Beer Run: Bloomfield Edition
Better known as Pittsburgh’s Little Italy, Bloomfield is more than just a place for pasta lovers. It’s a cultural hotbed, great restaurant destination and one of Pittsburgh’s most charming neighborhoods. Whether you’re looking for pierogies, Thai, Japanese or chicken parm, Bloomfield’s got you covered. This close-knit community prides itself on its working-class status, which becomes most evident during their annual “Little Italy Days” celebration, as well as frequent holiday parades along Liberty Avenue. We had a chance to visit ten of our favorite Bloomfield places. From hair salons, to bakeries to tattoo shops, here’s what we did.
The first stop on our Bloomfield tour was a business that just announced last week it will be closing its doors for good. We’re sad to see Dreaming Ant go, so we stopped by to give them a respectful nod and a case of Iron City Amber. Loyal patrons are hip to Pittsburgh’s premier spot to rent Indie, Foreign or LGBT DVDs at a place that has won numerous awards from the readers of Pittsburgh City Paper over the years. From their unparalleled customer service to their convenient location inside Crazy Mocha, Dreaming Ant will surely be missed by many, especially the residents of Bloomfield.
Next up, Armature Tattoo Co., a two-part custom tattoo shop consisting of owner/artist Ross Kennedy and artist Kati Zmenkowski that prides itself on giving each visitor the “best” tattoo experience possible in a clean environment. Ross’ signature style is known for containing robots as a predominant subject, but his years of training and tattooing make him well equipped to tackle a tattoo with any subject. To view shop renovations and portfolios of Ross and Kati’s work, make sure to visit their website! And to learn more about Ross, read an interview our pals at Touchfaster did with him last summer.
The Big Idea Bookstore & Cafe has been around since 2001 and has grown from a small space on S. Millvale Avenue to its current location, a swankier, larger space in the heart of Liberty Avenue. This is not yo mama’s bookstore. Big Idea strives to “provide literature that is multicultural, women-positive, queer-positive, class-conscious, anti-militaristic, and that promotes a sustainable world and community”. Their cooperative is operated utilizing a democratic, anarchist model and is a place to explore radical ideas in a safe environment.
Open for 12 years now and going strong, BoxHeart Gallery represents the artwork of emerging and mid-career artists from all over the world working in a wide variety of medias and artistic styles. In addition to providing a gallery space, BoxHeart offers event rentals, archival, custom framing services, art consulting and a unique art rental program that was designed for businesses interested in using original fine art to bring their spaces to life. Their latest exhibit by Tate Hudson, premieres tomorrow, April 2 and runs until the 27th.
Donatelli’s Italian Food Center is a family-owned specialty food store that offers a wide array of imported and domestic Italian products. They pride themselves on providing quality service at great prices, but what’s truly special about this place are their homemmade offerings. Everything from Italian sausage, fresh pasta, raviolis, grandma’s sauces and lasagnas, to biscottis, pizzelles, and other Italian baked goods can be found here. And it all hits the spot.
If sushi is your thing, consider visiting one of Bloomfield’s newest restaurants, Fukuda, whose master chef Matt Kemp once worked at Tamari, another spot known for excellent sushi, and the now-defunct Emilia Romagna. Fukuda serves up a variety of Japanese delights such as ramen, robotayaki, okonomiyaki and other raw delicacies. During the weekends, they offer “Bento Brunches” and cater to the late night crowd, staying open until 2AM. Their pop-up sushi bar has been the talk of the town ever since it emerged last summer to give patrons a taste of what to expect at Fukuda, who often imports their fish from Tsukiji Market in Japan.
The Paddy Cake Bakery has been in business for over 25 years. They offer a wide range of products to suit a variety of budgets and tastes. Everything from traditional and wedding cakes to donuts, danishes, tortes, brownies and cupcakes can be found here. Their charming, take-a-number style of operation makes it easy to slip in and out in a hurry to satisfy your sweet tooth. Rumor has it their glazed donuts are top notch!
Chic, stylish and affordable Salon Bella Mia sits on the other end of Liberty Avenue towards Shadyside and is the “perfect blend of high end meets the comfort of home”. Their inviting atmosphere and friendly, courteous staff make this a great place for a haircut or manicure and there’s usually always plenty of parking on that end of Liberty. They offer a variety of professional hair care products for purchase and a range of services including hair extensions, coloring, updos, waxing and more.
Something Borrowed Boutique carries new bridal and special occasion dresses for purchase or for rent. This is a new concept for women and enables them to get the outfit of their dreams at affordable price. Just as men rent tuxedos for special occasions, Something Borrowed gives women the opportunity to look fabulous without breaking the bank. From evening wear for proms, bridesmaids, balls and more, to wedding dresses fit for a queen, consider choosing Something Borrowed Boutique the next time you’re in the market for a gown.
Tattoo Noir, voted by the readers of Pittsburgh City Paper as “Best Tattoo Shop in Pittsburgh” last year, features artists Mike Galone and Josh Suchoza, as well as piercing specialist Ashlee Hagan. Appointments for consultations are highly suggested, as their walk-in hours are limited. They’re also the team behind Art Attack, a recurring event that raises money for selected charities. Their most recent event raised close to 1K for the Western PA Humane Society’s Angel Fund. Be sure to keep an eye on NakYouOut for details on the next Art Attack!