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Bistro To Go 

There are not too many places you can find tuna-noodle casserole outside of your grandmother's kitchen. Enter Bistro To Go.

Located on the North Side, along East Ohio Street's commercial corridor, Bistro has garnered warm support and accolades since it opened this past fall.

Owner Nikki Heckman, who is also a cook at a nearby church, set out to realize her dream of opening an eatery that offers home cooking. Heckman's gone much further by supplying the downtrodden street with a haven for comfort and joy.

Bistro's a hulking place, yet its interior is softened by warm colors, rich woods and a seating area replete with wicker chairs.

High tin ceilings, a large open kitchen, attractive hot and cold cases from Europe and a chic diner counter come together to make Bistro feel like a destination, not just a place to pick up an order and drive off.

While the standard menu of soups, salads and sandwiches is extensive (and inexpensive), Bistro's daily specials take center stage. A friend might swoon over the Salisbury steak on Monday; another will praise the wild mushroom pasta on Thursday. Prices for the specials range from $6.50-10, with sides and rolls included.

"Heart healthy" and vegetarian dishes are also available.

Priory Fine Pastries, located down the street, supplies the baked goods that Bistro offers, including Ho Ho cake, bread pudding and cheesecake. The comforting-sounding apple-dumpling cake has also been spotted.

The hot and cold sandwiches are ample and broad-shouldered. Kosher corned beef, Swiss cheese pickles, red onion and plum tomatoes make up the "Classic Carver." Bacon, sliced marinated BBQ-grilled free-range chicken and aged cheddar topped with pico de gallo define "The Courtyard Chicken."

Meals are crafted from local produce and take-out containers are earth-friendly. If you come by car, you'll find parking to be a little less friendly directly in front of Bistro on East Ohio (you'll have that with most take-out eateries), but there are usually spots on adjacent Cedar Avenue. One could make this diversion into a full evening by grabbing a meal at Bistro and walking down Cedar to the nearby Elks Club for Pittsburgh Banjo Club rehearsals, every Wednesday night from 8-11 p.m.

Nothing could be finer than Bistro, banjos and tuna-noodle casserole.

 

415 East Ohio St., North Side. 412-231-0218. www.Bistro-ToGo.com. Open daily

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