adda coffee house
Photo courtesy Adda Coffee and Tea House

A new coffee and tea house called Adda opening soon will provide a space for more than just drinking and eating. Adda is a Bengali word which means informal conversation or a place to hold conversation.

“The key thing for us is to make sure we have great coffee, great tea and great food,” says co-owner Sukanta Nag of the new place at 200 S. Highland Avenue in Shadyside. In addition, he and co-owner Brian Stancil also want to support the artists, innovators and entrepreneurs who have supported them in getting Adda up and running.

Growing up in Dhaka, I, like all Bengali from Bangladesh or West Bengal, have always yearned for adda (আড্ডা āḍḍā)—special hang out time with friends, family or people you want to get to know, learn from or just love to spend time with,” says Nag. “I have had a dream to create that platform here in the beautiful city of Pittsburgh, my home for the last 21 years.” 

Adda is designed as a place for both conversation and collaboration. Part of the coffee and tea house will be dedicated to the artist/entrepreneur community where patrons will be able to book one of two “work tables” online and without charge to work collaboratively with others. A chalkboard-writing wall and wall-mounted monitor with computer hook-ups have been placed in the brightly lighted space.

They will serve Verve coffee from Santa Cruz, CA and Rishi Tea from Milwaukee, WI. Food will be grab-and-go, with small bites provided by Justin Steel, executive chef and co-owner at Bar Marco.  Available options will include vegan and gluten-free friendly products, and other items, such as granola, will be organic and GMO-free as much as possible.

Formerly a clothing store, Adda features bright turquoise accents, a new tin ceiling, and marble-topped coffee bar, all illuminated by several windows overlooking the East busway and Eastside development. The space was designed by former Pittsburgh architect Michael Kreha (a previous co-founder at Bar Marco and former sommelier at Cure).

And since travel is the essence of Nag’s life, his goal is “to share a slice of the world with Pittsburgh.” Adda will spotlight a different region of the world on a rotating basis through native coffee, tea and food, as well as live music events, and artwork. For the month of May, Uganda is showcased through photography by Pittsburgher Maranie Rae, who is currently in Iraq on a humanitarian mission.

Adda’s grand opening is planned for May 6th during normal Friday business hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check out a countdown clock to the grand opening and learn more about upcoming events on their website.

Maya Haptas has an M.A. in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and is a freelance writer covering various topics from architecture and urban design to wellness and skateboarding. She is currently the assistant editor of Bigfoot Skateboarding Magazine.