Pittsburgh definitely has a love of transforming old buildings into something new. Usually, we transform churches, but this time a funeral home has been morphed into a bar/restaurant/coffee shop called The Abbey on Butler.
Prior to opening its doors only about a year ago, the building served as a stonemasonry, a brass foundry and a funeral home, that closed in 2008. Vacant for years, Eric Kukura and Chris McAleer decided to purchase the building and put the interesting architecture to good use.
The owner’s goal was to make their guests feel like they’re on a little getaway. Parts of the building still resemble the old funeral home, several furnished pieces are from old churches and other sections give off a circus feel – but it all pulls together to make a lovely setting.
In an interview with Next Pittsburgh, Kukura compared the restaurant to the song Bohemian Rhapsody – “The Abbey brings together a hodgepodge of styles to create a uniquely engaging environment.”
When we neared the restaurant, I noticed they had a parking lot, a luxury for anywhere in Pittsburgh. I parked the car and strolled up to the beautiful building. The hostess asked us if we would like a table inside or outside – I selected inside because it was slightly chilly that day, but the outdoor seating is darling. Big enough to seat about 100 guests, the patio engulfs diners around beautiful flowers and an even more beautiful iron fountain in the center of the patio.
We were seated in a nice spot toward the back of the restaurant near one of the three bars. Right away we opened up the drink menu – my eyes went straight for the Butler Mule. It arrived the classic copper mug and was quite tasty. My mother ordered her go to drink – the long island ice tea and my sister selected the pumpkin latte beer.
My mule was tasty and my sister enjoyed her beer although she was hoping for the cinnamon rim – a simply must have with any pumpkin beverage.
To start things off we ordered an appetizer of the sriracha chicken dip along with grilled naan. The dip was spicy and had a great flavor. I really enjoyed the naan, but we cut ourselves off in order to make room for the main course.
They had quite a few great lunch specials, but decided on the Yorkshire chicken and gouda. On a brioche bun sat grilled chicken, gouda, bacon, frisee and garlic aioli and fries on the side. The entire sandwich was delicious, but the garlic aioli sauce made the meal.
My mother and sister ordered the Kingston chicken salad sandwich – Jamaican jerk style Gerber chicken with tomato, grilled pineapple on grilled sourdough and salad and coleslaw on the slide. They enjoyed the chicken salad and the extra flavor from the pineapple but fancied snacking the fries off of my plate more than the slaw.
The Abbey is open seven days a week and is not only great for lunch but a happy hour, weekend drinks or meeting a friend for coffee. The main bar in the front serves 20 craft drafts and has a variety of modern cocktails – a gorgeous venue for any occasion.
Experience Pittsburgh, One Bite at a Time.