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Cain's: Owner has changed, but the love remains

| Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When Joey DeMarco bought a place to dine and drink in Dormont, he knew he wanted to make some changes to personalize it.

But he also knew there was one thing to definitely keep the same.

"Cain's Saloon is a great neighborhood bar, and everyone around here knows its name, so that's why I didn't change it," says DeMarco, who purchased the place on West Liberty Avenue two years ago. "People who don't live in the South Hills know about it, too. You don't change something that's working well."

DeMarco, 42, who owns DeMarco Properties, installed new floors, added wood paneling, redid the bar, built booths with high backs in the back of the place and high-top tables and chairs in the front. He's remodeling a rooftop dining area, which he hopes to open later this year.

DeMarco bought Cain's because he enjoyed being a patron there. The Brookline native learned the restaurant business by working in it.

"I would always go into the kitchen and watch what the chef was making," he says. "That's the best way to learn, and so I kept asking, 'How do you make this and how do you make that?'"

The place has a sports-bar feel to it. There are 20 high-definition flat screen TVs.

There are 33 beers on tap and 60-plus selections in bottles. Mixed drinks and wine are available. Breakfast is served from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Sundays, complete with a Bloody Mary bar. Happy Hour is from 5 to 7 p.m. Fridays. The express lunch menu is available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, where you can get a half-sandwich with soup, salad or chili for $4.99.

Frank Moyer, who lives in Penn Hills, but was born and raised in the South Hills, stopped in for lunch.

"This place is absolutely awesome," he says. "The food is great. The service is wonderful. Anytime my wife and I are in the area, we stop in. I know a lot of places say they have the best wings, but Cain's has the best wings in Pittsburgh."

A dozen wings are $8.99. Choose from 18 sauces, including volcano, mild garlic parmesan and orange ginger. You can get 25-cent wings on Wednesdays.

Sauces, as well as soups and lots of other items are house made. Many recipes have been handed down by DeMarco's mother, Carol DeMarco.

Start with cheesesticks -- a blend of provolone, mozzarella and asiago cheeses -- fried to a golden brown and served with a side of homemade marinara for $6.99. The CodFather fish sandwich -- a great choice for Friday's during Lent -- is breaded and served on a hoagie roll. Order it with French fries, coleslaw and hot sauce for $8.99.

The Big Czar is two half-pound burgers with grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms, bacon, Swiss cheese and horsey sauce served on a pretzel bun for $12.99. Sandwiches come with a choice of one side item.

Entrees include Pete's Perfect Ribs, a half-rack of fall-off-the-bone ribs brushed with homemade barbecue sauce. They are served with two sides such as warm German potato salad and beer battered onion rings for $12.99. A full rack is $16.99.

Thursdays are prime-rib specials, from sliders for $9.99 to a dinner for $12.99, and Saturdays are steak nights, with either a 16-ounce T-bone or 12-ounce New York strip with baked potato, salad and vegetable for $12.99.

Top off your meal with a slice of Cain's Guinness chocolate cake for $3.99.

The spring and summer menu will be out in April.

"Our goal is to offer good-sized portions, at affordable prices and with excellent service," DeMarco says. "It's about the customer, and we try to make their experience here a positive one, because if you take care of people, they will come back."

Additional Information:


Location: 3239 West Liberty Ave., Dormont

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Sundays; Kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays through Sundays

Details: 412-561-7444 or

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