About Eric Fontana

Restaurant Gems of Pittsburgh Restaurant Reviews


About Eric Fontana

Restaurant Gems OF PITTSBURGH Restaurant Reviews

It's a pretty familiar thought..."Where should we go out tonight?"

"I know what I don't want!" someone chimes in.

"I don't care where we go as long as I don't have to go through the Squirrel Hill tunnel!" another says, not kidding.

"I only have $10..."

Perhaps you've been here before.

There are so many great bars and restaurants in the Pittsburgh area...

...but finding reliable information on the internet can feel like an exercise in futility.

How many fake-sounding Yelp reviews can you read before you throw in the towel and hit up the Olive Garden?

I'm here to tell you that you do not need to settle for the "same old" with so much to experience in Pittsburgh, and you do not need to spend a fortune to have an amazing time.

There is another way! But first, a little background...

At Penn State, I discovered a site called the State College Bar Tour.

It had all the drink specials at every bar, every day of the week. It was updated weekly.

As most of you know, when you are in college, funds are limited, having access to see where you can drink cheap in college is a huge asset. This was the first time I was like, "wow, how useful to have this information available any time, right at your fingertips - tailored to my location and written by people I trust!"

As I moved on from my college years, I noticed a lack of the same tools for the general public.

Sure, I could sift through reviews of bars and restaurants in Pittsburgh on Google or Yelp until the cows came home...but I never felt like I could really trust what I was reading.

Additionally, there wasn't a single place I could go to see all of the best specials of the week to decide where to spend my cash.

Thus, Restaurant Gems Restaurant Reviews of Pittsburgh began!

I started small, posting reviews on Facebook for fun. It grew from there as people found my reviews helpful, thorough, and sometimes even comical.

My ultimate goal is to help everyday Pittsburghers find hidden restaurant gems that won’t break the bank.

Think of me as your good friend who has tried the best restaurants in and around the city, giving you reviews you know you can trust. That's what this website is all about.

I have written restaurant articles for applications and newspapers, appeared on the radio, am working on my second Pittsburgh restaurant book, and am starting to become well known in the Pittsburgh area as I visit all different types of restaurants from all over the area.

You can get started by reading some of my reviews below!

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22 hours ago

Restaurant Gems of Pittsburgh
BLAWNOX HIDDEN RESTAURANT GEM BOAST the MOST INTERESTING BURGER in STEEL TOWN, the “STEAMER”Nox's Tavern and Grille🤔 One of my favorite anonymous quotes of all time is “remember, that dynamite does come in small packages.” It reminds us that just because someone or something has an imposing physical appearance does not necessarily mean that it packs the most punch. In a society where perception is everything, it is important to look deeper into someone or something to see what they/it is all about.🚗 If you are driving down Freeport Road in Blawnox and hang a left on blaw avenue, you will see an establishment called Nox’s Tavern and Grille. It may not look like much from the outside, but upon entering you feel the energy that this place is something special. Let us take a deep dive and see why the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and locals from around the area are saying you need to try their award-winning wings and underrated bar food!🍖 Chicken wings – Nox’s Tavern starts out with fresh, not frozen chicken. They are deep fried until they are crispy and are finished with your choice of a vast selection of sauces. On top of the usual sauces such as buffalo and barbecue, some notables are Rosemary garlic butter, blazin’ bourbon, BBQ Thai, and Carolina Gold. The sauce list is immense, check out their website for more info.🍔 Original Steamers (burgers) – You may be a bit hesitant at first that the burgers are not seared on the flat top to create that crust which adds a ton of flavor. These burgers are steamed. However, Nox’s uses a cut of ground beef that has enough fat to keep the burger patty extra juicy. Let us look at few of their famous signature steamers.🌶 The Nox – This burger features bacon, roasted red peppers, and pepper jack cheese with a side of Nox sauce.🍺 Hangover burger – Feeling the effects of a hangover? Sometimes a greasy meal can make you feel better! This burger has American cheese, bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, onion, and sriracha mayo.🥓 The Lumberjack (AKA Big Kev) (captioned) – This burger features spicy BBQ sauce, applewood smoked bacon, fried egg, and cheddar cheese.🧀 Other menu items – Nox’s Tavern has unique appetizers such as Captain Ray’s Shrimp which features cornmeal dusted tiger shrimp tossed in your choice of wing flavors served with ranch, celery, and carrots. Their salads are creative as well. You can even get a burger on a salad. It is a half-pound burger patty topped with pickles and drizzled with blaw sauce and served with steak fries. Hungry for a comfort food, how about mac and cheese? The Buffalo mac has fried buffalo chicken fingers, ranch dressing, and cheddar cheese. They also have delicious flatbreads, sliders, and hoagies.🧐 My final take – Restaurant critics have said to me in the past, you can have excellent food, and subpar service and most people will not come back to your restaurant. You can have decent food, and excellent service, and most people will return to your restaurant. Where I am going with this is not only does Nox’s Tavern have delicious food, but excellent service as well. It is no secret that people keep coming back to this place. From the time you drive past, arrive, and exit you realize that this place truly is a hidden gem!🔥🔥🍖 RESTAURANT OWNER WANTING TO get your restaurant in front of THOUSANDS OF new Potential clients? Check this out 👇I will come to your restaurant to do a professional VIP restaurant review which includes - ✨A customized, behind-the-scenes video reel highlighting your hidden gem AND ✨An in-depth article showcasing your delectible featured food items + ambianceThe average reel reaches an audience of 30k! Let’s get your hidden gem in front of new potential customers!👇👇👇👇👇👇christinatarantola.typeform.com/to/WIUA9vUr ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

