Everything you need to know about Superior Motors’ highly anticipated opening

Three years coming, the Braddock restaurant opens this week.

Superior Motors
Courtesy of Superior Motors
Rossilynne Culgan

Plans for Braddock restaurant Superior Motors have been bubbling for three years. In just a few short days, the restaurant opens.

A lot has been said about the new project by Kevin Sousa, so we’ve distilled the most important details. Here’s what you need to know — and how to get a dinner reservation.

Why is this a big deal?

Two major reasons:

  • A renowned culinary history

Kevin Sousa was the executive chef behind beloved Penn Avenue restaurant Salt of the Earth, which made a major impact in Pittsburgh’s food scene. He opened two other restaurants, Union Pig & Chicken and Station Street Hot Dogs, which have since closed.

Pittsburgh Magazine restaurant critic/food editor Hal B. Klein lauded Salt of the Earth for its “forward-thinking, modernist menus.”

“His restaurant was at the vanguard of a new style of destination-dining, contemporary restaurants that focused more on sourcing and creativity than on pleasing a white-tablecloth crowd,” Klein wrote.

  • An unprecedented public buy-in

Superior Motors supporters donated more than $300,000 in one month to support the restaurant concept, breaking a Kickstarter record with its plan to “serve fresh, local and thoughtfully crafted food in a true urban food desert” and super compelling pitch video.

But then, construction woes — plumbing, sewage, electrical — plagued the project, the Post-Gazette reported. Eventually, investors and a low-interest loan appeared, and construction kicked into drive again.

Superior Motors expressed thanks to donors saying, “We cannot thank them enough for their support in helping to start and build our restaurant” and listing supporters’ names online.

What’s inside?

The restaurant design features cool colors with raw materials and artwork by local artist Mia Tarducci, WTAE reported.

The building shares space with Barebones Productions’ Black Box Theater, a 75-seat space expected to host two full productions by year’s end, according to Next Pittsburgh.

Where is it?

The restaurant is located in one of America’s first indoor Chevy dealerships, next to an art gallery and across the street from a steel mill. Braddock Mayor John Fetterman provides the space rent-free. If you’re heading there, the exact address is 1211 Braddock Ave.

Why Braddock?

There’s a deep connection. Sousa grew up in McKees Rocks, another blue-collar Pittsburgh town situated about 15 miles downriver from Braddock.

“When I was first introduced to Braddock, I immediately felt a very deep connection to the town and imagined what the downtown must have looked like in its prime. The place just struck a chord that continues to resonate because of where and how I grew up,” Sousa wrote on his website.

“I’ve already proven that my goal wasn’t to come in, open a restaurant and move on,” he told Eater. “My goal was to be here. I live here.

What’s on the menu?

It seems we’ll have to visit in-person to be sure.

But Sousa did tell the TribLive that he’s “written a 22-item menu that will play on his previous three Pittsburgh restaurants.”

Ingredients will be sourced from the region, including as close by as Braddock Farms and an on-site apiary, Next Pittsburgh reported. A forager will search the area for mushrooms, berries and herbs, Sousa told the online magazine.

How to visit?

Reservations are available on OpenTable. Latecomers hoping to get a first taste of Superior Motors when it opens on July 15 are out of luck: The first weekend of reservations is already booked solid.