Nancy Pursh set aside a 20-year career as an administrative assistant to pursue her life’s passion by operating a Victorian-style tearoom. Within a stately Springdale home, she hosts refined afternoon-tea services, pouring gently steeped cupfuls of loose tea that she personally selects from local merchants. Now joined by chef Brian Boring, she pairs teas with a seasonal selection of housemade sandwiches and baked goods. Relying on handpicked fruits and herbs from the gardens, Brian creates refreshing finger foods to accompany tea, such as almond and coconut macaroons or cinnamon-pear scones. Although the tearoom’s china saucers and lace tablecloths evoke the elegant tearooms of an earlier era, Nancy’s goal was simply to create “a cozy, warm, welcoming house where friends could sit and chat, relaxed and unrushed.” :m]]
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers' market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,500 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the Pepperoni Pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs or slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including Frozen Lemonade Mixers.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex?s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. They also reach out to local communities through fundraising opportunities.
The kitchen staff at Giuseppe's Cafe draws on the age-old culinary traditions of southern Italy using family recipes. The tasty results take form in al dente pastas, flaky fish, and succulent meats. In addition to the classics, nine signature foccacia flatbreads are smothered in everything from sausages to shrimp.
But Italian cuisine isn't the bistro's only specialty. American staples such as fish and chips and baby-back ribs are delivered to diners, who can enjoy an outdoor patio in warmer months. To foster a sense of community, this setting also hosts live entertainment at Sunday pig roasts.
More than 50 loose-leaf teas line the shelves at Iris & Ivory Teahouse & Cafe. To provide suitable pairings for these brews?which range in flavor from subtle and earthy to fruity and complex?the caf? serves traditional accompaniments, including quiche and made-from-scratch scones with lemon curd and devonshire cream. An array of house-made sandwiches, such as cranberry-chicken salad and roast beef with wasabi-horseradish mayo, round out the menu. The teahouse also holds special-event dinners and formal teas in its lushly appointed Iris Room.
The proudly independent family crew that runs The Pittsburgh Bagel Factory brings the same commitment to tasty food and early-rising work ethics that made their bagels a local staple to their new Craig St. location. After baking their bagels, which include everything from savory onion to multigrain wildberry, the kitchen staff puts them to work, schmearing them with cream cheese concoctions or sandwiching them with deli meats including oven-roasted turkey and kosher salami. Custom blends of eggs, morning meats, and cheese gussy up handheld comestibles, while burgers flip from sizzling grills to challah buns dressed with toppings ranging from grilled onions and mushrooms to fried eggs and peach barbecue sauce. Staff also pull shots of espresso to add to steaming mugs that vanquish sleepiness from faces.
In her bio, Margaret Harris jokes that she "may have had her first 'cup of tea' when she was only one day old." That's because Harris was raised in Poland, where tea, she writes, "is the primary household beverage." Today, she applies her training at the Warsaw Medical College to discuss the health benefits of her brews with customers at her tea-and-coffee shop, Margaret's Fine Imports. In addition to stocking more than 200 types of loose-leaf tea, from Chinese green tea to British teas such as Taylor's Yorkshire Gold tea and PG Tips, Harris completes proper tea times with German and Polish sweets, Asian-style tea sets, and napkins autographed by the Mad Hatter.