Synopsis: Pittsburgh Food Crawls is an exciting culinary tour through Steel City. Discover hidden gems and long-standing institutions. Each crawl is the complete recipe for a great night out, the perfect tourist day, a new way to experience your own city, or simply food porn to enjoy from home. Put on your walking shoes and your stretchy pants, and dig into Pittsburgh one dish at a time.
The Eateries That Have Closed
Published in the first half of 2020, Pittsburgh Food Crawls focuses on the more well known areas of town – places like Oakland, the South Side and Market Square. This book is written for the tourist, even those of us who live here can call ourselves “tourists” from time to time. Ms. Daly includes a brief snapshot in the book’s introduction for those completely unfamiliar with the city, and everything stated is absolutely correct.
What I love, and found to be an unexpected inclusion, is that addresses, contact info and websites are printed in the book, so there’s no excuse to NOT be able to find out where a place is. However, I must take a moment to mention several eateries that are no longer in business (or the info has changed) since the book’s printing. They are:
Smallman Galley — unknown status
Pork and Beans — closed
Girasole — new website
The Whitfield — closed
Pizza Taglio — closed
Bitter Ends Garden & Luncheonette — closed
Legume Bistro — closed
The Original Hot Dog Shop — closed
Sienna on the Square — temporarily closed
Winghart’s Burger & Whiskey Bar — closed
Tootie’s Famous Italian Beef — moved to Market Square
Brugge on North — closed
Pear and the Pickle — unknown status
Dinette — closed
While all those closed restaurants may seem like a lot – and it is – there are still many more to choose from! Not only those still open in the book, but eateries that have popped up since 2020. Let’s take a look at some of the restaurants still open that you can visit yourself. I’ll choose one from just three chapters that I’d like to personally stop by one day.
The Strip District: Kaya
From the book: “The Strip District is […] swarming with a mix of new and, shall I say, seasoned small businesses and family-owned storefront. The Strip District is where anyone can indulge in specialty grocery stores, delis and one-of-a-kind shops […].”
After glimpsing Kaya’s menu, I gotta say I am a bit intimidated by its concept. As a weakling when it comes to spicy food, I’ve shied away my entire life from anything that even looks remotely spicy. “The cuisines of Kaya are inspired by the sea and sun, melding fresh, high quality ingredients with bold flavor and alluring preparation. We incorporate the culinary customs of the Caribbean Islands, South America, the Pacific and beyond, using only the freshest herbs and spices combined with the excitement of a sizzling grill to create food that is exotic and lively.”
As one who enjoys staying in her own lane and following the old beaten path, I don’t deviate from my daily routines often. However, I might have to make an exception in Kaya’s case. Its concept kind of reminds me of Bahama Breeze but with a more authentic flare.
Downtown Pittsburgh: Meat & Potatoes
I mean, comfort food, right? Who doesn’t love a good gut-filling meal on a Friday night after work? Someone watching their cholesterol. Like I *should* be doing. Anyway…
I’ve looked at this restaurant several times before reading Pittsburgh Food Crawls, but now I’m definitely convinced that it’s time to pay this joint a visit. Touted on their website as “a warm and inviting space,” locals and tourists alike can choose any combination they like from both the food and drink menus.
While I’ve never been one to drink (as in never), I do have several family members who would absolutely enjoy a place like this. They already love both Burgatory (McKnight Road) and Mission BBQ (over in Robinson). Having a whisky on the side of some meat and potatoes would just be the whole package. One day, y’all. One day I’m gonna visit this place.
I love noodles. Noodles of all kinds. Give me a noodle dish and I’m a happy lady. From soba to spaghetti, ramyen to rigatoni, I’ll try them all. Noodlehead is, quite proudly, a place that represents Thai cuisine.
There are a few unique things listed on their website I’d like to draw your attention to. Not only do they only accept cash (like that one Japanese place at Ross Park Mall), but they also do not have a telephone.
From egg noodles to semolina to flat rice noodles and the regular thin noodle varieties, Noodlehead certainly lives up to its namesake. If, however, you’d like to try a place that takes cards, you can always try out Lulu’s Noodles on S. Craig Street or Zen’s Noodle House on Forbes. (Definitely skip Noodles & Company).
East Liberty: __________?
In an effort to be completely transparent with my readers at all times, I must admit that none of the restaurants represented in the East Liberty Crawl piqued my interest. The only one would’ve been The Whitfield, but that (of course) has been closed since 2020. Perhaps some day I’ll get out to this section of town, but it’s a bit out of the way for my family and I. Who knows? This post may change that!
It certainly looks as though I’ve got a lot more exploring to do! Every single square inch of Pittsburgh represents a part of its colorful history, and its restaurants are no exception. From eateries old and new, to those no longer in existence, they’ve made their marks. The culinary world is ever changing, and not just in Pittsburgh. 2020 saw a lot of eateries close, and many were forced to close forever. However, there will always be ones to rise up to take their places. Don’t forget to explore local eateries where you live. You just might find some hidden gems you never knew existed.