UPTOWN FUN TO COME Gear up for a year of fun close to home at Mt. Lebanon Partnership-sponsored activities. The season kicks off on Saturday, May 13, with the Wesbanco Farmers Market, which will run from 9 to noon on Saturdays through the fall. Shop a huge assortment of fresh veggies, breads, meats, sweets and other deliciousness. The second Saturday of every month is Second Saturday, with live music at the market.
First Fridays, Mt. Lebanon’s once-a-month outdoor concert series, kicks off in Clearview Common Friday, June 2, and continues onFriday, July 7, and (you guessed it) Friday, August 4, from 7 to 10 p.m. The bands will be announced later, but the face painters and balloon twisters already have signed on.
For the 21 and older set, Saturday, September 16, is the Mt. Lebanon Block Party, when Washington Road will close to traffic, music will blast from the Alfred Street stage and you can enjoy locally crafted beer from Hitchhiker, Mindful Brewing, Spoonwood and Insurrection. This one is a benefit for Accessible Lebo, which provides amenities that encourage residents of all abilities to enjoy what Mt. Lebanon has to offer.
Saturday, September 23, and Sunday, September 24, mark the return of the Mt. Lebanon Artists’ Market in the Academy Avenue parking lot. The regional arts festival has been growing exponentially every year, with music, shopping, food trucks, demonstrations and activities for the kids.
The Mt. Lebanon Partnership is looking for volunteers for each of these events. If you are interested, contact staff liaison Eric Milliron, Mt. Lebanon’s commercial districts manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEZZA GRILL When Izeta Hodzic came to the United States from Bosnia 19 years ago, it was to escape the war and have a good life with her husband, Zijad, and their two sons, Tarik and Haris. But what she also nurtured was her love for people.
Hodzic found the best way to share that love is through cooking, so the restaurant business came naturally to her. After running several restaurants, she and a friend, Adrijana Jurisic, have opened Mezza Grill, at 663 Washington Road, in the former Afamia location.
“I like to cook, basically,” she says. “I love people. I love to be in touch with people.” She says sometimes she has a hard time being understood because of her accent (we had no trouble) so being able to cook with them puts her face to face, where she feels more comfortable.
Hodzic, of Clemson Drive, says the family moved to Mt. Lebanon 15 years ago after a friend suggested the schools would be good for her boys, both of whom have since graduated.
The restaurant has a small menu to start. It specializes in Mediterranean favorites with some Bosnian comfort food. The specialty is goulash, a homemade, slowly simmered beef stew that tastes fantastic with pasta or rice and comes with Mezza salad, a type of Bosnian coleslaw, packed with cabbage, onion, tomato, salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil.
The menu also includes a Bosnian pot stew and beans. Middle Eastern fare includes hummus, shawarma, falafel, gyro and tabouli. For the less adventurous palate, she serves hoagies, buffalo chicken dip and chicken parmesan.
Hodzic hopes to include fresh Bosnian bread on the menu soon, since you can’t find it anywhere in Pittsburgh. She’s still working out the logistics as her kitchen is small, but the menu addition will be worth it, she says.
Hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday is buffet day, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Sunday. Takeout, delivery and catering is available. 412-561-2330.
NEW NIPPERS A restaurant can have delicious food, but if the interior isn’t light, bright and welcoming, you may not want to eat there.
That was the concern of Akron Avenue residents Tarik and Dana Dervisevic, who purchased Little Nippers pizza, 303 Beverly Road, two years ago. Tarik had been an employee there and Dana has retail experience as the manager of Lush Cosmetics in Ross Park Mall. Their experience told them they had a winner with the food but that a complete gutting of the interior was necessary, along with a streamlining of the menu, to make it more inviting.
“I want you to spend time with us,” Dana Dervisevic says. “I want to know everyone. I want to talk to everyone, including businesses.”
Now called Nippers Pizzeria & More, the restaurant emphasizes its dine-in service, with seating for 45, as much as its delivery, which is available by phone and now online too. Nippers employs 10 and offers make-your-own-pizza parties for kids (and adults). Signature menu items include the Nippers Special Pie, which is loaded with toppings. Buffalo chicken pie and the pierogie pie are also huge sellers. Gluten-free pizza is available.
Dana Dervisevic says Little Nippers started in Brentwood in 1983 and moved to Mt. Lebanon in 1984. They are open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Order by calling 412-531-6266 or going online at www.nipperspgh.com, where they also post exclusive online coupons.
NIGHT MOVES You’ve already been to Orbis Caffe, 675 Washington Road, to have their delicious coffee, sweets and savory treats. But now, the hot spot is presenting the Orbis at Night Restaurant Experiment, Wednesdays through Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m. The menu, prepared by staff chef Holly Schutte, includes small plates, desserts and coffee and teas. Plus, Bring Your Own Bottle, and they’ll turn it into a craft cocktail. Each month has a different theme so plan to go a lot! www.orbiscaffe.com.
FUN FROM THE SUN The Mt. Lebanon Partnership has always tried to generate excitement for its community events, such as the Mt. Lebanon Artists’ Market and the Mt. Lebanon Block Party. Now the Partnership will be generating electricity for those events.
The Partnership is a nonprofit community development corporation that helps promote our business districts. Large scale events are just one way they attract people to town. But those events often need power to run lights, sounds systems and kitchens, and that formerly required renting a generator.
Thanks to a grant from the Mt. Lebanon Community Foundation, the Partnership purchased a $7,500 solar-powered generator, which includes two solar panels and a cabinet, all of which is on wheels. The 400-pound generator, provided by PA Solar Energy, will work for more than 10 hours at a time. It doesn’t make any noise, and it operates even when it’s cloudy.
The Partnership estimates the generator will save $6,000 each year.
“After paying for power generation over the past few years, we began to assess the total costs associated,” says Partnership Treasurer Jim Moran. “We saw the total cost was becoming prohibitive, while attempting to support our current mission and the initiatives which have become our core programming. We felt, in keeping with the desires of so many Mt. Lebanon residents, that a solar-powered generator was our best choice of service.”
The solar panels collect ultraviolet rays from the air and sends them to two batteries, which store the electricity until it’s needed. The inverter then pulls the DC power from the batteries and converts it to standard AC power, so regular items may be plugged in.
Batteries last about 5,000 charge cycles and cost $200 each. A two-day event would need four charge cycles.
The new generator was used already at the Mt. Lebanon Artists’ Market in September, although we’ll bet you never even noticed.