Fabulous Pittsburgh Food Finds
Drink (in a Church), Nosh (on a Walk) & Shop (Where the Chefs Do)
By Paris Wolfe
My parents are from Western Pennsylvania so I should know Pittsburgh. I know all about yinz, gutchies and gumband. I eat no-bake cookies and gobs. And before I was introduced to “Barney” on TV, I thought everyone said “red up” when they meant “clean up.”
Still, it took until this year before I devoted 24 hours playing in the Steel City. I went armed with my GPS to untangle the web of freeways and one-way city streets. The elegant Renaissance Pittsburgh — in the historic Fulton Building — was my headquarters for the Friday-Saturday stay and offered its own Pittsburgh-centric room touches.
We indulged in sampling of the city’s myriad food experiences. It’s culinary wealth has me eager to return.
Here’s where we went and what we did.
- Church Brew Works, 3525 Liberty Ave. (412-688-8200, churchbrew.com). We left downtown Cleveland at 3 p.m. Friday and, with stops, arrived at the church on time — 5:30 p.m. — to meet my cousin and her husband. After all, doesn’t everyone from Northeast Ohio have family in Pittsburgh?
The Church Brew Works opened in 1996 in a repurposed 1902 Catholic church. The owners maintained as much of the original structure as possible, including the hand-painted ceiling and the pews shortened for seating. The confessionals store alcohol, and the vibrant blue altar is used as brewing space. The building is one of a few repurposed Catholic churches that retains original stained glass windows.
The food and beer — note, two IPA offerings — are as worthy of admiration as the building.
- ’Burgh Bits and Bites Food Tours (412-901-7150, burghfoodtour.com). Sylvia McCoy is genius with food tours that sample the cultural anthropology of Pittsburgh neighborhoods.