Pittsburgh Adventures – Day 1 – Strip District

September 12, 2018 (Last Updated: July 30, 2020)
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a mural painted on the exterior of a large building

Over the recent Labor Day weekend I visited one of my best friends and her family in Pittsburgh. I had been to Pittsburgh only once previously quite a few years ago, and I was excited to spend some quality time with my loved ones, and check out a bit more of the city together.

a parking lot in a city

Our day 1 agenda included lunch and a stroll around the Strip District, a popular Pittsburgh neighborhood boasting restaurants and bars, international grocery stores, and eclectic shopping. First stop is lunch at Smallman Galley.

entrance to Smallman Galley

Smallman Galley is a shared space with 4 rotating eateries and a couple bars. At the time of my visit our food options included Home (a modern take on comfort classics), Banhmilicious (modern Vietnamese), Joey’s Snack Bar, and Iron Born (hand-forged Detroit-style pizza in the Iron City).

interior of Smallman Galley

restaurant counter for Home

blackboard restaurant menus

a food stall with a blackboard menu

a person cooking inside a food stall

We selected several dishes to share from 3 of the 4 eateries. Each spot gave us a numbered stand to place on our table so our order could be delivered to our table when it was ready.

various numbered signs on a table

The first dish to arrive was one of the brunch specials at Home, Home Fries which consisted of Yukon gold potatoes, charred peppers and onions, and Home sauce. These were piping hot, crispy on the outside, fluffy (AND HOT) on the inside, and accented with onions and peppers, microgreens, with little blobs of Home’s special sauce. Delicious!

fried cubed potatoes on a white plate

Next up was one of my friend A.J.’s favorites from previous visits to Smallman Galley, the Spicy Pie from Iron Born. This thick, crispy crusted pizza is topped with hot sopressata, pepperoni, house banana peppers, and Mike’s hot honey.

Detroit style pizza

Holy deliciousness, Batman! This is a great pizza! It has a healthy amount of spice, is nicely sauced, and has a fantastic texture.

A close up of a slice of pizza on a plate

Our final pick, and the overall favorite, was one of the specials at Banhmilicious. The Pulled Pork and Kimchi Taco features corn tortillas topped with pulled pork, kimchi, mixed lettuce, sriracha, mayo, cilantro, and cucumber. It was also quite spicy, but so delectable and had a wonderful balance of textures and flavors. Big winner here!

3 kimchi pork tacos on a plate

After a satisfying lunch we headed out for a stroll through the Strip District, checking out several shops along the way. One thing I noticed immediately is the pride for all of Pittsburgh’s sports teams. The fact that they all share the same team colors result in a serious explosion of black and gold everywhere you turn.

A group of people walking down a busy city street

Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange was one of the highlights during our neighborhood exploration. You can purchase prepared coffee and tea, or peruse through the extraordinary array of coffee beans and tea leaves for sale. There were so many uniquely flavored coffee beans, I couldn’t help inhaling all of the fragrant aromas. This is a coffee-lover’s dream.

interior of a coffee and tea shop

people in a coffee shop

closeup of barrels of coffee beans

coffee beans for sale
The good stuff!

a display inside a coffee shop

containers of tea for sale
Selection of teas

My absolute favorite stop, however, was Wholey’s Market. I desperately wish I had one of these markets where I live. I was so impressed by the extensive selection of fresh fish and meats, including hard to find ingredients like alligator meat and ground goat. To me Wholey’s felt like the Disneyland of grocery stores.

exterior of a supermarket

a display of seafood in a supermarket

A man cleaning fish in a supermarket

A group of people standing in supermarket

A store filled with lots of food

packages of ground goat and venison for sale

A display of meats for sale in a store

A group of fake animals on display in a store

A statue of a pig

Our final stop before heading home was another highlight. Peace, Love and Little Donuts is located directly next to Smallman Galley. Holy moly, these donuts are not only delicious but come in so many fun and funky flavors. A complete listing is available on their website. They use the same basic tiny cake donuts and decorate them to order. We got a dozen to share.

exterior of a donut shop

A colorful painted wall

a display of tiny donuts

small donuts for sale in a shop

a variety of small donuts for sale

a display of different kinds of donuts

a variety of small donuts for sale in a shop

a tray of small donuts

a donut shop with a colorful blackboard menu

A close up of a box of donuts

From left to right, top to bottom, these are our selections: Lemon Glaze, Ginger Sugar, Samoa, Maple Bacon (x2), Coconut, Raspberry Lemonade (x2), Coffee Cake, Mint Chocolate, and Strawberry French Toast (x2). Our overall favorites were the Strawberry French Toast and Raspberry Lemonade! Mmmmmmmm…

A box filled with different kinds of donuts

What a great way to start the long weekend filled with wonderful treats! I’ll be sharing more from my trip to Pittsburgh in upcoming posts. Stay tuned.

Smallman Galley
54 21st St
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 517-6100

Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange
2005 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

(412) 471-5557

Wholey’s Market
1711 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

(412) 391-3737

Peace, Love and Little Donuts
2018 Smallman St
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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