Sia’s Garden Grown Review – Vegan Dining in East Liberty

Sia's Garden Grown closed in early 2024.

Sia's Garden Grown is a casual vegan restaurant in East Liberty offering counter-service sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts. Even though we're not vegan, we're always on the lookout for new vegetarian and vegan spots in Pittsburgh as our town could definitely use more options in this category.

Our recent takeout meal from Sia's hit all the right notes for us – sandwiches bursting with flavorful veggies and spreads, hearty soups, and tasty desserts combined to make a healthful and filling meal.

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Ross Cafe Review – Approachable Turkish Fare on McKnight

Ross Cafe on McKnight Road initially opened as a breakfast and brunch spot, focusing on items like omelettes, waffles, and crepes. We're always looking for bright spots on McKnight to invigorate our mundane shopping trips, and this spot seemed like an interesting break from the mold.

Our interest was piqued even further when we saw a few Turkish options like Menemen (a scrambled egg dish with tomatoes and peppers) and Sigara Boregi (rolled phyllo dough stuffed with cheese and fried). Shortly after opening, we checked out their menu again online and noticed that they had started serving dinners, too, focusing on Turkish dishes like kebabs, wraps, and pide (Turkish-style pizza). 

We went in for a meal right away and are already planning our return.

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Fat Cat Review – A Modern Pub With Throwback Vibes

Fat Cat closed in March 2024.

Fat Cat Lounge in the North Side is a new concept from the owners of fine dining spot Fig & Ash next door. With a retro vibe, casual food and drinks, and a second floor music venue, Fat Cat adds to the growing list of destination eating and drinking spots on East Ohio Street.

Fig & Ash is one of our favorite restaurants in the city, so when we heard the owners were opening up the Fat Cat concept we were thrilled. On our recent visit shortly after their opening, we were instantly amazed at the transformation of the space.

The front door opens into the bar space with a retro vibe including 70s-style couches and old cartoons playing on the TVs. To the left of the bar is a separate dining area that continues the retro theme, and upstairs is an open space that serves as a music venue, complete with another bar.

Yes, this space will do just nicely, and thankfully the experience got even better from there!

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Brown Bear Bread Cafe Review – Bakery in Mt. Oliver

In 2024, Brown Bear Bread Cafe closed their Mt. Oliver location and announced a new store coming to New Brighton. They presently serve local stores and farmer's markets.

Brown Bear Bread Cafe is a bakery located in Mt. Oliver offering up sourdough bread, English muffins, pastries, and more to go, plus a small cafe menu for dining in. If there's one thing we think Pittsburgh can always use more of, it's excellent bakeries (especially bread-focused bakeries)- so we are ecstatic that this lovely new spot has found a home in Mt. Oliver.

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Sweet Rust Review – Libations and Farm to Table Cuisine

Sweet Rust is now closed.

Sweet Rust is a Vatting House concept that bottles and sells single-barrel, cask-strength spirits from Pennsylvania and around the world. While the company doesn't distill their own spirits, they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from their Pennsylvania Libations business to offer high-quality spirits in and around Pittsburgh.

Sweet Rust also operates a restaurant of the same name in Ligonier, located inside the historic Thistledown Hotel. We recently visited as guests of the restaurant to try their farm-to-table cuisine, plus a few cocktails made with Sweet Rust products, of course!

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Duo’s Taqueria Review – Learn Spanish, Eat Tacos

Duo's Taqueria in East Liberty is a fun and delicious concept restaurant by Duolingo, where you can eat delicious Mexican food and also learn and practice Spanish. This spot has a colorful, upbeat, casual vibe that serves up delicious tacos on homemade tortillas as well as other Mexican specialties.

Duo's Taqueria was just a walk-up taco stand at the Duolingo building. We visited many times and judging by the long lines, we knew this concept was going places. And rightfully so, with Chef Marcella Ogrodnik at the helm. Chef Marcella was the owner of Cafe Agnes, an El Salvadorian pop up that served amazing pupusas and tamales at farmers' markets around the city. We are so excited that she is now at Duo's, bringing her skills for making fresh masa for tortillas and her knack for creating amazing flavor combinations.

Duo's recently built out an interior space in the building to change the restaurant to a sit-down concept (the walk-up window is now, sadly, closed). We visited shortly after re-opening to check it out and practice our Spanish.

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ECHT Coffee House Review – Go For Coffee, Stay for the Food

ECHT Coffee House in Mount Oliver is more than just a coffee shop. In addition to roasting their own coffee and serving up cafe-style food, this sleek and design-focused spot will also soon be home to a distillery and cocktail bar giving the neighborhood a must-visit spot that will soon be enjoyed morning, noon, and night.

While we visited this one to get our coffee fix on, we ended up staying to enjoy the food menu and exploring the soon-to-come additions on the building's lower level.

You will be wise to do the same when you visit as well!

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Chatham Baroque Offers a Unique Concert Series in Pittsburgh

Chatham Baroque is a period music ensemble that was founded in Pittsburgh in 1990 that performs their own concert series in the city, in addition to collaborating with other groups in Pittsburgh and touring around the country and world. Artistic directors Andrew Fouts, Patricia Halverson, and Scott Pauley invite other musicians from around the world to perform with them, making their concerts special and unique.

We were first introduced to Chatham Baroque when they accompanied the opera Idaspe, put on by Quantum Theater in the fall of 2022. I don't think we had ever seen instruments like the viola da gamba or the theorbo played in person before. We were instantly drawn to their unique look and sound, and knew we had to learn more about this interesting ensemble.

Cut to early 2023 and we were able to check out Chatham Baroque play their final concert of the season, The Joy of Bach!

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Alchemy Bar + Kitchen Review – Fine Dining With a Twist

Alchemy seemingly closed in 2024.

Alchemy Bar + Kitchen brings fine dining and craft cocktails to an intimate space in downtown Pittsburgh's Market Square. We're always excited when new businesses open downtown, so we knew we had to make it in shortly after Alchemy opened to check out their offerings.

While this one brands itself as a molecular gastronomy-themed fine dining restaurant, we left a bit unsure of the molecular gastronomy element but big fans of the food at large all the same

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