Pittsburgh’s Bar Marco (by Night) + The Great American Water Balloon Fight

July 2012

When I was a kid and my family would go out for dinner, my mom wouldn’t let me order the exceedingly basic kids menu items. By no means was she plunging me into a world of foie gras, but she wasn’t about to pay for a PB&J or a hotdog. The point was to order something out of the ordinary, something beyond what she would have made, had we stayed at home. Her approach to dining really shaped how I think about restaurants. They are experiences. They should earn my money by exposing me to something unique, distinguishing their offerings from my own kitchen.

This explains why I review design, atmosphere and responsible food choices when I think about a restaurant. Brunch at Pittsburgh’s Bar Marco had already met my criteria by day, so I was excited for samplings when the sun would set through the enviably large front windows. My excuse for dining at Bar Marco proved even further this new Pittsburgh establishment is crafting not just snacks, drinks or meals, but experiences.

I happen to work with one of the nicest girls in the world. As part of her desire to care for everyone (and I mean everyone), she volunteers with an organization called Team Tassy. Inspired by one boy’s story in Haiti, the organization works to eliminate poverty one family at a time. They’re not a simple handout charity. They aid each situation on a case-by-case basis to enable a child, so perhaps that child will become a solution for his or her impoverished nation, rather than a tragic story. What does a Pittsburgh restaurant with an eye on the community and local foods have to do with an organization set to save the world..?

Water Balloons!

Team Tassy hosted The Inaugural Great American Water Balloon Fight. Why? In their words, “Giving and helping should be a joy, so when we sat down to talk about how to involve the community with what we do, we thought of the craziest, most joyous stuff we could. ‘Water Balloon Fight’ topped the list, and now you’re up to speed.”

As you might imagine, throwing a HUGE water balloon fight requires a LOT of water balloons. That’s where Bar Marco came into play. They provided the space and the snacks for water-balloon-filling volunteers, and this blogger happened to count amongst the balloon fillers for a wet minute.

From the filtered, river water to the faucets with balloon-tying apparatuses, Team Tassy had really engineered the outfit! After working our way through a few cupfuls of balloons (and a few balloon casualties resulting in wet feet), we redirected our attention to the host with the most.

Bacon Wrapped Dates w/ Manchego

As any serious bruncher will attest, the boys behind Bar Marco do not mess around with bacon. For an evening salty-sweet, bacon fix, this snack is an obvious choice.

Polenta Fries

If your inner child won’t shut up about mozzarella sticks, this is a far more fulfilling way to appease your inner brat. Your inner game-night fiend will appreciate the Jenga-like structuring of this appetizer. Win-win!

Mussels + Frites

Simple, saucy/sassy mussels (tongue twister?!?!) with perfectly textured fries (not too crisp, not too mushy)

Entree: Duck 

That dreamy glass of “pink wine” belonged to a certain British fella who is not known for restraining his opinions, and this duck passed his test. If you can trust a restaurant’s duck, then you know you have found a keeper. Bar Marco is a keeper!

When we told one of the Bar Marco boys we wanted one of each dessert, he professed love. The feeling was mutual after we ate their tiramisu, an Australian chocolate dessert called Lamington and peaches with a chocolate sauce, especially after the peaches with the chocolate sauce. At this point, I feel obligated to clarify, the “we” I have been using referred to a rather full table of foodies, and all of us were impressed. Mind you, there was even a hamburger, but it never made it in front of the camera. Even foodies have their photographic limits.

If you play nice, you might even end your meal with a digestif compliments of the Bar Marco crew.


As for The Great American Water Balloon Fight… (keep an eye on the moose!)

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. BeezusKiddo

    Perfect timing with this post! I’m going to Bar Marco tomorrow night! Can’t wait!

    1. withthegrains

      Bon Appetit! I’m sure they’ll take care of you there!

  2. Vivien

    Thanks for blogging about the water balloon fight and Bar Marco. These guys are awese and we’re so grateful that they were a part of the 2012 Great American Water Balloon Fight. Thanks for volunteer with us as well. I hope you had a great time at the fight. 2013, here we come!

    1. withthegrains

      Thank YOU, Vivien! I had a blast! Anytime you all want to plan large, fun events, I am game! Keep the good times for good causes coming!

  3. Andrew

    Not an Austrian dessert, an Australian dessert called a lamington 🙂

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