Life moves so fast and slowing down and catching up is what date night is supposed to be about. I can tell you that with two of us running businesses, 3 children (with incredibly crazy schedules for activities) and life, we resemble two clock hands on clocks, more passing than uniting. We were about to celebrate out anniversary and we needed to decide where we were going to go to in order to celebrate. I am about lavishly living life out loud, looking for incredible experiences, and the best of, and that’s when I stumbled upon The Pittsburgh Airport Marriott’s incredible farm to table restaurant that is located right in the hotel.
A large fan of the Marriott brand, having thrown a large-scale party there and attending my daughter’s Prom, I just could not wait to see what The Runner Stone Mill House Restaurant and Bar would have to offer on their menu.
Get ready Pittsburgh and the tri-state area, this restaurant is foodie-worthy, with lots of delicious choices and it’s time to lavishly live food out loud and uncover a hidden gem at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott’s Incredible Farm To Table Restaurant.
That Pittsburgh Thing
If you live here, you know Pittsburgh supports Pittsburgh. How can I share that phenomena anymore with you than with the Pittsburgh Steelers Nation, the Penguins, etc. Pittsburgh celebrates itself as it should because Pittsburgh itself is a vault of history, and culture with some of the most fabulous businesses around.
Often our city goes unrecognized, but we are here, we are loud and we are a force. When businesses support business there is no stopping the size of our potential.
Coraopolis & The Grist Mill
Dig a little further into Pittsburgh’s background and you learn that Pittsburgh is really a city of food as well. We have our ethnic foods, and ethnic food areas and restaurants and we support our local food businesses by incorporating those items produced here, used here. Others call this Farm to Table, I call it common sense and Pittsburgh Support.
One restaurant that is offering up the Farm To Table culture is situated right in Coraopolis, PA. If you are not from here, Coraopolis (a borough) is close to the Pittsburgh International Airport, and is where Michael Keaton was born!
There is a lot of history in the area and the famed family of Coraopolis area was the Watson’s. The Watson family built the first sawmill there and then a grist mill. Coraopolis is said to be named after Cora Watson, a daughter or so the legend goes.
The Runner Stone Mill House
Tying the restaurant into that Pittsburgh thing to celebrate our city! The Runner Stone Mill House and Bar are located inside of the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott. The restaurant’s name is inspired by the Watson Family.
Per Tom Hardy, General Manager Pittsburgh Airport Marriott, ” The restaurant’s name is inspired by the Watson Family, operators of a grist mill in Coraopolis, PA from 1830-1887. Grist mills are historically recognized for gathering communities together and providing nourishment for all—characteristics to which the Runner Stone Mill House embodies. In a community-like manner, each menu item has been constructed for table sharing, beginning with Quick Bites and Shareables to Fork & Knife, ending with Sweet Delights.”
(in photo L-R: Tom, Val, Exec Chef Joe, Sous Chef Dave, Kitchen Supervisor, Chef Matt)
We arrived on-time for our anniversary celebration and we were greeted by Bob, the Manager on Duty. Bob gave us a bit more history on The Runner Stone Mill House Restaurant, and then introduced us to Val! We picked our seating for the evening and we were set.
I chose the lovely couch seating which had pillows, a television and plenty of space for us to indulge in delectable eats and still have enough intimate space to be together.
Inside The Runner Stone Mill House Restaurant is incredibly apportioned and offers different types of seating, but a picture is worth 1000 words so my video is worth even more, have a look! Touch the photo and it will show you the video.
Val keeps the flow of food to table, staffing and bar services to table all running smoothly and she is super-charged with a bubbly and infectious personality, I just wanted her to sit down and eat with us! Our thanks to her for all she did to provide us an outstanding night and I can not wait to spend time with her again.
Cheers & Shareables
I am a drink girl, no questions asked and no shame, it’s life and I lavishly live it out loud!
