Monday, January 1, 2024

21 Asian restaurants and eateries coming soon, or maybe not quite so soon, to Pittsburgh.

via @parisbaguetteus

Since 2011, PennsylvAsia has documented the Asian restaurant openings (and closings) in the Pittsburgh area. In August, we looked at the 15 biggest names coming soon (or not-so-soon) to the area, taking a page from the local news outlets that seemed to find success posting lists from PennsylvAsia scoops. Now, at the start of 2024, let's take a look at a list of the 21 biggest Asian restaurants coming in the near or distant future. Some of these are repeats from the summer, if progress has been slow, while others are recently new developments. The additions will certainly be welcome in the area: new bakeries and dessert spots, more dim sum, five Korean BBQ places this year, for example, and of course more bubble tea. We are also attracting a number of national and international chains, which is a testament to the growing power of Pittsburgh's food scene, since these places were content with overlooking Pittsburgh over the last decade or two. Let's dig in . .

Golden Gai Izakaya

Bakery Square, Larimier (map)
via @goldengaipgh

In 2022 a Japanese izakaya-type restaurant by the Richard Deshantz Restaurant Group was announced for Bakery Square, and last year it got a name: Golden Gai. "The 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." Golden Gai has been active on social media in anticipation of its opening.

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.

Hong Kong Dim Sum

4520 Centre Ave., Oakland (map)
via Hanna Langholz Wilson Ellis

A restaurant called Hong Kong Dim Sum is planned for North Oakland in the newish apartment complex One On Centre. Details are scarce so far, but should the restaurant arrive it would help fill one of the largest remaining gaps in the Pittsburgh dining scene.

Jho's Pool Hall

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 2022, though no progress has been made on the interior or exterior since then. Jho's Pool Hall, from the ownership of Squirrel Hill restaurant Tan Lac Vien, will eventually open here.

Korean BBQ (코리안 바베큐)

414 Semple St., Oakland (map)

This all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ place, named Korean BBQ, was aiming for a January opening in the spot formerly occupied by Korea Garden. It is one of five Korean BBQ places set to open in Pittsburgh this year.


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 a few other Korean BBQ places included in this list.

Kyo Matcha

5864 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill (map)

Nearly across the street from two new dessert places set to open soon---and also on this list---is another twofer: Kyo Matcha and Meetcha will share a spot formerly occupied by Footer's Cleaners. Kyo Matcha, according to its official site,
is an international chain of Matcha desserts dedicated to creating top-quality raw materials. Due to the influence of the Japanese-style matcha culture, the Kyoto Matcha is based on the brand mission of “Let the Tea Return to the Forest”, rooted in the traditional Japanese tea culture and dedicated to the promotion of Matcha culture.


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.

Mango Mango

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

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.

Many More Marketplace 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 2023: "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 in Summer 2023 but initial delays and an October 2023 theft have pushed it back to possibly early 2024.

Meccha Matcha

2000 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill (map)
via @mecchamatcha

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. The spot has been "coming soon" for a while; ownership says it is still waiting on health department inspections.

Meetcha (Squirrel Hill)

5864 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill (map)

Sharing a spot with Kyo Matcha in Squirrel Hill is Meetcha, another bubble tea spot coming soon to the neighborhood.

Meetcha (Oakland)

303 S. Craig St., Oakland (map)

Paperwork indicates that Meetcha is also set to open in Oakland, in what was formerly Little Asia Restaurant. No signage is up and no superficial work has begun, but permit paperwork says Little Asia ownership aims to switch to a bubble tea place to finish out the lease.

Nan Xiang

Southside Works (map)
One of the most highly-anticipated openings is Nan Xiang, a New York-based chain specializing in Northern Chinese cuisine, set to open in Southside Works. The restaurant's official site describes its offerings:
Xiao Long Bao (also known as Soup Dumpling) originated from Nan Xiang County of Shanghai, China. “Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao” opened its door at the heart of Asian cuisine, Flushing, New York in 2006 and soon gained popularity among food lovers in the Big Apple over the past 16 years. Nan Xiang is the first choice for local Chinese immigrants who are craving for authentic Northern Chinese food, Jiangsu & Zhejiang cuisine. A lot of western diners also visit Nan Xiang to experience our famous dishes recommend by various publications and food bloggers. Welcome to Nan Xiang, we provide the most original flavors from China.
. . .
Our signature dishes are the restaurant’s unrivaled crab and pork soup dumplings, plentiful steamed buns and Shanghainese dim sum. Other popular dishes include pan-fried crispy noodles, fried rice cakes, scallion pancakes with sliced beef, fish fillet & pickled cabbage noodle soup and pan-fried dumplings.

Novo Asian Cuisine Food Hall

Terminal Building, Strip District (map)

Pittsburgh Magazine reported in 2022 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 food court was supposed to open in Summer 2023, but the Terminal announced a few days ago that the opening is now scheduled for the near future.

Paris Baguette

The Block Northway, North Hills (map)
via @parisbaguetteus 

Paris Baguette, the largest of the Korean bakery chains that has expanded worldwide, was finally announced for Pittsburgh in August 2023. 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.

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.

Tiger Sugar

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

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.

Tous Les Jours (뚜레쥬르)

Eastside Bond Building C, East Liberty (map)
via @TousLesJoursUSA 

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, and looks to be coming soon though it missed its December target. 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."

Top Pot Hotpot & Korean BBQ

Southside Works (map)

Top Pot Hotpot & Korean BBQ is yet another Asian dining destination coming to Southside Works, after Nan Xiang (coming soon) and Kura Revolving Sushi Bar (already here), and will be one of five Korean BBQ spots opening in 2024 (so far). Its official site explains the concept:
Top Pot & K BBQ is an AYCE restaurant franchise that offers a unique and satisfying dining experience with a combination of hot pot and Korean BBQ. The menu features a wide range of ingredients, spices, and sauces to cater to different tastes, with options for meat, seafood, vegetables, and more. Customers can enjoy cooking their food at the table with a simmering pot of soup stock or grilling meat on the table with personalized dipping sauces. The restaurant also offers a well-rounded meal with a lot of delicious small side dishes, which provide a diverse array of flavors and textures. These side dishes, along with the option of both hot pot and Korean BBQ, make for a unique and satisfying dining experience.

Wushiland Boba

300 S. Craig St (map)

A Taiwanese bubble tea chain with locations across California is expanding to other locations in the US, including this spot near the Pitt and CMU campuses. The operator of this Wushiland is the Director of Operations of Fuku Tea and Atarashi Sushi, the latter an offshoot of the Sushi Fuku that had a few locations in Oakland and that opened Fuku Tea in 2015.

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, its Facebook page, and its Instagram part of your daily routine.

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