Pittsburgh has lots of great bakeries and cafes, but nothing quite stands up to Mediterra Café in Sewickley! From the coffee and brunch eats to the overall aesthetic, this bakery-meets-cafe-meets-market is well worth the drive from Pittsburgh. (For context: From the heart of downtown Pittsburgh it's a 30ish minute drive.)
At Mediterra you'll find a counter-service setup with a full breakfast and lunch menu as well as tons 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 have ever had. It's absolutely delicious. If you're not into the sweet breakfast dishes, Lei of The Colé Journal, would recommend the Breakfast Sammie.
If you aren't already one step ahead of you, you should definitely grab a friend and plan your next brunch date ASAP! While you're at it, head down the street to The Loveliest Coffee & Clothes for an extra dose of caffeine and some new swag. Trust me when I say your Instagram feed will thank you.
Heads up: Mediterra is AMAZING so you can expect it to be pretty busy, especially on a Saturday or Sunday. I would try and stick to a small group. A one-on-one catch up was the move for me!
Be sure to give Mediterra a follow on the 'gram for all of the carb inspo you could ever dream of.
IMPORTANT NOTE: In early 2020, The Loveliest sadly had to close its doors. You can't visit IRL anymore, BUT you can appreciate the photos of this admired little spot.
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, cute quotes, super friendly faces, and all of the instagram-worthy photo opps you could ever want. In fact, The Loveliest prides itself in being "the most instagrammable coffee shop" around and I am totally here for it!
The menu at The Loveliest falls right in line with the shop's adorable aesthetic. They're known for crazy (and delicious) lattes. We're talking flavors like Lavender Honey, Rainbow Marhsmallow, and Rose Matcha. It doesn't stop there either. It gets better. All lattes can be customized with extras like pink coloring, edible gold, edible glitter, and whipped cream. You also get your pick of a hot or iced drink, so no matter what season I promise your coffee craving will be satisfied.
It's hard to be believe, but it actually gets EVEN BETTER. For a small fee, you can add customized latte art to your drink! It's a pretty simple process. All you have to do is download the Ripples app, select The Loveliest as your location, and then choose what you'd like "printed" on your drink. You can choose from a variety of pre-made quotes and designs OR you can really get creative and upload your own artwork. If you have a blog or a business, uploading your logo makes for a great content opportunity! (If you can't tell, my blogger brain is always on.) In my experience, simple and clean designs turn out the best. I would avoid script fonts or anything with intricate detail. Thick, bold text is the way to go!
It's also worth mentioning that if coffee is not your thing, The Loveliest also offers ombré lemonades! They're super colorful and just as insta-worthy as the lattes. Caffeine fiends and non-coffee drinkers alike are welcome!
I went right for the coffee (as usual), but the boutique aspect of The Loveliest is just as important! In the back of the shop you'll find racks full of beautiful, super trendy pieces. 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, jewelry, and more! You can head to the shop for the full experience or snag yourself some new looks online as well.
It took me months to finally make the trip out to Sewickley and I have MAJOR regrets. I was missing out! Jump in your car and head to 545 Beaver Street ASAP to treat yourself to a latte, some new swag, and some new photos for the 'gram. If you can't make it there just yet, give The Loveliest's IG a follow to keep yourself motivated. That neon sign just might make you clear your calendar...
As I get older, my theory that coffee keeps the world turning seems to inch closer and closer to becoming scientific evidence. Who else literally can't function in the morning without a cup of coffee in their system? I know I sure as hell can't and I'm sure there's plenty of other coffee addicts out there in the same boat. What's not to love about a hot, comforting cup of goodness that makes mornings just a little more bearable? Even better: what's not to love about sipping a good cup of coffee in a cozy local shop?
There's really something to be said about the vibe of a neighborhood cafe. I can walk in, sit down with my coffee, sit in silence, take in the environment, and be completely and utterly content. I might even go as far as saying it's therapeutic. Coffee shops are really kind of an experience and they're one of my favorite things to explore. With that said, I was pretty excited when I stumbled across 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've even got you covered too! Each menu offers some type non-coffee beverage— usually tea!
Ten coffee drinks for twenty bucks, supporting local businesses, and the chance to explore new parts of the Burgh? Yep, I was sold on it within seconds.
