Smallman Galley to open food hall in Pittsburgh's North Side
The restaurateurs behind Smallman Galley will join the startup environment at Nova Place on Pittsburgh's North Side when they open their second food hall this year.
Galley Group, the team behind the Strip District restaurant incubator, is planning to use a 5,500-square-foot standalone building on the plaza at Nova Place in a former PNC Bank. Nova Place is the revamped Allegheny Center Mall, which is undergoing a multi-year renovation by Faros Properties.
“What Faros is doing over there is centered around entrepreneurship and innovation, and that's something that's obviously aligned with our brand and our thought process,” said Galley Group's Ben Mantica. “I think we had a really good experience watching the chefs progress at Smallman, and we want to continue that concept.”
The team's working hypothesis is that the restaurant industry is changing and becoming a much more entrepreneurial space. To that end, Smallman Galley opened in the Strip District in 2015. It's designed as a proving ground for chefs, with four restaurant menus in place at any given time.
The chefs get a chance to test and refine their menus while working at Smallman, ideally preparing them to move on to their own restaurants once their 18-month residencies are completed.
Mantica said for customers, the experience at the new location will be very similar to that at Smallman. With the new iteration, the focus will be more on established chefs rather than newbies.
“We want those chefs that have their wheels turning on a second idea,” Mantica said. “We will give them the perfect place to launch those ideas.”
The concept seems an interesting fit for Nova Place, the 1.5 million-square-foot office complex that is home to tech company accelerator Innovation Works and the Alloy 26 coworking and incubator space, among other businesses.
“We are creating an ecosystem; we don't just want to fill up office space,” said Faros Properties' Jeremy Leventhal. “We're trying to build a community.”
He said the developers wanted a restaurant for the space but didn't want just another chain.
“We wanted the right fit, the right concept,” he said.
Tyler Benson of Galley said having enough outdoor space was a big draw. There will be 150 seats inside and 100 seats on the patio.
Galley Group has been interviewing chefs for the new space and expects to announce its final picks next month. It's on track for an August or September opening, Mantica said.
As part of the design, Mantica said, Nova Place's role as the bridge between the development of the North Shore and the neighborhood of the North Side was another part of the appeal for Galley.
“We want our place to be a central location for everyone, no matter what the demographic, whether or not they're native to the North Side,” he said. “We want to be part of the community.”
Kim Lyons is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.