Best of the 'Burgh 2018: Food and Drink
From a goat rodeo farm and dairy to a Spanish revival to a secret lunch –– discover what our editors chose for the Best of the 'Burgh in food and drink.
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photo courtesy aurochs brewing co.
Best Way to Get a Gluten-Free Buzz
Aurochs Brewing Co.
They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all, but that adage didn’t prove true for Ryan Bove. When he learned his body couldn’t tolerate gluten, he also learned that his body wasn’t able to drink the craft beer he loved. His childhood friend Doug Foster had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease when he was 5, so the two of them decided to try brewing homemade, gluten-free craft beer. Fast forward 10 years, and the pair are now the owners of Aurochs Brewing Co. in Emsworth. The gluten-free brewery opened in 2016 and offers limited hours where patrons can enjoy samples and purchase growlers and beer to go. The brewery is also open on Saturdays for tours and tastings, and Aurochs beers are available in more than 100 locations in western Pennsylvania. (8321 Ohio River Blvd., Emsworth; 724/260-8737, aurochsbrewing.com) —JM
photo courtesy Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy’s Hootenanny
Best Local Cheese
Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy’s Hootenanny
Lauded by the American Cheese Society, the award-winning Hootenanny, a goat’s milk Gouda from Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy in Allison Park, offers the smooth, creamy texture and nuttiness you’d expect from the category. It’s one of Goat Rodeo’s seven varieties, made from both goat and cow’s milk; you can find Hootenanny, with its vibrant yellow cream wax rind, in local grocery stores and on restaurant cheese plates around the city. (goatrodeocheese.com) —ET
photo courtesy bloom cafe
Best Way to Dine Among the Flowers
From the pergola covered in flowers to the barnwood sign displaying its name, you know you’re someplace special before you enter the door at Bloom Cafe. Located in the former Hawkins Farm Market adjacent to the Quality Gardens greenhouse and nursery in Valencia, the charming daytime eatery serves up an assortment of fresh, handmade sandwiches (the Fig Panini with prosciutto, fig butter, apple and goat cheese is a must), seasonal coffees and ice creams made from locally sourced ingredients. The cafe’s patio backs up to the nursery’s grounds, allowing diners to sit among the flowers as they enjoy a lavender vanilla latte or flavored housemade lemonade. For an extra treat, head over to the greenhouse to peruse the aisles of plants, as well as Quality Gardens’ expansive selection of artwork, outdoor decor and other gifts. (409 Route 228, Valencia; 724/625-1211, bloomcafeqgi.com) —JS
photo courtesy soup du jour
Best Winter Warmer
Soup Du Jour
We’re months away from winter weather, but there will soon come a time when you’ll need something to warm your bones. On that first cold day, stop by Soup Du Jour in Hampton Township, a small shop tucked off of Wildwood Road. You’ll find bargain-price bowls of soup and sandwiches waiting for you — if the stuffed pepper soup is available, don’t miss it — as well as to-go containers of soup, Italian entrees and more. (2228 West Hardies Road, Hampton Township; 412/486-2313) —SC
photo by chuck beard
Best Secret Lunch
Pear and the Pickle
If you’re in need of a lunch getaway that’s still within sight of Downtown, scale Rialto Street. Atop the steep hill, you’ll find Pear and the Pickle, a welcoming cafe awash in charming touches. Order a sandwich or a salad — the meatloaf sandwich is filling and flavorful, and a steal at $8.50 — or a breakfast sandwich and Stumptown coffee, select a book from the collection in the back room, head out to the rooftop deck and forget about work for an hour. Or two. Whatever you can get away with. (1800 Rialto St., Troy Hill; 412/322-0333, pearandpickle.com) —SC
photo by chuck beard
Best Place to Book a Table
The Hartwood Restaurant
The Hartwood Restaurant near Hartwood Acres park is constantly writing new chapters in its history. The building, which was once the headquarters of the Harmar Coal Co., was transformed into a bookstore and retail space in 1988. Soon tables were added so you could dine amongst the tomes, and over the years, the restaurant flourished and a garden-like outdoor dining area was added, along with Whispers Pub. Today it’s strictly a restaurant with an eclectic locally sourced menu designed by Chef Jonathan Holzer, although the books still line the shelves “as a nod to our history,” says John Muth, general manager. If you see a book you want to buy, The Hartwood still will sell it to you — with all proceeds being donated to the Epilepsy Foundation of Western/Central Pennsylvania. (3400 Harts Run Road, Glenshaw; 412/767-3500, hartwoodrestaurant.com) —BH
Celebrate with many of the winners at the annual Best of the 'Burgh Party on July 19 at Stage AE. Learn more here.