Hip-Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 2: Vito Depiero

by: Micah Jacobs
June 20, 2017
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Hip-Hop runs deep in Harrisburg.

Deeper than I originally thought. With every person I meet, every new connection, every track I’ve been shown, it continues to become more and more relevant to me that I’ve tapped into something very special around Harrisburg.

Hip Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 1: Demitrius

When I saw a guy named Vito Depiero was going to headline HMAC with guys like Entellekt and Rawston George opening for him, I had to find out just who he was. Even though I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of hip-hop in our fine city, how has this guy not come across my radar yet?

Vito Depiero hip-hop harrisburg

I tracked him down on Facebook and we met up last week at Midtown Scholar to discuss hip-hop in Harrisburg:

MJ: So out of nowhere I see this event for you headlining a show at HMAC with Entellekt?

Vito: I heard about the Entellekt show the other week and heard that it did really well. I just had my release party at MoMo’s BBQ and Grill, and we put together a dope video for it, about 150 people showed up, so I went ahead and reached out to HMAC and they put me on a headliner gig and suggested that I join forces with Entellekt because of how well his show did. I’m very excited about it and really appreciate the opportunity to share the stage with other talent from the area.

How long have you been laying down verses?

I’ve been freestyling and rapping in ciphers with my friends since I was about 13 years old. I started out as a manager in the entertainment business though I wasn’t always a rapper. I traveled a good bit, managed artists in LA, Miami, and Las Vegas. Last summer I came back from LA and having been around studios and music all the time I would always hear verses in my head, but it was never my position. My position was to manage the artists, help promote and book shows. Never to actually be a rapper. So when I left the corporate music world behind and came back to Harrisburg I told myself that I better take a chance while I can.

What’s the change been like going from the corporate music world to back home now being on the artist side of things?

Honestly, I come up with a lot of crazy ideas about projects, and my friends and family have been so supportive of this decision. I think now I am finding a better balance of what really matters in life like being close to my family, doing construction work with my dad every day, giving back to the community, doing interviews and, it’s just crazy to me how quickly everything is happening. I really want to make sure I take advantage this opportunity.

Where does your music come from, the spectrum of rap is huge nowadays, where do you fit in?

My niche is from an organization I started with my best friend called Blessed and Appreciative about 6 years ago. We do things to give back to the community at least once a month from giving hundreds of gifts away around Christmas time, volunteering at Bethesda Mission, and doing things like this is what created these opportunities in my life. Once I started to realize that I needed to appreciate more in my life all of these different, new things and, opportunities started making themselves evident to me. So it reflects in my music, I try to relate to people and inspire them to do good as well. I share things that have touched me in my life.

What would you say your goal is when it comes to music then?

To impact. To impact my community and those around me. I know other people have different financial goals, buy fancy cars, pack an arena but, I just really want to impact and send that positive message.

You’re pretty new to hip hop in Harrisburg, it’s a lot bigger than people think it is, so let me ask you what your perception¬†of hip hop is in our city?

There are a lot of dope artists in our city, some really nice lyricists. There are a lot of guys working hard out here and really trying to do something with their lives and do something with their talent. Guys like Ralston George just have crazy talent. I don’t know if anyone has what it takes to make it, I don’t know if I have what it takes, but I’m definitely going to give it a run for the money. I hope at the show at HMAC I can pay respects to the artist that have put so much into our music scene here.

Vito Depiero hip-hop harrisburg hmac

Join me Saturday, July 1 at HMAC to check out Vito Depiero, Entellekt, Ralston George and Young Swerve and experience for yourself just how powerful hip-hop is in our city. Purchase tickets here for just $8.

¬Ľ Check out Vito Depiero’s SoundCloud to listen to his latest project, The Crest.

And stay tuned for Hip-Hop in Harrisburg Pt. 3 coming in a few weeks!

