In March of 1950 Brothers Frank (namesake of restaurant) and Charles Tambellini, with daughters ; Mary and Frances Tambellini in partnership with Charlie, Joe, and Paul Sodini, purchased the 7th Street Cafe located at 106 7th Street across the street from the Stanley Theater; now the Benedum Center.
For Seven years the family worked at building up the business which consisted of a predominately shot and beer clientele with some delicious home cooked Italian pasta, and sandwiches. Many mill workers of the time frequented this large 1940’s decor-ed bar for the drink of the time called a boilermaker (shot and beer). Charlie, Joe, and Paul S0dini where bought out by Frank, Mary, and Frances Tambellini in 1957. The S0dini brothers started their Squirrel Hill restaurant named S0dini’s since out of business. At this time Charles Tambellini was no longer involved because of his untimely death.
Mary and Frances, and Frank Tambellini alternated nights to work at the Cafe after they finished their day jobs. Business was very brisk and in 1967 the opportunity to own their own business came before them. Mary Tambellini married Nello Pellegrini, who became the full time bartender and repairman for Tambellini’s. Nello was ahead of his time as a ‘Do it your-selfer’ , hands on restaurant operator.
They purchased the old Carl’s Bar at 139 7th Street down the street from their Cafe location (Across from the Century Building). This much larger building accommodated more restaurant seating, in addition to a large bar area. They called it the 7th Street Café. After several years of hard work, they steadily built the business to a predominately more restaurant business than bar trade. Franco D’Amico married Frances Tambellini, and Franco was asked to join the partnership as the cook. Franco was a dishwasher prior to this at the Duquense Club in Downtown Pittsburgh.
In the late 1960’s they introduced the now Famous Zucchini appetizer, and Osso Buco. The Zucchini appetizer that was introduced at Tambellini’s is still the benchmark of what Zucchini Appetizers should be in and around Pittsburgh. The rest as they say is history. Tambellini’s 7th Street serves some of the finest fresh prepared fish in the city. The choices include lemon sole, sea scallops, Cod, in addition to specialty fish such as salmon, swordfish, and tuna. The sauces are home-made. Everything from the meat, marinara, clam sauce, and tomato basil are made daily. The meats are as fresh and tender as the best steak houses in Pittsburgh. They include items as sautéed veal, strip steak, filet mignon, and boneless chicken breast. Daily specials are as diverse as the creativity of the cooks, owners, and manager. Everyone has input, including the customers, and the specials of the day are well received by everyone.
We are always open for suggestions, and requests. Many customers have designed their own meal.
It must be noted that almost everything at Tambellini’s 7th Street is made to order, from fresh ingredients, and therefore may take a little extra time to prepare. The restaurant incorporated in 1973.
In the 1970’s the place to dine was at Tambellini’s on 7th Street. In 1978 the original building burnt down, and was replaced with the existing structure as we see it today.
In the mid 1980’s Mary’s and Nello’s son Charles, joined Tambellini’s and helped continue the tradition of the Restaurant that made it successful. Charles Pellegrini brought the first point of sale into the restaurant, when sceptics said it would never work. It proved to be an efficient order entry system. Along with this efficiency, the pricing to the customer became consistent.
Having more restaurant choices for the diners, and fewer non-theater going customers in downtown Pittsburgh, made the foodservice industry highly competitive. Tambellini’s has adapted well to the market changes, and continues to offer the best food and beverage quality for the money. The extensive wine list, and Pittsburgh’s largest selection of Top-shelf Vodka’s are nice touches to their existing offerings. The beer list has grown to include more microbrews, domestic, and imported beers.
The service staff are friendly long tenured waitresses that make their customers feel at home. They are very attuned to the service needs of their guests, and their customers appreciate their excellent service.
Tambellini’s has been serving the Pittsburgh casual fine dining community, and visitors of Downtown Pittsburgh, for almost half a Century. It is a casual, friendly atmosphere, located in the heart of the Cultural district near Heinz Hall, and Benedum Center. Many celebrities and movie stars that have performed at the Heinz or Benedum, along with countless television and radio stars, now grace the entrance way with their autographed pictures. People as diverse as Liberace to Richard Chamberlain to Fred Rogers to Sally Struthers have enjoyed F. Tambellini’s 7th Street’s cuisine. The ‘Wall of Fame’ continues to grow every year.
Tambellini’s 7th Street’s cooking style stems from the Tuscan hills near Lucca, Italy- renowned for the finest olive oil and superb wines- the Lucchese kitchen is healthy, home cooking, with no pretense to sophistication- this is the highest sophistication of all! Without losing sight of their Tuscan heritage Tambellini’s 7th Street is making changes to their menu to better suit the tastes, and wants of their customers. Tambellini’s 7th Street continues to serve their long time favorite menu items, in addition to enhancing the offering through fresh daily specials.
Today, we feature a variety of old favorites in a new and exciting way- veal picatta in a lemon butter sauce; veal romano in a delectable batter sautéed till golden. Our homemade lasagna (Thursday lunch special) with our homemade meat sauce, taste-tempting to the last bite, and our Chicken breast Romano don sautéed to perfection. We only use top of the line imported Italian pasta’s, and our salads feature a crisp mixture of different greens. We also make our house Balsamic vinegar Italian dressing, and our creamy blue cheese is superb.
As the 21st Century draws nearer, Tambellini’s 7th Street Restaurant accepts the challenge of the future, and will continue the finest freshly prepared Italian-American Foods. The fourth generation of the family, Evan, and Laura may one day continue in the family footsteps.
Tambellini’s 7th Street Downtown welcomes you to try one of the BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANTS IN THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH.
Mary Tambellini Pellegrini