Like a well-cooked burger, Grilliance is done. The restaurant, at 2118 Murray Ave. in Squirrel Hill, closed prior to Rosh Hashanah. Despite serving as Pittsburgh’s sole kosher fleishig establishment, Grilliance stumbled over various obstacles during its 15 months of operation.
“Fleishig is an expensive meal. It’s an expensive product from the start,” said Aaron Siebzener, co-owner of Grilliance.
Such financial hardships alter many eaters’ choices. When faced with dining options, it is “easier” for a family of four to select dairy over meat, said Siebzener.
Despite opening to communal support over a year ago, the restaurant ultimately failed to “generate enough money,” said Siebzener.
Looking back, he claimed that the venture was doomed. “As it was set up, it wasn’t financially sustainable. It was a tough time,” he said. “The beginning was better. Last summer brought people in, [but] between the end of last summer until the end of this summer, it was slow.”
Similarly failing to generate much activity, Grilliance’s Facebook page revealed its newest post dated June 16.
Grilliance was co-owned by Siebzener and Yehuda Gutman, both of whom possess vast knowledge of the kosher food market. For the past 13 years, Siebzener has owned Milky Way, a kosher dairy restaurant located at 2120 Murray Ave. in Squirrel Hill, adjacent to the now-closed Grilliance. For the previous nine years, Gutman has worked in food services and will be relocating to New York within the coming weeks. Despite attempts to reach him for comment, Gutman was unavailable.
While Grilliance may have closed its doors, Siebzener plans to reopen a new venture shortly. As to what that eatery would look like, Siebzener offered several possibilities.
“I don’t plan to keep it open as an everyday restaurant,” he said. “I would like to do more Shabbos takeout, Wednesday and Thursday, a one- or two-night-a-week takeout with no waiter or waitress.”
When asked whether menu options would be similar to those offered by Grilliance (whose smorgasbord of offerings included burgers, deli, sandwiches, soup, salad, Chinese food, steak, fish and non-dairy ice cream), Siebzener responded, “Definitely a different menu.”
He also proposed operating a diversified setting where once a month the restaurant would serve Chinese food to the public but during periods of closure would be available to rent for private functions.
“I want to try to accommodate for small gatherings,” he said.
While Siebzener considers the course of his next eatery, he cautioned against a dearth of fleishig eating options. For those interested, he is currently providing fleishig catering. Chicken, kugel and other dishes are available for order.
Hungry or nostalgic patrons can contact Siebzener at Milky Way.
Adam Reinherz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.