Categories: Harrisburg, Music, Nightlife

12 Chefs, 1 Steer Dinner Series

by: Sara Bozich
June 19, 2017
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Earlier this year, Chef Allan Rupert at Final Cut Steakhouse (inside Hollywood Casino) partnered with the Pennsylvania Beef Council to gather some of the best local chefs in the area for a new monthly dining series at Final Cut Steakhouse.

Dinner with Chefs: 12 Chefs 1 PA Steer

The concept of Dinner with Chefs: 12 Chefs, 1 PA Steer Dinner Series is a gathering of chefs based on the total utilization of a Pennsylvania Steer. Rupert said the idea came to him from a similar concept he saw online.

Rupert hosted the invited chefs (below) to the casino for a butchering demonstration from a local beef farmer. 24 total cuts of quality beef were then divided among the 12 chefs, each to prepare two unique cuts for the full utilization of a Pa. steer.

Cuts include the shin, shank, tongue, cheek, shoulder, and tendon, in addition to more the more popular tenderloin, ribeye, NY Strip, skirt steak, and brisket.

Each chef prepares his or her two cuts as part of a four-course dinner at Final Cut Steakhouse.

The all-inclusive dinners, held the second Monday of each month through April 2018, are a steal at $60/person.

June’s dinner was created by Bricco’s Chef Bill Collier.

Course 1 – beef shank tortellini

camelot valley chevre, preserved lemon, bone marrow & johnny jump ups

I want to be real with you. We are still talking about this dish. Collier used beef shank inside the tortellini and also crisped up a bunch to eat alongside it. He whipped bone marrow into the chevre and OMG. The preserved lemon gave a lovely citrus bite, preventing this from being too rich. Feed me more of this.

Course 2 – baby spinach salad

roasted asparagus, pickled baby beets, rettland farm poached egg & black truffle vinaigrette

I’m one of those home cooks who believes in the simplicity of ingredients. I don’t go bananas with rubs and sauces and, and although this was obviously way more involved than the trouble I would¬†ever go to at home, it was beauty in simplicity. These ingredients paired beautifully together, no matter which forkful ended up in your mouth. Another home run, Chef.

Course 3 – roasted beef striploin

fava bean puree, fiddlehead ferns, chanterelle mushrooms & bricco worcestershire

Chef Collier got a bit lucky drawing his beef selections (oh yeah, these guys didn’t pick this stuff, it was luck of the draw) — shank and loin? Who doesn’t like those? This menu says roasted, but Chef said this was sous vide (cooked in a bag in water at one specific and consistent temperature). It doesn’t get more rustic than mushrooms and fiddlehead ferns, and though my only criticism is that there was too much Worcestershire on my plate (purist, remember?), this again all paired well together.

Course 4 – pistachio sponge

white chocolate cream, strawberry gelée orange basil pearls, almond meringue & crème anglaise

I hope the pastry chef isn’t offended by my comparison here, but this tasted like the most upscale version of the classic pretzel Jell-O salad, and I mean that in a GOOD way.¬†The pistachios provided the crunch while the sponge cake soaked up all of the fruit and cream. It was delightful. The serving was WAY too big, and I (and everyone at my table) ate the entire thing.

Craft Beer Samples provided by Boneshire Brew Works.

Up next: Ben Beaver РCafé 1500

6:30 p.m. Monday, July 10



  • Pickled Brined Chuck Roll Toast
  • Heirloom Tomato Salad
  • Red Wine Marinated Skirt Steak
  • Brown Sugar Grilled Peach
  • Signature Drink: Samples from Zeroday Brewing Co.

Dinner with Chefs supports local PA farmers, butchers, brewers and the chefs who bring it all together.

*Featured Chefs*


Ben Beaver РCafé 1500


Ken Shapiro – Final Cut Steakhouse


Jason Viscount – Greystone Public House


Christian DeLutis РTröegs Independent Brewing


Nick Hostetter – Hidden Still Spirits


Marissa Schaeffer – Nittany Lion Inn


Gary Althouse – Foundry Craft Grill


Aaron Fowler – The Circular at The Hotel Hershey


Anthony Bianco – 1700 Degrees Steakhouse at The Hilton Harrisburg


Allan Rupert – Hollywood Casino

Hard Ciders for Craft Beer Lovers

by: Tierney Pomone
June 16, 2017
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This past weekend, Jimi and I (and my brother as well) got together to sample something we love that isn’t beer or tequila — (hard) cider!

hard cider big hill jack's wyndridge

Our local area is home to tons of well-made and delicious ciders that are easily accessible and affordable. But, if you’re not into cider, how will you know which one to get?

