Monday, November 26, 2012

Bar Marco's "No Menu Mondays" with Smoke BBQ Taqueria!

Some people just know what's good for this city.

Take the guys from Bar Marco - they don't play by the rules.  They don't let what other restaurants do determine what they should do.  They don't worry about what could "hurt their business" or "take away profits".

Bar Marco (from the car, hence the glare)
They make the rules.  And their rules rock.

For example, there is a big stink in the city right now over food trucks.  Most restaurants in Pittsburgh don't want food trucks because they are afraid of them taking away business (I mean, that's called competition, right?  Is that illegal?), and the laws are currently so strict for food trucks that it makes their operation in town nearly impossible.

Is Bar Marco scared?  No.  In fact, they INVITED food trucks to park in their adjacent lot (private property, which is legal) on Fridays in the summer to sell food during lunch, dubbing the events "Food Truck Fridays".  People feasted on food from Franktuary, Oh My Grill, The Pittsburgh Pierogi Truck, and even the truck-less Fukuda, which sold their sushi before they even opened their Bloomfield restaurant from a cart in the lot.

Awesome.  Just awesome.  And fearless.

Speaking of operating from a cart, on the weekends, a woman named Lucy Nguyen sells Banh Mi from just that in the Strip District - right in front of Bar Marco.  Do they try to move her?  No.  She is INVITED to use whatever she needs in Bar Marco to prep her spicy, delicious Vietnamese sandwiches.  Right now, Lucy is back in Vietnam for the winter - but she'll be back in April.

One of the most awesome things to come out of Bar Marco recently is "No Menu Mondays" - which used to be these guys' only day off.  One day, they were at the establishment, and Bobby Fry started mixing drinks  for fun - then opened the doors so that people could try his concoctions.  This then led to being open every Monday, but without a menu - and instead, inviting local chefs to come in and get crazy in their kitchen with experiments and tastings.  Justin Severino of Cure and Brandon Baltzley of CRUX (a traveling food experiment) had guest chef-ed previously, and just recently, Bar Marco made this taco-lover's dream come true.

Smoke BBQ Taqueria tacos on a Monday.  Never before seen, as the restaurant is closed on Mondays.

James and I can never resist Smoke's tacos, and this was a perfect opportunity for us to check out No Menu Mondays.  We drove to the Strip and couldn't wait to see what this turned out to be.

Giuseppe, my favorite person in Bar Marco, waited on us, as he had during the Sabroso Brunch a few weeks earlier.  Rocking a shorter 'do and his signature mustache, he remembered us and let us know that Smoke was offering 4 tacos that evening: Smoked Turkey (in honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday), Prosciutto, Pork Belly, and Wild Mushroom.  James got a a turkey and a prosciutto:

Smoked Turkey Taco (Bar Marco is very dark, sorry for the quality!)
I also got a turkey, in addition to a mushroom, which I had had as a special at their restaurant before and loved, despite my usual hesitation about mushrooms:

Wild Mushroom Taco
And again, they deliver - and the place was busy!  Tacos were coming out of the kitchen right and left - James walked in the back to say "hi" to Jeff and Nelda, who were so busy taco-slinging that there was no time for chit-chat - definitely not a bad thing!

Who will be at "No Menu Mondays" next?  Going to have to follow them on Facebook and Twitter to find out...

Bar Marco
2216 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (Strip District)



Bar Marco on Urbanspoon


  1. How do you know what event they will be doing on any particular Monday? Wish I had been there for Smoke.

  2. You'll have to follow them on Twitter or Facebook - see above for the links!