Top 10 | Restaurants to hit when you get back to school


Thomas Yang | Visual Editor

Stack’d restaurant on Forbes Avenue.

By Julia Kreutzer, Senior Staff Columnist

Every time I tell someone where I go to school, without fail, I get asked about Primanti Bros. Now comes the point where I confess what some yinzers would consider a capital offense: I’ve never been. But with so many delicious options in and around Oakland, you can’t blame me for choosing juicy burgers, cheesy pizza or flavorful sushi over an impossible-to-eat, french fry-stuffed sandwich.

While Primanti’s “Almost Famous” sandwich is a Steel City staple, there are so many more neighborhood joints that helped us earn the title of the nation’s Top Food City for 2019. I am dreading returning to early morning classes and Pittsburgh rain, but the anticipation of my favorite dishes has me counting down the days until I head back to campus. Here are my top 10 restaurants that I can’t wait to be reunited with.

  1. Treats and Beans

Nestled on Meyran Avenue is one of Oakland’s most underrated dessert spots: Treats and Beans. Serving coffee, waffles, crepes and pancakes topped with all kinds of candy, fruit and other sugar-ridden delicacies, this restaurant is poised to take the hearts of those with a sweet tooth all over Oakland. In a shocking twist, it also serves nachos (a welcome, yet unexpected treat). For a delicious selection of sweets featuring a guest appearance from a Mexican classic, Treats and Beans should be on your list. 

  1. Sorrento’s 

Sorrento’s makes the list for one reason and one reason only: ranch. For $6.50, you can get a large, scalding hot pizza pie accompanied by two servings of what is basically glorified water with a sprinkle of ambiguous ranch flavor. I have literally no idea what I am putting in my body, but on a late night in South O, nothing can beat it. Antoon’s is quaking in its boots.

  1. The Abbey on Butler Street

North of Oakland lies one of Pittsburgh’s most eclectic, vibrant neighborhoods: Lawrenceville. The Abbey on Butler Street is a prime example of the neighborhood’s bustling, innovative food scene. Serving as a coffeehouse, pub and bistro, this spot is the Lady Gaga of cuisine — it can truly do it all. It’s the perfect spot to camp out in the morning to get work done with a cup o’ joe, take the family for a farewell dinner or stop for drinks on date night. 

  1. Roots Natural Kitchen

I dieted for a week in March. During that fateful low point in my semester, Roots was the only thing that got me through. Its diverse selection of health-conscious options allows you to create endless combinations of salads and rice bowls. When it opened early last semester, it truly reshaped my eating habits. It’s the perfect place to hit if you want to impress visitors with just how healthy you are or have been weighed down by Chick-fil-A for too long. It’s health food for the fit and foodies alike.

  1. CHiKN

When CHiKN opened in February, it rocked my world. The “damn hot” chicken is, well, damn hot. It hurts. It burns. But it burns so good. After trying its hottest sauce for the first time, I lost my ability to taste anything for the remainder of the week. It was worth it. While the intensity of its hottest options is far beyond what any person should be able or want to consume, the mild sandwiches and chicken and waffles are two awesome options for lunch out on the town.

  1. Piada

Close your eyes (then reopen them to continue reading this). Take a moment to imagine a paradise — the convenience, price and customization ability of Chipotle sweetly married with the flavors, sauces and cheese mounds of Italy. That is what Piada is like. Download the app, order online and indulge in pastas, wraps, salads and beautiful fried sticks of cheese almost instantly. I am so committed to this place that I walked there in the middle of the polar vortex last winter. Long live the Queen.

  1. Stack’d

Fried ravioli. Fried pickles. Fried mac ‘n’ cheese. Fried pierogi. It’s all fried, it’s all delicious and it’s all available on top of a juicy burger. It even has a new rooftop bar and a weekly special menu that lets you try its most popular delicacies on a budget. Stack’d has taken my heart and my cholesterol by storm.

  1. The Columbian Spot

If you’re willing to venture out of the comforts of Oakland, the Columbian Spot in South Side will make your journey worthwhile. It offers delicious, authentic Columbian food, much of which is also gluten-free or vegan. When the standard Panera bread bowls or Chipotle burritos aren’t cutting it, make the long, hard trek (also known as a free 20-minute bus ride) from Oakland to East Carson Street for some Columbian favorites.

  1. Asia Tea House

My runner-up is a wild card, the dark horse of Oakland, the unsung hero of the neighborhood: Asia Tea House. Grab some pork dumplings (10 for under $5!), a $3 sushi roll and a bubble tea and camp out in Schenley Park on a warm day. Sushi Fuku is but a drop of sand in comparison with the behemoth of delicious offerings of Asia Tea House. Sure, legend has it this stand is a bit of a digestive gamble, but sometimes the greatest risks reap the most divine payoffs.

  1. Fuel and Fuddle

This beautiful gastropub is the universal crowd-pleaser of Oakland. It has 100 different beers, all kinds of foods named with beautiful puns (i.e. the “Aporkalypse”) and a cheap eats menu that offers discounts from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. every day. Nothing bad exists here. I would even eat a salad from Fuel (mostly because one of them has fries on it). Fuel has my heart and is my first stop on my return to Oakland.