Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on April 17, 2023.
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When we travel, we often try new snacks and beverages that we rarely see again. From weird flavored potato chips to an unusual sparkling beverage or candy, these random food items tend to make a lasting memory we wish we could enjoy once more at home.
At Vendor Bender in Squirrel Hill, you get just that.
This dedicated vending machine store does not just have a load of snacks and drinks for customers to enjoy, but the vast majority come from countries all over the world!
So if you're looking for a highly sought-after treat or beverage you've enjoyed while traveling, Vendor Bender is for you.
International Snacks at Vendor Bender
Before going inside Vendor Bender, you may not have a very good idea what this one is all about. The signage is sparse and when looking in from the outside all you see are a dozen or so vending machines waiting to be used.
It isn't until you head inside to get a closer look that Vendor Bender's secrets reveal themselves- particularly through a wealth of international treats!
One wall is dedicated almost entirely to snack food- international chocolates, candies, and savory treats like chips to name a few. On our visit, we saw the likes of flavored Lays from numerous countries (Spicy Lobster from Thailand, anyone?), an array of chocolates from Europe and beyond, and even some Pittsburgh gems like Clark Cups to name a few.
The second wall is all about drinks, be it flavored sodas, infused waters, and caffeinated beverages like coffee and energy drinks.
Pocari Sweat from Japan? They had it. A delicious mango and pineapple soda from Turkey? Naturally. A randomly placed Bob Ross Energy Drink from the USA? Random, but fits right in. Inca Kola from Peru? Yep, that too.
The third wall is perhaps the most interesting as it is home to the Wheel of Charcuterie, a rotating machine (much like the kind you'd find sandwiches in) featuring an assortment of artisan charcuterie and cheeses from around the world, as well as a vending machine dedicated to frozen treats like ice cream and popsicles!
For anyone who travels as much as we do (or those who are simply curious), part of the joy of Vendor Bender was walking around the small storefront, looking at every single item in great detail, and being reminded of tasty treats we have enjoyed on the road. But when it came time to decide, we had our work cut out for us simply because we wanted a little bit of everything.
We ultimately went with a bix of familiar, uniquely flavored Lays potato chips, and some new-to-us flavors in the chocolate and soda departments, respectively- none of which lasted terribly long after returning home.
Visiting Information for Vendor Bender
Before visiting Vendor Bender, we should note a few things guests should be aware of as these were common questions when we shared photos from this one on social media.
First, seemingly every machine at Vendor Bender took credit card. While you can pay cash here if you want, there is no worry about showing up with loose bills or correct change. Although I did have an error pop up on one (likely user error), ultimately, all of the transactions processed via my credit card easily.
Second, snacks at Vendor Bender change weekly as the owners find new, unique treats from around the world. So those Chile Limon Lays or the Bob Ross energy drink that you see in this post may not be in stock by the time you visit. But this is part of the fun as every visit should, in theory, offer something new!
Finally, note that Vendor Bender is a completely self-service store. During our visit, no employees were to be found. As such, this is the kind of place you visit when on a trip to Squirrel Hill, grab a couple of snacks at your leisure, and head out to enjoy. While the decor and design of this one is sparse, it serves its purpose of selling hundreds of amazing snacks in a grab-and-go situation.
When it comes down to it, Vendor Bender is a novelty store in Squirrel Hill that also satisfies a rather particular demand. If you are craving some new snack food, or simply want to find an old favorite from traveling, this one should be on your must-visit list next time you are in the neighborhood.
Let the snacking commence!
Vendor Bender is located at 2301 Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill.
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