Cafe io is a cute cafe in Mt. Lebanon. When you walk in you'll notice the simple and clean lines in the decor, polished hardwood floors, cheery service, and a menu that's on the surface very straightforward but has enough twists to keep you interested.
It's the kind of place that can please everyone: your grandma can get the BLT or turkey and gravy, your dad can get a big, juicy burger, and you can venture out for the fish tacos or roasted vegetable and hummus pizza.
Fills in Fast – Always a Good Sign
We recently visited on a Saturday for lunch shortly after they opened. When we first walked in we were the only people in the restaurant, but within 20 or 30 minutes, the place was packed with families, kids, couples, and friends.
The menu consists of a nice selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and gourmet entrees. Although the fish of the day sounded great, we were there for lunch and more in the mood for
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Grilled Cheese and Gourmet Sandwiches
The grilled cheese section of the menu is pretty extensive and includes grilled cheese amped up with all sorts of meats, veggies, and sauces- or you can build your own. We decided on the Monster which came with gouda and cheddar, bacon, egg, pulled pork, tomato, carmelized onions, and spinach.
Now, that's a lot going on for a grilled cheese, but it all worked together really well. We could have done without the pulled pork and would have loved a sauce to tie everything together, like maybe a spicy mayo.
But other than that, the components were tasty and we especially liked the sweetness of the caramelized onions against the salty bacon and cheese.
The sandwich came with our choice of fries, sweet potato fries, or tomato basil soup. We chose the sweet potato fries which rivaled our favorite ones in the city (at Kaya). Twice fried, they were so light, crispy, and dotted with flaky sea salt. Delicious!
We also ordered the Pittsburgh style crab cake sandwich which we enjoyed a bit more than the grilled cheese. This one came topped with a cabbage slaw, citrus aioli, and fries, and was served on toasted sourdough.
The crab cakes were so full of sweet, tender crab meat, and the citrus sauce brought out the sweetness of the crab even more. The crunchy cabbage gave the perfect textural contrast and the fries- well, it's not a Pittsburgh sandwich without 'em!
Cafe io is a pleasant place for a weekend lunch, and we will gladly go back to try some of their intriguing dinner entrees. If you're looking for a to-go option, they also run a deli right next door to the restaurant with sandwiches made to order, salads, and soups.
Cafe io is located at 300 Beverly Road in Mount Lebanon.
For more things in the South Hills, why not visit Sugar and Spice ice cream, take a Pittsburgh helicopter tour, get barbecue takeaway at Rowdy BBQ, grab a beer at Hitchhiker Brewing, or sample street side tacos at Las Palmas.