Strip and Lawrenceville Merchants Reveal Their Most—and Least—Expensive Items

    The merchants of the Strip District and Lawrenceville offer unique and varied products—from Japanese Wagu steak to authentic Thai food and tasty beef jerky, from custom woodworking to fine antiques, art, and furniture. These items—and more—range in price from appropriately costly to surprisingly affordable. We thought it might be interesting to ask five area merchants to describe their most, and least, expensive offerings.

    STRIP DISTRICT MEATS

    2123 Penn Ave. / 412-391-1762
    stripdistrictmeats.com

    Strip District Meats, a family-operated business, has been a staple in the Strip District for over 65 years. This full-service butcher shop is known for its complete line of beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and veal. They also have the largest exotic-meat selection in Pittsburgh. Owner and master butcher Raymond Turkas Jr. and the other butchers can offer expert advice on how to prepare and cook the varieties of meat.

    Strip District Meats

    Most Expensive Item. The most expensive item at Strip District Meats is also their most popular item. This is a specialty steak from Japan, specifically from the regions of Miyazaki or Kagoshima, and is called A5 Japanese Wagyu strip steak. “There is no way a human could eat all of it because the cut is three quarters of an inch thick and is very rich in taste and much more filling than your typical strip steak,” says Christie Bengele, general manager. It sells for $99.99 per lb. “We have been carrying the Wagyu steak, which comes via California, for about five to six years now, and we always try to keep it in stock as we sell a lot of it. Customers buy it because they might have always been interested in trying it or are just curious,” says Bengele. The A5 Japanese Wagyu derives from very specific cattle (with a lineage of over 2,000 years), and each animal comes with a Certificate of Authenticity that includes its nose print and a description stating its birth date, carcass number, grading, marble score, sex, and more.

    Strip District Meats

    Least Expensive Item. The least expensive item currently in the store is the chicken leg quarter: drumstick and thigh with backbone attached. It’s “very cheap in price at less than $1.00 per lb.,” says Bengele. And, as Raymond Turkas Jr. puts it, “You can buy a pound of Japanese Wagu or 270 pounds of leg quarters.”

    ASIAN INFLUENCES

    3513 Butler St. / 412-621-3530
    asianinfluences.com

    Asian Influences, a fine art, furniture, and antiques gallery in Lawrenceville, is a sight to behold. Owned by Susan Fisher, it is the only gallery in Pittsburgh that specializes solely in Asian pieces. Fisher, who opened 15 years ago, earned a design certification from the Parsons School of Design in Manhattan and has spent many years searching for items at antiques shops, auctions, dealers, and private collections to offer exceptional pieces that reflect an Eastern perspective. She has a broad clientele that includes designers and collectors. The gallery features a collection of furniture, prints, paintings, porcelains, and more—with items added or changed out routinely from stored inventory. She also accepts items on consignment. Her website’s online galleries—including a special one for consignments—give great detail, in pictures and content, of a variety of furniture, art, and antiques.

    Asian Influences

    Most Expensive Item. The most expensive item offered at Asian Influences is an original ink and watercolor painting by renowned Chinese artist Fang Xiang. The artist has received countless awards for his work and his pieces continue to climb in value. It is worth a visit to the showroom to see this item in person. It is priced at $10,000.00.

    Asian Influences

    Least Expensive Item. Asian Influences’ least expensive item is an Imari porcelain plate. “Imari is one of the most collectable of all Japanese porcelains,” says Susan Fisher. “The palette of blue and red is recognizable to many. While other colors were often incorporated, the dominant red and blue was readily copied by Chinese and European porcelain makers. This Meiji-period plate (mid-1800s-early 1900s) exemplifies the famous palette and typical floral design.” The size of the plate is 1.5h x 8.5w and is on sale for $50.00.

    LITTLE BANGKOK IN THE STRIP

    1906 Penn Ave. / 412-586-4107
    littlebangkokinthestrip.com

    Little Bangkok in the Strip, a popular Thai restaurant known for their healthy, fresh, and authentic Thai cuisine, has been a Strip District fixture on Penn Avenue since 2011. Owners Drew Kessler and Chef Penny, who met while working together years ago at another local restaurant, pride themselves on serving the highest quality ingredients in their dishes. Inspired by home cooking, many of the recipes have been handed down to Chef Penny by her mother from Thailand. Currently, Little Bangkok is open for business in the restaurant, which continues to offer takeout.

