Pittsburgh native Mark Bentz began his career in the food service industry at a famous burger restaurant by the name of Tessaro’s Hardwood Grill in Pittsburgh. Like many, he started out washing dishes and then worked his way up to a kitchen position. He was a loyal employee of Tessaro’s for 14 years before he transitioned into cooking in a private country club north of Pittsburgh. He learned a lot from the chefs that he was surrounded by and benefitted from their knowledge. In 2004, Mark landed on the the Eastern Shore and settled in Daphne. He went to work part-time for Kris Konlon at Cousin Vinny’s. He fit right in and gained a lot of experience from working at the pizzeria. Mark, being a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan and missing the comradery of like individuals, decided to open a place of his own and pay homage to his home city and favorite team. His first restaurant, Bentz’s Pizza Pub opened in 2006. The establishment was nestled right beside Daphne’s largest subdivision and was decorated with all things Pittsburgh. Mark was pleasantly surprised and delighted to find that he just so happened to be among a great number of fellow Steeler fans in the area. In 2014, Bentz was involved in opening a second restaurant in Spanish Fort. And now, just this past weekend, Mark has just embarked upon his third and largest operation in the area. He named his new venture YINZERS BREW & GRILL. The term “yinzer” is used to describe a native or inhabitant of the city of Pittsburgh. Bentz and his managing partner, Kim Paige, are most thankful for the host of friends and family that have been supportive of their efforts. They invite you to come out and enjoy the great view overlooking Mobile Bay, entertainment and opening celebration of Daphne’s newest eatery.
Yinzers specializes in Pittsburgh pies (pizza) and sandwiches and brew! There are sixteen taps that will feature a variety of domestic and craft beers – some of which will rotate based on seasonality. The current menu features appetizers that include soft pretzels, wings, pub chips and various cheesy breads and cheesy fries in addition to fried pickle spears, onion rings, and fried mozzarella. Sandwich options include Philly Steak, Italian, Italian Steak and Muffaletta. The side items are coleslaw, french fries, pub chips, onion rings, fried okra, mac & cheese or pasta salad. Their Yinzer-style specialty salads are uniquely enhanced with fries or fried okra unless you specify your greens without such. The pizza pies are offered in cheese or a variety of combinations that are available in a 12 inch or 16 inch size. The current menu is an abbreviated one. There will soon be a lineup of handmade burgers added to the food lineup. Yinzers is open daily.
Yinzers Brew & Grill, 28850 Highway 98, Suite 200, Daphne • (251) 621-6990
Facebook “Yinzers Brew and Grill” • www.YinzersDaphne.com
Photography courtesy of Dawn Gorman (217) 737-7565
After moving to the Eastern Shore, Greg and Jill Peterson became hooked on the product that Mark Bentz was putting out at his previous restaurant. Greg has a passion for Italian food and has had the opportunity to experience some well known big city Italian restaurants. He and his family enjoyed Mark’s food for years and were loyal patrons of the Pittsburgh native who honed his skills at Tessaro’s in Bloomfield – Pittsburgh’s own Little Italy. When Peterson learned that Bentz was available, he asked Mark to partner with him and his wife Jill to open a restaurant. They looked at a several locations in Mobile and in Fairhope but when they found this particular Spanish Fort spot they knew it was meant to be. There was a definite need in the area for a non-chain, Italian restaurant and they were going to be it! Greg envisioned Mark behind the glass in the exhibition kitchen hand tossing fresh pizza dough as part of the ambiance of the establishment. From the time they purchased the property in February until opening in May it has been an all hands on deck, do-it-yourself project. When Greg wasn’t working or sleeping he was building the bar, landscaping, painting and transforming what once was an ice cream shop into TRATTORIA PIZZA AND ITALIAN.
Everything they serve is made from scratch. Breads and pizza dough are made daily. The sauces and dressings are homemade and even cheese is grated by hand. The pizza is the traditional thin and crispy variety and available in small, medium or large. You can stick with the basic pizza pie, build your own or go with one of their specialty combinations. Calzones are also available. The appetizer menu includes bruschetta, garlic balls, cheesy bread and a blackened tuna quesadilla – just to name a few. They serve a variety of salads, to which you can add your choice of chicken, steak or tuna. Their sandwiches are served hot and with your choice of side. Italian Steak, Philly Steak, Chicken Philly Steak, Chicken Cordon Blue, Tuna Steak, Muffaletta, Meatball and more are part of the sandwich menu.
Entrees include Greg’s Favorite, the Baked Ziti and Mark’s Favorite, Sesame Encrusted Tuna along with Chicken Picatta, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken Alfredo Pasta, Cheese Ravioli, Seafood Ravioli and Vegetable Pasta.
There is a full bar at Trattoria Pizza and Italian. It is situated just beyond the dining area but is not sectioned off therefore adding to the family feel that the proprietors are striving for.
The response they have seen thus far is “beyond their wildest dreams”. This trio is pleased to be able to provide their community a huge serving of hospitality in an inviting atmosphere with some of the best pizza and Italian food around. They have an outdoor patio behind the building with a sand play area for the kids and look forward to providing you with live evening entertainment on weekends. They are open every day from 11am until. Trattoria Pizza and Italian, 11611 US Hwy 31, Spanish Fort (251) 375-0076 • Facebook “Trattoria Pizza & Italian” • http://www.TrattoriaPizzaSF.com Continue reading “News Anchor and Pittsburgh native go Italian”