Monday, August 21, 2023

15 Asian restaurants and eateries coming soon, or even not quite so soon, to Pittsburgh.

via @kpotbbqandhotpot

Pittsburgh has a ton of Asian restaurants and eateries in the works, from national Korean bakery chains and quick service Vietnamese restaurants to several hot pot and Korean BBQ places. There are event two Asian food courts in the works that may be open by year's end. What is interesting about this recent rush is the number of chains that are finally noticing Pittsburgh. National and international chains have tended to avoid Pittsburgh, until 朝茶 TSAOCAA opened in 2020 and New York-based Chinese fast food chain 98K Hamburger moved in next door in 2021. While some people may be turned off by chains, fearing , on the contrary I think their arrival is evidence of how much Pittsburgh's food scene has grown. Hell, it wasn't that long ago the only ramen place around was in Morgantown.

Here's a recap of 15 Asian restaurants and eateries coming to Pittsburgh in the near, or the not-so-near, future.

Tiger Sugar

5847-5849 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill (map)

Tiger Sugar is a Taiwanese bubble tea chain that opened in 2017 and has been expanding rapidly across the US in recent years.  The closest taste Pittsburghers have had are the black sugar boba ice cream bars, desserts, bottled drinks, or gift sets that sometimes show up in local Asian groceries.  There are roughly six thousand places in the area already serving bubble tea, but Tiger Sugar has some eponymous coloration that makes it stand out among its competitors: "Our Tiger Sugar drinks not only taste good but tell our unique story with “tiger stripes” that are infused onto all our drinks with unique hand-poured syrups.  They say imitation is the best form of flattery. Many companies have tried to replicate our black sugar bubble tea, but our tried and proven methods stand the test of time."   Tiger Sugar is set to open in a storefront with Mango Mango, a Hong Kong dessert place, in Squirrel Hill, in what was briefly and most recently a beer distributor.


1816 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill (map)

I was driving through Squirrel Hill literally as they were putting signage up for KPOT, a Korean BBQ and hot pot place coming soon to the old Eat n' Park location, so that's how PennsylvAsia got the scoop. "KPOT is leading a cultural dining revolution!," it says. "Born from four friends from different backgrounds who blended their cuisines over a shared table, KPOT is a unique, hands-on, all-you-can-eat experience that merges traditional Asian hot pot with Korean BBQ flavors." KPOT has locations all throughout the US, including several in eastern Pennsylvania and Harrisburg. Work has not progressed much, so this is in the coming-not-so-soon category, along with the other Korean BBQ places included in this list.

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

415 Cinema Dr., South Side (map

This international chain has been among the most highly-anticipated new places in Pittsburgh since it was first announced back in September 2022. Kura Revolving Sushi Bar brings your orders of sushi (and dumplings, and tempura, and soups, and desserts) to your booth via conveyer belt. It is also known for its promotions and giveaways featuring popular Japanese anime series. It announced on social media on August 4 that it was "coming very soon," which for previous cities has meant an opening within a few days to a couple weeks, so an opening might be imminent.

Meccha Matcha

2000 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill (map)

Progress is well underway on Pittsburgh's Meccha Matcha, a dessertery that specializes in green tea flavored sweets and boasts "America's strongest matcha ice cream!" Meccha Matcha has two locations already, one in California and one in Texas, and will be openings its first Pittsburgh location on the corner storefront most recently occupied by Te Cafe. Besides matcha ice cream, the menu also features six matcha lattes, matcha a matcha float, blended ice drinks, and a few beverages not centered around green tea.
via @mecchamatcha

Tous Les Jours (뚜레쥬르)

Eastside Bond Building C, East Liberty (map)

Tous Les Jours is a huge Korean bakery chain with locations around the world, and the first Pittsburgh location will be in East Liberty.  Signage first went up in June, though it will likely be months before it's close to ready to open.  Tous Les Jours is the first of the big Korean bakery chains to announce a Pittsburgh spot (though it was followed about two months later by another one), and will complement Sumi's Cakery, which has been Pittsburgh's lone Korean bakery since it opened in 2012.  Tous Les Jours, says its US website, "has developed into a reputable neighborhood bakery specializing in French-Asian inspired baked goods, hand crafted beverages and bold, flavorful coffee and espresso made with the finest ingredients."
via @TousLesJoursUSA

Little Viet Kitchen

Pine Creek Shopping Center, McCandless (map)
The North Hills will get its first ever Vietnamese restaurant when Little Viet Kitchen opens in McCandless's Pine Creek Shopping Center, next to the Hallmark and between Giant Eagle and Target. Signage on the window promises "Quick Service Vietnamese Food."

New spot from Tan Lac Vien ownership

5846 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill (map)

Liquor Control Board Application signage went up at the old Panda Supermarket location in Squirrel Hill back in December, though no progress has been made on the interior or exterior since then. An LLC named Jho's, under the same Tan Lac Vien ownership, is also connected to the address. Tan Lac Vien opened on Murray Ave. in Squirrel Hill in late-2012.  

Shabu Shabu Hot Pot and Grill

McCandless Crossings, North Hills (map)

Shabu Shabu Hot Pot and Grill is one of several new places in the works offering hot pot and Korean BBQ.  The owners also operate Shabu Shabu Hot Pot & Grill in Nashville, Tennessee, which offers all you can eat hot pot, sushi, and BBQ.  Work has just begun on this space in McCandless Crossings, in the building just off Babcock Blvd. that has the shooting range.

Mango Mango

5847-5849 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill (map)

Mango Mango is a New York City-based, Hong Kong-inspired, dessertery opening in Squirrel Hill in a storefront shared by Tiger Sugar.  The menu includes a large assortment of cakes, crepe cakes, sago, shaved ice, smoothies, and more.  "Only the most sophisticated cooking methods and finest ingredients (including all the freshest mangoes) are used to create handcrafted desserts like our Mango Mochi, Green Tea Mille Crepe, Durian Dessert Bowl, and the famously known coconut mango infused smoothie," Mango Mango boasts.  There are over 30 locations in 12 states, and this will be Pittsburgh's first.

Novo Asian Cuisine Food Hall

Terminal Building, Strip District (map)

Pittsburgh Magazine reported last year that several local restauranteurs were opening restaurants in an Asian food court in the Strip District's Terminal Building, now called Novo Asian Cuisine Food Hall. These tenants would include Mike Chen of Everyday Noodles, Alex Tang of Mola, Silk Elephant, Golden Palace, Korea Garden, Sumi's Cakery, and a bubble tea place from Many More Asian Market. As such, we've seen a few places close around the city---like Korea Garden in Oakland---as they prepare to focus on their Novo Asian Cuisine Food Hall spaces. The official site gives a summer opening.


6204 Penn Ave. at Eastside Bond (map)

National ramen chain Kyuramen (stylized KYURA MEN) is opening its first Pittsburgh location in East Liberty, near the Tous Les Jours also under development for the area. "The purpose of KYURA MEN is to let our general working class and student population enjoy the stress-free Ramen in a stress free environment," its website says. There are 19 KYURA MEN locations around the US already, mostly in New York, with others coming soon to Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Jackson Mississippi, Pittsburgh, and more.

Hong BBQ & Hot Pot

4801 McKnight Rd, North Hills (map)

There have been several restaurants to occupy "where Tokyo Sushi Buffet used to be" in recent years, and Hong BBQ & Hot Pot will be the latest to go into the outparcel next to Best Buy on McKnight Road. Hong BBQ & Hot Pot will serve all-you-can-eat Hot Pot and Korean BBQ, and is one of three such places coming soon to Pittsburgh. It has a location in Tampa, Florida, and has several other locations coming soon.

Many More Asian Market food court

2767 Liberty Ave, Strip District (map)

In October 2022 work started on a new Many More Asian Market location in the Strip District, a warehouse space that aims to have a food court. The store shared on social media in February: "The food court will feature an Asian bakery, bubble tea, Chinese BBQ, and Sushi stalls etc…Expect to enjoy delicious cake and drinks, freshly made roast duck and Char Siu, fresh sushi, and MANY MORE FOODS!!!! Yayyyyyy~~" The new grocery store was supposed to open this summer, but delays have pushed it back to maybe this fall, according to ownership.

Paris Baguette

The Block Northway, North Hills (map)

Paris Baguette, the largest of the Korean bakery chains that has expanded worldwide, was finally announced for Pittsburgh earlier this month. is coming to the North Hills.  Paris Baguette is a chain of bakeries ubiquitous throughout South Korea that has over 150 locations across the United States. The menu boasts a wide variety of cakes, baked goods, sandwiches, juices, and coffees, in addition its eponymous French bread. 

Yet-to-be-named Izakaya

Bakery Square, Larimier (map)

In 2022 a Japanese izakaya-type restaurant by the Richard Deshantz Restaurant Group was announced for Bakery Square. From the Group's page: "The yet-to-be-named Izakaya-style restaurant will be run by the executive chef of Gi-Jin. It will be a Japanese pub focusing on skewer grilled meats, curated cocktails, and craft beer." There has not been news about it since then, save job postings for a Gi-Jin in Bakery Square and this CGI video showing renderings of the space.

Most of these openings were first reported by PennsylvAsia, even if the other local outlets that don't cite sources won't admit it.  If you'd like to be the among the first to read about all these openings---and movies, and festivals, and cultural events---consider making and its Facebook page part of your daily routine.  

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