There we were on South Side in Pittsburgh and Zenith was a washout for the second time. With tummies grumbling we headed just a couple of blocks away on Carson Street. The neighborhood has changed a lot since in the late 70′s when it was trying to recover from the post industrial era. That day we cruised by an interesting drag of hipster shops and our brunch blues were solved at Double Wide Grill!
Next time we take the parents to the ‘Burgh, I think Dad would love this place since it has food for every persuasion and a cool garage theme. Inside and out is decorated with vintage automotive signs like Champion Spark Plugs and Esso. Even the vast seating inside has the retro garage interior with muted lighting.
We didn’t have to go indoors to access the free Wi-Fi so we sat out on the sunny patio near some old gas pumps. There were probably 30 tables outside, many with umbrellas, but we were glad to get one under the roofed area with view of the big garage doors and people traffic on Carson St.
I had followed their FaceBook page for a while and knew Double Wide Grill has hosted some interesting events. Many have been dog themed like their Hot Dog & Tofu eating contests. Until about a month ago, the patio allowed folks to bring their dogs to dine with them. Board of health nixed that but the staff was handling uninformed people with pooches in a kind and matter of fact way.
With just a hint of the wood smoke from their grill in the air and surrounded by a bunch of mainstream 20- 30 somethings, we ordered some Junkyard Nachos to share. They had a Lunch and Brunch Menu and a separate Vegetarian and Vegan Menu so I ordered a cup of the Grilled Vegetable Chili and Jim ordered a Grilled Vegetable and Brie Salad.
Jim liked the nachos more than I did. I wasn’t really into the cheese sauce (which packed a little heat) nor brightly colored nacho chips that were piled under the melted cheese shreds. The black beans and grilled corn toppers were really nice but the pico de gallo, sour cream (we never eat it) and guac on the side were little better than average. We both thought they were appealing and generously portioned.
The cup of chili was really small and quite bland. Jim liked this better than I did too although he thought it was kind of sweet in flavor. I expected at least a little smokiness to it since it had grilled veggies in it. No heat, no smoke, little flavor other than mushy navy, black and kidney beans. The little golden brown topped wedge of cornbread (not vegan) was sweet like cake. No heat chili and sweet cornbread, we were definitely still in Pennsylvania.
I took a look at Jim’s salad and was turned off by what looked like a pile of iceberg lettuce. It turned out to have a nice mix with romaine and was a surprisingly vibrant salad to eat. Jim too felt it was a perfect summer mix of chilled out grilled onions, corn, portobello chunks and peppers tossed over the crunchy greens. Added to that was big wedges of avocado, little segments of brie (fun!!) and the Pittsburgh style hot french fries. The best part of the salad was the delicious Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette! Dipping hot fries into the dressing and sipping my Bellini with my best friend was the best part of the meal.
Even with the separate Veggie Menu, all of the menus at Double Wide Grill have clearly marked V = Vegetarian, Ve = Vegan, WF = Wheat Free. This helped us know what to order at a glance from any of the menus. The foods were served in a timely manner, hot foods were hot, cold foods were well chilled. The staff was friendly and made it clear to me that the cornbread was only vegetarian and not vegan. It’s a big place so they don’t make you feel rushed to leave, you will have to ask for your check as is appropriate in any restaurant. This is a place where, unless you come during the later night bar scene, every family member would feel comfortable.