Thursday, March 31, 2016

Where to Eat in Pittsburgh's Strip District


Part of the Strip District adjacent to St. Stanislaus Kostka Church a Polish church in Pittsburgh.
Part of the Strip District adjacent to St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

Along the Allegheny River, Pittsburgh's Strip District once buzzed with the work of factories and mills. The location facilitated easy transportation of goods and raw materials. As industry left, the area morphed into a historic market district alive with local flavor including many restaurants and an open-air market.

Open air market flowers in the Pittsburgh Strip District.
Some of the brilliant blooms in the open-air market.
We have stayed in the Strip District twice and really enjoy the proximity to so many unique and truly local eateries. During the day, the open-air market adds vibrance to the area with brilliant blooms, baked temptations and shoppers out to peruse wares.

Flavor and history in the Strip District in Pittsburgh.
Flavor and history in the Strip District.
For breakfast, we honed in on a few nibbles. Upon my brother's recommendation, we checked out Peace, Love and Little Donuts. Really, it is difficult to not fall in love with this little shop! Donuts are freshly made and you can even witness them being fried right in front of you. The shop features unique toppings like Maple Bacon and Samoa. Donuts are topped once you order--ensuring freshness! Truly a hit with the kids!

Donuts from Peace, Love and Little Donuts in the Strip District Pittsburgh
Adorably yummy donuts!
We also explored Enrico's Biscotti Company which bakes the largest range of biscotti that I have ever seen. The biscotti are baked on site from all natural ingredients. In addition to Enrico's array of biscotti choices, the shop also has a variety of other baked goods and even an adjacent cafe serving lunch with additional brunch service on Saturdays.

biscotti from Enricos Biscotti Company Pittsburgh
Enrico's Biscotti!
Other breakfast options in the Strip include DeLuca's and Pamela's P&G Diner. Visit Allegheny Coffee and Tea Exchange for a fresh and piping hot coffee or tea. A great array of loose coffee and tea selections, so spend some time enjoying the aromas! Also, take a peek at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church not too far from Peace, Love and Little Donuts. The church was originally constructed in 1891.

You may note while walking through the Strip District in the evening that Gaucho Parrilla Argentina often has a line out the door. We visited Gaucho on our first trip to Pittsburgh a few years ago. At that time, the Argentinian restaurant inhabited an alcove and did not sport much seating. Since then, the gem has greatly expanded to a full restaurant and a meeting space! We enjoy Gaucho's flare with simple and fresh ingredients. I really enjoyed the Vegetales plate with a nice fig sauce. Of course, I couldn't resist the shrimp--always a fave--simple yet delicious with rosemary and lemon.

Argentinian cuisine at Gaucho in Pittsburgh.
Healthy and tasty!
Further down the Strip, we found Pho Van. After reading some great reviews, Pho Van sounded like the perfect place for me to try pho for the first time. I am so glad we made the visit--the pho was entirely enjoyable! Let me just say that our whole table was quiet after the pho arrived--we were so busy enjoying it!

Pho from Pho Van in Pittsburg.

Of course, one does have to visit a Pittsburgh staple, Primanti's, at least once! Primanti's began as a sandwich cart selling sandwiches to busy truckers in the Strip District. Primanti's signature sandwich was created when a truck driver brought potatoes to the restaurant to see if they were frozen. John Primanti fried them up and put them on the customers sandwiches. The reset is history! The classic sandwich has Italian bread, tomatoes, house made cole slaw, fries, provolone cheese and meat of choice.

Primantis Pittsburgh
Primanti's is a Pittsburgh classic!
For dessert, Klavon's Ice Cream is a must! Housed in an apothecary and ice cream shop dating back to 1923, you cannot help but be captivated by the scoop shop's interior. Kids will get a kick out of sitting on one of the original stools topped with a seat fashioned after a Coca Cola bottle cap next to the original marble counter. Interesting features exist throughout including old fashioned phone booths, amazing wood detailing, pharmacy cabinets and old school penny candy!

Klavons Ice Cream in Pittsburgh
The original marble counter in Klavon's!
Of course, we did come for some ice cream! Much of the ice cream is made in house in the Penn State Creamery fashion. Delicious, smooth and creamy! Being a soda fountain, you can order the concoction of your dreams! Klavon's also has special seasonal flavors including the Peeps flavor that was featured during our visit. Additionally, the waffle cones are made fresh on the spot when you order them. A unique experience!

Ice cream at Klavon's.
Can't resist a waffle cone at Klavon's!
As you can see, the Strip District is quite the area to explore! The Heinz History Center, one of my favorite attractions for families, is also located in the Strip District. So, you can make a complete family adventure without leaving the Strip District! Plenty of flavors, sights and sounds to discover!
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