Like many restaurateurs, Sonja Finn realized being a sous chef wasn't enough for her. She didn't want to spend her career managing someone else's kitchen. So after shuffling between shops in San Francisco, Finn opened her own restaurant last October in fast-growing Pittsburgh.
Dinette, her pizzeria/wine bar in the city's East Liberty neighborhood, focuses on locally grown produce -- a rare offering in the rust belt city. Cheese comes from the farmer's alliance; sausage and salami from the local butcher shop. The menu changes each day with the arrival of fresh ingredients. "It's almost too easy in San Francisco to get things locally," Finn jokes. "People in Pittsburgh are actually attracted to the local food."
Finn also focused on building an eco-friendly restaurant. It includes an on-demand water heater, energy-efficient pizza oven, and the restaurant bottles and carbonates its own water. The city seems to be noticing Finn's fresh take. Pittsburgh Magazine recently named it one of the city's "Top 25 Restaurants."
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