New kosher restaurant in Squirrel Hill will serve shawarma, falafel and some memories
Kosher CuisineMore food on Murray Ave.

New kosher restaurant in Squirrel Hill will serve shawarma, falafel and some memories

While honoring his late mother, Yehuda Gutman starts new chapter in Pittsburgh's kosher story

Yehuda Gutman is opening Bella's, Pittsburgh's newest kosher restaurant. (Photo courtesy of Yehuda Gutman)
Yehuda Gutman is opening Bella's, Pittsburgh's newest kosher restaurant. (Photo courtesy of Yehuda Gutman)

Pittsburgh’s kosher consumers can look forward to a new place to satisfy their hunger.

Bella’s, at 2108 Murray Ave. in Squirrel Hill, is set to open in the coming weeks, according to its owner, Yehuda Gutman.

With a menu including shawarma, falafel, grilled chicken, hamburgers and fries, the eatery is an outgrowth of an appetite and years of preparation.

Its origins stem from an evening stroll Gutman took in Squirrel Hill about a month ago.

“I was hungry and realized I don’t want to go to Oakland. I wanted something around here,” he said.

Gutman noticed that Frankie Bunz, a hot dog restaurant, had closed and that a sign was posted in the window listing the property for lease.

The Squirrel Hill resident, who worked in food services for more than a decade, inquired.

Things moved pretty quickly, he said, and before he knew it Pittsburgh was getting a new kosher restaurant.

Gutman, 34, has long wanted to open his own place.

Ever since he was a teen, he’s worked in restaurants, kitchens and supermarkets. In high school, he washed dishes at Milky Way, a kosher eatery in Squirrel Hill.

“I moved my way up to manager, and managed Milky Way for about four to five years after high school,” he said.

Gutman eventually moved to New York and became a chef at a wedding hall in Brooklyn.

The experience, he said, taught him how to cook and cater for hundreds of people.

He later accepted a job as a manager at The Ridge Steakhouse in Monsey, New York, and gleaned new insight into running a restaurant, he said.

About 18 months later, Gutman became the manager of the deli and catering department at Pomegranate, a Brooklyn-based supermarket known for its premium offerings.

Working at Pomegranate, Gutman said, introduced him to what’s needed when operating a successful retail enterprise: “I learned about dealing with different customers and just learning about business.”

After nearly seven years in New York, Gutman got a phone call from his old boss, Aaron Siebzener, Milky Way’s owner, who wanted to open a satellite restaurant and catering company in Cleveland.

Gutman agreed to join, headed west and spent two-and-a-half years helping Siebzener establish Milky Way and Preferred Kosher Catering, he said.

He eventually made his way back to Pittsburgh.

“My mom got sick, and I wanted to come back and be closer to her,” he said.

Gutman’s mother, Belle, a former teacher at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh who spent decades working with infants, died in October.

Opening Bella’s is a chance to honor her and serve the community, Gutman said: “I hope that when people see a sign that says ‘Bella’s’ outside it will remind them of who my mother was — how nice she was, and giving and helpful.”

He also hopes the venture proves there’s a desire for more kosher restaurants in Squirrel Hill.

Gutman believes kosher consumers want more options for picking up sandwiches during the day or taking out meat dishes for dinner. And though Bella’s will have a couple of small tables for customers who wish to dine in, the setup is geared toward takeout, he said.

A soft launch is planned for the coming weeks, though that’s dependent on how quickly Gutman can clean the site, kasher equipment and adhere to health department requirements, he said.

Once it’s up, Gutman looks forward to leaning on his years of expertise while working alongside Pittsburghers to strengthen the local kosher culinary scene.

“I’m going to give it my all to make it successful,” he said. “Hopefully, this new restaurant can be the start of new times in Pittsburgh.” PJC

Adam Reinherz can be reached at

read more: