Salt of the Earth
By kevin 2 Comments

ides of march

six months in and I really feel as though we are hitting a somewhat of a stride. many issues that we encountered as a brand new restaurant have remedied themselves completely as others continue to present small challenges.

business is great and our staff is doing an amazing job. that said, we feel like the six month point is a perfect benchmark for re-evaluation of procedures and overall daily operations.

research and development in all areas will be necessary to maintain the same level of inspiration and motivation as we had from the beginning of this project. opportunities for staff development are presenting themselves and we will do what we can to help our people get the most out of them.

oh yeah, and spring is coming to western pennsylvania which will bring plenty of inspiration to the kitchen and mixology departments.

thanks for the continued support

By kevin No Comments

mobile post

Apologies for the previous post’s layout, first one from my phone.

By kevin 1 Comment


The new year will bring more ambitious goals for team NaCl. I am excited about the relationships with local farmers and artisans that have been developing recently. I am also leaning on our longtime purveyors to help us to help them become viable options for
the quality of product that we have become expected to provide. Within the next six months we will begin the long process of developing a biodynamic city farm to grow specific items for our restaurant.

We have also started to feel comfortable in the space and with what we are capable of. There are hams being cured for prosciutto. We are figuring out spacial issues in order to more efficiently cure a variety of meats and ferment different vegetable
preparations when the time comes.

Tomorrow is New Years Eve and I
cannot believe how well things have gone over the last few months.

I do not know how to express the gratitude that I have for the opportunity to be doing what I am doing in this building.

Thanks to

By kevin 1 Comment


sixty days, tens of thousands of covers, twelve menu items, twenty team members, eighty seats, six drinks, four beers, twenty wines, one coffee, three seating options, zero menus in print.

everything that we are doing is based on these numbers. for every thing that we take away we add exponentially to those items which remain. we add the ability to produce high quality, detail oriented food and beverage for three hundred guests a night without compromising our standards. we add diversity to our menu by not having to commit to a printed page. we add a sense of purpose to our team by keeping a realistic view of what it is that we are doing. we add the ability for a return guest to experience the restaurant in different ways through a choice of seating options. we add the ability to serve  great product at a low markup due to our low overhead costs and willingness to reduce our margins in order to provide an exceptional experience to our guests at a reasonable cost. we add the ability to create lasting relationships with local small businesses and farmers because of the dynamic nature of our menu and the ability to purchase as we please and the season dictates.

thank you to all of our clientele for continued support in giving us the opportunity to do a different kind of restaurant. thank you to team salt for making it all happen.


By kevin 13 Comments

Let’s drink to the Salt of the Earth.

After a lot of work and much anticipation all around, we are thrilled to announced that Salt of the Earth will be opening our doors to the public tomorrow (!!!) Monday, September 13, 2010 at 5:00 p.m.

Hours are Mon-Sat, 5pm-1am, serving food until 12am. We will begin taking reservations on Monday at 3:00 p.m. Please call 412.441.7258 to reserve. Our first floor is always first-come, first-served, and we accept reservations for the Mezzanine level.

We look forward to serving you.

By kevin 6 Comments

open house

Tomorrow night, 9/3 we are opening the doors from 6 – 9 p.m.

All are welcome to see the finished space, have a drink on us and check out the neighborhood during first Fridays in Garfield/Friendship.

We will NOT be serving food due to pending approval of final permits.

We will be conducting intensive front and back of house training all of next week and should be ready to announce a grand opening date shortly there after.

Once again, thanks to everyone for your continued interest. This ride has been a very bumpy one. If not for the incredible amount of public support we could have easily lost sight of our original vision.

By kevin 7 Comments

Please allow me to introduce myself…

I figure if the restaurant’s name can reference a Stones song, so can my first blog post. Those of you familiar with Kevin’s work at Bigelow Grille may recognize me from my time as Executive Sous Chef there as we opened the restaurant and developed what became the Alchemy tasting menu. I am only too happy to be working with Kevin once again, this time as General Manager of Salt of the Earth. When I mention that I am going to be leaving the kitchen for a front of the house position, the first question I always get is why? The simple answer is because Kevin asked me. This is not a transition I was looking to make, but over my years of working with Kevin we have developed a mutual trust and a vision of what the ideal restaurant should embody.

