Located in Aspinwall’s Riverfront Park, Farmer x Baker brings something truly unique when it comes to outdoor dining in Pittsburgh.
Today, if you pitched an editor a children’s book series about four orphaned children who inhabit an abandoned boxcar in the woods, that editor would [rightfully] be speechless, then recommend the name and number of a good therapist. That premise is just depressing. Why would you fill a kid’s head with that storyline?
However, in 1924, that premise, ie: The Boxcar Children, just seemed reasonable. And in the 1980s and 90s, when I was a kid, it seemed completely fine to let your kid read a book series about orphans living alone in the woods. For starters, the kid was quiet and reading, and more importantly, he or she was really gearing up for that personal pan pizza from BOOK IT! (which still exists by the way).
I still remember the children discovering they could use a cool stream that flowed underneath the boxcar to refrigerate their milk. I guess I had stored that nugget away just in case? Don’t even get me started on how I graduated from that story of survival to reading The Hatchet and how that screwed me up for life. Every plane ride is just a little bit triggering.
All of this 80s/90s rambling is to say, with the still growing trend of repurposing shipping containers, a part of me always goes back to those industrious kids just trying to survive on their own without the help of parents or child protective services.
In other words, there’s a new shipping container in Pittsburgh that brings out my inner six-year-old nerd. It also brings out my passion for food, farms and bringing more life to Pittsburgh’s riverfront.
What I enthusiastically like to call a boxcar, though it is not, is Farmer x Baker, the creation of Jen Urich, the farmer behind Root & Heart Farm. I so admire how Jen wanted to take more control of the path from her farm to table, so she made her restaurant idea into a reality and a scenic destination.
Farmer x Baker features ingredients from Jen’s farm as well as other local sources to create food that feels comforting, rich and hospitable. It’s as warm and inviting as Jen’s personality. Plus, how can you not be in awe of a woman who tackles two of the toughest and most emotionally grueling industries: farming and restaurants? And she does it all with the widest smile and the best attitude.
Sometimes, you find a hidden gem and want to guard it, but I want to put Farmer x Baker on BLAST! I want EVERYONE and their mothers and aunts and grandmothers to attend (and all their dogs because it’s super dog friendly).
Farmer x Baker and the Aspinwall Riverfront Park are two steps in the right direction of making the rivers more accessible. When people get to interact with the geography in these simple ways, they take greater strides to defend these resources.
Currently, the shipping container is dishing up breakfast and lunch and makes for a perfect addition to your weekend brunch rotation, so hopefully, I’ll see you there soon!
Hours & Location:
Breakfast/Lunch served Wednesday – Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sunday dinner served from 6 to 9 p.m.
285 River Avenue Aspinwall, PA 15215