The Prime Restaurant Martorano is positioned within the Rivers On line casino Pittsburgh | opens information

Jan 8 – Celebrity chef Steve Martorano began making meatballs and Italian hoagies for his grandmother as a child from the basement of his Philadelphia home.

He would go door to door selling the sandwiches in South Philly.

“They called my grandmother ‘Fat Mary,'” Martorano said as he stood at his fourth restaurant, Martorano’s Prime at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh on the north coast on Thursday. “She was quite tall. I was born and raised in South Philly. I learned to cook on my grandmother’s elbow, and much of our menu is based on these family recipes. We’re thrilled to be opening our first Italian-American steakhouse at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. “

Martorano’s was supposed to open at 5 p.m. on Friday. It is open Wednesday through Sunday.

The pandemic delayed the original plans. Much of the interior design was done by his wife Marsha Daley-Martorano, practically because of covid-19.

“How many people have tried to open a restaurant without being there in person?” Martorano, 63, asked. “We had to do most of the work without being physically here. It usually takes us a month for personal training, but we only had a week. It’s difficult to try food on a computer.”

You cut the menu in half for precision.

“If something is wrong, it doesn’t leave this kitchen,” he said, pointing to the open area where diners can watch meals being prepared. “My name is on it so it has to be perfect.”

He said his restaurants are all about food, but they also seek ambience. The place comes alive when the lights are dim, he said.

“It’s an experience,” he said. “I commit to every restaurant because my name is on it. The word ‘it’ matters. If you’re here and you don’t get ‘it’, you don’t get the atmosphere.”

Themed films and music are played on screens and in all speakers from “Goodfellas” to “Rocky”.

The transformation begins at 9:30 p.m. The music gets louder, the lights dimmer – perfect for a date, he said.

Martorano said he chose Pittsburgh because of its reputation as a working class town.

“That kind of work ethic is what I’m about, what the Martorano brand is about,” Martorano said.

He describes the food as Italian-American comfort dishes that are hearty. The mozzarella is served warm and the pasta al dente. Martorano calls the signature sauce “Sunday sauce”. He’s also planning to introduce a Pittsburgh-style Philly cheesesteak.

There are no menu replacements. And he’ll never make a well-done steak.

“The customer is not always right,” he said. “If I can’t stand by it, I won’t make it. If you want to change something, I won’t do it. I’ll propose another dish.”

“Everything is made to order,” said Walter Pytel, head chef. “We don’t use big pots full of food.”

There is a private dining room for 14 people.

Martorano’s Prime also offers what the owner calls upscale Italian-American cuisine – premium cuts of beef and other quality steakhouse staples. A 16 oz. The New York Strip is $ 69.

Martorano said gourmet magazine called its meatballs “the best in the world”. Linguine and mussels are one of Martorano’s personal favorites. He prepared the food on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

The opening of Martorano’s Prime brings 50 food and drink jobs to the casino. Other locations are Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where the flagship Cafe Martorano recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Martorano has published two cookbooks: “Yo Cuz! My life, my food, my way” and “It’s not a sauce, it’s sauce”.

“Martorano’s is one of those places where you talk about the amazing Italian dining and dining experience days and weeks later,” said Bill Keena, general manager of Rivers Casino, in a statement. “The introduction of world-class steaks and the view of the Pittsburgh skyline … that’s what makes this unique to Rivers.”

Martorano’s Prime is located on the riverside of the casino. The interior is a mix of highly polished steel and marble, light leather and wood. A circular central bar offers a selection of wines. The restaurant can only be reached via the gaming floor. It currently has 50% capacity due to government restrictions on indoor dining.

The 5,400 square meter restaurant can seat 159 guests. Restaurant staff and guests are required to wear masks – except when eating or drinking – and temperatures are checked upon arrival at the casino.

All guests must be at least 21 years old.

Martorano greets everyone like family – “Yo Cuz!” – whether you are a blood relative or not. He often works in the kitchen.

“My message to Pittsburgh is to come here and be part of the tradition,” he said. “You don’t have to be Italian. We are all family members. You support me and I will support you.”

Reservations can be made via Open Table or by calling 412-566-4799.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a contributor to the Tribune Review. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062,, or on Twitter.

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