Thanks to the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott for this fabulous glass of champagne and berries, which according to my husband I just ‘chugged’ down. I would have sworn there was a simple syrup in the glass, as it was so sweet and smooth, but there was, not. The best way to find out if there is a simple syrup in it is to get to the bottom of the glass right?
Meeting The Chefs
One part of my job that I sincerely love is meeting the staff who prepares the food, one good handshake tells me all I need to know! A talented and fun crew that harmonize their foods through incorporating a bit of their fun personalities into every dish.
You can see the staff above, but here is a little background, in case you are curious. Much of the menu is farm to table and in fact the staff is locally sourced as well, (lol)! Sorry I crack myself up sometimes!
Joe Comunale, Executive Chef has been working in restaurants since age 16, where he began his career as a dishwasher. During the monumental snowstorm of 1996, he was stranded at his home and had to walk to the store. He stopped at a bar on the way where he saw a commercial for the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts. He was working at a machine shop at the time and decided it was time for a change. He attended PICA and graduated #2 in his class, followed by an Externship at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott. In March of 2015, he returned to the hotel as the Executive Chef.
Matt Eisenberg, Kitchen Supervisor began slicing bagels at age 10 and his love of food just grew from there. Matt began as a dishwasher at an Italian restaurant and over the next 12 years, progressed to the kitchen. Matt has been active in the Pittsburgh restaurant community, holding positions at Burgatory, where he crafted some of their milkshake specials, and Ibiza.
Dave Long, Sous Chef began his career in the kitchen in 2002 as a dishwasher. In 2008, he moved to Pittsburgh for culinary school and began working as a line cook at Heinz Field. Dave worked his way up to a Sous Chef in charge of the suites. He continued his career there until 2016, when he joined the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott Team.
Goodness, this could be a meal on its own or might I suggest a simple drink array and this platter. The platter offered both meat and meatless options (you know I am the meatless girl). Note the pickled red onions in the top right, if they are not on something you order, order them because Chef Dave has a magical way with a red onion!
There is nothing quick about eating this platter, but it sure does offer ingredients that are hand selected contributing to the greatness of the platter.
For those who are picky on their slices of meats.. you know the chip, not choppers out there: The cut on the meat was not to thin (they were giving you the meat, it was perfectly sliced) The antipasto just radiated the vibrance of food complete with a floral capicola trimmed with an olive and black peppered crostini.
A drink would pair well with this and that is just what I ordered.
The Runner Stone Rise
The drink reads like a Margarita wannabe so naturally I had to test it out! Sauza fresh blue agave silver tequila, orange juice and grenadine all offer a taste you will have to try to believe and naturally follow a platter of the Antipasto magnitude perfectly. The saltiness of the cheeses and olives are downplayed by the sweetness of this drink!
Michael loves a good Manhattan but try finding that old-fashioned panache in them when you are out and you won’t until we found the bar at The Stone Mill Runner House Restaurant. In fact, after one sip (do guys sip?) they won my husband’s affection for Manhattan’s, a sure sign we will be back. Totally mastered the craft of a Manhattan!
Bring On The Shareables
So really did I plan to eat a main course? Not really, because I could have kept on choosing delicious shareables that were created only moments before serving and screamed fresh with each mouthful. Each of these were proportioned for sharing, however, I think we had more of a His and Hers moment here. I did the veggie while he did the seafood, marriage make this moment possible!!:)
Crispy Portabella Mushroom Fries served up with a creamy horseradish. Each Portabella was cloaked in breadcrumbs for an excellent crunch. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Loved the basket presentation, loved the fries. The mushrooms are enlivened with a fresh squeeze of lemon if you dare. End of story!
Chilean Sea Bass Cheeks
Compare this seafood to its relative, scallops. The textures are so close and the taste is close as well. Yes, this is meant for sharing, I personally think it could have simply been a meal, it was a huge portion!
This dish has the potential to become a summertime staple as it is light, tasty and and made with only the finest ingredients. Carrot leeks sauteed with black garlic, white wine, garnished with pine nuts, black truffle, scallions and truffle oil.