Restaurant Gems of Pittsburgh
THE GRANDADDY of the CRAFT/SPECIALTY BEER, RIGHT FROM the HEARTLAND OF BEAVER COUNTYBackdoor Tavern🤔 If you are 30 or over, I want you to take a moment and think about your younger/college years. Think about the selection you had and prices you paid for beer and liquor. Think about the drink specials and happy hours that presented themselves. Personally, I was in Happy Valley from 2002 to 2006. During that time, I enjoyed drink specials such as nickel well drinks, dollar Long Island Iced Teas, five-dollar Captain Morgan and Coke Pitchers, and so much more. I am sure we could go on and on, however, try to find that now a days, it is almost non-existent. Today’s trend is a Craft Beer list that is pushing $10 a beer. Before this was popular, the Backdoor Tavern in Fallston, Pennsylvania was the mecca for specialty and craft beers. Let us look inside one of Beaver County’s most unique establishments.🍺 The beer – Since its inception in 1993, the Backdoor Tavern is known for their bottle list that features over 150 unique and different bottles of Craft Beer. For most, anytime you see this type of selection it can be intimidating. Because of this, the staff is truly knowledgeable about the different options of beer. They will gather information about your specific taste, present options, and make sure they select a delicious beer that will please your palate. This leads me to another staple of this unique establishment, the Beer List. The locals can help me out on this, you can create your own Beer List consisting of 85 to 88 beers. If you drink all of them, you get your name on the Wall of Fame, thus becoming a member of a rich, Beaver County tradition. This is truly a beer drinkers haven.🥩 The food – It is here that you are going to get solid bar food and mammoth portions. The Pittsburgh Style Sandwiches which feature the coleslaw and fries are enormous. A lot of people make the good mistake of ordering a whole sandwich. To put it in perspective, what you see pictured is half of a sandwich. The Backdoor Tavern is also known for their fish and wings. The fish they use is Cod, which is one of the cleanest cuts of fish. The Fish Salad that you see featured, also features a monster portion. Monday’s is their Wing Night, and their wing flavors are unique. Some flavors you would not find on a normal wing flavor list are Rufus, Smokey Blue, and Papa Woods Dry Barbecue. The cheeseburgers are also above average in size, featuring 10-ounce patties. Most restaurants serve in the vicinity of 6 to 8-ounce burger patties. If you are just looking for a snack, their Finger Food selection features an extensive list of appetizers to share. All in all, you will not leave hungry, and you will not burn a huge hole in your wallet.🙂 The ambience – Beaver County has a rich High School Sports tradition. The bar top showcases various sports memorabilia that immediately catches your attention upon being seated. The walls are covered in beer and golf memorabilia. If you are looking to catch your favorite sporting event, they have numerous TVs positioned all around the bar. The bar is elevated from the restaurant side and is a beer drinkers bar. This means it is large enough to handle a crowd, but intimate enough so that you feel part of the gang and can engage in multiple conversations. They have a large restaurant area consisting of booths and tables if you are looking for more of a meal type setting.🧐 As always, my final take… There is something special about taking the road less traveled. This is not a bar that you just stumble upon. Their advertising is by word of mouth. It is geographically situated on a road that is not heavily traveled and if you do not know about it, it is quite easy to miss. However, talk to anyone in Beaver County and for all the elements listed above, the Backdoor Tavern is truly and unique and legendary establishment. It is always busy, and the demand to eat drink here is always high. As they say, if you build it, they will come…🔥🔥🍖 RESTAURANT OWNER WANTING TO get your restaurant in front of THOUSANDS OF new POtential clients? Check this out 👇I will come to your restaurant to do a professional VIP restaurant review which includes - ✨A customized, behind-the-scenes video reel highlighting your hidden gem AND ✨An in-depth article showcasing your delectible featured food items + ambianceThe average reel reaches an audience of 30k! Let’s get your hidden gem in front of new potential customers!👇👇👇👇👇👇christinatarantola.typeform.com/to/WIUA9vUr ... See MoreSee Less
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🥨🥨🥨 NEW RECORD! Hills Snack Bar video promo sets new record with over 90,000 views! Please share this video reel below! I would greatly appreciate it!👇👇👇👇👇www.facebook.com/reel/7234519429938417?fs=e&s=TIeQ9V&mibextid=0VwfS7 ... See MoreSee Less
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I've just reached 15K followers! Thank you for continuing support. I could never have made it without each one of you. 🙏🤗🎉 ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Restaurant Gems of Pittsburgh
🥪 THE MONSTER FISH SANDWICH no one knows about…Three B's Lounge🧐 Remember the days when you could get a sandwich, fries, and a drink for $5? It’s rare if you can find that now. Nowadays even drinks and even coffee can be more than that. Just want good, solid food without all the fancy stuff? Order this mammoth, fish sandwich. Most importantly, it’s Cod, a delicate, clean cut of fish. The batter is golden, crunchy, and tasty. The bun is toasted and protects the sandwich. This easily feeds two and only around $15. A lot of times you sacrifice quality for quantity. Not here, it’s tested by yours truly. I’ve always said it and I’ll say it again, it’s places like these that have the best food! Bon appetite... ... See MoreSee Less
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