Pittsburgh has lots of great bakeries and cafes, but nothing quite stands up to Mediterra Café in Sewickley. From killer coffee to a delicious brunch to the overall aesthetic of the space, this bakery-meets-cafe-meets-market is well worth the drive from Pittsburgh. (From the heart of downtown Pittsburgh it's about a 30 minute drive.)
At Mediterra, you'll find a counter-service setup with a full breakfast and lunch menu as well as a full lineup of specialty breads and pastries. If you happen to stop for breakfast or brunch, I highly recommend the Baked French Toast. It was by far the best french toast I've eaten. It was unreal. If you're not a fan of sweet breakfast dishes, Lei of The Colé Journal, would recommend the Breakfast Sammie.
After your next trip to Mediterra be sure to also head down the street to The Loveliest Coffee & Clothes for an extra dose of caffeine and a quick shopping stop. Trust me when I say your Instagram feed will thank you.
Heads up: Mediterra is really popular so you can expect it to be pretty busy during peak hours and weekends. I would recommend sticking to a small group. A one-on-one catch up was the move for me.
Be sure to give Mediterra a follow on Instagram for a daily dose of foodie inspo.
IMPORTANT NOTE: In early 2020, The Loveliest sadly had to close its doors. It will be missed!
The Loveliest Coffee & Clothes in Sewickley is part coffee shop and part clothing boutique—all under one roof. The space is filled with tons of light, pink decor, greenery, inspiration, feminine energy, and quite a few friendly faces. It easily takes the crown for the most photographable coffee shop in Pittsburgh.
The menu at The Loveliest falls right in line with the shop's design aesthetic. They've become known for out-of-the-box lattes. You'll find flavors such as Lavender Honey, Rainbow Marshmallow, and Rose Matcha. And as a bonus, all drinks can be customized with extra touches like pink coloring, edible gold, edible glitter, and whipped cream.
It's hard to be believe, but it doesn't stop with the edible glitter. For a small fee, you can add customized latte art to your beverage. It's a pretty simple process. Download the Ripples app, select The Loveliest as your location, and then select the design you'd like "printed". You can choose from a variety of pre-made quotes and designs or you can upload your own artwork. In my experience, simple and clean designs produce the cleanest imprint. I would avoid script fonts or any design with intricate detail. Thick, bold text is the best option.
It's also worth mentioning that if you're not a coffee drinker, The Loveliest also offers ombré lemonades. They're very colorful and just as exciting as the custom lattes. Here, caffeine fiends and non-coffee drinkers alike are welcome.
In the back of the shop you'll find racks full of beautiful and on-trend clothing styles. The inventory covers everything from tops and jackets to skirts and jeans. In addition to their seasonal collections, their staple Loveliest Collection features a variety of Pittsburgh gear, graphic tees, and jewelry, You can head to the shop for the full experience or shop your new looks online as well.
Head to 545 Beaver Street to treat yourself to a latte, a new look, and maybe a few shots for the 'gram. Give The Loveliest's IG a follow to stay up-to-date on new arrivals, menu changes, and events.
As I get older, my theory that coffee keeps the world turning seems to inch closer and closer to becoming scientific evidence. I personally can't function in the morning without a cup of coffee in my system and I know I'm not alone. There's something truly special about a hot cup of goodness that makes mornings just a little more bearable.
When it comes to the local coffee shop scene, there's something to be said about the energy and comfort of a neighborhood cafe. I might even go as far as saying it's therapeutic. With that said, coffee shops are one of my very favorite things to explore and I was pretty excited to learn about the Coffee Passport.
The Coffee Passport is like your ticket to a curated coffee tour of Pittsburgh. Each card is $20 and gets you one beverage at ten different locally-owned, independent shops. The specials at each shop range from a traditional cup of coffee to specialty lattes and espresso. Non-coffee drinkers: they have you covered too. Each menu offers some type non-coffee beverage or tea.
Ten coffee drinks for twenty bucks, support for local business, and the chance to visit new neighborhoods? It didn't take much more convincing.
There are two different passport versions available and each are valid for six months. (Please note they do expire so be sure to take advantage of your passport before the expiration date.) Once you make it through your first coffee scavenger hunt, there's a second set of cafes cued up on passport 2.
If you're ready to check it out, head over to the website to order your passport or stop into any of the participating shops. If you buy online, your passport will be mailed to you within two weeks.
Give the Coffee Passport team a follow on Instagram to keep up with news, announcements, and shop features. And if you happen to snag yourself a passport, let me know! Let's plan a coffee date. I love meeting new people and if you can't tell by now I certainly love a good coffee shop.
During my time as a student at Pitt, campus coffee options were Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks… and more Starbucks. At the time it got the job done, but over the years I've found a new appreciation for locally-owned cafes and coffee shops, so I was pretty stoked to hear that Red Hawk Coffee laid roots in Oakland.
