Restaurants all over the great city of Pittsburgh and its suburbs thrive on the principle that every living thing needs a bite to eat once in a while. Unfortunately, that also includes unwanted pests and rodents, the presence of which can destroy a restaurant’s hard-earned reputation within the blink of an eye, or worse, the glimpse of a roach and any other unwanted pest, often damaging repeat business and potentially causing serious consequences from the discerning eye of the local Board of Health.
Whether operating a restaurant, cafeteria, coffee shop or watering hole of any sort, fighting back against pest infestations is an essential part of any service-based industry and requires an aggressive agenda of efforts to keep an establishment’s interior free from mice, rats, spiders and other invasive hexapod invertebrates within the arthropod phylum.
Fortunately, there are a few important steps any business owner or manager can take to ensure a cleaner, healthier and pest-free establishment.
This article delves into Pittsburgh’s rich and colorful past, the evolution of its thriving restaurant industry and subsequent pest challenges, a few of our staff’s favorite well-maintained Alleghany eating establishments and four modern methods Pittsburgh restaurateurs and business owners should employ to ensure a pest, rodent and hygiene-free, Pittsburgh interior.
A Brief History of The City of Pittsburgh
From its inception as a frontier village named after British statesman, William Pitt, Pittsburgh earned the moniker as the Gateway to The West because of its strategic location at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers at the head of the Ohio River. By the 1840s, Pittsburgh had become one of the largest cities west of the Allegheny Mountains. Steel production via the Bessemer process introduced in 1875 by Scottish philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, rocketed his spectacular rise from dire poverty and total obscurity to the richest man in the world.
Another industrialist, Henry Clay Frick, rose to fame (and infamy) at this time. This grandson of western Pennsylvania whiskey distillers made a fortune building and operating
beehive-coking ovens, where coal was transformed into coke, which was a vital raw material for steel production. He was ruthless and cruel and Carnegie’s reputation was somewhat tarnished by his allegiance with him, especially after the violent 1877 railroad riots in which forty people were killed when protesting workers burned down buildings and damaged train engines.
Pittsburgh, The Gilded Age And The Increase of Restaurant Pest Problems
The Gilded Age in America extended from the last two decades of late 19th and early twentieth centuries up until World War One. It was a time of untold tax-free riches. Unscrupulous and greedy magnates and robber barons (varmints of a different kind) amassed enormous wealth, manipulating and monopolizing burgeoning industries to suit their own purse strings. Pittsburgh’s steel and mining industries thrived during this time, and by 1900, its East End neighborhood was the richest anywhere in the world.
The residents of East End and Point Breeze included industrial titans such as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, George Westinghouse, H.J. Heinz and the banking Mellon family, all of whom reflected in their own way, the magnitude, greed and opulence of 19th century capitalism in both its positive and negative aspects.
East End was the very first neighborhood to adopt the telephone with direct lines from its elegant mansions to the biggest banks in Pittsburgh, which at the time was America’s fifth largest city. Here too, there were seven mail deliveries every day and East End had its own private Pennsylvania Railroad train station with a daily non-stop express to the financial district in New York.
During the 19th century, the gap between the rich and poor of Pittsburgh was a sharp and cruel divide. Deplorable and unsafe working conditions coupled with sub-standard wages deeply contrasted the vast wealth gleaned by the moguls of industry. The restaurants and private clubs of the day were reserved for the very rich. Poor immigrant laborers could frequent the half dozen or so taverns in East Liberty, such as the Black Horse, Beitler’s and the Point Breeze Taverns.
Usually dark or at least dimly lit, bugs and rodents probably roamed free and mostly unseen among the heavy drinking patrons of these local drinking establishments. Few from the working class if any, ever ate out in fine restaurants. Not only was it a matter of money, as most could barely survive on their wages, they were also likely to be shunned by wealthy patrons who would view them as a unique species of pestilence.
Thankfully, in the 19th century, retail shops and restaurants were fast becoming part of the urban landscape, and while born from the steel industry, today Pittsburgh now thrives on culture and the great industries surrounding it. Consequently, as the amount of restaurants increased for the general public, so has the amount of food and debris that ends up on floors, inside trash bins, dumpsters and other areas, attracting more and more pests and increasing their population inflation. Needless to say, controlling pestilence, malodors, bacterial, viral and protozoan pathogens became an ever-increasing challenge.
The Pittsburgh Food Service Industry
According to the Emsi data analytics firm, Pittsburgh restaurants are the leading job providers for more than 85,000 workers. As of the latest statistics, there are currently more than 2,700 restaurants in the city, all of which reflect the diverse ethnic heritage of Pittsburgh’s many 19th century immigrants, the majority of which hailed from Germany, Scotland, Ireland and Eastern Europe. In such a cultural and industrial hub, neighborhood eateries represent not only a significant industry, but also the city’s historical narrative.
A Few Of Our Favorite, Well Maintained Pittsburgh Restaurants
An iconic television show of long ago was called: I Led Three Lives. As the city evolved, many popular restaurants in Pittsburgh today have led at least one previous life as a completely different kind of establishment. Here are a few of our staff’s picks, which today continually maintain stellar facility pest and hygiene care:
The Arsenal Bank Building
From the 1870s to 1943, the Arsenal Bank Building served as a “place of tender.” Even in its second life as a real estate office, this edifice held six safes. In 2013 while undergoing renovations as a 1920s type cocktail bar/speakeasy, one construction worker discovered 500 checks dating back to the 1890s!
The Tender Bar and Kitchen makes potent cocktails, including the ever popular Sheriff of Pitkin County, which contains the flavors of two types of rum and coffee bitters (among other things) that figuratively explode inside an unsuspecting mouth. Trendy American comfort foods, such as macaroni and cheese and buffalo chicken dip are available as well as exotic challah bun burgers marinated in Worcestershire and piled high with pickled fennel and black truffle aioli.
The Church Brew Works
Located in Lawrenceville on Liberty Avenue, this former house of worship opened in 1902 and was known as St. John the Baptist Catholic Church until 1993. In 1996, it reopened as a restaurant after a painstaking and loving restoration in which many of the original church fixtures, including the pews, which serve as benches, and pearly stained-glass-windows, became part of the new décor.
Although known for its pizza and bratwurst menu selections, the pub’s true specialty is the beer. The brewery vats are situated on what used to be the altar and their magical creations include: North German Style Pilsner, Bavarian Dunkel, British Special Bitter and Rotating Blast Furnace Stout.
The Abbey on Butler
This Lawrenceville edifice has many stories to tell, for it was many things to many people throughout the city’s history. It was originally part of the Laughlin Estate in the early 1800s, then a granite and marble manufacturing company, followed by a foundry and a funeral home. As of 2016, the Abbey is a popular drinking spot, completely renovated with a whole new décor, unique lighting, exposed brick and an outdoor patio with a cast iron fountain.
4 Methods For Pittsburgh Restaurant Insect Control
While bed bugs can take their toll on the hotels and other lodging business of Pittsburgh, fruit flies, cockroaches, ants and mice and rats are frequent restaurant pests that are indicative of unsanitary conditions, and it is absolutely imperative to keep them away from food that is served to customers.
Fortunately, there are four methods the modern restaurant can embrace to ensure and maintain a pest-free environment that will satisfy both its customers and the scrutiny of The Board of Health. They include: inspection, sanitation, exclusion and prevention:
1. Building and Pest Inspection
In the case of any restaurant plagued with rodents or insect pests, a thorough inspection of the premises is the only way to discover the root of the problem. Their modes of ingress and egress reveal telltale evidence of their presence either in the form of feces or eggs. All cracks and crevices must be carefully examined as well as trash bins, sinks, floor drains and electrical outlets.
2. Facility Sanitation
Sanitation requires a consistent cleaning ritual when it comes to pest control, whether trying to prevent an infestation or eliminate one. Restaurant staff should clean floors, sinks, and any equipment, including trash bins and dumpsters frequently. After each business day, all restaurants should be thoroughly cleaned as well. Despite the best of efforts, this alone is no guarantee that pests will remain at bay.
3. Pest and Rodent Prevention
Restaurants should call in professionals to aid with their pest control solutions. This usually involves spraying insecticides, a process that should be done regularly and when no diners are present because the building will need time to ventilate after application. Keeping a restaurant insect pest and rodent-free is an ongoing job. Ultimately, prevention is less costly than elimination in more ways than one.
Restaurant managers can get pro-active and keep unwanted pests from entering their premises by the process of exclusion, which entails sealing any cracks and crevices in addition to insulating all the doors and windows. Click here to read our industry guide to exclusion and how it can help ensure your business’ pest free environment.
Pittsburgh Restaurant Workplace Essentials – Pest, Germ & Hygiene Control
As one of the first Pittsburgh-based pest control companies, we have been in continuous operation since 1948 and our reputation has grown to become the best provider of pest management services available anywhere throughout the Golden Triangle, North Side, South Side/South Hills, East End and West End neighborhoods, and now all Western Pennsylvanian counties and the Tri-State area.
Having worked with hundreds of business owners over the years, we recognized that pest control was only one of many workplace essentials for business owners to preserve a facility’s clean bill of health. In fact, pest, germ, odor and hygiene control are inextricably linked when it comes to maintaining a clean, healthy, germ and pest-free establishment.
So we partnered with Air-Scent International and Enviro-master to form our Complete Facility Care program; an economical, all-in-one, bundled program that effectively manages pest control, pest management, professional restroom hygiene maintenance and full facility air freshening solutions with one easy monthly payment.
Air-Scent is a leading scent marketing and odor control specialist, providing professional air care and odor neutralizing solutions to distributors, suppliers and directly to a wide range of global clients. Eviro-master is an industry corner stone for commercial restroom hygiene, providing one of the most thorough restroom cleaning services for public restrooms everywhere, including deep fixture cleaning, heavy duty tile & grout power-cleaning, electrostatic disinfecting applications, fruit and drain fly control, hand soap dispenser program and more.
Plain and simple, Complete Facility Care creates cleaner, healthier, pest-free facilities, preventing the spread of diseases, bacteria, pestilence and bad odors and removing the hassle of managing multiple payments to individual facility maintenance companies.
For any type of food service establishment throughout the Golden Triangle and the four areas surrounding it, putting trust in this family-owned, 5-star reviewed service leaves you as business owners and managers free to focus on what you do best: namely, run your restaurant!
Send us a message with your facility requirements and we’ll get right back to you!