Last week I was lucky enough to be invited on the Burgh, Bits, and Bites Dormont Food Tour held especially for Pittsburgh food bloggers. The tour was led by Culinary Cory and there were about 10 food bloggers on the tour, all armed with their cameras and their appetites.
Before the tour, I had only been to Dormont in passing to visit my family who live nearby, never to experience the hustle and bustle on Potomac Avenue. The tree-lined streets brimming with family-owned restaurants and shops was more than I expected from a little town just outside the Liberty Tubes.
Stop #1: Potomac Bakery
Our first stop was the Potomac Bakery. Potomac Bakery is the longest-running business on Potomac Avenue and has been selling baked goods from this very shop since 1927. We were given the option of picking any cookie we liked, so I clearly went straight for the chocolate thumbprint. It was a nice little sweet treat, as all thumbprints are.
Stop #2: Dormont Dogs
Our next stop was Dormont Dogs and as a hot dog lover, I was really excited to try one of their specialty dogs. Our group was given a taste of their Texas Ave. dog which has chili, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and crushed Frito’s. You heard me, crushed Frito’s! It was de-licious, the freshly baked buttered bun slathered in cheese and chili and topped with cool sour cream was the perfect combination. Way better than your average chili dog.
The hot dogs are reasonably priced at around 3 bucks each, and there is plenty to choose from on the menu if you aren’t a chili cheese dog fan. They also have vegetarian options available.
Stop #3: Hollywood Theater
After Dormont Dogs, we were given a special tour of the Hollywood Theater. The Hollywood Theater is one of the last single screen movie theaters in the city and has been preserved and funded by the local community. The Friends of the Hollywood Theater came together to preserve their beloved theater and promote quality of life in the neighborhood by keeping it up and running.
It’s a really neat old theater with a balcony and a rockin’ candy selection, so if you’re in the area, it’s worthy of a stop. And if you’re a Rocky Horror fan, they play it every two weeks.
Stop #4: Don Campiti’s
After the Hollywood Theater, we walked up Potomac to Don Campiti’s for a slice of pizza. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted with the smell of melting mozzarella and a hot pizza pie ready to be devoured. I had two slices…..and could have had more. The crust was crunchy without being too thin or thick and the pie was cheesy, but not soggy. If I lived in the area, I’m sure I would have Campiti’s number programmed into my phone for pizza delivery.
Stop #5: Fredo’s Market
Next on the list was Fredo’s Market, a European influenced deli and market where you can eat-in or take-out fresh, homemade food. We were lucky enough to get to hear from the owners of Fredo’s, a husband and wife team, who came to the United States to pursue their dreams of owning a business and sharing their culture with the locals here.
We sampled the feta and spinach swirl and it was light, airy, and tasty. It would make a good side dish or snack, and at Fredos’ the swirls are available in cheese, potato, feta & spinach, or meat. If you’re in the area and looking for a specialty ingredient or bite, Fredo’s is a friendly and welcoming place to stop.
Stop #6: Sugar Cafe
Sugar Cafe was our final food stop on the tour and boy was it worth the wait. I was immediately drawn to the comfortable cafe with turquoise walls and an open kitchen that smelled like heaven. The Sugar Cafe is owned by Kelly James, the former pastry chef at Sonoma Grille, and serves freshly made pastries, baked goods, breakfast, and lunch.
We were given the choice of picking a cupcake, and I picked the pumpkin with cream cheese frosting because it’s fall and cream cheese frosting is the only frosting I’m interested in.
The other options were an Irish Car bomb cupcake, a cosmo cupcake, and a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting.
Stop #7: Beyond Bedtime Books
Our last stop on the tour was at Beyond Bedtime Books for a special Asian pear wine tasting. I unfortunately don’t have a picture of the wine, but it had a sweet and fruity taste reminiscent of fresh pears. Each food blogger was also given a fresh Asian pear to take home with them. Asian pears are sort of like a mix between an apple and a pear, a hybrid of sorts.
Beyond Bedtime Books is a quaint independent used bookstore, where you can find special editions, or a hard-to-find book on the ‘Burgh. If you’re interested in supporting local bookshops, the owner of Beyond Bedtime told me personally that if she doesn’t have a certain book you’re looking for, or you want to pre-order books for the upcoming Christmas season, that she can happily do so.
Overall, the food bloggers tour was something I would definitely be interested in doing again in other neighborhoods around the city. It was great to meet other people with a passion for writing about food, and our tour guide, Cory, did a wonderful job in setting the whole tour up. Thanks, Cory!
Here’s a list of the Pittsburgh food bloggers who came on the tour: Pittsburgh Food Scene, Yum Yum, Food Collage, Senorita Cibulka Savors, Motor City Girl in the Steel City, Culinary Cory, and I heart PGH. Be sure to check them all out!