Square Café: Life, love, liberty, and the pursuit of pancakes | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Square Café: Life, love, liberty, and the pursuit of pancakes

click to enlarge Square Café: Life, love, liberty, and the pursuit of pancakes
CP photo: Jared Murphy
Nutella Crepes at Square Café

Square Café opened in 2003, and from the outset, owner Sherree Goldstein wanted it to be "about more than just flippin' eggs." Good food was a good start, but she also prioritized genuine connection with her new neighbors. Goldstein's space is open for events, serves as a gallery for city artists, and has partnerships with charitable nonprofits. Over 10 local vendors, farmers, and producers are showcased on the cafe’s seasonally changing menu. It’s all a part of Goldstein’s mission to serve both “meals and love."

When I stopped by the cafe on an early August morning, the front door was perpetually swinging with guests filing in and out to get their morning caffeine. Neighbors stopped to chat while tables filled up with regulars. 

Square Café: Life, love, liberty, and the pursuit of pancakes
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Square Café’s menu caters to all tastes, packed with a number of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. None of the dishes go too far out-of-the-box, but offer just enough excitement to keep things interesting. Breakfast brings a mix of savory and sweet, offering classics like a breakfast burrito and veggie omelet and a touch of creativity from restaurant specialties. For lunch, the cafe offers crepes, burgers, sandwiches, and wraps, along with a few salads.

Like any good breakfast spot, Square Café has a long list of coffee drinks. Typical combinations — espresso, lattes, mochas, which the cafe calls “tried and true” — made the list, but that was just the beginning.  

For non-caffeine drinkers, the cafe has milkshakes, blended smoothies, and steeped matcha with honey and lavender. There is an entire section of topped espresso (the most delicious-sounding is a double shot topped with whipped cream), and a list of specialty lattes with names like last unicorn, nuts ‘bout you, and flaming s’mores. I chose the salty chai, a bourbon-tasting drink with sea salt, caramel, vanilla chai, and espresso. 

The words “life, love, liberty, and the pursuit of pancakes” cover the cafe's food menu. After one bite of their lemon berry ricotta pancake, I understood why. The lemon berry ricotta cake was thin yet still fluffy, dotted with blueberries and dusted with powdered sugar. Lemon, reinforced by the citrusy butter, wasn’t lost in the batter and added a memorable zing to the sweet cake. It was delicious. 

My well-done crab and red pepper frittata fell flat compared to the Brussels and grits bowl, one of the cafe’s featured items — a mound of Brussels sprouts over cheesy grits with bacon, onions, and mushrooms, crowned by an over-easy egg. The smart, balanced combination of its two title ingredients and add-ons make this a truly unique breakfast dish. 

Square Café knows how to do breakfast right. The bright cafe isn’t as simple as a diner but also isn’t too precious or extravagant; it’s the perfect in-between. Square Café has mastered the morning middle ground.

Location Details

Square Cafe

1137 S. Braddock Ave., Pittsburgh Regent Square


2 articles

Favorite Features

1. Nancy B’s

It turns out Nancy B’s famous chocolate chip cookies can be found outside of Homestead. Look for them at the cafe’s bar.

2. Eggs

According to the Square Café website, they go through 6480 eggs every week. That’s a lot of eggs.

3. Sherree Goldstein Day

Last year, the city declared May 16, the cafe’s anniversary, “Sherree Goldstein Day.”