Our brand ambassador, Jensen, grew up as Punxsutawney Phil’s neighbor but has completely fallen in love with Pittsburgh during her first two years as a business student at the University of Pittsburgh. Her food-inspired Instagram handle - @jensenlovesfood – along with her knowledge of our great city made her the perfect guest blogger to bring you a way to stay active and well-fed during these beautiful summer days in the ‘Burgh. Enjoy her recommendations!
Best Places to Run and Brunch in the 'Burgh
To quote my fellow Brand Ambassador Kirsten Beck, you can’t spell run without brunch. Kirsten and I recently trained and completed the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon this past spring. Our weekend plans would usually include a long run somewhere between 10 and 21 miles. We thought to ourselves, “What better motivation to run than to run to food afterwards?!” This was the start of something beautiful that we like to call Run and Brunch.
Whether you run or not, brunch is a meal that screams weekend fun with friends and family. Brunch is the perfect combination of your favorite breakfast and lunch cuisines. It is both savory and sweet! Pair it with a nice cup of coffee or a cool, refreshing mimosa, and you are all set for a fantastic weekend morning. Here are a few of my personal favorite brunch spots around the city of Pittsburgh.
I have this motto that I will not repeat the same restaurant in Pittsburgh, due solely to the fact that this city offers so many incredible food joints. Caffé Mona in Lawrenceville made me break this promise to myself: it is that good. First, let’s just mention the hip and colorful atmosphere. Not only do the exposed brick walls and assortment of art pieces inside give it a unique vibe, but the back porch covered in rainbow umbrellas adds to the coolness factor (100% Snapchat story and Instagram worthy). I have gone with savory dishes both times I have been here: the Caprese sandwich on an everything bagel and the pesto crepe. Make sure to get the iced caramel latte in their fun mason jars; you won’t regret it.
Coming from the Oakland area, prepare yourself to run up a never-ending, awfully steep hill to end up at Square Café in Regent Square, but I guarantee you it will be worth it. When Kirsten and I ate here, we were fortunate enough to sit outside in gorgeous 75-degree weather. I also should mention that this was in February. Pittsburgh weather being unpredictable once again… I’ll begin with THE LATTES. They have a never ending list of coffee beverages to choose from. I could have ordered at least six. I went with the butterscotch latte and would 10/10 recommend. The best part is the square mugs that they come in (hence Square Café). Kirsten and I decided to split a chocolate protein pancake along with both of our meals. It was literally heaven. Do yourself a favor and order one… or four.
Located in the historic Strip District area of Pittsburgh, Deluca’s has endless breakfast combinations to choose from. The portion sizes here are massive! You may end up with leftovers but that is definitely not a bad thing. They have huge omelets and pancake ice cream sundaes! There is surely something to satisfy everyone here. I have only ever had a plain pancake from here, and that is all that I will ever need. This was the best pancake I have ever eaten in my twenty years of life. They now have another location in Robinson Township as well.
Although The Yard is best known for their assortment of outlandish grilled cheese sandwiches, the brunch they offer is most definitely top notch and deserves credit. I highly recommend the Caprese Quiche or the Snozzberry Pancakes from The Yard located in Shadyside and downtown in Market Square. Don’t let the name Snozzberry scare you away. These three fluffy beignet pancakes are layered with a strawberry/blueberry compote and ricotta whipped cream. Go with a friend and share these two dishes for one of the best brunches that you will ever have. I should also mention that the home fries that came with the quiche were the best I’ve ever eaten. Ever.
I was told to try the grilled sticky bun from Kelly O’s in the Strip District. Now I have dreams of the grilled sticky bun. Sticky buns are already a fantastic food, but grill them and serve them warm; game changer. I ordered the French toast as well, and just like everything they offer on their menu, it did not disappoint. This place was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so you know it has to be good.
When I think of Coca Café in Lawrenceville, the first words that come to mind are “I need to go back.” What I like about this cute brunch spot is that they offer a lot of healthy options! After Kirsten and I ran about 18 miles one Friday morning, we spontaneously chose to eat at Coca Café. We started out with the banana bread Bundt cake and quinoa bowl, followed by sharing a four cheese omelet with home fries and fresh fruit. The cream under the Bundt cake was out of this world and was by far the highlight of this meal.
Double Wide Grill
Eating outside at the Double Wide Grill in South Side is the perfect way to kick off your weekend on a sunny Saturday morning. Starting out with the skillet cornbread is the way to go. Isn’t cornbread always the way to go? I ordered the Stuffed Challah French toast covered in strawberries and jam-packed with a thick cream cheese filling. Needless to say I was very satisfied with my decision. The rosemary and sea salt home fries were the perfect side to this tasty dish.
Nola on the Square
If you are looking for New Orleans style brunch, look no further than NOLA on the Square downtown in Market Square. First off, the coffee comes in the most adorable glasses. The only true way to kick off this meal is with the beignets. It’s a New Orleans brunch so you must! The coffee dipping sauce that they come with is just plain awesome. I tried the Cajun ham and eggs, sweet potato hash, and brioche toast. The sweet potato hash was by far the star of this meal. Try and eat outside if you can, especially during these warm summer months! Market Square is such a busy and fun place at this time of year.
If you want a cute, Insta-worthy place to get waffles, crepes, or French toast, look no further than Geppetto Café in Lawrenceville. The red and white polka dot tables cloths and the books strung from the ceiling make this one of the most quaint and charming brunches you’ll have. I had the “cheap date” liege waffle covered in brown sugar, butter, and whipped cream along with a caramel latte.
The Harris Grill in Shadyside sometimes offers a fixed brunch menu or a brunch buffet. I have experienced both and would highly recommend either option! During my first visit, the French toast that I ordered came with the most incredible cinnamon butter. The peppers and onions in the home fries were the perfect touch on the side. As far as the brunch buffet goes, it does not disappoint. With eggs benedict, lox bagels, chicken and waffles, a make-your-own omelet bar, and much more, your taste buds will be very satisfied.
You are now officially a Pittsburgh brunch expert. Whether you decide to run there or not, all of these options will surely satisfy your sweet and savory weekend morning cravings!