crane hook hangs over the bar, and metal ducts gleam across the ceiling.
The menu is full of classic comfort food, upgraded with quality ingredients. The Stuffed Meatballs ($6.95) are made of veal, pork and beef, with gooey mozzarella in the center. The Dorothy's Pierogies ($5.95 for an appetizer, $9.95 for an entree) with caramelized onions and herbed sour cream, are of medium thickness, and up to “Polish grandma” standards, even with jalapenos inside.
“I grew up with that food,” Kazar says. “My sister makes the pierogies. My mother taught the cooks how to make the stuffed cabbage.”
Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and stewed tomatoes ($15.95) continues the home-cooking theme.
Getting the Dorothy 6 Blast Furnace Cafe in shape took a lot of work. Luckily, Kazar — who runs an auto-body shop in West Mifflin during the day — is pretty handy.
“When I got in the building, there was water in the cellar,” he says. “Water leaked in between the walls. Mold. I had to rip that all out. I exposed all the brick. That was a major job — nine months alone, doing the brickwork.”
There's a second bar upstairs, where Kazar plans on having live music when the weather turns nicer.
Dorothy 6 Blast Furnace Cafe, 224 E. 8th Ave., Homestead, is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays and Sundays, 4 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. Details: 412-464-9023 or dorothy-6-blast-furnace-cafe.com
Michael Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7901.