On the corner of “I Probably Shouldn’t” and “Thanks, I’ll Pass” lies the Mecca of morsels, the sultry siren of savories and sweets, a veritable vice-a-palooza. Here, you’ll come just to grab a bag of chips, but instead leave with 30 scratch-offs, a glass pipe, and a pocket full of gas-station aphrodisiacs. Let me take you on the rollercoaster ride of retail that is Smithfield News.
Upon entering, you’ll notice something immediately. You’ll notice everything! Smithfield News has that in spades! Make a left toward the counter for your smokes, “smells good” oils, and Wicked Hard pills (2000 mg), which boast increasing “time of intercourse” and “size and rock hard” and “stamina and sex drive.” Two-thousand milligrams is way more “rock hard” than any doctor would prescribe. The good news is you only have to take “1 capsule every 7 days.”
If you head to your right, you’ll choose between not one but two Pennsylvania Games of Skill machines, two different PA Lottery scratch-off dispensers, and that push-the-quarter-off-the-ledge game that only geniuses or suckers play — like any type of irresponsible gambling, there has to be a system.
Smithfield News is the closest thing I’ve seen in Pittsburgh to an NYC bodega. It has that not pleasant, but not unpleasant, and completely unidentifiable aroma —somewhere between a fresh bag of Blue Buffalo dog food and a pillowcase full of Halloween candy. There’s a staffed deli that serves breakfast all day, premade chicken wings covered in honey mustard, frozen cheeseburgers, and that machine that takes a cup of ice cream and turns it into a milkshake. There are two slushie machines that haven’t been turned on, featuring remnants of stagnant sugar water.
Long story short, the store is perfect. It has zero focus with what it’s trying to sell, which means you can get lost looking through aisles for hours. They stock all of your candy essentials: Reese’s, Snickers, etc. — and they back that up with a strong Pepperidge Farm selection and microwave pizza games. You want two individually packaged dill pickles? Smithfield’s got you. Need a lighter shaped like a hand giving the middle finger? Taken care of. In the market for 90 grams of Maeng Da Kratom Powder? You’re all set.
Smithfield News is what you’d find at the mangled wreckage of a high-speed collision between an unbranded turnpike gas station and a toy store on the boardwalk at Ocean City, Md. And there’s no place I’d rather do my shopping.
Smithfield News, 115 Smithfield St., Downtown