Kate Benz

Kate Benz has been a professional writer for the past fifteen years with bylines appearing in The Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Magazine, Table Magazine, Pittsburgh Quarterly, and LOCAL Pittsburgh Magazine. She is also the author of an "Images of America" book on the history of Cranberry Township. When she is not writing, you can find her thoroughly enjoying a co-dependent relationship with her dog or taking long, romantic walks down the makeup aisle.

Steak Night at the Firehouse

Sunday dinner at Station 17 in Homewood was supposed to be around 5:30. Maybe 6 at the latest. Because this is Steak Night. They almost never get to do Steak Night. Which is why John and Bill started peeling onions, slicing mushrooms, getting the meat and the baked potatoes and the green beans ready almost …

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Kristine Knows Her Frick

It is 17 degrees outside. It is very gray and very windy and everything is frozen. Which would inspire most people to look out the window and say, “Um, no thanks,” but not the trio from Madison, Wisconsin. “It’s like spring!” they say, all smiles and giggles and oblivious to the cold. It’s their last …

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Kim Keeps the Coffee Coming

None of the regulars are here yet. Like the Daves: Candy Man Dave and Home Depot Dave and Eyeglass Dave. None of the Riches, either. Except for one of them. He’s sitting at a window booth and is about to get a fresh cup of coffee and a plate filled with two eggs sunny side …

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‘Crack-A-Lacking’ for a Living

There’s a banana pumpkin scented candle flickering on the front desk. It’s a nice scent. Very deceiving. As if something yummy and caloric just popped out of Betty Crocker’s personal oven. Then, there’s the sign on the window welcoming walk-ins and talking about things like headaches and low back pain and shoulder and arm pain …

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The Mail’s Man in Munhall

It’s three o’clock on a Friday afternoon, and there are people coming into the post office on Main Street with letters to mail and packages to ship and books of stamps to buy and not one of them can resist the candy. Cinnamon drops and peppermints and, “Oh, is that butterscotch? I’ll take two,” sitting …

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The 96th Birthday

Grandma is being really nice about the birthday cake you insisted on baking from scratch for her 96th birthday. Because it’s a little … dense for something that was supposed to very light and airy and angel food cakey. “This is why normal people just buy the Betty Crocker and be done with it,” howls …

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Seamstress to the Stars

There are fittings on Thursday. Eight costumes still left to make and only two weeks to make them before the first dress rehearsal for The Great Gatsby. And Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre costume designer Janet Campbell is calm. Totally calm, actually. Not a hair out of place. Looking amazingly pulled together, as if the only thing …

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The Man Who Was Too Nice to be a Car Salesman

Mark just got his desk back. It’s a nice spot in the showroom of Ron Lewis Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Cranberry. Right next to the doors. Right in front of the nearly floor to ceiling windows, where outside there is a shiny red Jeep next to other shiny cars and trucks and SUVs that …

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Abby’s World of Cut and Curl

Yesterday was crazy. Like, insanely crazy. Flat irons straightening and curling irons curling and shears cutting and the coloring and shampooing and highlighting. All—day—long. “My bun started off here,” Abby Fitzer laughs, pointing to her head, “And as the day went on, it just started to flop around a bit so that it eventually ended …

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Mary and the Laundromutt

Right now, Rudy the Doodle is on the grooming table. Mary is giving him the Full Groom. “Everything,” she says, snipping away at his curly, toffee colored fur with a pair of Japanese shears, which are also her favorite kind. Snip. Snip. Snip. “Hair trimmed.” Snip. Snip. “Combed his head.” Snip. Snip. “Did his nails …

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A Barbershop That’s Hair-Raising

It’s 10:30 on a Saturday morning, there are already four guys waiting in line for a haircut, and no one knows where Tony is. “He’s not here?” Dante Folino Gallo asks, holding the door open for his father, Salvatore, who uses a walker to shuffle past a towering, 40-year-old Schefflera plant, a millennial buried in …

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Pittsburgh’s Leading Newswoman

It is a hot, unbearably humid day in late August. There are two LED lights, a heavy, Sony XD camera mounted on a tripod and one monitor propped up on the Baughman Trail in Ohiopyle, just beyond the old train station. Mosquitos relentless, sun managing to beat down through a thick canopy of trees, crickets …

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A Sunset Gala at Soergel’s Hollow

The sun was just about to bow out; an open sky brushed with fiery oranges and hot pinks. A few cars pulling out of the fields but most of them staying put as the din from inside the Barn at Soergel Hollow, tucked into the rolling countryside of Evans City, reached full tilt and stayed …

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Kennywood at 120

Everyone has at least one, and probably way more memories of Kennywood: Finally getting behind the wheel of the blue car on the Turnpike. Stealing a kiss on the Old Mill. Begging Mom for another hour at the park. Putting up with your own whining kids when you say it’s time to leave. The taste …

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