Is it appropriate to say a hot new restaurant has "washed up" onto a list of the 50 best new restaurants in the United States of America? Perhaps not. Washing up implies that nature itself has conspired to bring an unconscious participants to the shore of something great. After writing that I realize Driftwood Oven has done the exact opposite of washing up. Driftwood Oven doesn't float aimlessly through the waters, they have charted a course to deliver quality ingredients and this is their just reward.
As they pick up speed and refine their restaurant, the country has taken notice. Most recently, Bon Appétit has listed them as one of 50 nominees for the The Hot 10, a listing of the 10 hottest new restautants according to them.
Making a list of the 50 best restaurants is insane. Driftwood Oven is competing with every new restaurant in the United States. Thousands of independent restaurants open each year. To get noticed, a restaurant has to cut through the cacophony of noise to rise above the rest with nothing but the best, most interesting food.
I reached out to Neil Blazin, co-founder of Driftwood Oven, to hear his thoughts on making this list. He said, "It feels wild to be considered in a publication such as Bon Appétit. Never crossed my mind."
And, again, that's what's so interesting about Driftwood Oven making this list. They are busy opening a restaurant, running a Kickstarter, and figuring out logistics that they've barely had time to market themselves. Yet, here they are on this list.
On top of all that, they have to stick out against a sea of pizza, a food so ubiquitous that if you're not doing something amazing you may as well not even exist. Maybe it was Bon Appétite that washed up on the shore of Driftwood Oven...
Making this list is a testament to understanding the importance of sourcing food and going the extra mile to create something delicious. If this was another standard pizza place there's no way they'd be on this list. But, with their consistency and dedication to the craft I wouldn't be shocked if they made it on the Hot 10.
Pittsburgh's Other Top 50 Restaurant - Bitter Ends Garden & Luncheonette
If I had a sandwich blog (probably named What's "Capicola-ing With You") I'd write endlessly about Bitter Ends Garden in Bloomfield. It is so odd to me that Pittsburgh lacks high quality sandwich shops, but Bitter Ends fills that hole and then some. Everything from the pie to the bread is made fresh. It's one of those places where you can't eat anything bad and I'm so glad they're on this list.