With wooden ceilings and a lot of homey details, the restaurant is a warm and welcoming space. How did traveling Spain influence the restaurant's design?
I took a lot of the design of this place from San Sebastian. The storefront of Morcilla is a very standard front to any tapas bar there. The font that we have is the specific Basque font; every sign in San Sebastian is in that same font. The little cross part of our logo is called a lauburu, and that is the symbol of San Sebastian. There are four parts of the lauburu -- life, spirit, consciousness, and form.
I did the design with my friend Brandon Masi, who owns a company called Mitre Box. Everything you see, he and I did. I want to feel like I’m at home. I don’t want to feel like I’m in an art gallery. Before anyone gets anything in their mouth, I want them walk in and think, ‘Oh wow, this place looks nice.’
Pittsburgh already loves Cure. How does it differ from Morcilla?
Cure's a lot of different cultures. We play with Italy, Spain, France, North Africa, Morocco. We do Israeli food. We dip into the Alps. And that’s fun. But for the first time in my life, to have to actually focus on one thing has been really awesome. Part of what I love about cooking is the history of food and the cultures that the food comes from. The similarities are our dedication to buying quality ingredients and our dedication to our staff.
What are some of your favorite dishes at Morcilla?
There are some really rustic simple things I love, like our artichoke dish. We’re doing a version of baby back ribs. We also have a section of the menu for croquetas, featuring jamon, chestnut, and bacalao. It’s really fun to take these rustic fried balls and put them on the plate with interesting ingredients. The thing I love about Morcilla is how much food you can eat with your hands.