It’s beloved by locals for its vibrant produce stalls, bustling markets, fresh food purveyors and proximity to downtown.
Now, Canada’s award-winning writer, Habeeb Salloum—who has authored seven books and has worked as a food, history and travel writer for 30 years—is singing the praises of this authentically Pittsburgh neighborhood.
In his article, Travel Pennsylvania—Exploring Pittsburgh’s Strip District, for the online travel ‘zine, WAVEJourney.com, Salloum writes that:
“If you want to know the new Pittsburgh, especially its throbbing heart, you must explore its Strip District. Located between the Allegheny River and green hills, this half square mile in the heart of Pittsburgh is a tourist mecca and a playground for locals where they mingle and socialize. Its authentic ethnic foods, eateries and retail outlets dot the whole district and when the weather is sunny and temperate, the whole historic market district is a beehive of activity and enjoyment. The aromas of fresh roasted coffee and freshly baked breads saturate the atmosphere and people moving back and forth seem to be happy and content.”
As part of a ‘Burgh, Bits & Bites Food Tour, Salloum eats and drinks his way through the Strip, while also taking in the layers of local history and rich heritage, calling it a “foodie heaven” and a “world of authentic homemade goods.”
Ruminating on the Strip’s recent transformation, Salloum writes: “Today many of the ghost warehouses have been renovated becoming specialty shops, art galleries, restaurants, bars, delis and nightclubs … Shopping in the Strip is a tradition for Pittsburghians as this is the district where products such as cheeses, olive oils, prepared meats, spices, clothing, antiques and other products are not easily found in other parts of the city.”
Salloum’s group began their adventure by stopping at the 200-year-old St Patrick Church, the first Irish Catholic Church built in Pittsburgh and a gateway to the Strip.
Soon hunger pangs took priority.
The tour went on to feature numerous Pittsburgh favorites, including Parma Sausage, Labad’s Mediterranean Grocery & Cafe, Jimmy Sunseri & Nino Company, Enrico Biscotti Company, Colangelo’s Bakery Meles and S&D Polish Deli.
For dessert? Salloum writes:
“To cap our tour, we left the ethnic foods of the Strip to the ethnic architecture of the countries from where the immigrants came to settle in the Pittsburgh area. At the University of Pittsburgh in the Cathedral of Learning, 29 working classrooms have been erected dedicated to and designed in the tradition of the countries from where the immigrants came. Named the University’s Nationality Rooms, we toured a number of these rooms ending up at the Syrian-Lebanese Room where we rested awhile enjoying the ambiance of Syrian architectural splendour. Maxine Bruhns, Director of the Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs, a 91-year-old scholar and world traveler, considers this room the finest of them all. Looking around, her words appeared to be true. It was a great way to end our tour of ethnic Pittsburgh with its exotic foods and architecture from the four corners of the globe.”
Read the entire travel article here.