P.F. Chang's has dialed back the number of new restaurants it is opening this year, from about 20 to eight, in part because so many ambitious real-estate developments have been scrubbed. But it turns out there are plenty of solvent communities starved for unthreatening, satisfying portions of beef with broccoli. At the new restaurant in Westfarms Mall, outside Hartford, Conn., 45-minute waits on the weekend are common. Other openings are planned in 2009 in Rust Belt cities regarded by coastal food snobs as culinary wastelands: Akron, Ohio; Pittsburgh; Buffalo, N.Y.
I guess food snobs don't appreciate the unique and culturally authentic eats to be found in America's parochial backwater. Rust Belt Chic remains below the radar. When it become nationally hip, then you'll know that places such as Pittsburgh have jumped the shark.