Oakland’s food scene is getting an update this month with the opening of three eateries minutes from campus. Though they’re all new to Oakland, the restaurants — all with “build it yourself” options — cater to a younger generation’s appetite.
Italian Street Food
After a “VIP” opening over the long weekend, Piada’s Forbes Avenue location opened to the public Monday. Including its Oakland location, Piada has 40 storefronts — plus a food truck — concentrated mostly in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.
Piada serves “Italian street food” with a menu of salads, pastas and, as the restaurant’s name suggests, piadas. Piadas are made of thin-crust dough rolled around a variety of cheeses, meats and veggies. Although there is a set menu, the dishes are all customizable so that customers can build their own pasta or piada meal.
At dinnertime on Monday, the line for Piada snaked around the stools, wooden tabletops and bar-style seating. The modern, well-lit restaurant was complete with touches like drop lighting, white brick walls and a stone Italian soda dispenser.
Siba Sundaram, who graduated from Pitt in December with a biology degree, and Anthony Cangelosi, a junior double majoring in biology and political science, visited Piada on its opening day. Because they arrived at about 4:30 p.m., Sundaram and Cangelosi said they only waited in line for 10 to 15 minutes.
Both Sundaram and Cangelosi ordered the Chef’s Favorite Piada — a piada filled with peppers, lettuce, mozzarella, parmesan and a spicy diavolo sauce. Cangelosi added steak to his piada, but Sundaram stuck with veggies.
“It was kinda cool as a vegetarian, too, all of the things are kind of based vegetarian and then you can add the steak and add the chicken,” Sundaram said.
Although Sundaram appreciated the option to exclude meat from his dishes, Cangelosi noted the variety of options available to vegetarians and carnivores alike.
“The whole build your own stuff has really become popular, and I like that there’s just a lot of different choices,” Cangelosi said. “If you came here every day for two weeks, you could get a different thing.”
The storefront, located on the corner of Forbes and Meyran avenues, will be open daily from 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Noodle and Rice Bowls
Under the same ownership as Sushi Fuku, Noodle Uchi quietly opened for business on South Craig Street in 2016. The restaurant’s grand opening, however, will be held Jan. 20.
In addition to set features, Noodle Uchi’s menu focuses primarily on build-your-own bowls of ramen noodles, stir-fry noodles and rice — similar to Sushi Fuku. The restaurant, which is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., will feature $3 ramen or rice bowls for its grand opening Friday.
Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza
After Pitt bought the building at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Atwood Street, the University announced that a portion of the first floor is being renovated to accommodate a new storefront for the pizza chain Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza.
Lotsa serves mainly build-your-own pizzas, with options for the type of dough, sauce, cheese and toppings. There are currently five open Lotsa locations, primarily near college campuses such as West Virginia University and Purdue University.
Neither the University nor Lotsa has released information on the restaurant’s opening date for their Oakland location.