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Nov 3, 2008 12:50 PM

Dinette, Pgh

Has anyone been to Dinette in Eastside yet?

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  1. I ate there Last Saturday night. Nice casual place. Choices are limited, a soup, a couple salads, a couple small plates. Pizza is the only entree, really really good pizza. I had the goat cheese pizza and my husband had an oyster mushroom pizza. Nice wine list and a good assortment of beer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rotini

      Did you feel it was worth the price? Personal size pizzas seemed to be $15 or more.

    2. Thought they had really good pizza. Better than il Pizzaiolo, not as good as the departed Roberto's in Bellevue. Had the sausage/escarole pizza which was good. Tried someone's proscuitto/arugula which was even better. Fritto misto was fantastic. The pizzas are smaller than Pizzaiolo's, but with a slightly thicker crust. As far as it being worth the price...I feel it's a little on the high side, $12-$14 would be fairer. Saw someone's salad which looked very small for the price. They tout their menu as being as sustainable, organic, and local as possible but there were no mentions on the menu of where anything came from. Certainly no local avocados or parm-reg.

      5 Replies
      1. re: PghJen

        Thanks for the review. I really want them to do well, but I also thought the prices looked a bit steep. I haven't been yet.

        1. re: PghJen

          Rick, I definately thought it was worth the price.! I ate three slices from my personal sized eggplant pizza (so fresh!!!...served with a garlic, thyme, and olive oil spread...yummy) and I still had leftovers to take with me.

          PghJen, The menu was short and to the point. I asked the staff to elaborate on the local, sustainable pitch. I was impressed by their answers. Turns out that Dinette has a list of purveyors they buy from in the area.

          P.S. .....hope you had some wine while you dined....I don't think you can find most of them in the state store.

          1. re: firstlight

            I ate there Friday. My husband and I were both very impressed- with the food and the staff. (In Pittsburgh, I find you usually get great service OR great food). Even though it was really busy, the waitress immediately welcomed us, brought us water, and asked us if we wanted to know more about Dinette. She told us many - if not all? - the ways Dinette is oriented to local food and sustainable practices. She mentioned that living wages were part of their sustainability, too. I don't mind paying their prices if it means our dollars stay in our community. Also, I did not think the prices were unreasonable. They are not "cheap eats" but they are also not "anniversary-date" only prices.

            The food was excellent!

            1. re: fooday2

              Any idea what a "living wage" is? Is it the standard min wage as opposed to the restaurant min wage? Are customers expected to tip the same?

              1. re: Panini Guy

                I would suspect that the "living wage" refers not to the waitstaff but to the kitchen staff. It means that the cooks, dishwashers, etc. should be making significantly above minimum wage - a wage they can actually "live" on. From what I read ("Feast in the East" Pittsburgh Post Gazette) the owner has spent the last 5 years cooking in San Francisco, and I know that San Francisco imposed a set "living wage" instead of going by the minimum wage. - She probably just brought these kind of ideas with her.

                P.S. I ate there last Thursday - The food was great!

        2. I have lived in Pittsburgh all of my life and have never heard of Eastside! Dinette is smack dab in the middle of East Liberty!

          10 Replies
          1. re: ntylions

            I believe that the shopping center where Whole Foods and Dinette, among other things, are located is called Eastside. But it seems like people are trying to name the entire area, Bakery Square, Trader Joe's etc., Eastside.

            1. re: ntylions

              LIke meatmaster, I think people are just trying to call that area Eastside since East Liberty doesn't exactly bring up images of luxury to people that have lived in the city all their life.

              1. re: Rick

                They won't even go there if you call it Sliberty (oh, alright, East Liberty), no matter how much you tell them it's changed.

                Anyway, yeah, it started with the shopping center that grew up around Whole Foods, which used that name first, I believe. But, the plaza on Penn where Trader Joe's and such are located is now called Village at Eastside, and all the Bakery Square (which is next to that plaza) development info also says Eastside. Ah, well.

                1. re: CrazyOne

                  I just checked on the City of Pittsburgh website- the Eastside complex is in Shadyside, not East Liberty.

                  1. re: fooday2

                    I could be wrong, but i'm pretty certain they are really really stretching the boundry of Shadyside to say that!

                    1. re: Rick

                      This is quite a rant you guys have gone on considering that the first sentence on the Dinette website says that the restaurant is located in the "vibrant neighborhood of East Liberty." The website only mentions EastSide in the directions I assume so that people can find it since it's on the second leveI. I also read in China Millman's article "Feast in the East" where the owner said she was excited "just to be in East Liberty, and second of all, to be a local business owner in these developments (Eastside) so they can have a connection to the surrounding communtiy." Do your research next time. I think you guys are being a little too critical of someone who is doing something positive.

                      1. re: jaypgh

                        Jay, hopefully you noticed we weren't commenting on Dinettes use of East Side, just the use of it in general, i.e. on the Pittsburgh Website. Pay a little more attention next time.