Fork & Knife Time
I am going to go a little crazy and order the Ultimate Grilled Cheese, because one it is meatless and because the FIG JAM has captured my eyes. This may be the most well-executed Grilled Cheese I have eaten, and I am not sure if it is the Gruyere of the jam, but ummmm.
Confession time: I peeled the cheese from the bread, because I was a little full and I just wanted to make sure to ‘eat the goods!’ and I did.
As a food writer, I try to stay on the straight an narrow and tell you just the flavors, but let me go off my path! The Fig Jam is scrumptious, sensational and signature to their restaurant and I want to stick my head in the pot and eat it all (ok the health inspectors would not appreciate that).
The complex flavor of this is simply created by an ingredient focused recipe and it is indulgent. If I were a bacon girl, this would be smathered all over bacon or on bread to welcome bacon.
Executive Chef Joe’s Sausage
Fresh Pasta Diablo is the proper name, but you need to know that the sausage is what Executive Chef Joe is known for, and my husband appreciates homemade sausage as he crafts, grinds and creates his own. Ex Chef Joe and Michael had their own sausage conversation going on for a bit (it’s a guy thing)
Here’s a little background, thanks to Tom Hardy, General Manager & Executive Chef Joe:
“The new concept menu will resonate with the local, sustainable mentality that is rapidly seizing Pittsburgh’s attention,” says Executive Chef Joe Comunale. “Along with bringing some of the region’s best products, I am particularly proud to acquaint the menu with recipes and ingredients from my personal repertoire dating back three generations within my family, one of which include our house-made pork sausage, a true Pittsburgh-Italian flavor.”
Are you ready to see the dish that is so captivating? This is a celebrated chef’s choice meal, that is classic, comforting, high-quality and home-style all the best adjectives for a ‘best’ plate. Yes there is a ‘kick’ but what diablo dish does not have that. The sausage was well-balanced, and intense, offering a appetizing flavor beckoning Michael to join the clean plate club!
While he was full, I just had to taste a bit more of the Farm to Table movement and try more off of the menu, and Rootbeer Floats created with the locally sourced 1919 Root Beer, on tap was on the top of my TRY ME list. These come served as a Mini Rootbeer Float Flight, so sharing might be advised, thanks to Chef Matt for my sample! You also see the Dark Chocolate Cake below, perfect to share or delight on by yourself. Hint: There is a truffle filling in this, so sharing may not be advisable as those with the most spoils wins.
The Runner Mill Stone House Restaurant
Just like Pittsburgh Airport Marriott General Manager Tom Hardy said: “The timing of this restaurant was the perfect opportunity to take advantage and incorporate the Farm to Table movement into our dynamic menu, our guests will have the opportunity to recognize from where their food originates while simultaneously tasting the freshest ingredients and supporting local business.”
From start to finish the meal was dynamic. The wood-tables (that I would love to photoshoot my recipes on), the menus with the black elastic bands, the service, the atmosphere all were uncommonly superior. We travel and dine out frequently and it is no traditional to have a night out that is so balanced.
Lavishly Living Life Out Loud Tip
Here’s an insider’s tip and then I guess you know where we will be quite often: unlike other area restaurants that are packed to the walls on the weekends, the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott is not that way. The weekdays offer up Happy Hour ( I will be sharing more and more with you about events, and Happy Hour coupled with one talented bar tender) but because the hotel is frequented weekday by travelers, it is lighter on the weekend.
That said…. there are weddings and events and when these let out it’s anyone’s bet how busy it will get in the restaurant. (try between 5:30 – 9:30)
We know we have a couch waiting for us, and food that is palate-pleasing. I was happy to find a few good choices for meatless options both on the shareables side as well as the main menu, no easy task.
We’d again like to thank the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott in conjunction with The Runner Stone Mill House Restaurant and Bar for a fabulous date night and allowing me to partner with you for our special occasion. When in Pittsburgh, seek out The Runner Stone Mill House Restaurant and Bar and you will have found your new favorite place to dine!