Last Updated on November 11, 2021 by Jeremy
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When we found out the Honduran coffee roaster Cafetano was opening in the former Gaucho space in the Strip District, we weren't entirely sure what to think of it. This had nothing to do with the coffee shop itself (we will never say no to more amazing coffee in Pittsburgh), but rather the use of the space outright.
By Strip District standards, Gaucho had one of the larger building footprints in the neighborhood. Then, when it comes to coffee shops, we're not used to seeing any of that size anywhere in the city. So hearing that a coffee shop was moving into this particular space was a bit of a surprise.
Thankfully, it only took a few seconds after entering the shop to be sold on it. The wonderful use of the building was a hard reminder of how much space in coffee shops is sorely needed, and this is especially true in the always bustling Strip District.
But Cafetano goes far beyond simply roasting and serving delicious coffee in a large and welcoming space. They also have a pretty stellar food menu to go along with it to make this one a full-service cafe in just about every respect. So when you visit, while you may go for the coffee, do yourself a favor and stay for a meal as well.
Cafetano Offers a Welcoming Space and Delicious Coffee
When you visit Cafetano, you'll do well to check out every inch of the space. Artwork adorns the walls, tables, and even the ceilings as well. Couple that with bright light, comfortable furniture, and seating arrangements of just about every style imaginable, and you have the kind of space that you could hang out and work in just as much as stopping for a quick espresso or latte. (For those who have less time, they also have a walk-up window for to-go orders.)
While this shop is a coffee roaster specializing in Honduran beans, the menu goes well beyond conventional coffees with hot chocolate, tea, frappes, smoothies, and more. On our first visit, we opted for the classic espresso as well as a properly made macchiato and really appreciate the complexity of the flavors offered here and the fact that the roast was more on the light-to-medium side as well.
Suffice it to say, we left with a bag of beans as well to start making their coffee at home as this roaster makes us want to go deeper into the world of Honduran coffees.
Don't Forget a Panini When Visiting
As mentioned at the start of this article, Cafetano is far more than a coffee shop and roaster- it is a complete cafe experience. Beyond beverages, they have a rather robust food menu of croissants, paninis, wraps, salads, waffles, breakfasts, toasts, and more. So if you think ordering food is going to be any easier than ordering a beverage, well, be prepared to have some options to consider.
During our first visit, we opted to hit the panini side of the menu and go for two that are going to become instant classics- El Catracho and El Picante. These were two fairly large sandwiches that did not leave us wanting more.
El Catracho is the shop's take on a conventional egg and avocado sandwich but with a Honduran twist thanks to the addition of spicy fried beans, crema, and queso fresco. It was quite rich and the crema and queso fresco offered a nice contrast to the otherwise savory ingredients.
El Picante, on the other hand, was a bit simpler and simply topped with roasted turkey, pepper jack, and a slathering of spicy pineapple chutney. If you are fans of messy sandwiches, this one doesn't disappoint as the pineapple chutney ended up getting just about everywhere by the time we were done eating it. We're not sure we've ever had turkey and pineapple together in a single bite, but with the slightly spicy note from the sauce and the cheese, this one worked nicely.
We finished the meal with a refreshing little lemon tart as well that helped bring our palates back after the decadent sandwiches. This one was on the smaller side as far as tarts are concerned, but after the massive sandwiches half of one of these really was about all the room we had left.
Overall, Cafetano has hit the ground running with some delightful coffees and a complete food menu. But while we'll talk about these again and again, we can't help but also point out that the space at this one is just as wonderful as the coffee and food. As far as coffee shops are concerned, that is a hard trifecta to pull off- but Cafetano did it perfectly.
Cafetano is located at 1601 Penn Avenue in the Strip District.