Written by: Alexander F.
Some people say that the suburbs can’t match the city as far as innovative and exciting restaurants go. I am not one of those people. That’s because I don’t say it, I scream it! My wife and I moved deep into the ‘burbs this past summer and our proximal dining options went from Tamari and Yo Rita to Outback Steakhouse and the South Hills Village Mall food court. I tried my best to avoid this new harsh reality initially by eschewing the local fare and making the long trek along with my wife into the city for dinner.
It only took a few near-misses while navigating the contemptible nightmare that is West Liberty Avenue to make me abandon that plan post-haste.
I’ve since accepted that our place in the culinary solar system is but a satellite moon* to the city’s elevated planetary distinction. Fortunately, the gentrified landscape filled with strip malls and Ryan homes does have a few singular gold nuggets that surpass even what our beloved Pittsburgh has to offer. Below are my highly recommended highlights from the South Hills suburbs of Pittsburgh. Feel free to visit one of them the next time you’re on the way home from Kohl’s.
* A proverbial moon that is, not Moon Township.
Best Soup – Sherry Crab Bisque at Atria’s Mount Lebanon*
The sweet, almost smoky hint of sherry in this creamy delight elevates it from appetizer afterthought to star performer. It’s common knowledge in the oceanic kingdom that the crabs that give their lives to be in this soup are considered heroes by all other crustaceans.
* There are other Atria’s locations, but the one in Lebo is the first and best**.
** That is unless you have to number 2. The upstairs bathroom is small and it’s a onesy. This means you can’t linger for more than two minutes without someone knocking or jiggling the doorknob. #nodumpingallowed
Best Pizza – Pepperoni’s in Bethel Park
Though her taste in men is dubious, my wife is an expert when it comes to pizza and her all-time favorite is Pepperoni’s. Along with their great pies, the staff is super-friendly and the casual BYOB atmosphere makes it the perfect place to spend a relaxing Friday night in your yoga pants.
Best Milkshake – Sarris Candies & Ice Cream Parlour in Canonsburg
First of all, the chocolaty treats from this Washington County institution are as rich and deliciously smooth as Beyoncé. Second of all, their milkshakes are not just tasty, they’re huge! I’m usually the first one to say “size doesn’t matter”, but when it comes to milkshakes, the bigger the better!
Best Place for a Date – Il Pizzaiolo in Mount Lebanon
The wine bar upstairs at Il Pizzaiolo is the best combination of cool and cozy anywhere around. The place is a little pricey, but the pain of paying $19 for a pizza isn’t really much worse than paying $12 for a burger at the BRGR’s and Burgatory’s of the world. I guarantee you’ll reach at least second base if you take someone special here for dinner.
Best Brunch – Sugar Café in Dormont
This Potomac Avenue gem* has had the perfect amount of innovative menu items, fancy coffee drinks and funky atmosphere to satisfy even the most jaded hipster. More importantly, everything is was f*ckin’ delicious.
* Unfortunately the Sugar Café closed earlier this month. Disirregardless*, I still think it’s warranted to give them a shout-out since they were awesome. Hopefully they’ll re-open soon!
** Hey, if people are allowed to use “irregardless”, then I see no reason why I can’t use “disirregardless”. #grammar #swag
Thanks for the contribution Alexander F.!
Catch Alexander on twitter: @alexanderfiv