Acclaimed Pittsburgh Chef Derek Stevens opened his debut restaurant, Union Standard on Friday. Located in downtown Pittsburgh’s iconic Union Trust Building, Union Standard is a seasonally-driven restaurant inspired by the cuisines of the American Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Appalachian regions.
After 25 years as a professional chef, including nearly a decade serving as the Executive Chef of Pittsburgh’s acclaimed ELEVEN restaurant, Union Standard marks Stevens’ first venture as an owner and chef. Consultant Christine Grady is partnering with Stevens on the project.
“Owning my own restaurant has been a long-time dream, and I’m thrilled to open Union Standard and share my passion with the Pittsburgh community and our many visitors,” says Stevens. “Our team is honored to be part of this amazing project at the Union Trust Building, and we cannot wait to unveil this beautiful and historic place to the public once again.”
The menu focuses on whole roasted meats and vegetables, local heirloom crops and foraged native foods, as well as preserving, pickling, and curing key ingredients. A wood-fired grill and rotisserie anchors the kitchen for dishes like Roasted Beets with citrus, pear, parsnip, Shagbark hickory nuts, and black pepper molasses; Oyster and Clam Stew with wood grilled Fishers Island Oysters and celery seed oyster crackers; and Whole Roasted Black Sea Bass with braised greens and leeks.
Additional menu items include shared plates like Warm Potato Bread with house made butter, goat butter, smoked squash and sweet onion jam; and Wood Roasted Maitake with grilled bok choy, beet relish, baguette, and Clover Creek cheese. First course options include Sea Scallops with slow roasted carrots, smoked chicken broth, and benne;Jubilee Hilltop Farm Steak Tartare with sunflower seeds, sprouts, pickled garlic, and deviled egg dressing. Main dishes include Baked Winter Squash with Sea Island red pea fritter, Hen of the Woods, cauliflower, sunflower sprouts, and onion vinaigrette; and Wood Grilled Berkshire Pork with Shaker corn pudding, pickled beans, and pork rinds.
The beverage program is led by General Manager Seth Eidemiller (previously the Wine Director at ELEVEN) and Beverage Manager Jen Parks (formerly of Morcilla). Inspired by the cuisine, the selection includes American wines, seasonal ingredient-based cocktails, and local beers. The wine program highlights the rich and independent spirit of domestic production with classic favorites and lesser-known gems. Eidemiller and Parks challenge new depths of flavor while still offering a well-balanced and approachable cocktail selection. The cocktails use local fresh ingredients and complement the daily offerings prepared by Chef Stevens. Local Pittsburgh draught beer is available along with selections from surrounding regions.
Located on the Union Trust Building’s ground floor and mezzanine level overlooking Mellon Square Park, Union Standard is 7,300-square-feet with 170 seats. Guests are greeted by an impressive bar on the first floor with 60 seats and a raw bar highlighting a daily selection of fresh seafood and shellfish. Additional seating is available in the dining room on the first level, as well as the mezzanine level, which is centered by an open kitchen featuring the wood-fired grill and rotisserie. Stevens and Grady worked closely with Moss Architects who designed the space, to create a warm and inviting atmosphere of muted natural tones and a classic contemporary aesthetic. The walnut tables were designed by local artist Tadao Arimoto, while Parisian illustrator and graphic designer Marie-Laure Cruschi was commissioned for a mural inspired by the scenery of Western Pennsylvania.
The restaurant is a central part of the historic Union Trust Building’s $100 million restoration, spearheaded by Boston based developer, The Davis Companies (TDC). Built in 1915 by industrialist Henry Clay Frick, the Union Trust Building’s Flemish-Gothic design makes it one of the most prominent elements of the city’s architectural heritage. Working with Elkus Manfredi Architects, TDC has preserved the building’s unique architectural features and historic charm, while redefining its future as a 21st century, LEED Gold®certified, mixed use retail/office building with state-of-the-art amenities and 28 original Pittsburgh-inspired works of public art.
“As a Pittsburgh native with deep roots in the city, I am honored to be able to help bring the Union Trust Building into the 21st century and couldn’t be more delighted that celebrated local chef Derek Stevens has chosen our building for his first solo venture. Derek’s innovative approach to cuisine and décor and his commitment to quality and creativity in everything he does complements our vision for the building as an energetic Class A business destination with vibrant retail and restaurants for the community to enjoy,” sats Jonathan G. Davis, CEO and founder of The Davis Companies. “The Union Trust Building plays a key role in the revitalization of Pittsburgh as a dynamic 24/7 live/work/play environment. We’re proud to add to the city’s lasting vitality by redelivering the building in a way that redefines its potential while honoring its history. Union Standard will play an enormous role in actualizing this vision.”
Dinner is served Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 11 p.m. Lunch and brunch service will launch in the coming weeks.