Pittsburgh, the city of bridges, with its 446 bridges, has more than any other city in the world – even Venice. But did you know that Pittsburgh is also known for its coffee and cafes? In fact, according to a 2016 nextPittsburgh report, Pittsburgh ranks fifth as one of the “Top 10 Most Caffeinated Cities in the US” with 250 cafes – an equivalent of six cafes per 100,000 people or 2,586 cafes per square mile.* The survey came from the largest 100 cities in the US to identify those top ten cafes.
So in this neighborhood series I will be covering cafes in Pittsburgh. In particular, I will focus on cafes in Shadyside.
Shadyside is a neighborhood in the East End of Pittsburgh (north of CMU, north of Fifth Ave/Mudge House). It’s a historic neighborhood with its upscale stores and boutiques. It is one of the hottest neighborhoods for millenials in Pittsburgh. Shadyside is a popular hangout spot for many CMUers too, ranging from all-American gastropub The Yard (located on Walnut Street) to Thai noodle joint Noodlehead and the popular Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream (both located on S. Highland Ave) and much much more. And among these must-go places are the real hidden gems of Shadyside – the cafes.
I’m going to introduce some of Shadyside’s many cafes, some of my favorites:
Coffee Tree Roasters (5524 Walnut St)
A family-owned chain coffee shop with six other locations in Pittsburgh. Full with different types of coffee and teas along with sweets to go on with them, the Shadyside location also has a fireplace and nice soft seating available. On a nice day, the front windows will open for a nice breeze. On a typical day you can see businesspeople refueling for daily dose of caffeine. It is also a good place for people to catch up on life and students to study. The cafe definitely captures the rustic, hip feel of the rest of the Walnut Street and Shadyside neighborhood.
Jitters Cafe (5541 Walnut St)
Located not far from Coffee Tree Roasters, it is easy to overlook this small cafe selling coffees, teas, flavored sodas, pastries, and ice cream. But, as the proverb says not to judge something by its cover, once one enters the cafe the atmosphere is bright and welcoming. It offers a wide variety of drinks but its cold drinks and ice cream are really what makes the cafe special.
Adda Coffee & Tea House (200 S Highland Ave)
A chic and modern cafe at the edge of Shadyside and East Liberty is Adda Coffee & Tea House. Stocked with internationally-sourced teas, perfect with friends or with a book to enjoy a nice cup of matcha or masala chai. Simply grab your drink and find a spot either outside or by the bay window overlooking a view of East Liberty. Make yourself at home, what the owners want visitors to feel. On a scale from one to ten, ten being a must-go, I give it 10/10 will definitely return.
Inspired by this past summer, I have begun exploring the city through cafes and cafe-hopping. Cafe-hopping has allowed me to explore the city on a more intimate level, enjoying the ‘small victories’ in life, one cup at a time. I hope my recommendations too would do the same for you and allow you too to discover the small things – the things that really make you happy in life.
Note: The recommendations and cafe reviews are solely the opinions of the author, not any endorsement by the Tepper School of Business of the cafes.
*Survey result taken from NextPittsburgh’s September 2016 article “Pittsburgh one of the ’10 Most Caffeinated US Cities,’ according to Redfin” at this link: https://www.redfin.com/blog/the-10-most-caffeinated-u-s-cities