Pittsburgh chef Justin Severino plans cafe near North Park
Renowned Pittsburgh chef Justin Severino is taking on another challenge.
By summer’s end, he hopes to open a yet-to-be-named casual, California-inspired cafe in McCandless near North Park.
Severino closed his popular Cure restaurant in Lawrenceville a few months ago and already had announced plans to open another venture, Larder of Larimer, at East End Brewing in June.
“I live in Ross, in the North Hills. Part of the reason I moved out there was because of North Park. I spend a good amount of time in the park and I like biking,” he said.
Severino began spending time at Trailflo Bikes and participating in group rides after the mountain bike shop opened a few years ago. Trailflo’s Matt Fromm and Brian Lorence are partners in his latest project.
“There was an Asian restaurant next door. My brain couldn’t help but think, ‘Wouldn’t it be perfect if I could get into that place?’ And then it closed,” Severino said. “This is going to be a very casual restaurant compared to the other things I’ve done.”
The space will have 50 seats, including a patio. The restaurant will have a dedicated entrance but will be connected with the Trailflo showroom.
Before and after
Severino said he is planning a menu for bike riders to enjoy pre- and post-rides as well as for park visitors and nearby residents.
The quick-service restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, with some variations in those menus, he said.
Those planning a longer trek or more of a workout, Severino said, can enjoy a “clean, healthy plate of food, juice. Then they can come back and have some wings and beer.”
East End Brewing will have a presence at the new site, with 12 brewing handles. Diners also can quench their thirsts with all-day margaritas and Bloody Marys.
Severino, who lived and worked in California’s Big Sur and Santa Cruz areas for about eight years, said he often spent his off days mountain biking.
“I always had a little cafe or brewery I would go to and treat myself,” he said. He calls the cafe his “love letter to the food and culture I encountered there.”
“This is a passion project, a casual cafe to feed the North Park neighborhood and Pittsburgh bike enthusiasts like me,” Severino said.
Diners can select from a pre-ride menu featuring foods such as salads and smoothies. Post-riders looking to refuel, or diners with a heartier appetite, can dig into carnitas tortas, ribs, chicken wings and burritos.
Severino said he is in the cleanup and renovation phase but declined to elaborate on design or an opening date. “I’m not in any real hurry,” he said.
As with his other restaurants, he will be involved heavily in design and decor. After Larder of Larimer opens, he said, he will concentrate on the McCandless restaurant.
“This will be about beer, food and bikes — my three favorite things,” Severino said.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .