Voluto Coffee | Restaurant Reviews | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

In Italian, voluto means "desired." On Penn Avenue, it means coffee.

Barb Russell and Amelie Bilodeau opened Voluto Coffee a few weeks ago in an airy, elegant space full of windows and glass.

The Carnegie residents have long loved coffee and coffee-shop culture, and Bilodeau's work with cancer patients added urgency to realizing their dream of opening a shop.

"Life is short, you don't want to have regrets," Russell says.

The pair scouted locations all over the region, including Downtown, and as far as Washington. They settled on the burgeoning Penn Avenue corridor, Russell says, because it seemed friendly and bustling. Their shop is the first retail spot to go in the new mixed-use development opposite the Pittsburgh Glass Center.

Right now, the store is relying mainly on word of mouth and foot traffic. It's also staying open late during the monthly Unblurred gallery crawl to capitalize on the crowds, and inviting performers in to play. Heather Kropf played in January, and Joy Ike will be appearing in the future.

Inside there's plenty of cozy seating -- couches, booths and a bar -- for wireless Internetting or chatting over a cuppa.

The menu is short and devoid of froofery -- it's simply classic espresso-based drinks and a selection of pastries from SweetHouse Bake Shop in Mars, plus homemade chocolate-chip cookies. The coffee is roasted by 49th Parallel, a Canadian fair-trade roaster. There's also an intriguing selection of loose teas.

A perfectly pulled latte took the chill off a brutal morning nicely, and its flavor was truly that of coffee -- the milky sweetness was secondary. This isn't the place to get ground-up candy bars with the whiff of coffee and a mound of whipped cream on top.

In these days of over-dressed coffees and super-sized portions, Russell says she and Bilodeau place an emphasis on the traditional interpretations of coffee drinks. Here, for instance, a cappuccino is just six ounces, and the Americano -- espresso with hot water -- is a popular standard.


5467 Penn Ave., Garfield
412-661-3000 or www.volutocoffee.com

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