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NON-hip places in Pittsburgh? I.e., old-fashioned, real Pittsburghy spots?

Hi. I'm about to travel to Pittsburgh and am looking for places to eat that have been around awhile. I have absolutely no interest in anything "hip" or "trendy." I know about Primanti Bros., the O, Pamela's, even Gab & Eat in Carnegie (my favorite breakfast spot). I used to travel to Pittsburgh quite a bit in the nineties, and I was just looking over some notes from a 1999 trip. Here are some places I had written down but didn't get around to trying...and that was pretty much my last trip there for a long time. Do any of these still exist? Are they any good? Can you recommend others in a similar vein? Pricier places are fine. Bars too! Thanks!

Bloomfield Bridge Tavern
Chiodo's in Homestead
Pleasure Bar
Oyster House (on Market Square?)
Jerry's in Bridgewater
Big Jim's in the Hollow
Dick's Diner in Murrysville
Spaghetti Steak House in Belmont?

Big Jim's
201 Saline St, Pittsburgh, PA 15207

Bridge Tavern & Restaurant
222 S Market St, Williamsport, PA 17702

Steak House
29 Main St, Wellsboro, PA 16901

Dick's Diner
4200 William Penn Hwy, Murrysville, PA 15668

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  1. Chioda's is gone. Most of the rest of those places that I am familiar with are still whatever they were. You might add Pamela's in the strip to that list. There are other Pamela's around, also. Also consider Tessaro's and Del's. These all fit the profile of your list.

    Tessaro's Restaurant
    4601 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

    1. You have a pretty good list for someone that dosen't live in Pittsburgh! I would highly recommend The Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, Oyster House, and Big Jim's, at least based on what you are looking for. If you go to Big Jims, take your appetite! One that I would add to the list is Bob's Garage,


      just off of 28 near Fox Chapel. This is a unique place!

      Big Jim's
      201 Saline St, Pittsburgh, PA 15207

      Bob's Garage
      1372 Freeport Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15238

      1. I was only there once 40 years ago but how about The LeMont?


        1 Reply
        1. As Dave has pointed out, in the non-hip Pittsburgh institution category, Tessaro's and Del's both belong. They're almost across the street from each other right near Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, so you might never have to leave Bloomfield!

          On the pricier, fancier end, The Carlton is the only one (IMO) worth the expense for old-school white linen-type service.

          From a CH perspective, BBT and Big Jim's are the best calls from your original list.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Panini Guy

            But then, I don't know how you'd categorize Yo Rita's in this field. Not old fashioned, but 'hip' doesn't quite fit, either. Certainly worth the trip over to the South Side.

            Yo Rita
            1120 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

          2. Ended up at Tessaro's my first night in town with a group of about 8 and loved it! Great drinks, great service, great food. A+, and just what I was looking for. Not as keen on Big Jim's...loved the location and the atmosphere, but my meatball sandwich was very dry! Had to ask for extra sauce, which helped but couldn't overcome the particleboard texture of the meatballs! Continue to love breakfast at the Gab n Eat in Carnegie. Also had a peculiar but delicious pastrami sandwich at the old Jewish deli across the street from Jerry's Records....Thanks for all the tips, everybody. In my opiniton, Pittsburgh is the most underrated city in the U.S., and up there among the two or three most physically beautiful.

            Tessaro's Restaurant
            4601 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

            1 Reply
            1. re: mrfinewine

              Glad to see you liked your choices. I love Gab n Eat too, they serve a great breakfast, but if you get the chance try them for lunch. I think their burgers are tremendous!

            2. Reviving this thread in anticipation of another trip to your fair city. Anyone have anything to add? Updates, new ideas? Thanks!

              2 Replies
              1. re: mrfinewine

                I don't know if you'll do "ethnic"
                but I'll throw in a rec for Udipi.

                If you're looking for "good value" -- salt of the earth is still a fine choice (though it's newer than most places you have on your list).

                http://www.iannispizzeria.com/ (I've been to the new derry location, it's fabulous).

                1. re: mrfinewine

                  I think you've pretty much got all the "un-hip" places already, although you could add Gooski's to that list (it's a dive music bar with sticky tables, a fantastic jukebox, good beer selection and Polish food). I suppose you could throw in Josza's Hungarian in there too. That place is a total trip.

                  Most of the best food is at the hipper places these days.

                2. Many of the places mentioned are terrific spots to grab a bite.

                  Anytime I have friends coming to the city I like to divide their experiences; provided there are two days of visiting to see the city (it's unfair to try it in less!) I try to pick one or two sit-downs, then fill in the rest of the space with quick bites--many of which are as hallowed and familiar to Pittsburghers as the tourist hot-spots. I agree that Tessaro's is great Pittsburgh eating--I lived across the street for five years and can still smell it in my dreams. But if you're looking for a satisfying city sandwich with a comparable wallop (I'm not as keen on some of the "big" food spots mentioned--and find the buzz surrounding tv-hyped "classics"--the likes you may find in, say, Bloomfield, criminally ill-advised) I strongly recommend Burgatory in the Waterworks, just outside the city. It looks and feels like a vacation family joint--because it pretty much is, but the burgers are dynamite-flavorful, cooked unfailingly to temp, and offered with head-spinning options. Their signature milkshake menu will seal the deal.

                  As for those quick bites, if you find yourself in the Strip and wish to skip the tedious amusement park ride lines outside Pamela's, DeLuca's, etc., stop into newbie sandwich spot The Thin Man--inventive, delicious and generous alternatives to the kitchen sink Dagwood stereotype that seems to have lazy journalists believing we put our entire meals on Texas toast... While you're walking that off get a mung bean pancake (crispy deep-fried, hash-browny...please just trust me) slathered in sriracha, from Sam Bok; a taco from the kiosk alongside Reyna Foods; a handful of craft chocolates from Mon Aimee; pizza at Enrico; or sushi at Penn Avenue Fish Co. And that's just the Strip!

                  1. I am always a little reticent to recommend Udipi to out-of-towners, but only because it's a bit off the city grid. I'm with you, though. If push came to shove I'd say their pakora-fried chilies are one of my favorite plates of food in the city.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: auldlangsyne

                      If the lad's willing to go out to Jerry's, he's willing to go to Udipi.

                      1. re: Chowrin

                        If the lad were me, he certainly would. But Udipi can be 30-45 minutes outside the city, depending on traffic. Jerry's is at least in the city., albeit decentralized. I ran into something similar last month--we visited family in Chicago on a very tight schedule. One of my highest priorities was a little pizza place just outside the city. Eventually we just had to sacrifice it to get more of the city. I would suggest splitting the difference: add a day of travel to the Pittsburgh itinerary because, as you said, yes, it is just that good!