If you're really feeling this, I've got more good news. These passports aren't a one and done deal. There's two different passports available and each are good for six months. (Yes, they do expire so make sure you take advantage of your passport before the expiration date!) Once you make it through your first coffee scavenger hunt, there's a new set of cafes cued up. That's a whole year of coffee adventure! Twenty different shops and 20 different caffeination sessions.
If you're ready to check it out, head on 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 a week or two. You should definitely treat yourself, but these also make for a great gift idea!
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 love a good coffee shop!
Let's take a walk down memory lane. When you were young did your mom make you cinnamon sugar toast? Ya know, a slice of white bread toasted, buttered, and sprinkled with a mix of cinnamon sugar? As a kid, I LOVED it. Heck, to this day I'm still a fan. So when I discovered Jenny Lee Swirl Bread, I just couldn't get enough. It's like the adult-friendly version of cinnamon sugar toast. And the best part? It's non-GMO verified and locally-made. Keepin' it healthy and supporting a local Pittsburgh business... #AdultingSoHard.
So let me tell you more about this magical bag of goodness. I'm a big fan of the tried-and-true Classic Cinnamon just lightly toasted and buttered, BUT I'm fully obligated to mention this bread makes some kick-ass french toast too. I personally went super basic and used almond milk, egg, and cinnamon, but Jenny Lee has a fancier recipe on their site if you're really feeling yourself. Homemade, DIY brunch anyone?
Once you've tried out the Classic Cinnamon, you should probably make your way through the other 5 flavors. What's up Cinnamon Raisin, Cinnamon Apple, Cinnamon Cranberry, Cinnamon Pumpkin Walnut, and Cinnamon Chocolate Chip. Since you all know I'm on a HUGE fall kick (hence the recent Fall Bucket List and Soergel's Fall Festival blogs), I've been loving on the Pumpkin Walnut extra hard.
Aside from the sweet breads, Jenny Lee also has a whole line of Savory Breads. Being the carb connoisseur that I am, I'll probably dive into those sometime this winter. If you haven't already read it in a previous post, I HATE WINTER. So my diet pretty much solely consists of warm and comforting food December-March. I'm coming for you California Tomato Basil! How good does that sound? With a hot cup of tomato soup? Sign. me. up.
You can snag yourself some Jenny Lee treats from local grocery stores like SHOP n' SAVE, Giant Eagle, and a wholeeeee lot of other retailers across the region. Fun Fact: Jenny Lee Swirl Bread has Pittsburgh roots that date back to the mid-1800s. Now that's local. As always, I'm proud to eat local and shop local whenever I can. Try some Jenny Lee bread, my friends. You won't regret it. I promise.
As a Pitt alum, I was pretty stoked to hear that this mobile coffee truck turned coffee shop had laid roots in Oakland. When I was a student, it seemed like campus coffee options were Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks… and more Starbucks. At the time I didn’t seem to mind it, but as I’ve gotten older I’m all for a good locally-owned coffee shop... #TeamNoChains! (Except Dunkin Donuts, DD is my guilty pleasure and I have no shame.)
Red Hawk Coffee is conveniently located right next to Peace, Love, and Little Donuts right off of Meyran Ave. I can’t imagine a more perfect set of neighbors. Good coffee + unique donuts = the ultimate combo.
This cozy little shop has some retro feels and a pretty legit coffee and espresso menu. Hit up a normal cup of joe or go all out with an oat milk matcha latte. The possibilities are endless. Okay, maybe not endless but you’ve definitely got options. If you’re feeling something less-caffeinated, they have a nice little stock of things like kombucha, tea, and juice as well.
This gem would be a nice spot to post up and hang, but it’s probably going to be tough to lock down a table. The space is small, there’s only a handful of tables available, and 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.
While this maybe isn’t your best study/grind spot, it is ideal for a quick coffee date. The 2-seater tables, stools, and window bench seating make for a great “let’s catch up over coffee” situation.
Italian food… where to begin. It’s delicious. Throw a giant mound of carbs in front of me and I’m a truly happy camper. Are carb endorphins a thing? For the fellow Italian food lovers out there, I definitely recommend checking out Pizzaiolo Primo in Market Square.
You’ll find antipasto (excuse my fancy Italian way of saying appetizers), salads, pizza, pasta, desserts, and of course wine, beer, and cocktails. You just can’t down a plate of pasta without washing it down with a glass of wine? This is Lauren logic at it’s finest. What can I say?