This mobile coffee truck turned brick and mortar cafe is conveniently located right next to Peace, Love, and Little Donuts right off of Meyran Ave. Good coffee as a neighbor to good donuts. I can’t imagine a more perfect duo.
Red Hawk's space is small, but offers a welcoming environment with some retro touches. The coffee and espresso menu is simple, but offers just enough options. They also offer a variety of bottled beverages such as kombucha, tea, and juice.
Being a small space in a highly trafficked area, it’s probably going to be tough to lock down a table. There’s only a handful of tables available and I know firsthand that Pitt students do not mess around when it comes to study spots. I would recommend getting there early if you’re in the race for some table space.
Italian food… there's no denying it’s delicious. Throw a giant mound of pasta in front of me and I promise I'll never complain. For the fellow Italian foodies out there, I definitely recommend Pizzaiolo Primo in Market Square.
You’ll find a well-presented menu of antipasto, salads, pizza, pasta, desserts, and of course wine, beer, and cocktails. The space is intimate with a touch of real "Tuscany" energy. Savor and sip slow. The world seems to slow down here.
I can be a bit impatient when hungry, so I always play it safe with a reservation. Online reservations are readily available on OpenTable. The restaurant does offer outdoor dining in the summer months, but it usually requires a pretty long wait time. In my prior experience, they don’t accept reservations for outdoor tables.
One last bit of advice: Wear something comfortable. The post-meal "food baby" is almost a guarantee.
Meet Millie’s, a beloved ice cream staple gracing Market Square and Shadyside with its homemade scoops. From the unique seasonal flavors to the pretty pink interior to the warm brioche ice cream sandwiches, Millie’s has quickly become the leader in Pittsburgh's dessert scene. Whether it’s the dead of winter or the peak of summer, it’s not uncommon to see a line out the door at either one of their local shops.
You can snag a pint of Millie’s at several different grocery retailers around the area, but there's nothing like the real scoop shop experience. Plus, both locations have some noteworthy neighbors like Noodlehead and Pizzaiolo Primo.
Millie’s Frequent Flyer Tip: Give their Instagram a follow. They host a lot of giveaways, contests, and pop-up events. Millie's is great. Free Millie's is even better.
From a gourmet mac ‘n cheese truck to a retro burrito bus, food trucks have slowly been taking over the Pittsburgh food scene gracing streets, parks, and community events with their drool-worthy eats. Now, a food truck park has been born.
Seated right off the riverfront in Millvale, The Pittsburgh Food Truck Park is home to rotating food trucks, a beer garden, picnic tables, and a large collection of lawn games.
The schedule of food trucks is constantly changing, so you'll want to keep an eye on the calendar. The park hosts 3 trucks a day. It's also important to note that there’s a morning and evening shift so pay extra close attention to the schedule. The trucks are known to sell out late in the day, so for lack of better words: the early bird gets the worm.
If you’re looking for a low-key spot to visit with friends and family, the park is an awesome spot to spend a casual evening.
Whether you’re looking for a sweet breakfast, a mid-day snack, or you’re just filling a craving, Sinkers & Suds Food Truck offers hot mini donuts topped to your liking. Adding more appeal, these sweet treats are also served out of a vintage trailer.
The donuts come in a variety of suggested "flavors", but if you’re feeling adventurous you can build your own masterpiece of icing and toppings. The S’mores flavor was appealing to me, but I choose to keep it simple and went with a basic chocolate frosted option. It didn't disappoint.
Sinkers & Suds are regulars at the Pittsburgh Food Truck Park, but follow their Facebook page to check out where they’ll be next.
Arriviste Coffee Bar is a bright, aesthetically pleasing coffee shop tucked away on Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. The menu is simple. The space is inviting. And the baristas are extra friendly. All the necessary ingredients for a great coffee shop. This East End cafe serves up specialty coffee and tea and offers a great selection of pastries from local bakeries.
You can expect to see the shop full of neighborhood residents and local students. Being one of the few cafes in the neighborhood, it's a busy spot. If you’re lucky enough to snag a chair, there is free WiFi.
After your caffeination session, it might be time to refuel. Tipsy Cow is directly across the street. The french fries are some of the best around, there’s tons of options on their build-your-own-burger menu, and the patio is dog-friendly.
Just off of Walnut Street, Cafe Moulin is a quaint and cozy cafe serving up the best of both worlds with sweet and savory crepes. They also serve a variety of salads and healthier offerings, but you really can’t experience this place without taking a chance on the "Banella" crepe. The greens will have to take a backseat for this adventure.
Perfect for breakfast, brunch, or even lunch, this Shadyside eatery is somewhat of a hidden gem. Whether it's a group brunch, a lunch date, or even a solo breakfast, a sweet crepe and bottomless coffee make for a perfect morning.
While you're in the area be sure to take some time to browse through some of the great small businesses on Walnut Street. It's worth your time.
From food truck parks and food halls to high end restaurants and rooftop cocktail bars, Pittsburgh has become quite the "foodie" city. Check out some of my faves!