Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This ain't your mama's dubba-wide

By Scott Beveridge
O-R Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH – An unpeeled banana dusted with paprika and melted cheddar isn’t on the menu at Double Wide Grill, a restaurant in an old filling station in Pittsburgh.

But that’s what a server delivered as a joke to the bartender at the kooky 2-year-old restaurant on East Carson Street in the city’s trendy South Side district.

“That’s why I love working here,” said the bartender named Carly, who bears a mild resemblance to Jennifer Aniston as a dark brunette. “Your foods up,” she said while passing the silly tapas to me and flashing an infections smile.

Of course no one else takes her up on this side dish, but there is plenty of real he-man food being passed around this joint on a sunny Sunday spring afternoon.

The business at Carson and 24th streets also comes with a sense of humor. An old green pickup truck strung with Christmas lights is suspended above the bar while recycled chrome step bumpers double as its foot rests.

Gas pump nozzles pull double duty as coat racks and mirrors framed in car tires can be found in the rest rooms. Meanwhile, hubcaps line the ceiling and empty metal gallon-sized oil cans hang over tables as chandeliers.

The menu is similarly as quirky. The “On Tråys” are heavy with beef, pork and chicken dishes and some can be mixed and matched on build-your-own TV dinners plopped on metal trays. The hubcap potato discs with garlic and herbs would complete that meal.

There also are vegetarian selections, including that nothing food called tofu and lighter dishes in the form of a house trailer salad with sweet corn and avocadoes.

This restaurant in a bland four-bay concrete-block garage is another gift to the city by Scott Kramer and Steve Zumoff, owners of the coffeehouse down the street where young bohemians with robins egg blue hair mingle with middle-aged nerds over organic tea.

It’s noisy and especially so on nice days when the garage doors are up and a fleet of Harley-Davidson motorcycles pulls away from the neighboring biker bar.

The place with all of its hillbilly charm is a NASCAR fan’s fantasy. The only things missing are shots of moonshine and the smell of high-octane engine fuel at the racetrack.

(Above photo of the Double Wide Grill restaurant by Scott Beveridge)

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