In the suburban communities of the South Hills, poverty has been on the rise. As many as 12% of the population—approximately 5,000 families—lives at or below the federal poverty level. South Hills Interfaith Ministries works to help these families regain their self-sufficiency. Along with two food pantries that provide emergency groceries, and a community clothing room, the organization runs utility assistance programs, coat drives, and family-support services such as teen mentoring and financial literacy programs. And the community impact is significant. In 2012 alone, the organization donated school supplies to 425 students, distributed more than 1,500 pounds of fresh produce, and provided $30,336 in utility assistance.
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Eden's Market, known as a gluten-free emporium, carries a range of health grocery and all-natural beauty items. For an easy-to-make meal, frozen food items include seafood, pasta, and pizza from a variety of brands such as Udi's and Starfish. Locally made breads and pastries help those with food intolerances fulfill their most forbidden cravings, while nutritional supplements make up for any dietary slip ups. The health and beauty section stocks gluten-free skin care and soap products including Aura Cacia essential oils and Grandma's Lye soaps.
At Bistro @ Bella Sera, located in Bella Sera Event Venue, diners converse across white-linen-covered tables tucked below painted Tuscan archways after adorning plates with an infinite supply of gourmet fare. The trattoria—first in Pittsburgh to nab a certification from the Green Restaurant Association—surprises palates with a daily rotating menu of Italian antipasti, salads, soups, entrees, and desserts. Past delights include Tuscan minestrone soup, breaded chicken milanese with lemon pepper confit, and chicken romano with roasted redskin potatoes. For a quick preview of what’s in store, diners can check out today’s all-you-can-eat menu on the Bella Sera Facebook page or sneak into chef Josh’s dreams.
Bado's Cucina understands that food is not merely sustenance, but an important part of community and family tradition. That's why his rustic restaurant is warmed by a traditional wood-fired stone hearth, and his pizzas and flatbreads are made with the same recipe for dough that he kneaded as a child in his Italian grandmother's kitchen. Visitors to Bado's Cucina gather amid wrought-iron accents and goldenrod-hued walls, watching chefs in the open kitchen bake toasty flatbreads, whip up homemade bread puddings, or stuff eggplants with a series of increasingly smaller eggplants. These sights and smells send patrons on a culinary tour of the Italian peninsula, featuring a carefully selected lineup of pastas, roasted seasonal veggies, and tender cutlets of pork, wood-fired salmon, and lamb chops.
Red umbrellas cover the patio area of Frenchy's Bistro & Wine Cellar, where you can settle into dine on traditional Italian dishes and bistro fare as you take in the sunset. In the kitchen, a crew of skilled chefs whip up entrees from wholesome ingredients, including homemade marinara, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella. If you want to share your meal with local birds, servers can whisk your dishes outside to the patio. Or instead sit in the indoor dining room, which evokes the feel of a quaint country house; it has wooden booths and glass-lamp lighting.
For almost 30 years, brothers Bill and Mike Peters have strived to make their restaurant an elegant spot for everything from date nights to family dinners. The white-draped tables and ambient lighting set the mood for italian chicken, pasta, and veal dishes as well as steak and seafood offerings, such as Maryland crab cakes and prime rib. After dinner has been cleared, the servers replenish tables with desserts, such as housemade mousse pie and fresh strawberry shortcake. With enough seating to comfortably accommodate a few hundred guests, the dining room also transforms into a gathering space for bridal showers, wedding receptions, and championship spaghetti-staring contests.