By Matthew Hacke | Photographs by Michael Fornataro
When Pittsburgh native Matt Turbiner was faced with the decision of either going to culinary school or becoming a partner of a new restaurant, he first consulted some friends in the culinary industry. “Every single chef I spoke with said to me, ‘Open up your own restaurant,’” Turbiner says. “They explained that the road is so long to get back to that point of opening up your own restaurant.” Needless to say, Turbiner chose the latter option — opening the first Walnut Grill location and eventually Shady Grove — and never looked back.
For someone who got his start working as a drug and alcohol counselor right after graduating from Penn State University, Turbiner is quick to point out that the two passions in his life are people and food. “Counseling and working in a management position in a restaurant are very similar because you meet and work with a lot of different personalities. No day is the same in
that sense, but every once in a while, I wouldn’t mind it,” he says amusingly.
Walking into Shady Grove, one can’t help but feel right at home. The two-story restaurant on the corner of Walnut Street and Bellefonte Street features upscale bar food in an inviting atmosphere. “On our menu, you’ll find everything from fresh seafood like mahi-mahi or ahi tuna, to buffalo chicken sandwiches, which are one of our most popular sellers. Although, anything that you put ranch on in Pittsburgh pretty much is going to be a home run,” he continues with a laugh.
Aside from upcoming menu changes, which occur bi-annually and follow a strict “one off, one on” rule — “The menu is already so big and the kitchen is small, so I’m at the point where if I want to add something, something has to come off” — Shady Grove is also shifting into becoming the place to be when warmer weather hits. “This summer is going to be a test in terms of volume because we just added outdoor seating,” says Turbiner. “Our second-floor patio was completed at the end of last summer. It took us two years to get this open — to get through the permits, variances, and building it. So when it was finally done, I was pretty psyched!”
We’re pretty psyched about plans for live music on the patio during weekend brunches, a welcomed addition to the event calendar that already includes “Wine Wednesdays and Fridays.” And the anticipated crowds this spring and summer will be just as eclectic and time-honored as Shady Grove itself.
“I can walk into Shady Grove at any time and the mean age is always fluctuating. There’s grandmas and grandpas, young guys at the bar, and so on,” Turbiner says. “Longevity wise, we have done well because there is something on the menu for everyone.” We can’t wait for what’s in store! Shady Grove, 831 Bellefonte St., Shadyside. 412.697.0909. eatshady.com.
Chef’s Best Dishes
Check out some of the signature selections on the Shady Grove menu!
+Roasted red peppers
+Crushed red pepper flakes
+Honey citrus dressing
Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich
+Crispy fried chicken
+Housemade bacon pimento cheese
+Breadworks kaiser roll