A newer establishment to the Pittsburgh restaurant scene, is the Smallman Galley in the strip district of the city.
Smallman Galley is an incubator restaurant where there are four different chefs running four different restaurants all in the same venue. It is a cafeteria style venue where patrons can peruse and make choices from the four different restaurant options. Every 18 months all four restaurants are replaced with new ones with new chefs. The chefs are given the freedom to set their own menu, hire their own staff, and run the business the way they want. Smallman Galley is closed on Mondays so the chefs can attend training sessions by leaders in the restaurant industry. They are assisted with making business and marketing plans and given assistance to securing financing and real estate in a new city. I will not be reviewing the individual restaurants in the Smallman Galley because of the fluidity of the menus. However, on both visits, I had an appetizer, entree, and dessert from three of the four venues and all of the food was terrific! My first visit, I ordered a drink at the bar, and brought it to my seat, then surveyed and ordered from the restaurants, then waited for the food to be brought by the server. The recommended order is to: 1. Order your food first, 2. Order drinks or coffee. 3. Go to your table with your placard identifying your order number. 4. Then enjoy your meal. Follow that plan and your dining experience will be terrific.
Everyone I encountered on the staff was friendly, even when it was during a peak time on a Friday evening. After you place your order, you’re given a placard to display on your table so that the server knows where to bring your fare. This is very efficient, which is very important to this reviewer.
Located at the corner of Smallman and 21st Streets, there is a natural hustle and bustle that takes place outside the restaurant. This is also mirrored inside with an appealing energy to the venue. The main dining room has a great blend of lighting from both inside and outside. The bar area is a little crowded, but the communal seating around it reinforces a “galley at sea” aesthetic to it.
This is a unique eating experience and one that every Pittsburgher and visitor alike should try! My overall rating and recommendation is:
“Absolutely Must Try!” Bon appetite!