Don’t worry, Jimi and I tried out a few so you don’t have to.

Jack’s Hard Cider – Dry Hopped

Biglerville, Pa.

If you’re into craft beer, there’s a pretty good chance that you like hops, and if you don’t love them, you appreciate them. We both recommend this cider for those apprehensive to try cider in the first place. This first thing you’ll notice Jack’s Hard Cider – Dry Hopped is that it finishes dry, meaning it won’t be overly sweet and sugary like some ciders can be. You’ll pick up on a hint of earthy hop flavor coming from the Cascade and Crystal hops added during fermentation. It’s a great easy drink on a hot Saturday afternoon and will create a curiosity for other ciders.

Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider

Yorkshire, UK

This was our least favorite of all of the ciders we tried. It smells sweet like apple juice, but doesn’t taste sweet. It’s a tiny bit tart, but not in an enjoyable way like a sour beer. It was kind of all over the place, and I didn’t finish my glass. While this is readily available at many locations, I recommend¬†you steer clear when there are so many other options.

Wyndridge Crafty Cider – Original

Dallastown, Pa.

While I think that their hopped cider is the way to go, Wyndridge Farm’s original cider is delicious as well. When compared with our next selection, Big Hill Standard, it was hard to choose which one was the best. This cider is also a dry cider, which also helps placate to the craft beer drinker as it’s not overly sugary sweet. It has no added sugar and is literally pressed apples and yeast. I found this to be delicate and delightful, reminding me of a clean, light, pilsner only with apple flavor. Again, perfect on a hot day and very easy to drink.

Big Hill Ciderworks – Standard

Gardners, Pa.

This was our number one pick across the board, hands down. There’s a reason that so many local breweries and bars¬†feature Big Hill Ciderworks as their house cider, and it surely isn’t for lack of other options. I’ve loved Big Hill’s ciders since the first time I tried them years ago, and you’ll often find me drinking this when my beer tap list isn’t up to par, or when I’ve just had enough beer. This cider is light, pale in color, and offers a champagne-like effervescence that I truly enjoyed. Again, you’ll find no added sugars in this one, just pressed apples and yeast.

Love cider? Want to learn more?

Upcoming events to check out:

We’re sending our friend/guest contributor, Lissa, to PA Cider Fest. Look for her coverage at the end of the month!

Grand Opening Saturday: Big Bottom Brewery

by: Sara Bozich
June 15, 2017
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Big Bottom Brewery hosts its official grand opening this Saturday, June 17, and the beers and location are already creating a buzz for local craft beer drinkers.

Big Bottom is set to be the first brewery in Dillsburg, and the beers that are already on tap have people asking for more and what’s next.

“We have people coming in all the time now just looking for our beer,” said owner Bob Szajnuk. “They ask what’s new or what’s next and it’s exciting to see.”

Big Bottom’s 1.5 barrel brewhouse is set up in the back room of Al’s Pizza and Subs in Dillsburg.¬†While the restaurant is accustomed to people coming in for the pizza, they are now getting used to locals coming in solely for their beer.

“It’s pretty cool because we have a great family environment,” said brewer¬†Brad Stump. “People will come in with their kids and have a few of our beers rather than just coming in just for the food now.”

Big Bottom tapped their first beer just in time for Harrisburg Beer Week 2017 and participated in the Little Big Beer Fest during the week-long craft beer celebration as well.

It was almost a year from start to finish from the inception of the idea to getting the beer flowing through the taps.

“Bob approached me right before the start of Harrisburg Beer Week last year to set an interview,” said Stump. “I was brought on to start helping build the brewery and I asked Brian (Keeney) to join me.”