The space is super cozy. Like post up in the heart of Tuscany cozy. And the dim, candlelit vibes make it the perfect environment for date night. I’m using the definition of date night loosely. Dates with your gal pals and your mom count too!
When you order, definitely go for the “let’s split some stuff” method. You can’t settle for just one thing. You need a little “Mozzarella Fritti” (fried mozzarella), Bianca Pizza, and Gnocchi Sorrentina in your life. (Pictured above)
I tend to get very “hangry” so I’m always one to play it safe with a reservation. There’s nothing worse than being hit with a “it’s gonna be about 2 hours for a table”. Jump on OpenTable to secure your spot. They offer outdoor dining in the summertime, but it usually requires a pretty long wait. (In my experience, they don’t accept reservations for outdoor tables.)
One last tip: Wear something super comfy… and loose. The post-dinner food baby situation is real.
Meet Millie’s, a beloved ice cream staple gracing Market Square and Shadyside with its homemade scoops. If you haven’t experienced Millie’s, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Just kidding, I’m sure some of you are new here, so I’ll let it slide.
From the unique seasonal flavors to the pretty pink scoop shops to the warm brioche ice cream sandwiches (yeah, that’s a thing), Millie’s is really killing the ice cream game. 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. BUT don’t let that stop you. The wait is more than worth it. Just trust me.
You can snag a pint of Millie’s at several different retailers around The Burgh, but if you ask me, the scoop shops are where it’s at. Plus, both locations have some pretty awesome neighbors. (What's up Noodlehead and Pizzaiolo Primo)
Millie’s Frequent Flyer Tip: Throw their Instagram a like. They do a lot of giveaways. What’s better than a waffle cone heaped with Blueberry Pancake ice cream? A FREE waffle cone heaped with Blueberry Pancake ice cream.
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. So naturally, a food truck park was born and it was a truly genius idea.
Seated right off the riverfront in Millvale, The Pittsburgh Food Truck Park is home to rotating food trucks, a beer garden, picnic tables, and lots of lawn games for your post-munching, mid-drinking entertainment.
The schedule of food trucks is constantly changing, so if you’re a picky eater you’re definitely going to want to scope out the calendar and plan to go on a day where the food options are to your liking. You’ll usually find 3 trucks in the park at a time. Oh, and I should mention there’s a morning and evening shift so pay extra close attention to the schedule. Pro Foodie Tip: Don’t wait too late in the evening to hit up the truck you’ve been scoping out. The trucks often sell out– proof The Burgh is really becoming a true foodie city.
If you’re looking for a low-key spot to get together with some of your best buds, the park is an awesome spot to spend a casual night snacking and sipping on beer. The bar has tons of local drafts. (The website says 30.)
A vintage trailer dishing out hot mini donuts? My actual dream come true. Whether you’re looking for a sweet breakfast, a mid-day snack, or you’re just filling a craving, Sinkers & Suds Food Truck’s donuts are FIRE. (Insert 100 fire emojis)
These little guys come in a variety of flavors, but if you’re feeling adventurous you can build-your-own and pick different combos of icing and toppings. The S’mores flavor looked mighty fine, but I choose to keep it simple and went with a basic chocolate frosted option. And I didn’t regret it!
They often hit up the Pittsburgh Food Truck Park, but follow their Facebook page to check out (read stalk) where they’ll be.
There’s really not much else to say other than JUST DO IT.
Arriviste Coffee Bar is a bright, aesthetically pleasing (cue the Insta inspo) coffee shop tucked away on Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. The menu is simple. The space is inviting. And the baristas are extra friendly. WIN– All the necessary ingredients for a great coffee shop. This East End spot serves up specialty coffee and tea and offers a great selection of pastries from local bakeries.
You can expect to see lots of neighborhood residents and students posted up here all day long, every day of the week. Being one of few independent cafes in the neighborhood, it's a happening spot. If you’re lucky enough to snag a chair at a table or squeeze in on one of the couches, there’s free WiFi.
And if those mid-day munchies get the best of you, you’ll be happy to know that Tipsy Cow is directly across the street. The french fries are killer, there’s tons of options on their build-your-own-burger menu, and the patio is dog-friendly. Think Burgatory… with less “chain restaurant” vibes… and cuter decor. Let's be real, that's important.