Chef Kevin Watson is still tied to his grandmother’s apron strings.
Growing up, he shadowed her in the kitchen of their local community center, where she prepared meals for friends and neighbors.
“It made us closer,” says the Erie native. “I realized that the best times of my life were spent over food.”
Watson hopes to replicate that sense of community and caring at Chef’s Table, his new restaurant opening this month in Ross Township.
Located at 2193 Babcock Blvd., in the former Mediterrano space, the BYOB eatery features fresh, made-to-order dishes that nourish the body and soul. The menu is like a culinary United Nations, with different parts of the world represented. Hungry for pizza? You can choose from New York-, Greek- or Cubano- or Tex-Mex-style.
On the sandwich front, there’s Bahn Mi, Watsons’ twist on a Vietnamese favorite with marinated sliced pork, pickled daikon, radish and carrot, English cucumbers, red jalapenos, cilantro and Cajun honey mustard sauce. The French Dip Meatball boasts Balinese inspired meatballs, creamy potato aioli, caramelized onions, melted gruyere cheese and au jus. Grab a Mediterranean-take on the Monte Cristo with hand-carved ham, sautéed Swiss chard, pepperoncini and feta cheese on olive-and-roasted red pepper-crusted bread.
There’s even a Malaysian Spiced Salmon Salad that’ll take your taste buds on a globe-trotting journey and little ones can choose from a variety of kid-friendly options.
Chef’s Table will be a causal, 41-seat spot during the week, but on Friday and Saturday evenings it’ll transform into a more elegant environment with tablecloths and candlelight and menu items to match. Weekend brunch will be available as well.
The restaurant is closed Mondays for private events and cooking classes (Watson taught at Le Cordon Bleu Institute for 11 years).
Watson wants everyone to feel welcome, even if they’re just ordering take-out. Chef’s Table offers read-made meals for folks on the go. Patrons can sign up for the bi-weekly plan to take the stress out of eating healthy.
People also can participate in the “Buy a Meal, Give a Meal” program to help feed the hungry. Once a month, Watson will give away a week’s worth of meals to a senior in the community. Giving back is a family tradition.
“I’ve taken many a meal to people who are sick or shut-in,” Watson says. “It’s something the matriarchs in my family have always done.”
Whether a guest eats in or takes one for the road, it’s going to be healthy and delicious.
After graduating from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in 1994, he worked at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida, and served as executive chef at Savoy and The Café at the Frick. He founded Pittsburgh Premier Catering in 2008 and provided private chef services to Pittsburgh Steelers Jerome Bettis and Alan Faneca and cooked for President George W. Bush.
He’s excited for all Pittsburghers to take a seat at Chef’s Table.