Some Things I Love to Eat Around Here

Discover some of Rick's favorite local bites.



There are so many good things to eat in these western Pennsylvania hills and valleys, along our highways and neighborhood streets, at places old and new, restaurants good, better and best that it’s hard for me to make a complete list. This is just a start. Some of these I’ve learned about through work, some through hunger, and some just because I’m always willing to try something new, and I love a tasty surprise.


KATERBEAN:

I love to start any day at Katerbean. Jackie Grice behind the counter rules. Energetic and opinionated, she speaks freely like any good blue-collar Bostoner surrounded by Steelers fans. The coffee is good, but it’s the scene, the camaraderie and the lox and cream-cheese bagels that keep me coming back.

There are quick-grab, saran-wrapped bagels in the case, but Jackie will put together one to order (on a toasted EVERYTHING bagel!) if you’re kind. She also bakes the top-notch carrot-cake cupcakes, the banana and berry breads and even the sometimes unexpected caramel-apple-cheesecake bars. Yum.
1108 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square, 412/244-8942


ISALY’S:

My buddy Brian Butko, author of Klondikes, Chipped Ham & Skyscraper Cones, first took me back in the 1990s to this amazing reminder of our once-lively, local dairy-store culture. It’s still the best example of what an Isaly’s store used to look like, but it’s also got a wacky life of its own with a veritable museum of West View Park on the walls and some of the greatest breakfast and lunch fare in these parts.

I am never disappointed when I order the Slammer, the best chipped-ham sandwich in the universe with cheese and fried onions on a freshly baked bun. Tell Tom and Gail Weisbecker that I sent you.
448 Perry Highway, West View, 412/931-9994


EMIL’S:

Years ago Sam Edelman used to write a food column for this magazine, and knowing my passion for Pittsburgh flavors, he took me on my first trip to Emil’s, telling me that this modest place had the city’s best fish sandwich. He said, “You know that’s saying a lot.” He was right. Great bar food here in a classic Pittsburgh bar.

I say get the stupendous fish sandwich (served with squat fish planks, not giant filets that extend beyond the beautiful bun), or maybe try the open-face steak sandwich, which really is just a sizable steak on a piece of bread.
414 Hawkins Ave., Rankin, 412/271-9911


DONER KABOB HOUSE:

Step into this little store-front restaurant, and you're in a small Turkish outpost in Oakland. On a street of ethnic entrepreneurs, Ferhat Erisen cuts thin slices of pressed meat (like on a gyro—it's lamb and beef molded together) and rolls them with freshly cut tomatoes, onions, lettuce, parsley and some spicy red sauce into freshly made flatbreads, creating some of the most flavorful and interesting durum doners this side of the Bosporus. You can get a platter if you don't want to deal with the foil-wrapped doner kabob, but you can get a couple to go and have a beautiful lunch or dinner or both.
424 Semple St., Oakland, 412/681-2021


FREDERICKTOWN BUTCHER SHOP:

If you drive up the incredibly interesting Mon Valley through towns with familiar and not-so-familiar names, just south and west of Brownsville, there's this charming little village with a cable-drawn ferry boat that will take you back and forth across the river. The ferry is a sleek red relic from an earlier day of river crossings before bridges, and it's worth a day trip. Plus, on the south end of town, there's the nondescript, long, metal building that's a grocery store called the Fredericktown Butcher Shop where I found what may be the best fried chicken in the tri-state area. Crunchy, juicy, deeper than golden brown, this chicken is a sublime treat to munch on in the car (have napkins!) or to make a memorable picnic beside the river. I want some now.
334 Front St. (Route 88), Fredericktown, 724/337-0439

Rick Sebak is a TV producer for WQED, and he’s editing a new show for PBS to be titled “Breakfast Special,” premiering nationwide on July 14 at 8 p.m.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in October

