Abay Restaurant announces plans to close

AbayRestaurantIt brings me great sadness to share with our friends that the owners of Abay have made the tough decision to close its doors as of the end of this month.  Restaurant owner Jamie Wallace released a statement on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Given how much development there has been in the neighborhood and the fact that beautiful apartments are being completed literally across the street from us, it might seem like the worst time to step down. But, honestly, we’re tired.

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Photo of us from our very first wine exchange, hosted at Abay Restaurant

Abay Restaurant was the host restaurant of the very first Pittsburgh TasteBuds wine exchange in December 2009, back before we even called ourselves the TasteBuds.  The wonderful experience we shared with our close friends during that holiday dinner inspired us to create the Pittsburgh TasteBuds as an event experience to introduce wine novices like ourselves to wine and to take advantage of the wealth of BYOB restaurants that Pittsburgh has so many of.

Abay opened their restaurant to us and welcomed us into their family.  We took great pleasure in our experience that Abay is one of only two restaurants that we’ve hosted more than one wine exchange at.  Our 13th wine exchange was also held at Abay in February 2012.

Part of the reason people have such strong opinions about restaurants is because they are personal to them. The dining experience is an emotional one. Guests have had first dates with us as well as celebrated new jobs, anniversaries, graduations, and birthdays. We’re humbled to have been a part of all of those life achievements. We’re equally humbled to still have a 4 star rating on Yelp and a 90% rating on Urbanspoon.

The restaurant has and will continue to flourish as a cultural beacon in the east end of Pittsburgh until the very end.  Please take a moment to post a kind note on their Facebook or Twitter.

A Casual June 2013 Wine Exchange

Many have asked “when’s the next wine exchange” and although TasteBudA was twisting my arm to take the summer off – I think it’s important to keep the tradition of the bi-monthly wine exchanges alive.  So, we’ve agreed on a happy medium.


Our next wine exchange will be a little more casual at Pho Van in the Strip District.  We’ve been meaning to get to a Vietnamese restaurant for some time, since we raved about our first experience. This will be a perfect venue for a more casual experience.  The average meal at Pho Van is well below the cost of our typical wine exchanges, so we’ll not be preparing a menu, but simply taking reservations for the crowd.  With the date only 3 weeks away, we hope that you’ll be able to join us for a casual night in the strip district.

Summer Melt at Brownstone in Toronto

Northside Sandwich Week – June 17-23

Northside will soon be celebrating their second “Northside Sandwich Week” and I’m excited to say that their Sampler event falls on a day when I am available to attend this year.  NSW is June 17-23, 2013 with their Sampler event on Thursday June 20.

Northside Sandwich Week

I look forward to seeing what components or flavor combinations restaurants will choose to highlight.  When it comes to the world of sandwiches, the sky is the limit.  Unless you are gluten-free.

Summer Melt at Brownstone in TorontoMy favorite summer sandwich to date has got to be the open faced chicken sandwich melt I had in Toronto topped with strawberries.  Can a northside restaurant top that? Challenge issued!