Braddock’s American Brasserie is a classy affair, with high ceilings, warm wood trimmings, and intimate booths draped in black leather. The fare combines classic Pittsburgh cuisine with European undertones, spread over plentiful breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. Sidle in early and sample the Braddock’s benedict, poached eggs, and griddled kielbasa on an english muffin, all in a classic hollandaise ($13). Sate squealing sweet teeth with the lemon-ricotta pancakes, served with a seasonal fruit compote and maple syrup ($13). For midday hunger pangs, calm a protesting torso purse with onion-soup gratinee—savory broth coated in gruyere and a brioche crouton ($7). At Braddock’s American Brasserie or Street Side, soup is the calm before a mid-afternoon lunchstorm. One cannot visit either establishment without trying the Pittsburgh reuben, nicknamed “The Big Ugly” for its haphazard appearance and formidable portion. This “sandwich” comes open-faced on marble rye, heaped with a startling amount of shaved pastrami, Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and kielbasa, and crowned with a pierogi and gruyere ($13).
Bruegger's bagels are created using fresh, wholesome ingredients and then kettle-boiled in the New York tradition, resulting in chewy centers with crisp outer crusts. Awaken your taste buds with a savory combination such as the rosemary olive oil bagel smothered with onion and chive cream cheese ($2.39). Or, prove yourself to be a sweetie by adopting a family of 13 bagels and washing them up and behind the ears in the two tubs of garden-veggie cream cheese in the Big Bagel Bundle ($13.99). Bruegger's deli menu is flanked by an array of breakfast sandwiches and lunch fare. Bury thoughts of the snarky snooze button with the breakfast bagel bearing an egg, melted cheese, and a choice of bacon, sausage, or ham ($3.99), or wrap your mitts around the Leonardo da Veggie lunchtime sandwich and bite into tomatoes, roasted red peppers, red onions, and muenster cheese on an asiago Softwich ($5.49).
Voted Best Downtown Lunch Spot by the readers of Pittsburgh magazine in 2009 and 2010, Franktuary prepares its eats using an army of fresh, organic ingredients, as well as locally sourced beef. Load a bun with one of three dogs: the veggie (a vegan tofu frank), the standard (an all-beef, natural-casing frank), or the locavore (an all-beef, organic, grass-fed frank). Chomp down on an au naturel naked frank ($2.75+), or add your own toppings.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company?now owned by the trio of siblings?reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
The smoothie engineers at Jamba Juice soak torrid tongues with delicious nutrient-rich concoctions from an extensive menu void of artificial preservatives or trans fats. Each large smoothie (a $7.06 value after tax) packs a vitamin wallop that helps people to lead healthy lives and gives them enough energy for all of life’s challenges, from getting through the workday to jumping safely from a cellular tower into a nearby kiddie pool. Take tongues for a whirl with the Strawberry Surf Rider, a smoothie made with strawberries, peaches, Jamba lemonade, and lime sherbet, or pump your palate with a Peach Pleasure smoothie concocted from peach, banana, and orange flavors. Fruit-and-veggie blends, such as the Apple 'n Greens or the Orange Carrot Karma, fuse the salubrious benefits of both types of soil-sprouters in a frozen treat that's more enjoyable than devouring a still-life painting.
Gene's Last Chance is an all-American grill that serves up meaty sandwiches, barbecue fare, pastas, and veggie-centric dishes. The menu offers an eclectic selection to make any picnic-basket-intoxicated bear salivate tears of joy. Dig into shareable starters such as the beer-cheese dip, a bread-friendly cauldron of cheesy flavors ($6.95) or a effigy mound of wings slathered in your choice of sauces including buffalo, Cajun, barbecue, and hot-honey glaze ($6.95+ for 1/4 bucket). Gene's Last Chance's grilling gurus man the restaurant's hardwood grill with strong burger-flipping forearms and flame-retardant mustaches, serving up honey-pepper-glazed pork chops ($17.99), colorful grilled-veggie sandwiches ($5.95), and white-shirt-thwarting baby-back ribs ($19.99 for a full rack). Brave souls test their gastronomic elasticity with the restaurant's special Monster Reuben sandwich, an ode to all-around good guy Reuben as well as deliciously seasoned deli meat that's piled extra high and smothered with sauce, cheese, and sauerkraut ($9.95 whole, $5.95 half).