Farewell for now...
Just over two years ago, we hatched an idea to convert a gas station turned foreign car repair shop, built in the 1930's, into a concept not yet seen in Pittsburgh. Our vision was to combine a whole animal butcher shop, using all natural, ethically and locally raised animals, with a full-service restaurant under one roof. And we were doing this in one of the best neighborhoods in all of Western PA; the wonderful neighborhood of Beverly Rd. in Mt. Lebanon.
After a lot of work and planning, we opened with high expectations. And while we have welcomed many customers, things just haven't taken off quite as we had hoped. It is not a big operation, but it's very complex trying to manage the flow of locally raised animals, sourced in the fields, through multiple operations inside one building. And it is even harder trying to get people to change their shopping habits for things like locally grown produce and fresh meat.
So, it is with sadness that we are announcing Block 292 is closing effective Saturday, August 12th. But we are calling this something like a retrenchment and refocus. While some aspects of Block 292 went exceptionally well, others never really gained the traction we needed to be able to sustain the flow of high quality products from the field to the market. So rather than tinker and slowly change into something different, we decided to "rip the bandage" off and start over. We have a wonderful, welcoming building in a great neighborhood. Unfortunately, the concept just didn’t work for a variety of reasons.
But what have we learned during our short time here...
So, for now it is goodbye…but not forever. We still live in the neighborhood, and we will begin thinking about the next phase in the life of 292 Beverly Rd almost immediately. Unfortunately things don't last forever...although usually a little longer than this idea did! And we have every intention of making the next life of the old "Beverly Service" even better.
- Trying to operate a butcher shop, market, and restaurant all at the same time isn't as easy as it sounds!
- We have many incredibly talented people that worked very hard inside our walls, and will be welcome additions to restaurants and butchers around Pittsburgh.
- We have a lot of great neighbors that learned to enjoy our small, little place for the short time we were here.
- Even though we redeveloped a gas station from the 1930's, one of the first fuel stations built outside of the City of Pittsburgh, we didn’t generate the buzz to draw people to our unique and exciting concept.
- We didn't do a good enough job educating potential customers what our concept actually was. A year after we opened, we still hear things like "Are you a deli?" "What do you sell in the convenience store?" "You have a liquor license?" "Wait, you actually sell food!?"
- Beverly Rd. is a wonderful area and will be a great place for a re-imagined operation.
- Getting off to a rough start is really hard to recover from.
- Designing, rebuilding, and re-purposing an old gas station is a lot of fun and incredibly rewarding...and also very challenging. Using skilled union workers, we fought through issues, big and small, to design and build what we feel is a stunning transformation from auto garage to restaurant.
- It was a pleasure working with spectacular farmers like John and Sukey Jamison, the absolute best producers of lamb, and Neal Salyards and his family at Jubilee Hilltop, who have redefined grass-fed beef. Add in all of the great producers of tasty food we sold in the market (Bob at Sendall Chocolates, John and Rina at Parma Sausage, Larry at Enricos...), we have a lot to be thankful for living in Western PA and having access to some of the finest food anywhere.
Thank you to those that supported us. And for those that didn't have a chance to visit, you really missed out but we look forward to seeing you sometime in the future!!
Till next time...