By Amanda Cooney
The Strip is one of my favorite places to go in Pittsburgh. You can find just about anything there – from specialty food items, Pittsburgh souvenirs, unique home décor and textiles – you name it, you could probably find it in the Strip. Saturdays and Sundays are the time to go to the Strip – and you can tell since just about every square inch is filled with cars, people, and merchandise.
The Strip District is rich with history. According to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the boundaries of the Strip extend “from Eleventh Street to Thirty-Fourth Street, hemmed in on the south by the steep bluffs above the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks and on the north by the Allegheny River." Like any other riverside neighborhood in Pittsburgh, the strip was associated with the steel and metals industry. ALCOA and Westinghouse Machine Company were born in the strip.
About 100 years after its annexation to Pittsburgh, the Strip began to be the place where people would go to get food. Trains would stop to unload produce and other goods to sell to Pittsburghers right out of the refrigerated cars. It was around this time when Joe Primanti opened a cart to sell sandwiches and he and his brothers eventually became Pittsburgh legends.
I recently visited the Strip on a Saturday morning with my friend, Cathy. Despite being cold and snowy, the streets were as packed as expected. Our first stop was the Beerhive for lunch. The Beerhive not only offers 12 beers on tap and over a hundred craft and import bottles, they also have an extensive menu of salads, sandwiches, and burgers. If you are a fan of pickles, I would definitely recommend some deep fried and made with Pittsburgh Pickle Company pickles.
With our bellies full we continued on down Penn Ave for an afternoon of shopping. One store that you cannot walk out of without buying anything is the famous Pennsylvania Macaroni Company or Penn Mac. Penn Mac offers a wide selection of specialty meats and cheeses, handmade pasta, imported olive oils, and so much more. Feeding my sweet tooth, I purchased a box of biscotti to go with my morning coffee.
One of my favorite shops in the Strip is LOOM Exquisite Textiles. If you are crafty like me, this place is absolute paradise. LOOM offers high end fabrics that you may not find in other retail stores, some vintage items, unique buttons, and anything your little sewing soul could ever want. It is important to note that the staff at LOOM is very caring and knowledgeable if you need help finding supplies for a project. I am currently making drapes from some fabric I purchased there a few months ago. John let me know there was a coordinating ribbon and I could not pass that up!
Some other highlights of the day include stopping in Mon Aimee Chocolat, In the Kitchen, Pittsburgh Popcorn Company, and Wigle Whiskey.
For more information, visit NeighborsInTheStrip.com or hop in your car, the T, or a PAT bus and visit the strip!