Throughout its history, Carnegie has been a crossroads for many ethnic groups and nationalities. That continues today in a small but vibrant business district that has a wealth of dining options for its size.
It is that rarest of Pittsburgh places where you can get Irish and Indian food in the same neighborhood. Riley’s Pour House has shepherd’s pie and lamb stew while Café Delhi, which is connected to the Indian Community Center, offers tandoori chicken and tikka masala.
Kasai serves sushi and Japanese hibachi favorites in a cozy and colorful setting, and just down the street is Kolos International Food, where Ukrainian immigrants Yevhen and Galina Lutsiv have sold Eastern European headcheese and sausage in their small deli for 12 years.
Papa J’s elevated Italian with elegance and has been a Main Street landmark for decades, opting to rebuild rather than close after flooding from Hurricane Ivan destroyed the interior in 2004. It also has American fare that runs the spectrum from upscale to down-home.
Quietly, with little fanfare and no advertising, 131 East has built a following with entrees like braised lamb with greens and fresh cheese curds or a Kurobuta pork rack chop with root vegetables and crispy pork belly. It has an outdoor patio and deck that face the Mayberry-esque Main Street.
On the more casual side are Bob’s and Gab & Eat in nearby Scott, a pair of quintessentially American diners that serve up the classics for breakfast and lunch. Slice offers pizza that is among the best in Allegheny County.
This region loves to turn old industrial or government buildings into restaurants and Carnegie has two excellent ones.
Bakn beautifully restored the handsome Carnegie Granite Works into a bacon-themed restaurant. They’ve struck porcine gold with a menu by chef Randy Tozzie that incorporates everyone’s favorite cured meat into dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They even do a bacon and bourbon pairing flight at the bar.
An old post office became the Carnegie Coffee Co., a cheerful and airy coffee shop and event space where a counter made from antique mailboxes is topped by a slab of beautiful white marble.
Dan Gigler: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter @gigs412