The core of that belief is that although the kitchen is the beating heart of a restaurant, and all good restaurants are driven by the food they are able to produce, when a line is drawn between the kitchen and the front of the house that same line will be drawn before the customer. If a wait staff is unable to understand the thought behind the food, the punctiliousness required of every cook on the line, and the love and enthusiasm that is necessary to produce it, they will never be able to convey this to the customer. The food and beverage in this restaurant will be served with the same ambition with which it was envisioned and produced. There will be no lines between front and back. We all choose to work in a restaurant like this because we believe in its raison d’être, that good food and drink created and served by talented people in an unpretentious environment can be a thing of wonder.

-Robert Sayre

By kevin 5 Comments


Painful, that is the only adjective that does justice to this process. Yes we are behind schedule again, yes we are over budget, yes i have lost team members because of all of the delays, yes this is the most stressful thing that i have ever done, yes i might do it a little different if given the opportunity, yes i am tired of telling people three weeks (although when i say it, i do believe it), yes i think that we are going to be successful, AND YES IT IS TURNING OUT EXACTLY HOW I HAD IMAGINED IT.

By kevin 1 Comment


I asked two of the most talented and passionate mixologists in the city (whom we are lucky enough to have on our team) to give me some thoughts on the development of a cocktail program for this blog.  Here is what they had to say…….

Maggie Meskey

It takes an abundance of focus to sit down and write a menu – something that my coworker, Summer, and I recently discovered. We had a goal: six original and exciting cocktails that will accompany and complement Kevin’s food menu. We had a bunch of ideas and ingredient lists, including hard to find premium spirits and artisinal liqueurs. We have over two decades of experience between us, both creating and enjoying cocktails, and a  passion for the craft. We also had a lot of time; and sometimes too much time can make it hard to focus.

After a few staff meetings and a bunch of coffee and cocktail meet ups, we decided to sit down and get serious. Even though we knew we could produce an outstanding menu, we weren’t really focused. Where do we begin? What do we want our core of six spirits to be?We also wanted to make sure that both of our strengths would be reflected in the cocktails, so we started to really collaborate as a team. Summer has worked extensively with potable bitters, craft liquors from around the globe and lots of the classics; I have a good background in using locally sourced ingredients, making bitters and tinctures, and food/drink pairings. So…we started mixing! And it turns out that when we were both doing what we love, we found our focus. Mezcal with sweet corn juice! Bourbon with Strega and cherries! The previously fuzzy ideas began to solidify as delicious libations! Before we knew it we had perfected six cocktails that we are very proud of. We chose local when we could – Boyd and Blair is our vodka of choice – and we’ve already begun a batch of unforgettable bitters, to be featured in one of the drinks.

Upon our opening we encourage you to try something new – our cocktails! We are looking forward to making you some tasty, tasty treats.

Summer Voelker

Ah cocktails….

The most important rule is … quality ingredients. Good booze = a better cocktail. Yes, it may cost a little bit more for a bottle of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth than a bottle of Martini and Rossi, but the taste and complexity is leaps and bounds above. I bet you never have wanted to sip Martini and Rossi, well Carpano you want a wine glass full! Fresh produce and homemade syrups are included in this, as well. If you can squeeze it fresh, fantastic and if you can make it from scratch, amazing! Try a taste test between fresh and bottled. Fresh will always win.

The next rule… There must be balance. Yes, some cocktails are supposed to be more tart than others, and some are more liquor forward, but a good, balanced cocktail should never cause any lip puckering or eye squinting. When you sip a cocktail it should hit different areas of your tongue, so roll it around a little. If I catch you doing this, I will not laugh. If your friends catch you doing this, they may. Share the knowledge with them, and then you will look very smart.

And our final rule… TRY EVERYTHING! I know you drank half a bottle of crappy gin in college and puked your guts out (I did too), but gin is not the enemy! Open yourself up to try something your scared of , or don’t like the taste of, it may surprise you. Your taste buds just may have matured and you did not get the memo. Also, if you are gettin a wonderful, quality booze mixed with amazing, fresh ingredients… how can that taste bad? It’s impossible.




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