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in October

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

From glass and aluminum to ketchup and candy, Pittsburgh has made its mark, thanks in large part to the instantly recognizable brands that remain etched not merely on its buildings — but on its DNA. We look at 10 of those brands and explore how they helped to establish and define the Steel City.
Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Under a new CEO, Pittsburgh International Airport heads into its 25th year while attempting to woo flyers and flights and leave its empty, post-hub days behind.
Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Three men at NASA serve pivotal roles in maintaining the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been taking high-resolution photos of deep space for more than 25 years. And they're all from Pittsburgh.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

New Contract for PSO is a No Go

New Contract for PSO is a No Go

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians vote to go on strike.
Strip District's Savoy Seeks to Refresh and Renew

Strip District's Savoy Seeks to Refresh and Renew

The restaurant debuts a new lounge and has plans for refocused menu and more.
Pittburgh’s Daya Dropping New Album, Headline Tour

Pittburgh’s Daya Dropping New Album, Headline Tour

The teen singing sensation from Mt. Lebanon’s tour concludes in Pittsburgh.
See it Now: Trailer for Filmed-in-Pittsburgh “Fences”

See it Now: Trailer for Filmed-in-Pittsburgh “Fences”

Directed and starring Denzel Washington, the first big screen treatment of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play arrives in theaters on Christmas Day.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in October

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in October

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

From glass and aluminum to ketchup and candy, Pittsburgh has made its mark, thanks in large part to the instantly recognizable brands that remain etched not merely on its buildings — but on its DNA. We look at 10 of those brands and explore how they helped to establish and define the Steel City.
Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Under a new CEO, Pittsburgh International Airport heads into its 25th year while attempting to woo flyers and flights and leave its empty, post-hub days behind.
Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Three men at NASA serve pivotal roles in maintaining the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been taking high-resolution photos of deep space for more than 25 years. And they're all from Pittsburgh.
Dish Review: Bar Marco's Turnaround

Dish Review: Bar Marco's Turnaround

The Strip District eatery overcomes tumult and once again is one of Pittsburgh’s finest restaurants.
Talk of The Tahn: Weird Things We Do that Make Pittsburgh Wonderful

Talk of The Tahn: Weird Things We Do that Make Pittsburgh Wonderful

The things that are best about us? They’re not things. They’re ways.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


New Contract for PSO is a No Go

New Contract for PSO is a No Go

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians vote to go on strike.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
e2 to Close in Highland Park

e2 to Close in Highland Park

Chef/owner Kate Romane will move on to a new project.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
6 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

6 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

Easy access from universities, wallet-friendly prices and really good food make these our favorite choices for the university set.

Comments


Halloween Hotlist: 10 Events That Prove Scaring is Caring

Halloween Hotlist: 10 Events That Prove Scaring is Caring

Pittsburgh is a wicked destination for spooky shenanigans. Here’s a sampling of what’s to come.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates’ Ship Sunk But Salvageable

Pirates’ Ship Sunk But Salvageable

Of all that conspired to derail the Pirates after three consecutive trips to the playoffs, the unanticipated implosions of Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano proved, in retrospect, to be more of a deal-breaker than anything else.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Green Chic: The Boxcar Planter Set

Green Chic: The Boxcar Planter Set

The geometric set is available through the hip Ace Hotel shop.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Surprise: Deepwater Horizon is Quite Good

Surprise: Deepwater Horizon is Quite Good

Reviews of "Deepwater Horizon" and "Queen of Katwe," along with local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
A Laid-Back Love: Kelly McHolme and Bob Stasa

A Laid-Back Love: Kelly McHolme and Bob Stasa

This Pittsburgh couple wanted their guests to be just as content as they were at their wedding.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Make Your Design Work for You: Mecox Opens In Pittsburgh

Make Your Design Work for You: Mecox Opens In Pittsburgh

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Mecox will be opening its eighth location, but its first in Pittsburgh, in Shadyside.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education

Thiel College to Break Ground on New Science Facility

The project will cost $4.5 million and will connect two previously existing structures.

Comments