Because I live in Pittsburgh, I am constantly on the hunt for the tastiest, healthiest spots in town. Even though we are a small city compared to New York and Chicago, we have an impressive food scene that is constantly growing. Our best asset is our geographic location; southwestern Pennsylvania has lush farmland, perfect for growing produce and raising grass-fed cattle, chickens, lamb, quail, guinea hen, goats, and bison, just to name a few. We also have access to delicious wild game like elk. Many of our local farmers are Amish, so we can be sure they do not use chemicals on their farms and take great care of their land and animals.
One of my favorite lunch spots that is relatively new in the area is the Amazing Cafe located in the Southside of Pittsburgh. This hip little joint is owned by Karen and Sean Conley, owners of Amazing Yoga, a chain of hot yoga studios in Pittsburgh. Amazing Cafe and the Amazing Yoga Southside studio share a building, so it’s the perfect spot for a post-yoga smoothie or juice, coffee with a friend, lunch, or brunch on the weekend.
While Amazing Cafe is a vegan restaurant and I am hardly vegan, there are so many options here that pack a nutritional punch that meat can be momentarily be left behind– especially at lunchtime when many prefer a lighter meal anyway. Also, the quality of food here is so carefully chosen and delicious that I can’t help but stop when I’m in the area. The restaurant sources its food from local and organic farms and is dedicated to being completely GMO-free.
The menu changes on a relatively consistent basis, but there are always brunch selections (served only on weekends), seasonal salads, sandwiches, and other specialty items like pizza and pad thai made with zucchini noodles. Everything is vegan and many items are also gluten free or can be made gluten free. One of the best salads I have had is the harvest salad below with butternut squash, shaved beets, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and tomatoes.
If you’re not in the market for a meal, Amazing Cafe is the perfect pit stop for a juice, smoothie, tea, or coffee. The best smoothie by far is the Pura Vida (cacao, banana, almond butter, dates, maca powder, almond milk) and the fresh-pressed juices are delicious and fairly priced as well. There is also a wide selection of organic teas and specialty coffees, including seasonal coffee drinks– think pumpkin spice latte without all the junk (and dairy-free too!)
Amazing Cafe is open Monday through Friday from 8 am until 3 pm and weekends from 10 am until 3 pm. For more information visit the cafe’s website. Let me know what you think when you go in the comments!