Frugal Foodie Mama: How to Eat & Drink Your Way Through Pittsburgh in 48 Hours

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How to Eat & Drink Your Way Through Pittsburgh in 48 Hours

From the top of Mount Washington down to the Strip District, this is How to Eat & Drink Your Way Through Pittsburgh in 48 hours...
From the top of Mount Washington down to the Strip District, this is How to Eat & Drink Your Way Through Pittsburgh in 48 hours.
This post was created in partnership with Visit Pittsburgh. All thoughts & opinions expressed below are 100% my own.

I think that by now you all know that I am no stranger to the Pittsburgh area. Having lived most of my life just a short 2 hour drive away & having a husband who is a huge Pittsburgh Pirates fan, we make the little road trip to the Steel City quite a few times each year. One thing that I have been amazed and impressed by over the last 5 or 6 years is just how much the landscape of the local food scene in Pittsburgh has grown & changed! 

Last month I had the privilege to team up with Visit Pittsburgh once again to join them on their Taste of Pittsburgh tour. We spent two days eating and drinking our way through Pittsburgh. From a tasty stroll of Market Square, through the well known & ever growing Strip District area (so aptly named for the flat strip of land that it is built on- get your mind outta the gutter! ;) ), and finally to the top of Mount Washington for dessert and breathtaking views of the city...


Market Square.
Since we were staying at the luxurious Fairmont Pittsburgh during our little tour of Pittsburgh, a stroll through Market Square was a definite must-do. Our first stop (because hello? Coffee!) was Nicholas Coffee & Tea Co....
From the top of Mount Washington down to the Strip District, this is How to Eat & Drink Your Way Through Pittsburgh in 48 hours.

Though Nicholas Coffee has been in Market Square since 1957, the Nicholas family has actually been roasting coffee for Pittsburghers since 1919. It would be an understatement to say that these folks definitely know their coffee beans there. ;) They have a full warehouse full of coffee beans in the basement that runs the length of the store, and almost all of their coffee is roasted fresh in house. My coffee lovers take note- If you find yourself in the Pittsburgh area, then make sure Nicholas Coffee Co. is a must-do on your foodie list during your visit.
From the top of Mount Washington down to the Strip District, this is How to Eat & Drink Your Way Through Pittsburgh in 48 hours.

After grabbing a hot cup of joe at Nicholas Coffee Co., head across the street to Prantl's Bakery to pick up a quick pastry or muffin...
Though you certainly can't go wrong with any of the selections being offered at Prantl's, they are best known for their Burnt Almond Torte (the Huffington Post just may have proclaimed this the best cake in America- just saying ;) ) and their Italian Twist bread.
Photo Credit: Visit Pittsburgh

Though you certainly can't go wrong with any of the selections being offered at Prantl's, they are best known for their Burnt Almond Torte (the Huffington Post just may have proclaimed this the best cake in America- just saying ;) ) and their Italian Twist bread. Click here to see the Italian Twist bread making in action.

Market St. Grocery is another must-stop in Market Square...
Market St. Grocery offers a full coffee bar and wine tasting room in the back for its patrons.

Market St Grocery originally opened to fill a very important need for those Pittsburghers who worked downtown- provide a quick stop where they could pick up a gourmet lunch or a few grocery items for dinner before heading home. It then expanded into so much more now offering a full coffee bar and wine tasting room in the back for its patrons.

Market Square Honorable Mentions-
  • If you happen to be visiting Pittsburgh on a Thursday, be sure to stop at Market Square for their weekly farmers market held from 10am to 2pm.
  • The newly opened Revel + Roost is definitely worth a stop for lunch or dinner. I can personally vouch for their Hearth Oven Pizza, but the Revel Burger is definitely worth ordering (Pssssttt... It is a stuffed with short rib & topped with house made bacon!).

The Strip District.
You can't claim to be a foodie and visit Pittsburgh without stopping to visit the Strip District, folks! ;) From classic staples like the original Primanti Bros. to local breweries to up & coming restaurant concepts, the one-half square mile Strip District cannot be skipped when visiting the Burgh...
A self-proclaimed chef incubator, Smallman Galley gives 4 different chefs an 18 month shot at developing their restaurant concepts, perfecting their menus, and learning the business side of owning a restaurant.
Photo Credit: Visit Pittsburgh

And speaking of up & coming restaurant concepts, I was blown away by the recently opened Smallman Galley! A self-proclaimed chef incubator, Smallman Galley offers 4 different chefs an 18 month shot at developing their restaurant concepts, perfecting their menus, and learning the business side of owning a restaurant. And what does that mean for their patrons? Four different restaurants and menus to choose from each time they visit! 

In addition to their restaurant incubator menus, the Smallman also offers their guests a full bar menu complete with locally crafted cocktails that change seasonably. They are currently offering a baseball themed cocktail menu in honor of the Pittsburgh Pirates season. I partook of the Raise the Jolly Lager cocktail (pictured below, top right) which consisted of Maggie's Farm white rum infused with Cracker Jack, salted lime cordial, and Straub lager. :)
In addition to their restaurant incubator menus, the Smallman also offers their guests a full bar menu complete with locally crafted cocktails that change seasonably.

