As the Pennsylvania Market on 19th and Smallman streets fills with shops, we are offering profiles on each of the businesses.

    This issue we spotlight The Olive Tap, East End Brewing Company, Jonathan Moran Woodworks, and The Barefoot Forge.

    The Olive Tap

    Self-serve canisters with many types of olive oil line the walls and counters at the Olive Tap.

    Self-serve canisters with many types of olive oil line the walls and counters at the Olive Tap.

    The Strip was the only place in Pittsburgh that Hersh Petrocelli would consider when he moved from Texas to start his business—a franchise of the Olive Tap, a company started by his brother. Petrocelli grew up in the atmosphere of a family-owned pizza restaurant and often ventured into the Strip to shop for ingredients. “We have our roots in the Strip; I knew the potential for our kind of business would fit in perfectly there,” he says. Thus far, Petrocelli is right on the money.

    The Olive Tap moved into a storefront in the new Pennsylvania Market after the former Pittsburgh Public Market closed suddenly.  Perhaps it was meant to be: When Petrocelli initially scouted out locations for the business four years ago, his original intent was to be in heart of the Strip.

    The business is a perfect fit in the new space, and Petrocelli praises the building’s exterior and interior design. “We’re in a little bit of a smaller space than we had, but it works well,” he says.

    The Olive Tap carries a rotating stock of fresh olive oils from boutique olive oil producers around the world, as well as balsamic vinegars; all of their oils and vinegars come both plain and flavored.  Under the Olive Tap brand, they also offer bruschetta mixes, sea salts, and tapenades—as well as a selection of locally made products such as honey, maple syrups, and barbecue sauces.

    Business in the new location is doing well, and he is confident that foot traffic will increase once the courtyard opens with additional businesses. In fact, he plans to collaborate with a gourmet pizza kiosk that will ultimately be set up in the market’s courtyard.

    The Olive Tap operates seven days a week: Saturdays 9:00 a.m–5:00 p.m. and all other days from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    East End Brewing Company

    East End Brewing has many choices of their beers on tap

    East End Brewing has many choices of their beers on tap

    Fresh. Local. Beer.

    Those three words, prominent on East End Brewing Company’s website, sum up the simple but powerful philosophy that has kept the company a Pittsburgh favorite since it opened in 2004. The actual brewing goes on in Larimer, but the taproom has had a strong presence in the Strip’s marketplaces.

    Liquor laws in place a decade ago only allowed the company to fill growlers and do free tastings. A change in the laws has now allowed East End Brewing to sell beer by the pint, changing their business model and resulting in a longer stay by patrons.

    But they soon realized that the footprint in the old market, which only seated five or so people, wasn’t going to cut it.

    When the opportunity came for owner Scott Smith to be a permanent fixture in the new Pennsylvania Market, he took it. He now has seating for 50 to 60, and people know that they can “BYOF” while they sample one of the dozen brewed beers from the company’s rotating selection of 35. Plus, East End sells such merchandise as glassware, tee-shirts, specialty beers, and more.

    The move has proven to be excellent for business: Smith’s old customers have tracked him down, and he is getting more foot traffic than ever, due to the new central location.

    “The Pennsylvania Building is such a wonderful home for us; there is so much to love about the new space inside and out,” says Smith, citing the bar and the bright space with brick and timber, and praising its wonderful restoration.

    Smith sees the space as a perfect fit: “We have our space carved out as a quiet spot to take a break from what can be intense crowds on the street, a nice little oasis of comfort in a busy neighborhood.”

    East End Brewing Company opens at 11:00 a.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and at 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

    Jonathan Moran Woodworks

    Jonathan Moran Woodworks has a large selection of wood products.

    Jonathan Moran Woodworks has a large selection of wood products.

    Customers who walk into Jonathan Moran Woodworks rarely see the man that has a store in the Pennsylvania Market named after him. However, they can be assured that he is hard at work at home creating one-of-kind artisan wood products that have been a popular mainstay of the unique merchandise one can only find in the Strip District.

    Moran’s wife, Mindy, is the face of the store that bears her husband’s name. The couple began their custom woodworking business five years ago. In addition to tables and furniture, Moran makes mirrors, candles, cutlery, and cutting boards; they offer wares from such vendors as Pendleton Woolen Mills, Dansk, and Three Rivers Clay Works, among others.

    What sets Jonathan Moran Woodworks apart is that in his products he uses locally sourced or reclaimed wood. “A lot of the wood is repurposed and comes from buildings in Pittsburgh, old floors or old beams or old walls—everything we use is repurposed or sustainably sourced,” explains Mindy Moran. “We get a lot of wood from the Butler area, and from surrounding counties. We actually physically go to the site of the structure being torn down, and we will collect wood ourselves; we do it all.”

    Moran and her husband love the new space at the Pennsylvania Market, which is four times the size of the former space. And her customers agree. “They absolutely love it. I get nothing but positive feedback,” she says. She also mentions that the space fits their business perfectly: “The hardwood floors and the brick walls—it has an industrial feel to it, and a lot
    of our furniture can have that feel as well.”

    The store’s current operating hours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

    The Barefoot Forge

    Blacksmith Craig Cowan works on a piece in his shop in the North Hills.

    Blacksmith Craig Cowan works on a piece in his shop in the North Hills.

    When passion and hobby coincide, a business is born.

    That is the story behind the Barefoot Forge, owned by Craig Cowan. Cowan, a self-taught blacksmith who currently does double duty as a boat captain for a Pittsburgh touring company, plans to open a kiosk in the courtyard of the Pennsylvania Market when the space is available.

    Currently operating in the North Hills, Cowan specializes in crafting Damascus Steel rings, which he describes as “the process of taking two dissimilar alloys of metal, welding them together, and molding them repeatedly to result in unique patterns.” He also crafts railroad-spike bottle openers.

    Cowan is looking forward to bringing his craft to the Strip, particularly after a very successful show at Three Rivers Arts Festival this past June. He thinks of the Strip as an “up-and-coming place with a lot of good potential and foot traffic. I’m most excited about the diversity of vendors that are in that specific area and the people that are attracted not just to the Strip District but who will be attracted to that space,” he says.

    Though most of his work has been crafting custom rings and bottle openers, he plans to expand his inventory once he is moved into the kiosk with a variety of products.

    Cowan does custom orders for rings. In fact, at his current space, he offers those planning their nuptials a chance to make their own wedding rings, guiding couples through a process that he says takes about 14 hours.

    Once he moves into the courtyard, he will offer basic blacksmithing demonstrations, more akin to an experience than a class. “My goal is to have a functional forging space right there in my kiosk,” he says.

    Hilary Daninhirsch is a freelance writer based in the North Hills, though she ventures to the Strip whenever possible. She lives with her husband, two red-headed daughters, and a needy terrier.

    Signup for updates and event alerts