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Displaced Mt. Lebanon restaurant, coffee shop won't reopen

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Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:30 p.m.

Old businesses along Route 19 are giving way to new ones in Mt. Lebanon, where work has begun on a Fresh Market grocery store and a MedExpress clinic.

Pazzo Ristorante and Blue Horse Coffee closed in late August to make way for the MedExpress clinic at 1535 Washington Road, which bought out the businesses' leases. Morgantown-based MedExpress is reconfiguring the building, with plans for a November opening, said Mt. Lebanon economic development director Eric Milliron.

“Blue Horse will not reopen,” said former co-owner Annette Schneider. “I think it fair to say that the owners are too old to start another enterprise like Blue Horse. Being a barista is surprisingly physical work, and takes a toll on 50-something bodies.”

Most of Blue Horse's full-time employees found jobs in other local restaurants and coffee shops, she said.

Kathy Slencak, spokeswoman for Cecil-based Culinary Concepts of Pittsburgh, which ran Pazzo, would not comment on the circumstances surrounding the restaurant's closure. The company, which also owns LeMont on Mt. Washington, formerly ran the Amigos Restaurante and Cantina in Galleria mall, across Washington Road from the former Pazzo location.

She said the company did not have plans for any other restaurants in the area.

Dan Neely, MedExpress' area manager of business operations, said the new clinic will be going into a high-demand, high-visibility location. It will employ 12 to 15 people, including a couple of physicians.

On the other side of Connor Road, contractors last week demolished the former Roth Carpet building, where developers plan to build a 18,000-square-foot Fresh Market specialty grocery store.

Mt. Lebanon planning director Keith McGill said there would be plenty of site work before any work on the store could begin. The grocery store will share two entrances and a parking lot with the existing Jos. A. Bank menswear store.

Greensboro, N.C.-based Fresh Market has not announced the opening date, but executives have attended municipal meetings in Mt. Lebanon to pitch the store, which they said would employ about 90 people.

Both new businesses will have plenty of company in their particular niches: Another MedExpress branch is located farther south along Washington Road in Upper St. Clair, while urgent-care center Medi-Help also is in Mt. Lebanon. Fresh Market will open a few thousand feet from a Trader Joe's, and Bethel Park has a Giant Eagle Market District.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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