We asked Chef Bill Fuller for his top 15 memories of Kaya to commemorate the restaurant’s 15-year anniversary.
1 / Underwear-only Chef Jamie Achmoody dancing with similarly clad very young server atop the foyer ceiling at Tallulah’s lounge, Kaya’s old Sunday Club night.
2 / Armed robbery in daylight by one of our dishwashers who sped away with a couple days’ deposits. He was never caught.
3 / “Accidentally” kissing Kristen C. as I helped “adjust the stereo.” Off duty, mind you.
4 / Playing poker until dawn at table 26.
5 / Driving the two dishwasher Jones brothers home to Homewood at 1 a.m., nightly. Over those six months, I became quite familiar with the Frankstown Road nightlife.
6 / “Steamer Darrell!”
7 / Sharon Stone slipping in the back door to eat wings – “drummies only” while she was filming Diabolique here in Pittsburgh. She would sit at the very back table, and we’d dim the lights way down. No one ever got a peep up her skirt that I know of.
8 / Kayafest after Kayafest after Kayafest, where we fill the streets with friends and relatives and have a great ole party.
9 / When we first opened, there was parking on both sides of 20th street. We would wait to see which delivery trucks would smash the bad parkers.
10 / Bob, our resident alley homeless guy and his ever-changing bikini costumes.
11 / Ejecting lovers from the prep room table during Tallulah’s.
12 / Eating cold Cuban sandwiches late at night and very early in the morning.
13 / Whole afternoons slicing chips by hand on a mandoline. Eventually we purchased a mechanical chipper.
14 / Walking into Fat Franks (previous restaurant in the Kaya space) and wondering what I had signed on for.
15 / Opening Kaya after my first long Pittsburgh winter and seeing all the beautiful people packing the sunny dining room. Relieved to learn that Pittsburgh isn’t always grey.