If Day One was any indication, Szmidt's Old World Deli needn't worry about drawing customers to its new Downtown location. On May 7, an hour into its first lunch since moving from Greenfield, the full-service restaurant's nearly 100 seats were two-thirds full.
Credit, in part, the reputation Darren Smith's deli had built since it opened in a Greenfield storefront in 2011, including a loyal customer base and a 96 percent favorable Urbanspoon rating. And credit all that to the former Murrysville kid's belief, on his return to Pittsburgh five years ago, that what this town needed was a top-shelf, from-scratch deli serving hearty but inventive fare.
Airy and spacious, with wood floors, knick-knacked walls and friendly servers, Szmidt's (pronounced "schmeed's") complements its burgers and smoked brisket with specialty pierogies — like spinach and feta with marinara sauce — and pierogi sandwiches like the GobbleRogi (turkey breast, gravy and cranberry vinaigrette). But its staples are pastrami and corned-beef offerings, the latter including the delicious Irene ($13.49), with Swiss cheese, slaw and Thousand Island dressing on grilled rye. A side of house-made pierogies was tasty, and a slice of carrot cake ended the meal richly.
Szmidt's is now open for lunch and dinner. Smith says he'll fatten the somewhat slimmed-down menu as his staff gets more comfortable.
He's looking forward to realizing his vision Downtown: "It's a lot more business down here."