stripdistrict 91115425 Walking Through The Strip District

(Photo Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

By Christine Mouser

Have you ever wanted to try a new recipe but couldn’t because it called for an exotic ingredient that isn’t available at your local grocery store? Have you been searching high and low for a unique gift to give to your sister? Or do you simply have a hankering for fresh fish? Pittsburgh’s Strip District has all of that—and a lot more. Located mostly on Penn Avenue and Smallman Street, the Strip District, once home to iron mills, foundries and glass factories, has revitalized into a haven for locals in quest of something just a little extra special.

flowers 83628170 Walking Through The Strip District

(Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Roxanne’s Dried Flowers

2115 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 281-6950
Hours: Mon to Sat – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Reviews, Directions & More Info

This perfectly quaint shop should be at the top of the list for serious shoppers. Pottery, soaps, beautiful furniture, seasonal plants, aromatherapy candles and handcrafted arrangements are just some of the creations you’ll find in this store. Be sure to check out their outdoor space, filled with gardening accessories, furniture, plants and more. As one would expect, you’ll find beautiful arrangements of fragrant dried flowers, or you can pick and choose bundles of dried flowers to make your own arrangement. The staff is helpful and flower arranging aficionados. So, if you’re looking to create your own don’t hesitate to ask for advice.

seafood 110737977 Walking Through The Strip District

(Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Wholey’s Fish Market

1711 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(888) 946-5397
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Fri – 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Since opening nearly 100 years ago, Wholey’s Fish Market is the place for seafood lovers. The place is always packed full of people looking for everything from shrimp, crab and lobster to squid, octopus and various meats. They’ve even got a Fish Kitchen inside and several stands of food inside for you to enjoy (check out the sushi bar—customers swear by it!) And if you’re lucky, you may even catch the witty guy with a lobster phone, outside of the store. Inside or outside this establishment, it’s sure to be quite the experience.

Enrico Biscotti

2202 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 281-2602
Hours: Mon to Sat – 6:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Café Hours: Mon to Fri – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sat – 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Once you take a seat outside of Enrico Biscotti, you’ll feel like you’re sitting in a quaint Italian café in the heart of Italy. This bakery/café offers some of the best Italian dishes in the city, such as their homemade brick oven pizzas. But their pizzas aren’t the only homemade items worth trying! From their tasty Almond biscotti to their fluffy coconut macaroons, this joint is a one-of-a-kind spot that fits right into the historic neighborhood.

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(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Fortunes Coffee Roastery

2005 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
1 (888) 327-5282
Hours: Mon to Fri – 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sat – 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sun – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For those looking for that perfect blend of coffee, Fortunes Coffee Roastery has got you covered. At Fortunes, they pride themselves on selecting and handpicking the finest Arabica beans that create a high-quality coffee. The store offers pretty much every kind of coffee you can imagine — dark roasts (French and Viennese roasts), blends (New Orleans and Burgh Blends), flavored coffees (apricot cream, Belgian white chocolate), decaf-flavored coffees and tons more. For less experienced coffee drinkers, ask one of the employees for help — they know what they’re talking about.

Pennsylvania Macaroni Company

2010-12 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
1 (800) 223-5928
Hours: Mon to Sat – 6:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sun – 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Customers could easily get lost in this Italian import haven for hours. A family-owned business that’s been around for over 100 years The Pennsylvania Macaroni Company is a crown jewel in the Strip District. Every week, they stock over 5,000 specialty products that you can’t find just anywhere. They’ve got tens of varieties of cheese (which sells over 20,000 pounds a week), traditional European deli meats, the best-of-the-best imported and domestic olive oils, homemade Penn Mac homemade sauces, fresh pasta, seafood and countless other items. One specialty item a first-timer might miss out on is their delicious tiramisu. It’s typically located in the freezer by the deli, be sure to ask the friendly staff for help. So if you’re looking for that special ingredient to complete a home-cooked meal, this Italian institution should be your first stop. If they don’t have it, it’s doubtful anyone will.

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(Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

Penzeys Spices

1729 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 434-0570
Hours: Mon to Sat – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Reviews, Directions & More Info

If you’re an adventurous cook who has a hard time finding a wide variety of spices, then you’ve obviously never been to Penzeys. As soon as you open the door to this sanctuary, you’re hit with a swirling aroma of hundreds of different spices. On one side of the store, you’ve got several different kinds of curry (sweet curry powder, Maharajah style curry powder). On the other side, you’ve got cardamom, saffron (the most expensive spice in the world) and a million different types of peppercorn. You can even try out your spice purchases on free recipes scattered throughout the store. Even if you’re not an adventurous foodie, grab a friend and trick them into smelling some cinnamon (a.k.a cayenne red pepper powder)…it’s hard to resist.

Meanwhile, while you’re hanging out around Penn Avenue, why not check out the arts corridor for all the amazing works being produced by local artists. Click here to see what’s worth checking out.

Christine Mouser is currently living in the Pittsburgh area, where she is an editorial intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. She is set to graduate from Penn State University this summer, with a degree in print journalism. She has written for, Town&Gown magazine and Penn State’s Valley magazine.


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