The Brewery

Big Bottom Brewery was the brainchild of owner Szajnuk. He saw the void for a brewery in their immediate area and wanted to rectify that.

I talked to Brad Moyer at Fermented Artistry about how¬†to go about starting the process,” said Szajnuk. ¬†“He gave me great insight but said that if you’re going to do it that to do it now.”

Szajnuk immediately started the process by making calls and going through the necessary permitting to open the brewery.

“It took us about 10 months from start to finish to get to where we are now,” said Szajnuk.

To find a capable brewer, Szajnuk interviewed five brewers before finding Stump. Stump had all the capabilities to brew beer along with the business savvy that Szajnuk was looking for.

“I liked that he had the thought of breaking down each beer and what the cost is when presenting it to me,” said Szajnuk. “I don’t know much about the beer, but seeing the businesses side was important to me.”

Stump then enlisted help from fellow homebrew club member, Brian Keeney, to get the brewery installed and off the ground.

Both Stump and Keeney homebrewed for almost a decade, and they’re eager to share their beers with a larger audience.

“A lot of our beers on tap have been prior recipes from our homebrews,” said Stump. “We take what we like from them and tweak them a bit to get the most of out of it.”

The Beer

The brewers at Big Bottom don’t plan on having a core group of beers on tap all the time. Instead, they will keep their B3 IPA on as a house beer, and the rest of the taps will be a rotation of whatever beer they feel like brewing at the time.

“A smaller system like we have allows us to brew some experimental batches without having to worry about sitting on them too long,” said Keeney.

Their grand opening tap list offers variety for the masses. Whether¬†you’re into IPAs or like to pucker up with a sour, you can find it.

  • B3 IPA¬† 5.4% ABV – This IPA focuses more on the aroma and flavor of the hops rather than the bitterness. It only clocks in at 47 IBU but is ripe with flavor and great hop smell.
  • Castennial Centade Pale Ale 5.4% ABV¬†– This beer is true to the pale ale style. It is extremely well balanced between malt and hops fro a crisp refreshing grapefruit flavor and aroma.
  • Big & Thick Oatmeal Stout 6.6% ABV – Although some may find the weather a bit too warm for a stout, this beer drinks light with a rich chocolate flavor and roasted notes with a hint of oatmeal.
  • Monk In The Trunk with Apricots and Mangos 8.8% ABV¬†– The Belgian strong ale base for this beer was on tap at Little Big Beer Fest this year. To change it up, they laid the beer on apricots and mangos to give it a more fruit-forward flavor.
  • Phat Azz Farmhouse 6.4% ABV¬†– This was the first beer that was brewed at Big Bottom. Classic saison flavors are balanced out with a zest from the hops and sweetness of the malt. It’s a beer that is perfect for any time of the year.
  • Dankle Berries 8% ABV¬†– A double IPA that is brewed in a similar style to those of Trillium Brewing brews. There is very little bittering with a lot of hops added towards the end of the boil and dry hopping to give the beer a fruity balanced flavor and aroma.
  • The Count 5.5% ABV – A Blood Orange Berliner Weiss that is tart but packed with flavor. One whiff of this and you can already smell everything you’re going to taste. It’s very refreshing with a distinct blood orange taste on the back end that is perfect for a hot day.

The Space

There’s no bar to pony up to at Al’s in Dillsburg, but they have a lot of seating options both inside and outside on their patio.

Big Bottom beers are available at both Al’s in Dillsburg and Al’s Pizza and Subs in Enola.

“Al wants to keep our beers constantly on tap over at the Enola location,” said¬†Szajnuk. “He already went through a few kegs of our beer and wants more.”

For food, Al’s offers classic pizza shop fare from stuffed shells to pizza and pretty much everything in between to pair with your choice of beer.

Big Bottom shares the same hours as Al’s Pizza and Subs Dillsburg: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Thursday-Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Intern Jimi contributed handily to this story.

Categories: Craft Beer, Food/Drink

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