Staff Picks: Favorite Dining Spots on Campus


Clare Sheedy | Visual Editor

Roots Natural Kitchen on Forbes Avenue.

By The Pitt News Staff

Welcome to campus! Whether you’re a nervous freshman or returning student, the choice of food on campus is endless and sometimes intimidating. With so many options to choose from, we wanted to let you know our staff’s favorite dining spots that you can try out and hopefully make one of your favorites too. 

Roots Natural Kitchen // Jacob Mraz, Staff Writer

As a college student, it can be hard to eat healthy, and in a city famous for putting french fries on salad, it’s especially important to find some green in your bowl every once in a while. That’s why Roots Natural Kitchen, located between Starbucks and Piada on Forbes, is my go-to for something fresh. 

Roots is a health food chain started by the University of Virginia with the simple goal of bringing healthy options to students and the local populace. While many of their bowls are chicken-based, they also offer plenty of vegetarian and vegan toppings like tofu and mushrooms to accommodate people like myself who do not happen to eat meat. 

You can either choose from one of their pre-made bowls or customize one for yourself, much like Subway or Chipotle, all for around $14. The portions are good and the taste is exactly what you need after five hours in the dark halls of Cathy or Hillman Library. It’s also great as leftovers if you happen to get a little too excited when ordering. 

Maybe it’s not the most glamorous food – it is basically just different salads, after all. But you 

definitely won’t regret your visit and you won’t fall asleep in that 5 p.m. class from digestive fatigue either.

So if you want to be alert, healthy and well fed, then I can’t recommend Roots Natural Kitchen enough. 

Fuel and Fuddle // Katelyn Kruszewski, Staff Writer

There’s nothing better than going to Fuel and Fuddle with your friends on a Friday night. The first time I went to Fuel was with one of my best friends in the middle of a slow afternoon. The staff was super friendly, the vibes were amazing, and it quickly became my perfect comfort food spot.

Fuel and Fuddle is a gastropub located in the heart of Oakland. It hosts a wide variety of brews, pub fare and thin crust pizzas. One of Fuel’s specialties includes their smashed potato pizza – which includes smashed potatoes, smoked bacon, cheddar, lettuce and tomatoes topped off with a homemade buttermilk dressing. Just thinking about this pizza makes my mouth water.

While the food is delicious, it’s really the atmosphere that makes Fuel and Fuddle so unique. Even though Fuel is near Sennott Square and Bouquet gardens, walking down the sidewalk you might miss the small sign pointing out the pub’s location. Once you walk inside the entrance, it’s a different world. The sound of patrons fills your ears — people laughing, watching sports and joking with their friends. You can view the cooks behind the bar and the fire cooking up your favorite dishes. 

Once you settle into your seat in a small booth or at a high table you feel welcomed. With comfort food and familiar faces, it’s the perfect spot to go for any Pitt student.

JJ Poké Bowl and Taiwanese Bubble Tea // Lynnette Tibbott, Staff Writer

How can we cling to a feeling of euphoria and try to make it last? The answer might just be food. I was first introduced to poke bowls when I traveled to Hawaii. After a day of surfing in the island sun, I sat on the sand with a poke bowl. No feeling compares to the memory of the Hawaiian beaches. I enjoyed good food with friends, talking and listening to the sounds of the ocean and the gentle breeze of the wind, with the sun on my face and a temporary feeling of true peace. 

When I came back to the rainy streets of Pittsburgh, I spent time trying to not only capture the euphoric feeling of a summer in Hawaii, but also the taste of a genuine poké bowl.

I had never heard of JJ Poké until I began looking for that feeling, and since then it’s earned its place as my favorite spot to eat on campus. JJ Poké is nestled on Atwood Street, near the Atwood Starbucks and between Forbes and Fifth. When you walk in, the quaint restaurant is decorated with Post-it notes by customers raving about the food and its friendly staff. JJ Poké lives up to its 4.9 star review. 

Their menu includes a diverse selection of signature poké bowls and specialty bento, but their most popular option is building your own bowl. Customers can choose from various rice or noodles as a base, a form of protein (including salmon, chicken, shrimp, tuna or tofu) as well as an array of toppings and sauces. Poké bowls aren’t the only option to create your own. JJ Poké also offers create-your-own bubble tea, or a choice of signature drinks.

Although there are no beaches near Pittsburgh, I can almost pretend that I’m still back in Hawaii enjoying a poké bowl every time I order. Next time the rainy weather brings you down, try a JJ Poké bowl and experience a slice of paradise. 


Stack’d // Serena Garcia, Staff Writer

Name a better place to get a burger and watch the Pitt football games — I’ll wait. Stack’d is one of my all-time favorite restaurants here in Oakland. Providing a great atmosphere, superb location and a stellar menu, this place is a no-brainer to go and try as a Pitt student. I’m not usually the burger type, but whenever eating at Stack’d, ordering a burger is a must. With their wide range of options, you can create any kind of burger you want. If burgers aren’t your thing, don’t stress, because the restaurant offers plenty of other options as well. Another favorite of mine is definitely their regular and curly fries! 

The atmosphere of Stack’d immediately screams college town, especially on Pitt football game days. If you can’t be in the bleachers screaming your lungs out, then Stack’d is the next best thing. Having both indoor and outdoor seating — weather permitting — you can always find a table to sit at. When sitting outside, the restaurant also provides some great views of Oakland as you sit on top of the roof. They also provide heaters when it’s chilly. Also, if you find yourself strapped for cash, Stack’d accepts dining dollars, practically making it free. 

Located in the heart of Oakland just a couple of blocks away from Cathy, Stack’d is hard to miss. Whether you’re stopping in with your family on their visit to campus, screaming at the tv with friends while watching Pitt football, or just grabbing a burger after class, Stack’d can serve all of your dining needs!

Pamela’s Diner // Punya Bhasin, Culture Editor

This is my absolute favorite dining spot on campus. I cannot tell you how many amazing memories I have tied to this diner. For me, the food is not just comfort food, but also date food, friendship food, celebration food, hangover food and breakup food. There is not a single event you can experience that wouldn’t be made better by Pamela’s famous lyonnaise potatoes. 

My go-to order is always the morning after special which features eggs, a meat of your choice — I always pick sausage — and hotcakes. I also have to get a side of their lyonnaise potatoes and, of course, orange juice. While I could use an endless barrage of adjectives to describe the deliciousness that is their food, the best summary I have is that every second spent scarfing down your meal at Pamela’s is utter perfection.

The diner, which is famous in Pittsburgh, first opened in 1980 and features what they call “the best breakfast in Pittsburgh,” which I think is a humble way of saying the truth — that it is the best breakfast in the world. They serve a variety of breakfast options including hotcakes, breakfast sandwiches, omelets and so much more. 

So, if there is only one thing you can do on campus it should be to go to Pamela’s. Frankly, in my opinion you haven’t graduated from Pitt without at least one trip to Pamela’s.