Two Lesser-known Classic Comfort Foods, One Great BBQ Joint
We all know the classic adage of surviving off of “Meat and Potatoes” (which, capitalized as it is, is another great restaurant by the same owners as this one.) However, for those of us tired of meat and potatoes but still married to the idea of a protein and a starch, let me invite you to try this lovely little venue in the heart of the Cultural District in Downtown Pittsburgh. Pork and Beans, as the name implies, serves a variety of southern comfort food, based on the swine and legume from which they come. Best of all, the food and drink can be as refined as you are that night, so whether you are dressed up or dressed down, you’re all set for Pork and Beans! Becca and I were certainly all set when we sauntered in after a night exploring the Three Rivers Art Fest, and therefore this amazing friend is the featured reviewer for this installment of Famished with Friends!
At the time of our arrival, the Stanley Cup Finals were in full swing. In accordance with the game, the atmosphere was buzzing, with flat-screen TV’s surrounding us with and everyone joining in on the excitement. There was also soft pop music playing, which added only a little ambiance over the din of the diners. In addition, I really liked the variation in seating and tables: there were high tops, low tops, booths, bar seating, outside tables, even standing tables, which gives everyone the choice of where or how to sit.
Service at Pork and Beans was fairly consistent and well timed. I say fairly consistent because although we received our appetizers really fast, it seemed every other item that came out was much slower. Not to the point of complaining, simply noticing.
The meal aspect of dining at Pork and Beans was sort of up and down for me. We started with fried pig ears, and for me the dry, spicy-ness wasn’t all that appealing, and only slightly cooled by the Alabama white barbecue sauce. Next up was my sandwich, a special which combined a fried chicken patty, pulled pork, and crunchy coleslaw into an amazing creation. I suggest pairing it with one of the sides, like the fingerling potato salad or the mac and cheese for some additional goodness. However, we also came down from this high in terms of Rebecca’s sandwich, a traditional pulled pork, which came out slightly cold.
Even though this is down-to-earth cooking, these are not down-to-earth prices. Come with your parents or someone willing to treat you well.
I have most definitely seen worse BBQ places, but I can guarantee there are better ones in places known for the cuisine. Pittsburgh gave it a good shot with this one, but it did just miss the mark, if only slightly.
Best part of the experience?
Definitely the atmosphere. The restaurant bolstered this fun, relaxed air to it, allowing us to feel like we could go around and have a good time! Because it was informal, I definitely didn’t have a pressure to feel “serious” and could just enjoy the company. You could see this at the standing table, which is super informal and something you don’t see at any other restaurant – definitely allowed for a sense of just “hanging with a friend.”
What needs the most improvement?
A little bit more lighting? Or at least in our section, because we were way to the side with little lighting fixtures. Also the timeliness of our server. It felt like he could’ve been a bit faster, but also I understand that they were busy.
What kind of place is this (who would you bring here, for what purpose, etc.)?
Definitely a relaxed place. Somewhere you might bring friends or colleagues if you wanna relax and dig right into a hearty pork sandwich. NOT where to bring your boss for a business meeting. Maybe bring a first date if you’re feeling a fun, light-hearted date but still wanna impress them (it ain’t the cheapest).
I got the pulled pork sandwich. Was TOTALLY delicious! My only complaint is that it was kind of cold when it came out, so had it been hot, I’d give it a 9/10 (nothing’s perfect)
Becca is an ice cream maker for hire. And that’s about it! [For the record, that’s all I was given for her bio, but Becca is an amazing, kind, and intelligent rising Senior at the University of Pittsburgh with a double major in Urban and Environmental Studies from York, Pennsylvania.]
Pork and Beans is a unique and down-to-earth BBQ restaurant, serving the best meats and sides available in the region. For reservations and a peak at their menu, head over to their website http://porkandbeanspgh.com/#