You’ve braved the Parkway, dodged endless traffic cones and emerged from the Squirrel Hill Tunnels virtually unscathed. Time to eat! Here are some restaurants in the eastern suburbs that’ll replenish your body and soul. You might want to get an extra to-go order for the drive back.
Gateway Grill https://www.gatewaygrill.net/
If you like scratch-made meals and a seemingly endless beer selection, Gateway Grill is a must.
Located on Northern Pike, this Monroeville institution is known for “Pittsburgh-style” pizzas piled high with cheese and toppings, their wood-fired ribs and breakfast offerings that will fill you up for an entire day.
Eat up and then drink down some craft brews. The eatery has 34 rotating drafts and a bottle shop boasting 800 different labels. Consider this place your “gateway” to the wide world of beer.
In the mood for some legit Italian fare? The Pasqualino family has been dishing it out since 1971.
Pittsburghers are serious about their Wedding Soup and Pasqualino’s makes one of the best around. It’s slow-simmered in scratch-made chicken broth, with tiny meatballs, escarole and pastina … the perfect marriage of flavors!
They import their pasta to make rigatoni, spaghetti and stuffed shells. Order the Pasta Siderno – named for the family’s hometown in Italy – for a test of spaghetti tossed with olive oil, broccoli, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, finely chopped basil and oregano, a hint of garlic and your choice of skinless chicken breast or jumbo shrimp or skip the protein and have the chef double-up on the veggies.
Pugliano’s Italian Grill https://puglianositaliangrill.com/
Follow Golden Mile Highway in Plum and you’ll find this treasure. Pugliano’s specializes in Italian and Serbian cuisine. Recipes passed down through the generations are still crowd-pleasers. From appetizers, wings and soups to enormous salads, sandwiches and entrees, everything is fresh and filling.
Can’t decide on one Italian favorite? Take a Tour of Italy: lasagna, chicken Parmesan, fettuccini alfredo, meatball and hot sausage. Steak lover? Pug’s serves hand-carved cuts grilled to order with your choice of a house or Caesar salad, coleslaw, applesauce or a cup of soup, choice of roasted redskin mashed potatoes, baked potato, fries, a side of pasta or veggie of the day.
SchoolHouse Tavern https://www.facebook.com/schoolhousetvrn/
Culinary class is in session at this rustic little spot in Clariage that actually was a schoolhouse back in the day. Allow the “faculty” at this recently renovated restaurant give you a lesson on good grub.
Signature pizzas are a big draw. Carb-lovers will rejoice over a pierogi hybrid topped with redskin mashed potatoes, applewood-smoked bacon and cheddar and Italian cheese. You also can customize your pie to your taste specifications. Other menu items include burgers (a short rib-brisket-chuck blend on a brioche bun), sandwiches and hearty entrees such as pot roast, fish on a dish and center-cut sirloin.
Live music and Happy Hour specials will make your want to become a full-time “student.”
Boulevard Restaurants http://boulevardrestaurants.com/
With two locations in Greensburg and Delmont, this family-owned business offers a double-dose of yum. They source seasonal, organic ingredients, resulting in a menu filled with fresh and delicious options.
Shareable starters range from stuffed hot banana peppers and nachos to hot pepper cheese cubes and cheeseburger sliders. On a liquid diet? Slurp down a cup or bowl of the soup, including the famous baked French onion crock and then take a quart of it home with you.
Seafood entrees include grilled salmon, cod, shrimp and lump crab cakes. Fill up on a signature bowl of Boulevard stir fry, fettuccini alfredo, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parm or baked mac ‘n cheese.