                        1. re: Rick

                          I'm definitely not being critical of the restaurant! It sounds like a lot of fantastic ideas really, and I hope they do well. I am being critical of set in their ways Pittsburghers. To them, there's no possible way East Liberty could be a place they would ever go. You'd have to drag them kicking and screaming, and if you drove down Penn Ave they'd probably still run away....

                          This is why the city insists the Eastside development (Borders, Whole Foods, etc.) is in Shadyside, although it clearly is not. It's on the wrong side of the tracks, literally. The tracks, and the busway next to them, would have been regarded as the boundary. Penn Circle, of which Centre Ave forms the one side of the square, and the corner of the square is right at Whole Foods, is most assuredly East Liberty. The city is perpetuating the image problem. Instead it should be playing up the idea that Eastside is in East Liberty.

                          1. re: CrazyOne

                            Crazyone, I agree with you. Yet, I think this has more to do with the City of Pgh and Urban Planning office than it does with the companies in "Eastside."

                            JayPGH, I agree with your comments on a living wage. The national average living wage, ten-something- is higher than the Pittsburgh living wage since we have a lower cost of living. Tip as usually- the wait staff still probably make two-something.

                    2. re: fooday2

                      The whole development project is called Eastside - from the shopping center where Dinette is, to the new Bakery Square. You'll even notice in today's paper that the new Target planned for the corner of Penn Circle and Penn Ave - the heart of East Liberty - is called Eastside V. The name was actually designed to connect the two neighborhoods - EAST Liberty + ShadySIDE = Eastside.

                      As far as I can tell, Eastside is a commercial construct - but it'll be interesting if it starts to refer to the actual neighborhood.

              2. In response to the questions about the price, the place is definitely overpriced. Not the pizzas, per se, or the salads, but the WINE! Look we're a city with a lot of BYOB options, which allows us to eat out relatively cheaply. So why would I pay $80!! for one pizza, two small (though v. good) salads, and a bottle of wine? The wine completely ruins the price point for a pizza place. They need to do what Point Brugge does and offer a couple v. inexpensive bottles. There's no way we're spending $80 for a light dinner again, I don't care how good the salad is.

                6 Replies
                1. re: shpionka

                  That's what I was thinking shpionka. Dinner for two with wine and dessert would be around $100, for a pizza joint!

                  1. re: shpionka

                    I am fairly fluent in wine, and I was impressed with how reasonable Dinette's wine prices were. I know some of the bottles that Dinette carries, and their profit margin is surprisingly slim-especially when you consider the cost of a PA liquor license. The $25 or $30 wines that some places offer cost the owners $8-9 dollars.

                    Also, I have eaten at Dinette three times. I do not think they are a pizza joint/parlor. For me, they are my neighborhood bistro that happens to sell pizza with fresh, organic ingredients. If their ingredients, such as truffle pecorino and Parma sausage, were served on pasta, I think the discussion on price fairness would be moot.

                    I think the food, wines, and deserts at Dinette are excellent. I highly recommended it.

                    1. re: dan31

                      dan31's comments are spot-on.

                      Dinette is a pizza joint in the same way that Pizzeria Delfina or A-16 in San Francisco are pizza joints. And, yes, I find the quality of food at Dinette comparable to either of those destinations.

                      As for pricing complaints: the pizzas — advertised on the menu as serving one — can easily feed two. The wine list is limited but exceptionally well-selected, and the mark-up isn't nearly what one can expect at most Pittsburgh restaurants. (I also couldn't help but notice that IC cans were only $1.)

                      All in all, I was extremely impressed with Dinette. Give Pittsburgh 6 or 8 more restaurants as good, and someone might actually start paying attention.

                      1. re: hassenpfeffer

                        right on hassenpfeffer.

                        Ate at Dinette last weekend for the first time and was very impressed with every aspect of my experience. I loved the wine list; very interesting wines, but something to please everyone, at completely reasonable prices. The food was excellent. I have paid MUCH higher prices than this in Pittsburgh at for food and service that is uninspired and sometimes downright bad. I agree that the pizzas were delicious and generous. A couple could split one with appetizers and be stuffed. I had the Beef Carpaccio app and it was twice the size of most. The service was great, friendly but not phony. I left there really happy with everything.

                        1. re: mudpie

                          Is it difficult to get into Dinette? Meaning long waits?

                          1. re: burghgal

                            There can be a wait, especially on weekends. We were there on a Sat night around seven, told it would be about 30 min, but table was ready in 15. Also they give you a beeper that can reach into Borders or even the Red Room lounge, so you don't have to just stand and wait. A big plus.

                  2. My husband and I had dinner at Dinette tonight. We loved it. We ordered and shared the Fritto Misto, Caesar salad, and the Prosciutto and Arugula pizza with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. For dessert, espresso and the Arborio rice pudding. Everything was fresh and perfectly seasoned and cooked. This is going into our regular rotation!

                    It is on the more expensive side, but people won't think twice about spending $22/person at Applebee's, so you just have to decide if you want quality or quantity Not to mention she runs a sustainable business, recycling, composting, using energy efficient appliances and paying her staff better.