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Restaurant Incubator Opens In The Strip This Weekend

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- There's no place in Pittsburgh quite like it -- a restaurant venue with one stop shopping for four different chefs with very different styles of cooking.

"We have four amazingly talented chefs here. They each are running their own restaurant," says Tyler Benson, co-founder of the Smallman Galley.

Right next to Pamela's in the Strip District, the Smallman Galley is an incubator for chefs who have a dream -- some day -- of going out on their own.

"It means a lot. It means a jump start on owning my own restaurant because it fronts a lot of the costs," Chef Jacqueline Wardle of Josephine's Toast told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.

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Space and facilities are provided free -- in exchange for a share of the profits -- by two 20-somethings, Tyler Benson and Ben Mantica.

"They each have their own kitchen," says Mantica, "and every Monday we're closed, and we built out a training curriculum that spans the 18 months they're with us that talks about the business fundamentals."

The four restaurants are unique -- Josephine's Toast with Chef Wardle, Aubergine Bistro with Chef Vencio, Carota Cafe with Chef Lewis, and Provision PGH with Chef Eldridge.

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The official opening is Saturday at 11 a.m.

Are the chefs nervous about the opening?

"Slightly terrified but pretty relaxed all at the same time," says Chef Stephen Eldridge.

The menus are very different.

"Carota is Latin for carrot," says Chef Jessica Lewis, "and my restaurant is based off of a vegetable-forward concept making vegetables the forefront of all my dishes."

"Right now I'm focusing on pork. That way I can use different cuts and elevate them in different ways," adds Chef Rafael Vencio.

There is no wait-staff -- diners can pick and choose what they want, watch it made, and take it to their tables.

Besides the wide variety of food at the Smallman Galley, there's also a bar, including 20 different kinds of draft.

And after you've drunk enough, there's a barista down at the other end.

Nothing like a great cup of coffee to top off a unique dining experience.

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