Now that we got our whistle wet with the hand crafted cocktails at Smallman Galley, how about a little whiskey tasting at Wigle Whiskey? ;)
Wigle Whiskey happens to be the very first distillery that opened in Pittsburgh following Prohibition and the only whiskey distillery in the region.

Wigle Whiskey happens to be the very first distillery that opened in Pittsburgh following Prohibition and the only whiskey distillery in the region. Being the largest purchaser of grains in Pennsylvania, Wigle locally sources the organic rye and other grains they use in their whiskey production from within a 300 mile radius. They strive to carry on the tradition of American whiskey making that began in the Pittsburgh area in the 1700's & 1800's.
In addition to a full retail store, Wigle Whiskey also offers tours of the distillery that start with a tasty cocktail, is peppered with the rich history of whiskey making in the region, and then ends with a seated whiskey tasting.
Being the largest purchaser of grains in Pennsylvania, Wigle locally sources the organic rye and other grains they use in their whiskey production from within a 300 mile radius.

No visit to the Strip District is complete without a stop at the original Primanti Bros. restaurant...
No visit to the Strip District is complete without a stop at the original Primanti Bros. restaurant.

Now serving food 24 hours, the Primanti Bros. in the Strip District used to open at midnight to cater to the truck drivers who were coming & going into the district all night long. Seeing that the drivers didn't have time to actually stop and eat & they needed one hand to drive, the famous Primanti Bros sandwich was born! The fries and coleslaw are thrown right into the sandwich so everything could be eaten using one hand. Though there are now over 20 Primanti Bros. restaurants open in Pittsburgh, South Florida, and now my own hometown in West Virginia, there is just something about stopping in to eat at the original storefront in the Strip District. :)

If you are looking for a true, family style feast in the Strip District, then head to Gaucho Parrilla Argentina... 
Gaucho Parrilla Argentina offers a full menu chock full of wood fire grilled Argentine-inspired flavors.

Gaucho Parrilla offers a full menu chock full of wood fire grilled Argentine-inspired flavors. For feeding a crowd, you cannot go wrong with the Asado Plate (pictured above, center) and a generous pan of their house made Paella brimming with fresh shrimp, clam, mussels, chicken, and chorizo! :)

Just a few notes-
Gaucho is BYOB- meaning you can bring your own wine and beer in. 
Be prepared to wait in line during their busier times. The line tends to move fairly quickly though, and their food is well worth the wait. 

Bloomfield.
With an innovative menu filled with funky cuisine and a bar that offers a wide selection of craft beers on tap, Station is one of the many new restaurants that is putting Pittsburgh on the national foodie map...
With an innovative menu filled with funky cuisine and a bar that offers a wide selection of craft beers on tap, Station is one of the many new restaurants that is putting Pittsburgh on the national foodie map.

And when I say funky cuisine, I mean delicious, out of the box menu offerings like their English Pea "Tart" (pictured below) and their Corned Beef Tongue dish. And yes, folks. I did say beef tongue. I have to be honest- that is one food item I never thought I would end up finding myself ever actually eating let alone enjoying, but it turned out to be my favorite dish of the evening from Station! ;) When visiting Station for a meal, be sure to save room for dessert! Trust me on this. They only have TWO desserts on their menu, but that is all they need. The Popcorn Panna Cotta? Just order that and thank me later, k?
With an innovative menu filled with funky cuisine and a bar that offers a wide selection of craft beers on tap, Station is one of the many new restaurants that is putting Pittsburgh on the national foodie map.

And speaking of dessert, let's finish our little foodie tour of Pittsburgh with a sweet treat, a little after dinner cocktail, and an amazing view of the Pittsburgh skyline from Mount Washington...
The perfect way to end your foodie tour of the Burgh is to catch a ride on the Duquesne Incline up to Mount Washington to catch the sunset as it dips below the city skyline.

The perfect way to end your 48 hours of eating and drinking your way through the Burgh is to catch a ride on the Duquesne Incline up to Mount Washington (see a live video of the incline ride HERE) to catch the sunset as it dips below the city skyline. Then take the short walk over to Monterey Bay Fish Grotto for after dinner drinks, coffee, and dessert. Order a slice of their Chocolate Truffle Cake & a Tiramisu martini, and take in the panoramic views of the city from the dining room. And if you're lucky, it just might be a Pirates fireworks night and you will already be sitting in some of the best seats in the city for watching them. ;)

If you really want to get a full taste of Pittsburgh while visiting, be sure to schedule a 3 hour Savor the Flavor of Pittsburgh tour with Pittsburgh Tours and More! 

Have you visited Pittsburgh before?
What are some of your favorite local spots for good food and the best drinks?

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