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Chef Joey Hilty has a field day at the Lawrenceville cafe

PHOTO BY KRISTY LOCKLIN

After 2 and a half years of pandemic gloom, chef Joey Hilty was ready for a little light indulgence.

So the owner of Lawrenceville’s The Vandal has partnered with PPartner company, a boutique developer and operator of community real estate projects, tor create field day. The co-working place, restaurant and community center are located at 3706 Butler St.

Think back to your elementary school field day; that glorious respite from the traditional school routine that, while structured, gave you a sense of fun and freedom. Now imagine doing that as a responsible adult. That’s the idea behind Field Day.

As Director of Food and Beverage, Hilty runs The Cafe. Located on the ground floor of the 30,000 square foot building, it’s a casual place where food is served from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Doors open at 8 a.m., when people can grab a coffee and set up their laptops at a table. or in one of the comfortable lounges until 4 p.m. There’s also a retail area out front where you can buy fresh bouquets, houseplants, and other home items from local vendors.

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PHOTO BY BEN PETCHEL

Hilty wanted to offer daytime crowds the same kind of high fare they’d find in the neighborhood after the sun goes down and popular restaurants (like The Vandal) heat up.

“It’s a market-driven menu with an emphasis on sandwiches, salads and cereal bowls; quick lunch-type stuff, but with a much higher quality of supply than you’d expect,” says Hilty, who started offering unpretentious dishes in August. “We have a lot of freedom to play with things.”

The menu will evolve with the seasons and the availability of fresh, local ingredients. On my recent visit there were seven sandwiches and a variety of pastries for breakfast.

I opted for the BLTA, a new take on the classic bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich that features avocado and grilled corn aioli on thick slices of toast. It was a deliciously messy meal. Apologies to the people working around me while I swallowed it.

Fig toast

PHOTO BY KRISTY LOCKLIN

For dessert, I had yet another piece of toast, but this one was topped with cream cheese and fresh figs that reminded me of little Demogorgons from “Stranger Things.” My pop culture nerdism doesn’t take a lunch break; it becomes lunch.

Other sandos I’ve seen enjoyed include Spanish tuna, boiled egg, salsa verde, capers and red onions on a baguette. Roast pork is Cuba’s version of Hilty: a gooey mix of ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and Dijon mustard.

Earlier this month, Hilty hosted a sandwich-making class focusing on the Italian sub. For two hours in the kitchen on the second floor, he talked about the origins of the hero, his regional differences and his ingredients.

These types of small (between 10 to 20 people) educational food events take place monthly. Keep an eye on Field Day social media channels for updates.

The smell of freshly brewed coffee wafts through the open garage door, drawing passers-by to Butler Street. Field Day serves a local coffee roaster KLVN and based in Portland Puffed coffee.

“We love the idea of ​​featuring something you won’t find here as well as Pittsburgh favorites,” says Zachary Ciccone, Field Day partner and co-founder of Beauty Shoppe, the network of coworking spaces around Pittsburgh that s turned into Lawrenceville Field Day. .

field day

PHOTO BY STUDIO LITHE

Hilty and Ciccone planned to collaborate on a food concept several years ago, but the pandemic shattered those dreams. Business partners are excited to expand Field Day’s culinary offerings in the future.

For people who want a little more privacy than The Cafe has to offer, public reservations and day passes are available for the private offices, workstations, conference rooms and lounge areas of the second floor. Field Day also has different levels of membership.

For $250 per month, Social Members get unlimited 24/7 access to all Field Day facilities and amenities, priority booking for workshops and events, sports clubs and wellness, conference room catering and house accounts.

Workplace members also benefit from 24/7 use of facilities, hospitality amenities and services, kitchen supplies, conferencing technology, and packing and handling services. mail. These subscriptions cost between $375 and $500 per month, depending on the private studio and the size of the team.

All Field Day members can use showers and lockers, indoor bicycle parking and a 12-space garage, also open to public commuters.

There are currently 160 members.

During the warmer months, the rooftop is lined with communal tables, umbrellas, and plants for outdoor business meetings and yoga classes with a bird’s eye view. Over the summer, Field Day partnered with Brewing trace and Creative drinks on a series of happy hour parties. A new series of rooftop events will launch in spring 2023.

“Our club is rooted in workplace, food and beverage and lifestyle programs,” Ciccone says. “All of our programs are currently free and our cafe is open to the public. Our mission is to be as inclusive as possible, so we try to break down barriers. It’s the future of the workplace. Food and drink are the base.

Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement