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The Best Burgh’er

January 14, 2013 | Posted by Ken Eisner | No Comments

I am always looking for a good hamburger. I grew up loving Tessaro’s, a burger so good that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette used to have a category entitled “Best Burger other than Tessaro’s.”  So, when I received a Groupon offer for Burgh’ers Restaurant in Zelienople, Pennsylvania with a promotion indicating that it was the best burger in Pittsburgh, I could not resist.

Literally hours later on the same day, I received a call from Fiore Moletz, the owner of Burgh’ers. Fiore is an excellent chef, having acquired a significant amount of his experience working directly under the executive chef at Lidia’s, an excellent Italian restaurant. Fiore asked me to handle a small legal matter for him. After laughing about the fact that I had just purchased a Groupon to his restaurant hours earlier, I challenged him on the representation that his burger was the best in Pittsburgh. He shared that his burger recently was in a competition with all of the top burger restaurants in Pittsburgh and had won the competition. Of course within a week, my family and I ventured to Burgh’ers.

Burger-Burghers-ZelienopleBurgh’ers is located just north of the town of Zelienople, in a strip mall on the left side of Route 19. The burger is amazing. IT IS THE BEST BURGER IN PITTSBURGH!  Better than BRGR, Burgatory, and yes, Tessaro’s. While the appearance of the restaurant was initially not too impressive, the restaurant has since been refurbished, and now also has a cool atmosphere.

I know, I know. You are probably thinking that you don’t want to drive to Zelienople. For this burger, it’s worth it. However, if you are still not convinced, be patient. If all goes well with negotiations, Burgh’ers will be opening in Cranberry Township within the year.

The burger is so good that I predict that it will work its way into Pittsburgh and we will eventually see a Burgh’ers restaurant somewhere in the heart of the City of Pittsburgh.

So, if you are up north, make the trip to Burgh’ers. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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We Are (Still) Penn State…Just Better!

August 13, 2012 | Posted by Ken Eisner | No Comments

As a Penn State alumnus, many people have asked me my feelings about the recent events.  As to my association with Penn State, I We Are Still Penn Statehad a wonderful four years.  Those years were academically challenging but also extremely enjoyable.

My remote connections to the individuals involved included doing play-by-play football reporting for the student station and having a sports talk show in which I had Joe Paterno as a guest.  I found Joe Pa to be warm and engaging.  Approximately three years ago, I became a mentor for a junior liberal arts student.  She was a member of the President’s Academy and through her I had the opportunity to meet Graham Spanier.  I only spoke with him for a few minutes, but he appeared to be extremely genuine.

Obviously, what occurred in State College over these past few decades and what has been exposed in recent months is absolutely inexcusable and deplorable.  The actions of all of the individuals involved are unacceptable.

Having said that, I believe that all of the recent consequences emanating from the Freeh Report are premature and misguided.  The Freeh Report is a one-sided account of the circumstances, including having failed to interview many of the key witnesses.  It is not until all of the facts are known that a decision should have been made, including the removal of the Paterno statue.

The NCAA’s punishment is ridiculous.

First, the NCAA used its strong arm to avoid due process.  Due process in its simplest form is for all parties to have an opportunity to be heard.  That didn’t happen here. Second, those that are being hurt the most by the punishment are the current players, none of whom deserve any blame.  Ironically, the elimination of scholarships and prohibition from bowl games may work in Penn State’s favor.  As to the prohibition from bowl games, frankly, Penn State has not been in any significant bowl game for several years.  As Bill O’Brien, the current coach stated “We get the chance to play six bowl games per year in front of 108,000 people.  I do not know how many bowls have 108,000 people.  Last time I checked, there aren’t any.”  Not only will the fans be excessively supportive at home games, but the team will receive a certain level of added support as the visiting team.

While what this monster Sandusky did and the lack of concern for the victims is unacceptable, let’s not lose sight that Penn State remains a leading academic and research institution.  We are 560,000 alumni and 40,000 students each year.  THON is the largest student run philanthropy organization in the world, which, since 1973, has raised more than $98 million for the Four Diamonds Fund, an organization that provides support for patients and families battling pediatric cancer.

As to the origin of “We Are Penn State,” it dates back to 1946, when Penn State voted unanimously to cancel a game against a then segregated University of Miami Hurricanes team because it wanted Penn State to abandon its African American players.  A similar situation occurred in 1948, when Southern Methodist University discouraged Penn State from bringing its African American players to the Cotton Bowl.  The team refused to even meet with SMU regarding the matter, instead declaring…

 

“WE ARE PENN STATE”

 

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Studio Raw Rises from the Glitter and Ashes

July 12, 2012 | Posted by Ken Eisner | 1 Comment

Approximately two years ago, LaRaine Burda, her son Dan Burda, and his life partner Rohn Neugebauer came to see me to establish a new business.  They were starting a hair salon called Studio Raw and needed some guidance on forming the business.  They shared that this hair salon would be unlike any other in Pittsburgh.  Before I knew it, the usual thirty-minute initial consultation turned into ninety minutes.  The time flew by learning about their passion and vision for the salon.

Their vision soon became a reality.  They opened on Babcock Boulevard in Ross Township.  When it opened, the studio was beautiful, with open areas, a large white grand piano, huge video screen and an open bar and kitchen.  Yes, that’s right, an open bar.  More importantly, the banter among the stylists and the customers was playful, whimsical and sometimes scandalous.  So fun!

StudioRawTeam

 

Over time, Studio Raw was no longer just a hair salon; it turned into a community.  Studio Raw hosts and sponsors many charity events, raising much needed funds for such worthy causes as Cystic Fibrosis, Make-A-Wish, American Cancer Society, and Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk. In the past 3 years, Studio Raw has raised over $50,000! A business with a heart.

Because of the welcoming and fun atmosphere and the commitment to hire only the highest quality stylists, the business grew.  They expanded the salon space to over 3000sq ft and added 14 plus staff members.

The video screen which initially was showing somewhat outdated Michael Jackson videos soon had its own separate room (near the popcorn maker), where hysterical videos are produced by Dan Burda and the Raw Hogs, typically emceed by Dan and Erin, a phenomenal hairstylist (so good that even my wife and daughters trust her) are on the screen.  These videos are taken at such events as Gay Pride Week, auditions for American Idol, and Furries’ Week.  You get the point.

LaRaine, by the way, is a fascinating individual.  She is insightful, honest, and brilliant.  She generously and willfully shares her 40 plus years of experience with the staff.

There was every reason to believe that Studio Raw would continue to flourish when it held the fabulous Glitter Party, hosted by owner Rohn Neugebauer of the 2012 Pittsburgh’s 50 Finest, to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis on May 12. The event raised over $14,000!  Six days later, on May 18, Studio Raw went up in smoke.  Literally.

There was an electrical fire destroying the building.  As the flames were appearing, Studio Raw employees had the composure to remove its computer system, a few chairs and styling tools.  This was all happening on the same day as North Hills High School’s prom – a big day for the salon.  Rather than grieve while their salon was burning, they immediately set chairs up under trees and continued to take care of their clients.

LaRaine, who was about to go on a weekend vacation with friends, was called.  It was at this point that LaRaine became one of my heroes.  In order to get past the barriers, LaRaine literally ran to the site of the fire.  Owners LaRaine, Dan, and Rohn assembled their team and proclaimed to them that this would not defeat them; it would make them stronger.  With no plan in mind, they brazenly promised the staff that they would reopen somewhere, somehow by the following Tuesday.  They lied.  Rohn, being a real estate agent with Howard Hanna Hampton Office,  immediately located a former hair salon site, also on Babcock Boulevard, and opened for business the following MONDAY.  While the quarters are tight, the staff of Studio Raw and the Studio Raw community has become even tighter.

The goal is to reopen at the former site by the end of January.  There is no doubt that with the track record of Studio Raw, this new salon will be bigger, better, and more beautiful than ever.  Here is a recent video announcement about the new space.

At one time, Studio Raw was a secret gem.  It is no longer a secret.

STUDIO RAW ROCKS!

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You’ve probably heard by now that Republican former state legislator Jane Orie was recently sentenced to a

Former Sen. Jane Orie, R-Allegheny County

The Patriot-News, 2011

prison term of between 2 ½ and 10 years on corruption charges.  The sentence stems from allegations she used her staff to run fundraisers and conduct campaign work.

Here’s what I don’t get.  Why are we okay with our politicians campaigning essentially from their first day in office but we have so much trouble with their staff doing the same?  From day one, our politicians vote virtually always along party lines in order to ensure that they get re-elected.  Typically, during the second half of their term, if not sooner, they are actively campaigning for re-election or for another political office.  Why are we so okay with this?  Explain to me how this is any different than if my assistant Lynn came into my office next Monday and advised me that she was going to spend the next two years openly looking for another job, but expecting me to continue to pay her.

Bottom line is that while I am not okay with my tax dollars paying the office secretary to make copies for her employer’s political campaign, I am far more offended by the politicians themselves spending their entire time campaigning for a job at our expense.

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