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Bloomfield, Friendship and Garfield 

Artisan Tattoo during Unblurred

Photo by John Colombo

Artisan Tattoo during Unblurred

One Day in Town

The East End neighborhoods of Bloomfield, Garfield and Friendship form the bridge between long-upscale Shadyside and Lawrenceville, currently revitalizing apace. The residential areas are made up of solid housing stock, ranging from tiny four-up-four-down rowhouses in lower Bloomfield to the rehabbed ornate brick mini-mansions in leafy Friendship. Its proximity to the universities and even Downtown make it popular with students and young professionals alike.

The area is served by two main thoroughfares. Liberty Avenue cuts through the center of Bloomfield and it’s here you’ll find some holdovers from its Italian-immigrant past. Stock up on fresh-made pasta, sausages and breads at two shops: Groceria Italiana (237 Cedarville St., 412-681-1227) and Donatelli’s Italian Food Center (4711 Liberty Ave., 412-682-1406). 

The younger set is staking out its own turf: Try Station (4744 Liberty Ave., 412-251-0540) for up-to-the-minute cocktails and revamped comfort food. Need a faster meal? They’ve got updates on lunch-box favorites at Peanut Butter and Jelly Time (4709 Liberty Ave., 412-622-0225). Pop on in The Big Idea Cooperative Bookstore (4812 Liberty Ave., 412-687-4323) for the latest reads related to politics and activism. 

The recently revamped Penn Avenue corridor is home to monthly gallery crawl Unblurred (every first Friday), which makes sense given how many old storefronts have been reclaimed by artists, architects and designers. Pre-game at Spork (5430 Penn Ave., 412-441-1700), a new venue with an amusingly trendy name; indulge in small plates and charcuterie. Mull over what art you saw at Bantha Tea Bar (5002 Penn Ave., 412-404-8359), a tea shop with a lovingly created interior that draws inspiration from North Africa and Tatooine.

Food

Adolfo’s. Satisfy two tastes at this restaurant that offers both Italian and Venezuelan specialties. In warm weather, there is patio seating. 4770 Liberty Ave., 412-681-0505

Avenue B. Upscale new American cuisine served in a cozy bistro setting. Observe the chalkboard specials, and grab a window table. 5501 Centre Ave., 412-683-3663

Commonplace Voluto. The place to be seen in Garfield while getting a coffee — take a meeting, work on a laptop or just watch the world go by from a sidewalk seat. 5467 Penn Ave., 412-661-3000

People’s Indian Restaurant. Recently spruced up, this longtime neighborhood venue offers popular curries, rich dishes and more, in a casual setting. 5147 Penn Ave., 412-661-3160

Pho Minh. A modest storefront spot that offers Vietnamese cuisine — from spring rolls and pho to grilled meats and rice dishes. 4917 Penn Ave., 412-661-7443

Prairie. Hearty American comfort food re-imagined (meatloaf, chicken and biscuits) in an upscale-casual setting, plus an extensive menu of bourbons, for sippin’ and cocktails. 5491 Penn Ave., 412-404-8487

Spak Brothers. The go-to for freshly prepared hoagies and pizzas, with an emphasis on local purveyors and snack-food options for vegetarians and vegans, like seitan wings. 5107 Penn Ave., 412-362-7725

Tessaro’s. Pittsburgh’s most famous hearty burger, made fresh, cooked to order and served without trendy frills, in a charming corner-bar space. 4601 Liberty Ave., 412-682-6809

Thai Cuisine. Friendly staff and an extensive menu of Thai curry, noodle and rice dishes make this a good stop for lunch or dinner. Finish off with sticky rice and custard. 4627 Liberty Ave., 412-688-9661

Thai Gourmet. Get ready for spicy food and ample portions. The staff here serves up Thai favorites, quickly and with a smile. Try the moo palo, a pork and egg stew. 4505 Liberty Ave., 412-681-4373

Tram’s Kitchen. Get your fresh spring-roll order in, then choose between other Vietnamese favorites such as pho, stirfrys, and noodle and rice dishes. 4050 Penn Ave., 412-682-2688

click to enlarge Bloomfield Bridge Tavern - PHOTO BY SARAH WILSON
  • Photo by Sarah Wilson
  • Bloomfield Bridge Tavern