Craft Beer Spotlight: Breakneck Tavern

Breakneck ReubenJune 2016

When it comes to seeking craft beer destinations in the Steel City, an area once brushed aside was the North Hills. Today, however, the game has changed. Those who venture north of the city have a variety of options to choose from, with many locales either transitioning their taps to artisanal craft beers or opening new operations centered around the beer renaissance in which we’re all part of today. Those who forged the craft beer path in this area of town are continuing their mission to offer the unique, the bold, and the popular, building off the blueprint they laid out before craft beer truly caught fire in our city.

The elevation of beer has naturally led to creative, locally-sourced, exceptional cuisine as well, and a destination that’s captured both these elements in exquisite fashion is Breakneck Tavern. They have 40 rotating craft beer taps with many of those offerings coming from Pittsburgh’s thriving local beer scene, in addition to craft cocktails and a well-crafted food menu that delivers fare ranging from burgers to rack of lamb. Their dining room and bar are home to a quaint, convivial atmosphere, perfect for a romantic dinner for two, family night out, or gathering with your friends to watch the big game. These factors and more have landed Breakneck Tavern in the Craft Beer Spotlight for June 2016.

Breakneck Tavern earned its name based on its location on Route 228 in Mars. It rests along Breakneck Creek in the valley that was formerly known as the Breakneck Valley, a spot on the outskirts where railroad companies delivered goods many, many years ago. Evidence of this rich history can be found throughout Breakneck Tavern’s theme as painted murals of the Velte Foundry that once occupied the land of today’s establishment and a map of the famous Harmony Shortline route adorn the walls. You can also find antique railroad rails, railroad spikes, and reclaimed windows, wood, and antique barn doors throughout the venue, tying the concept together and giving you a true feel of the valley’s past.

“Our goal was to create a welcoming venue that focused on sustainability,” Jason Eisenreich, Owner and President of Breakneck Tavern, stated. “We want to be as earth-conscious and local-centric as we can with all aspects of our establishment.”

Breakneck BarThe concept of sustainability and eco-friendliness can be found from the second you sit down and order your first drink to the moment you pay your check. Breakneck’s dedication to sustainability goes back to the demolition and construction of their building, as all materials removed from the job site were recycled. The face of Breakneck’s U-shaped bar is built from reclaimed lumber from the former building, as are the large barn doors that close off the private dining area. The windows that divide the bar area and dining room come from the previous building, too.

Other components of sustainability found throughout Breakneck Tavern include LED lighting packages, concrete countertops, Ecolab dish chemicals, eco-friendly take-home packaging, sustainable roofing products, Energy Star-rated hot water tank and plumbing products, and water-saving fixtures in the restrooms and kitchens.

Sustainability stretches beyond the building’s construction and find itself in Breakneck’s menu as well. They offer a large selection of farm-to-table ingredients and utilize sustainable seafood. All chemicals and cleaning products are earth-friendly and the 40 beers on tap often feature local craft breweries who practice this eco-friendly approach to business just as much.

With a plethora of beers on tap, the smart bet says you’ll always find something you’ll enjoy. Breakneck’s tap rotation is as diverse as it is plentiful, with various beer styles from breweries across Pittsburgh and beyond consistently featured. What’s on tap is boldly displayed on two flat-screens next to the bar, always ensuring you’ll know what’s at your disposal at a quick glance.

“We knew craft beer was the way to go for Breakneck and we always strive to be sure our guests have a diverse selection to choose from,” Jason explained. “We keep an eye on what’s hitting the Pittsburgh market and what our local breweries are producing. We try to focus local craft beer and spirits as much as possible.”

Breakneck RibsBreakneck Tavern’s exceptional and elevated cuisine is brought to you by Executive Chef Martin Lamarche, a culinary marvel whose gained experience across the country. A native of Washington, DC, Chef Lamarche climbed the ranks at The Occidental Grill, one of DC’s premier restaurants. From there, Chef took his talents up the road to Little Washington, Virginia to the prestigious Inn at Little Washington. Next, his travels pointed west as he found himself at Restaurant Terra in Napa Valley before moving on to Binkley’s in Cave Creek, Arizona. He came back east and landed at Red Bar Brasserie in the Hamptons outside of New York where he met his wife, a native of Pittsburgh. One trip to the Steel City to visit her family and he found his new home.

“Chef Martin has taken our cuisine to new heights,” Jason boasted. “The food that leaves our kitchen is always five-star quality and Chef’s attention to detail ensures our guests will have an enjoyable meal each and every time they visit. We are glad to have him as part of our team and his years of developing and honing his craft are evident throughout Breakneck’s menu.”

Chef Lamarche brings incredible hands-on experience gained from working side-by-side with some of the country’s greatest chefs to Breakneck. His forward-thinking and creative menu stands out with every dish he presents while embracing the sustainable philosophy on which Breakneck Tavern has built its foundation.

The creativity of Chef Lamarche and his kitchen crew is showcased on high at Beer & Food Pairing Dinners at Breakneck throughout the year. Fat Head’s Brewery took center stage back in March for a standout evening and the month of May wrapped up with a fantastic 5-Course Dinner that paired Chef’s remarkable plates with beers from Lawrenceville’s Roundabout Brewery.

“We were thrilled to team up with Roundabout to host this dinner and it could not have gone better,” Jason boasted. “Steve and Dyana (Sloan) did a fantastic job engaging the guests and talking about their beers and Chef Martin’s five courses were exceptional from amuse bouche to dessert. These dinners present incredible opportunities to work closely with local businesses and we are excited for our next dinner in the near future.”

Click here to discover what you missed at the Roundabout Dinner!

Breakneck CocktailIn addition to fine dining and superb beer selection, Breakneck Tavern presents several other reasons to frequent. Every Monday night is Burger Night, where all burgers on the menu are half price from 5-9pm. On the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, Breakneck teams up with Buzz Worthy Pub Trivia to bring you Team Trivia Night, an excellent opportunity to gather with friends, test your mental might and win Breakneck gift cards if you beat out the competition. Trivia nights begin at 8:00pm and are always advertised through Breakneck’s Twitter account.

Breakneck also hosts Sunday Brunch from 10am – 2pm, as well as Happy Hour Monday thru Friday from 5pm – 7pm. Special prices on wine, cocktails, beers, and appetizers are all featured on Breakneck’s Happy Hour Menu.

Do you have a special occasion coming up? Breakneck Tavern is the perfect spot to hold private events. They have a large private dining area for hosting rehearsal dinners, business meetings, bridal and baby showers, retirements, or any other special event you have in mind. The room accommodates up to 40 guests. Breakneck also has a large patio that can fit up to 100 guests as well, perfect for a big event or simply enjoying the beautiful weather while you wine and dine.

You can send an email to the Breakneck team for more information on booking your private event.

Breakneck Tavern is open seven days a week for your enjoyment and delivers everything you’re looking for in a craft beer and dining destination. A wide variety of craft beer and cocktails with a world-class menu in a warm, friendly atmosphere puts this locale near the top of the list for “Places You Need to Visit NOW In the North Hills.” Make plans this month to visit Breakneck Tavern and discover everything you’ve been missing.

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Jason Cercone

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