Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene
There are few places in this city that offer as much to do as the Strip District. D and I love spending our Saturdays off just wandering around down there, hitting up our favorite spots as often as we can. Now, there is no way we could tell you everything the Strip has to offer, there are far to many restaurants, stores, grocers, and markets. Of course every one knows about the “Heavyweights” of the Strip, like the World Famous Primanti Bros., Wholey’s, Penn Mac, and Parma Sausage. But there are plenty of other amazing places to visit. If you want more history on the Strip turn on WQED or the Travel Channel and odds are you can find a show talking about it. Countless TV shows and even movies have filmed down here and for good reason.
Our trips on Saturday always start at the same spot, La Prima Espresso; started in 1988 by Sam Patti, originally to just sell and service commercial espresso machines. However, people enjoyed sampling the coffee and espresso so much the place turned into an Italian style espresso bar. Having been to Rome and going to the real deal espresso bars, this place is spot on! Half the patrons here are speaking Italian and the other half wish they could; there are not many places in the city that have this atmosphere.
Our next stop is right next door, Colangelo’s Pasta & Pizza, for chocolate croissants and “breakfast pizza”. Denese and Nicholas Colangelo opened up in 2007, but the place looks like it has been in the strip forever, tiny, but beautiful, with amazing pastries, outstanding pizza and great pasta. If you love popcorn, Pittsburgh Popcorn Co. is right there, with all the classic flavors and some not so classic, like Dill Pickle Popcorn, have you ever had that? We doubt it. Now, if you are looking for a more hearty breakfast every one knows about Deluca’s and Pamela’s and they are fabulous in their own right, but may we suggest the smaller and more ‘low key’ Café Raymond. If you don’t feel like waiting an hour for a table at Deluca’s and Pamela’s, Café Raymond is a great option.
After we enjoy our espresso and croissants, we walk over to Reyna Foods, the oldest Latin/Mexican food store in the city (1987) to buy some of their homemade tortillas and salsa. Pennsylvania Macaroni Company (Penn Mac) is right across the street, started by the Sunseri Family in 1902, has over 5000 specialty Italian products. We load up on olive oil, cheeses, and homemade pastas and watch the “circus” that is their Deli Counter. After wandering around the street checking out all of the t-shirt vendors and stopping in some of the shops it’s almost time for lunch. But with so many options, where should you go?
Here’s a short list of options for lunch, Kaya, Pho Van, Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille, Penn Ave Fish Co., Thin Man Sandwich Shoppe, Primanti’s, and Peppi’s. How about trying somewhere you have probably walked past and never noticed, Andy’s Sushi Bar inside Wholey’s. You know the fish is fresh, Andy’s spring rolls are the best and he has amazing specialty rolls daily. Plus it helps that he is such a character.
After lunch we usually head home to unpack all of the things we purchased. Needless to say there are tons of other places to go, looking for more food options? Head to Parma Sausage, Lotus Foods, Marty’s Market, Enrico Biscotti Co., New Sambak Oriental Market, Mon Aimee Chocolat, or S & D Polish Deli. Maybe your retail fix hasn’t been satisfied; try, Mike Feinberg Co, In the Kitchen, Penn Ave Pottery, Art of Steel, Yinzer’s, Restaurant Depot, or Hot Haute Hot.
Oh you enjoy farmer’s markets, better get down to the Farmer’s @ Firehouse or Pittsburgh Public Market, be sure to buy a growler of East End Brewing beer. What we are trying to get across is, that no matter what you are looking for the Strip District has it! Now if you can’t parallel park or hate crowds and don’t know how to stay out of people’s way, maybe the Strip isn’t for you. If you want to feel the history of our great city there is not a better place to go. Even with all the new places to go, the Strip is always sure to hold on to its heritage and old world charm.
There are far to many websites and phone numbers to list. So if you need to find any info go to www.neighborsinthestrip.com and find all the stores and restaurants down there. So if you feel like going on an adventure get your butt down to the Strip and enjoy.