This is a guest post from Erin Southerland over at the blog Don’t Forget to Eat!
East Liberty may not be the first neighborhood you hear about when planning a visit to Pittsburgh. It doesn’t have the instant charm of the Strip District or the attractive Little Italy label of Bloomfield. It’s a neighborhood you have to take the time to get to know. And there’s good stuff going on here.
A coffee from Zeke’s is a great way to start your East Liberty visit. Zeke’s opened its doors in 2010 as a tiny coffee roaster that sold beans from the same room they roasted the coffee. Sometimes you’d go in and it would be smoky from the roasting as you picked out your bags of beans. These days, Zeke’s is in a new space across the street from the original location. They have a spacious cafe where they serve their own coffee and locally made pastries. Soon, they’ll be opening up a drive-thru in East Liberty as well. And the coffee is just as tasty as it has always been.
This new addition to the East Liberty food scene is already one of the stars of the neighborhood. Owner Tony Giamarita has created a Roman-style pizza experience at the corner of Highland Avenue and Baum Boulevard. Roman style pizzas are a different breed than Neapolitan pizzas. Roman pizzas have a thicker, chewier crust and come loaded with toppings. The Ricotta Pie with ricotta, mozzarella, blistered cherry tomatoes, and arugula is just one of the many mouthwatering options. If you call ahead the day before, they’ll even make gluten free pizzas.
This hole in the wall restaurant serves the best Jamaican food in Pittsburgh. Impressionz isn’t the easiest spot to find, but just follow your map and stop at the chalkboard menu with dishes like curry goat, beef patties, and jerk chicken listed. Once you arrive, you’ll be welcomed with open arms by owner Cecelia Price-Knight. She’s created a restaurant that’s all about family. Her husband cooks the dishes of his home country and she serves and tells stories about food and family. Tip: Don’t skip dessert. The homemade rum cake is something special.
Get the smoked chicken wings. Even if you don’t think you like wings, get a few of the smoked wings. They’re one of the best options at this barbecue joint that dresses them up with either their signature barbecue sauce or a habanero hot sauce. Other winning options are the brisket, ribs, and Meaty Mac (mac n cheese with smoked pork and beef brisket). You can dine in at the long tables in the casual restaurant or head upstairs to their modern bar, Harvard and Highland, where the whole menu is available alongside local beers and carefully crafted cocktails.
Erin Southerland is a travel writer and fitness coach based in Pittsburgh, PA. She writes about her adventures at Don’t Forget to Eat.