TRYP Hotel Review – Affordable Rooms in the Heart of Lawrenceville

When you think of popular Pittsburgh neighborhoods, you may instantly assume that any given one is home to several hotels for visitors. For a few, you'd be right. But there are many neighborhoods in the city that do not have hotels at all, and up until mid-2019 Lawrenceville was one that sorely needed a property.

It wasn't until the TRYP Hotel opened that Lawrenceville got its first proper hotel, and this one fits right into the trendy neighborhood perfectly thanks to its beautiful restoration of a former school building right on 40th Street.

Throw in a rooftop bar with a stellar city view, a nice restaurant on the first floor, and some modern amenities and you have enough to make us happy.

We got the chance to check this one out as guests of the hotel and share more in this full review!

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Oishii Donburi Review – Japanese & Korean Staples in Lawrenceville

If you've spent any amount of time on our site, you may have seen our review for Oishii Bento in Oakland. This small restaurant in the heart of the neighborhood serves up an array of bento box creations as well as other Japanese staples with decent portion sizes at an amazing price point.

So when the team behind that restaurant announced a new concept, Oishii Donburi in Lawrenceville, we were in.

While this one serves up an array of traditional Japanese menu items, we also found some of our favorites from Korea on the menu as well- all for the same great price point we love from Oishii Bento!

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Pizza Lupo Review – Giant Pies in the Heart of Lawrenceville

Although Pittsburgh is home to one of the highest number of pizza shops per capita in the country, we could always use more.

When we heard that Pizza Lupo opened up in Lawrenceville in December 2020, we knew we had to get in as fast as possible to try it out. This was especially true after we saw photos of the pies as they seemed right up our alley.

We quickly placed an order and were not let down with what we got.

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WSET Level 2 Wine Class Review with Palate Partners

If you've spent any amount of time on this site, you're likely well aware that we like wine. Not only do we have a quest to check out the best Pittsburgh wineries, but we're also visiting all the best wine bars in Pittsburgh too.

But perhaps one of our favorite experiences in Pittsburgh comes from the wine education company Palate Partners with their informal First and Third Friday feature which includes several wine samples, education about the grape and region, all at a fairly attractive price point. 

We knew that Palate Partners offered many wine classes beyond these, and their offering of the multi-week Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses caught our eye. This is an international, standardized wine program (with four levels) and the folks at Palate Partners are certified to teach the first two levels (plus bringing in a guest instructor for Level 3).

Our favorite wine instructors teaching an international wine course that is highly regarded the world over? Sign us up. 

But in being ones who always like to go big, we skipped Level 1 and jumped straight into the eight-week Level 2 course. While challenging, we also had a rather great time in this one.

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Pita My Shawarma Review – Food Truck Turned Restaurant

Although we love our Pittsburgh food truck scene, we always enjoy hearing that our favorite trucks open up brick-and-mortar restaurants in the city. Why? So we can get their food all the time!

It is always a treat to find a favorite food truck at a brewery or event, but sometimes we cannot drive far across town to grab an order from a favorite. When they open a dedicated storefront, that problem is solved as we know where to get them all the time.

Pita My Shawarma was one such food truck that moved to a dedicated location, and now that they're in the heart of Lawrenceville, we see placing many orders from this one in the future.

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Smoke Taqueria Review – Traditional Tacos with a Twist

Please note: For a brief period of time, Smoke Taqueria changed their concept to be a burger restaurant before returning as a taqueria. This review is from before the change and as such may not be reflective of the current menu. We will update this article the next time we make it in!

Smoke Taqueria in LawrencevilleHaving been to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico where tacos are nothing more than fresh, handmade corn tortillas topped with meat, I've since been a bit skeptical of the rise of the gourmet taco in the US.

Sometimes I think gourmet taco places try to do too much with this simple, humble street food. However, we were pleasantly surprised when we recently dined at Smoke in Lawrenceville where we had perfectly executed, inventive tacos. The flavors were not so out there that they didn't seem to belong in a taco, but rather evoked traditional Mexican flavors with a unique twist.

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Mi Empanada Review – Empanadas and Sandwiches in Lawrenceville

Mi Empanada has been on the Pittsburgh food scene for a few years now slinging their Argentinian empanadas at local events and brewery pop-ups. Now they have their own storefront in Lawrenceville where you can order takeout empanadas, sandwiches, and sides.

We were well-acquainted with Mi Empanada having tried them at several of their pop-ups around town over the past few years. At events they always had long lines and it's no secret why – their empanadas have a rich, tender dough and the fillings are a mix of traditional and creative options, including a lot of vegetarian options as well.

Needless to say, we were ecstatic to learn they were opening up a storefront in Lawrenceville. The spot is takeout only, but they offer ready-to-eat empanadas or a “take and bake” option which we haven't tried but also sounds delicious. Sandwich options include a steak or chicken milanesa, and they also offer sides like salads, rice, and polenta.

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Lola’s Eatery Review – Affordable Brunch at Engine House 25

We'll never say no to more options for brunch in Pittsburgh, and in late 2019 Lola's Eatery opened in the stunning Engine House 25 in Lawrenceville (home to the winery of the same name as well as the Clemente Museum) to help satisfy that need.

Naturally, I had to check this one out as soon as possible and was joined with a friend for a rather affordable, and delicious, dining experience.     

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Salty Pork Bits Review – Charcuterie by Justin Severino

Note: Salty Pork Bits closed its brick and mortar store in Lawrenceville in June 2022. This review is from enjoying the charcuterie online via their subscription service. A la carte purchases are also available.

When Justin Severino's acclaimed restaurant, Cure, closed in 2019, we were pretty heartbroken. So heartbroken, in fact, that we would tag the chef in sad updates every time we walked past the now-closed Lawrenceville storefront. (I'm not sure he appreciated it, granted, we also never asked.)

We do this because, in all honesty, Cure was perhaps the best restaurant in Pittsburgh during its run and we were sad to see it go.

Thankfully, Justin Severino had a plan to offer his charcuterie to the world and opened up Salty Pork Bits- an online store where you get his charcuterie whenever you like. Naturally, Angie got a subscription for me as a birthday present, and it was like having Cure's stellar charcuterie board at home as much as I wanted.

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