The Food Lovers' Guide to Pittsburgh
We’ve outlined some of the most scrumptious producers and purveyors in the region—from farms to specialty stores and everything in between.
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Self-respecting home cooks supplement their efforts with purchased baked goods. Whether you need an eye-popping dinner-party dessert, a basic bread for sopping up salad dressing or cookies for snacking, these Pittsburgh bakeries — and many others — have exactly what you need.
The find: Baguettes de Tradition
It’s 9:20 on a Saturday morning, and there’s a line. When the line starts to move, each customer sighs as they pass through the door, entering a cloud of yeast and butter aromas so strong that stomachs immediately rumble. This is La Gourmandine, a pocket of Paris in a tiny Lawrenceville storefront, combining a boulangerie (bakery) and pâtisserie (pastry shop) in one location. Owner Fabien Moreau, who studied at Paris’ famed Lenôtre culinary school, came with his wife Lisanne to Pittsburgh, where French bakeries did not exist. La Gourmandine, which opened in 2010, now produces dozens of traditional French baguettes daily: long, thin, deeply colored loaves with crisp crusts and chewy centers. Other shop favorites include flaky plain, chocolate and almond croissants; sandwiches and quiches; and decadent pastries like chocolate éclairs and cream puffs that fly off the tray.
4605 Butler St., Lawrenceville; lagourmandinebakery.com
More Crusty Bread
801 Parkway View Drive, Building 8, Robinson Township
Allegro Hearth Bakery
2034 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill
601 Mancini Way, McKees Rocks
mancinisbakery.com (open 24/7!)
Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery
The find: Salted-caramel macarons
The building exterior is unassuming, showing the high-water mark from the 2004 Millvale flood. But inside, raspberry-pink, lemon-yellow and pistachio-green macarons are cheery enough to brighten even the murkiest November day. A far cry from the coconut-crusted puffballs that most Americans call macaroons, French macarons sandwich heady fillings between wafers of delicate almond meringue. All the flavors at Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery are divine, but the salted caramel is particularly luscious, with buttery caramel oozing from between the crisp-chewy cookies. Chatellier’s signature Breton shortbread is another unique treat, a 7-inch round cake that’s a hybrid of flaky puff pastry and dense shortbread (it crumbles, it flakes and it tastes like butter).
213 North Ave., Millvale; jeanmarcchatellier.com
2022 Penn Ave., Strip District
531 Allegheny Ave., Oakmont
Food Glorious Food Bakery
The find: A must-visit bakeshop
During your first visit to Food Glorious Food’s bakery, you’ll want to allot an extra 20 minutes. The first five minutes are to get over the shock that all of the stunning cakes, tarts and pastries that adorn this tiny Highland Park storefront could be produced by two people running a bakery Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The remaining 15 minutes are to recover from indecisiveness. The bakery is an international smorgasbord of baked goods: French madeleines, Italian focaccia, Austrian strudels and (American) apple pie. Regular offerings range from dense and rich (Black Orchid, a decadent brownie topped with chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache and whipped cream) to airy and light (strawberry napoleon, crisp puff pastry layers with light custard and fresh strawberries). Every week, there are numerous specials—from a 15-layer crepe cake to local peach charlotte and seasonal pies. Once you’ve finally made your selections—many of which cost less than $4 each—you’ll understand that the only real cure for indecision is to return next week.
5906 Bryant St., Highland Park; foodgloriousfoodonline.com
More Sinful Sweets
Vanilla Pastry Studio
6014 Penn Circle South, East Liberty
5525 Walnut St., Shadyside; 438 Market St., downtown
Since 2007, Lauren Bracey has written Burghilicious, a blog about eating and cooking in Pittsburgh. You can find it at burghilicious.com. Thanks to Ben Pilcher, Sharon Siah, Andrea Shockling and Zarin Balaporia for their assistance with this article.