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Fine Dining Without an Attitude

Fine Dining Without an Attitude

at Andora and Toscana

As Pittsburgh’s steel and stone culture gradually evolved to encompass high-tech and start-ups, the dining landscape likewise changed, carving a clear path to success for restaurateur Greg McFarlane. With a thorough understanding of the new generation’s penchant for going upscale without fuss, and a deep respect for the city’s heritage, McFarlane has delivered to the marketplace four restaurants that fully embrace and celebrate Pittsburgh pride, with more on the way.

When McFarlane first opened Andora in 1999, he aimed to bring fine dining to Pittsburgh in a relaxed and casual setting. Now, with two additional restaurants open, Andora has become such a trusted brand in Pittsburgh that McFarlane has successfully launched a new concept, Toscana Brick Oven and Market.

We pride ourselves on providing homegrown, personalized and exceptional service.

“We are successful because we become part of the neighborhoods we are in — we take existing historical venues, such as an 18th century farmhouse, and make them part of the local scene,” explains McFarlane. He’s justly proud of Andora’s rep for memorable outdoor dining in a city with a fairly brief al fresco season. “We’ve created a real oasis; a patio with fountains, music, a gas fire pit and cafe-style lighting. You can’t believe you’re sitting in the middle of a busy Pittsburgh neighborhood.”

Andora was first on the scene in Pittsburgh to convert a fine dining experience to a welcoming neighborhood environment with a laid-back vibe; sophisticated, but not stuffy; historical, with completely modern amenities. It worked, according to McFarlane: “You can come in wearing jeans, a T-shirt and flip flops, and be seated next to an executive in a business suit ordering a $200 bottle of wine. Everybody feels comfortable here.” That was important to McFarlane, who explains: “We took over a mom-and-pop restaurant and when those customers came in to check us out, we wanted them to feel at home, too.”

Andora specializes in steaks, seafood and soups made from scratch, with fresh ingredients — the restaurant’s signature jumbo lump crabcakes, baked and served with red onion caper sauce, have become legendary in the area. The new 100-seat Toscana Brick Oven Restaurant and Market concept adheres to the brand’s successful concepts, but with an Italian spin, featuring made-from-scratch pizza in their own wood-burning ovens, and plates piled high with homemade pasta and meatballs.

Serving the “New Pittsburgh,” the Toscana Market also presents high-quality prepared foods to go for the community’s younger, upscale and mobile population. “With the area expanding so quickly, we wanted to make it easy for people to take home the same foods we offer at Toscana.” The convenience store format features coolers with the restaurant’s signature lasagnas, meatballs and salads, ready to grab-and-go.

McFarlane plans to add two more Toscana restaurants to the market in 2015, and a concept he describes as “an upscale diner with a liquor license.”

He explains: “We pride ourselves on providing homegrown, personalized and exceptional service that our Pittsburgh neighbors appreciate. Ensuring everyone leaves happy is paramount to us.”