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New Restaurant Debuts at Former Lemon Tree

Tube City Brew Works features ‘new American bar food’

By Sarah Turnbull
The Tube City Almanac
February 24, 2022
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac photo)

When Chris Tricarico and his wife Heather moved to Pittsburgh in July 2020, they knew they wanted to continue the family tradition of serving high-quality food.

“My family has been in the food business since the 1950s in New York and is what gave us the confidence to make the move here to McKeesport. We love food and have lots of experience owning and operating restaurants,” Tricarico said.

Originally from New York, the Tricaricos spent 19 months working on their new restaurant, Tube City Brew Works, which opened for reservation-only seatings on Feb. 19 and is now open 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, according to Facebook.

A grand opening is scheduled in March.

Located at 623 Long Run Road at the former Lemon Tree — fondly remembered by many Mon Valley residents — Tube City Brew Works describes itself as “a scratch kitchen with a menu including appetizers, burgers, salads, soups, entrees, and desserts. We are serving New American bar food and cocktails. For our cocktails, our bartenders use fresh fruit, sour mix and simple syrups made in house.”

“Fresh is super important to us and that is how we will always do things,” Tricarico said.

Following the closure of the Lemon Tree, the building was known as The Gold Rush restaurant. In 2001, it was purchased by the parent company of Kennywood, which operated it as Stratwood Banquet Hall until 2014.

According to property tax records, the building is now owned by entrepreneur Prasad Margabandhu’s Maya Restaurants Inc. Margabandhu is also listed as one of the responsible parties on the liquor license, according to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Margabandhu has been in the news for his ownership of the former Rivertowne Pub & Grille on Route 30 in North Huntingdon Twp., and the Valmar Gardens apartment complex in Penn Hills.

Margabandhu did not respond to a request from Tube City Almanac for comment about Tube City Brew Works.

But the Tricaricos said they are sole owners and operators of the restaurant, with Heather Tricarico running the event side of the business.

Planned events include — but are not limited to — beer and wine dinners, wine and art nights, ceramic nights, and fantasy football draft parties, the Tricaricos said.

“My wife and I are owners of the Tube City Brew Works business and the owner of the building is not involved in the operation of the business,” Tricarico said. “In terms of the building itself, I will say that the owner of the building, the City of McKeesport, and I personally have worked diligently to make many upgrades and improvements to the building.”

A McKeesport official confirmed this week that all necessary building inspections have been performed and that the city has issued an occupancy permit. The Allegheny County Health Department said the restaurant passed an inspection on Dec. 14.

Tricarico is optimistic about the restaurant’s future. More than anything, the Tricaricos want the restaurant to bring the community closer.

“Our goal is for Tube City Brew Works to become a staple of McKeesport and White Oak…we also recognize the significance of the Lemon Tree building and have met so many wonderful people who were either married here or met their significant others here. Heather and I are thrilled to bring this local favorite back to life and hope you all enjoy the menu, the atmosphere, and the good times.”

To learn more about Tube City Brew Works, visit its Facebook page.

Sarah Turnbull is a freelance writer in Irwin. She can be reached at sarahturnbull323@gmail.com. Editor Jason Togyer contributed to this story.

Originally published February 24, 2022.

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