Food for Pittsburgh Thought

A couple of years ago, I stopped posting Mt. Lebanon-related items here, because most of the highs and lows of that suburb -- of any particular suburb -- are of little interest to readers of a blog focused more on bigger picture regional issues.

Once in a while, however, I can't resist. This is one of those times. Down at Blog-Lebo, we have the most interesting online kerfuffle that I've seen in a long time that doesn't have something to do with the schools. It's a microcosmic version of a discussion that is going on all over the region, in all kinds of contexts.

The issue is this: How much should a restaurant charge for a glass of wine?

Of course, that's only the very, very narrow version of the issue, but the speed with which the narrow question broadened to embrace much bigger things -- how to support and encourage local business; how to deal with customers who critique your work; how to support and encourage risk-taking in Pittsburgh; how to develop "better" cultural assets for the region -- is fascinating. These are all Pittsburgh themes, not just Mt. Lebanon themes.

The background is this: Mt. Lebanon hosts a very nice little restaurant called Iovino's Cafe. I've eaten there. The food is very good. By design, the decor and ambiance are spare. It's BYOB. A friend of mine and three of his friends ate dinner there recently. They took a bottle of wine. They were charged a $4 "stem fee" for their four glasses. One bottle, four people, $16. They thought that the $4 fee was excessive, in context. I posted that I agreed. And the comments started to come in, some defending Iovino's, some not.

Read the whole thing here.

UPDATE 9/20: There's more. Read this.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

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