When Block 292 closed in 2017, owner Brooks Broadhurst did not want the Beverly Road space, which he had transformed from an old service station into a trendy butcher shop and restaurant, to sit idle. He approached one of his former Block 292 team members, Lauren Zanardelli, to see if she and her husband, Graham Foster, would like to rent the space.
The duo met at Johnson & Wales’ School of Hospitality in 2010. They spent a year in New York City working for Michelin-starred restaurants before opening a popular Southern-style food truck that traveled from Greenville, South Carolina, to Portland, Oregon. Zanardelli grew up in Bethel Park, so after spending more than three years supporting the mobile food trend, they decided to move closer to family.
When Broadhurst asked them about opening their own restaurant in the same space here in Mt. Lebanon, the decision came easily.
Their restaurant, The Fairlane, opened in December. Those who were familiar with Block 292 will feel at home in the new space, which features updated lighting and seating, but otherwise creates a similar ambiance to that of the former business.
Described as a “new American restaurant,” the menu features an extensive snack and small plates list, plus a small, diverse mix of main courses, ranging from braised lamb neck to fried catfish.
Menu favorites almost immediately began to emerge. The Diner Burger, two thin beef patties with standard accoutrements on a homemade brioche bun, is their best-seller. Not far behind is their twice-per-week fried chicken special.
The drink menu at The Fairlane is even more of a draw, with a rotating set of local, national and international selections. So far, fan favorites are the local Four Seasons IPA, the Oregon Trails Pinot Noir, which they have on draft, and the Token Ginger Cocktail—a mix of vodka, ginger liqueur, lime and white cranberry.
Filling the space that was once occupied by the Block 292 butcher shop will be a bottle shop. They were still waiting for approval from the PLCB at press time, but Zanardelli expected that the shop would be open by the time this story is published. The bottle shop will carry beers from all over the globe, plus special-order wines that are not available in the state store.
Hours for The Fairlane are 5 to 10 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 5 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, but Foster and Zanardelli expect they will soon add Sunday brunch hours to the schedule.
“Our menu is a departure representative of our philosophy on what we believe makes for good food,” says Zanardelli. “Simple, uncomplicated execution, highlighting the best ingredients, creating bold flavors and making seemingly odd foods super approachable.”