    Little Bangkok

    Most Expensive Item. Little Bangkok’s most popular and expensive dish is Bangkok Spicey Basil at $18.00. It is a combination of chicken, beef, pork, and shrimp, stir-fried with bell peppers, broccoli, onions, bamboo, mushrooms, and jalapenos in a brown sauce infused with fresh Thai basil. They sell up to 20 of these daily. If one is ordering for a larger group, catering would fall under the “Most Expensive” category as well. Little Bangkok offers three hot entrees (serving seven) at $98. They are: The Bangkok Spicy Basil Stir-Fry, Pad Kra Tiem (Garlic Stir-Fry) and Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry. Also at the $98 catering price are two choices of Curry that serve seven: Red Curry and Massaman.

    Little Bangkok

    Least Expensive Item. On the less expensive side, Little Bangkok offers sides of extra appetizer sauce at 50 cents each. The many options are: Pineapple Sauce, Peanut Sauce, Cucumber Sauce, Dumpling Sauce, and Yum Salad Dressing.

    BEEF JERKY OUTLET

    57 18th St. / 412-440-3136
    beefjerkyoutlet.com/pittthestrip

    Relatively new to the Strip District is Beef Jerky Outlet, located across from Primanti Bros. on 18th Street. The owners, Doug and Rick Young, are very knowledgeable and have seen great interest in the products they offer at their store. Their many brands of jerky come in these sizes: Family (16oz), Share (8oz), and Snack Pack (3oz), with the best seller being Cherry Maple. They also carry exotic jerky in elk, venison, buffalo, and salmon. “We offer over 100 jerky varieties and sizes as well as many other complementary items, such as hunter sausages, snack sticks, dried fruits, jerky-making kits, seasonings, hot sauces, jerky chew, Coca-Cola products, and much more,” notes Doug. Even dog treats are available in pork or beef. They also have elk antlers for dogs to chew on.

    Beef Jerkey Outlet

    Most Expensive Item. At $120, the Ultimate Experience Gift Box is the most expensive item at Beef Jerky Outlet. It includes 12 bags of jerky along with peanuts, popcorn, and snack sticks. Additionally, there are 21 different varieties and sizes of gift boxes at $24.99 and up. They can customize a gift box for customers as well.

    Beef Jerky Outlet

    Least Expensive Item. Beef Jerky Outlet’s least expensive items are their Snack Sticks (round) and Meat Snacks (flat). These are $2.79 each and come in dozens of different flavors, including venison, buffalo, boar, elk, alpaca, duck, kangaroo, ostrich, pheasant, and gator. And although this might not be the “most” or “least” expensive item Beef Jerky Outlet offers, it is worthy of mention: While shopping at the store or online, customers may want to consider supporting frontline heroes by donating a $10 Jerky HeroSnack Pac, which Beef Jerky Outlet will deliver to local heroes.

    JTHN. MORAN WOODWORKS

    108 19th St. / 724-504-7869
    www.jthn-moran.com

    Many readers may be familiar with Jonathan Moran Woodworks in the Strip, as they have been in the Strip District at various locations for about 11 years now. Jonathan, a self-taught artisan woodworker, creates beautiful one-of-a-kind custom pieces whether large or small. From furniture to kitchen cabinets to specialty items, he has produced a unique inventory using reclaimed and sustainably sourced lumber. Because of this, he has a large return customer base. “We do a lot of custom work for residents of the Cork Factory,” says his wife and business partner Mindy. “Jonathan is humble and loves what he does. We have a wood shop in Butler with tons of wood and he creates as he goes.” A visit to the store will reveal many more items than what is currently listed on their website.

    Jonathan Moran Woodworks

    Most Expensive Item. Currently the most expensive item at Jonathan Moran Woodworks is a freestanding bar/island. According to Mindy, “It’s a beautiful piece of solid walnut—the whole piece. The top is spalted maple, and there are beautiful inlays on the top and copper underneath the inlays. There is storage behind the bar with shelves and doors to store liquor and more. And there is handmade hardware as well. Jonathan used mortise and tenon joinery—an old-fashioned way of joining pieces—to make this item.” It is priced at $12,500.

    Jonathan Moran Woodworks

    Least Expensive Item. Mindy also sells other items at the store, like wool blankets from the 1800s from Pendleton Woolen Mills, but the least expensive items are their popular ceramic dishes. “I started selling these to complement the wood pieces,” Mindy notes. They are little dishes that are very functional as serving pieces, appetizer dishes, or jewelry holders. They sell for $5.25.

    Denise S. Artman is a staff photographer and freelance writer. She regularly photographs and conducts interviews for The Strip! magazine. See more of her Pittsburgh photography at fb: DeniseSArtmanPhotography.