24 hours on Butler Street

Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette

Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette

Ed Yozwick/Post-Gazette
Click for larger view (Ed Yozwick/Post-Gazette)

Butler Street in Lawrenceville is dotted with flavor every step of the way from the 34th to the 54th block. Bakeries, cafes, coffee houses, bars, sandwich shops, pizza joints and ethnic restaurants sit on either side of the street and range from casual to upscale and everything in between. While some open at the crack of dawn, life at the others begins at dusk, making Butler a street that barely sleeps.


1Coca Cafe, 3811 Butler St.: Start the day healthy, with an avocado toast, or not, with fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits.

2Geppetto Cafe, 4121 Butler St.: Spicy chicken-and-Gruyere crepe; a sweet crepe with apples, cream cheese glaze and caramel sauce; raspberry and goat cheese French toast; turkey-and-avocado panini with bechamel sauce; and a Belgian-style waffle with Brie, walnuts and maple syrup beckon as much as the ambience, with books hanging from the ceiling and little Geppettos placed on the wall.

3B52 Cafe, 5202 Butler St.: Breakfast is not only a blend of American and Middle Eastern fare but also is all vegan. Order a tofu scramble along with latke and greens, or thick-cut toasts topped with cashew cheese or almond butter.

4Nied’s Hotel, 5438 Butler St.: It’s famous for its haddock fish sandwich as the sign outside the building screams. But if you want a breakfast at 7 a.m., you can order toast (the regular and French kind), egg sandwiches (plain, bacon or ham) and omelets.


5Frankie’s Extra Long Sandwich Shop, 3535 Butler St.: Homestyle meatball, hot dog and hot sausage sandwiches are $4.50 in the cash-only restaurant.

6Pastitsio, 3716 Butler St.: “Meals start in the garden and market,” says the Greek restaurant, and that applies to the grape leaves, spanakopita and eggplant puree mezze; lamb, orzo and beet salads; and pastitsio, moussaka and souvlaki entrees.

7Piccolo Forno, 3801 Butler St.: Dough for the thin-crust pizzas and handmade pastas like spinach- and-gorgonzola cannelloni and mushroom tagliatelle are made every day by owner/chef Domenic Branduzzi, who was born in Italy and grew up in Pittsburgh. BYOB.

8Deli on Butler Street, 4034 Butler St.: Gary Gigliotti’s family has owned the shop for eight years, and sandwiches are named after his late parents, Pasquale (roast beef, ham, turkey, provolone and colby cheeses) and Marie (pastrami, Swiss cheese, coleslaw) and anyone who comes up with a sandwich filling that the Deli likes. That person also gets that particular sandwich for free once a week for a month. Specials for the holiday season are the Gobbler (turkey, cranberry sauce, Gouda, lettuce and sweet potato mayo on a cranberry baguette) and Jingle Bell (ham, chive cream cheese, cucumbers, honey mustard).

9Dijlah Restaurant & Cafe, 4130 Butler St.: Hummus, tabbouleh, beef or chicken shawarma, and an assortment of kebabs are among the Middle Eastern features, along with the crowd-favorite baklava.

10Kickback Cafe, 4326 Butler St.: Eat and play pinball here. Downstairs you can order a Nudie Girl (greens, cranberries, walnuts, goat cheese, honey-balsamic vinaigrette), an Almost Famous Grilled Cheese sandwich (sun-dried tomato, cream cheese, Swiss cheese), or a TLC sandwich, a vegan play on a BLT. The second floor is a pinball arcade.

11Restaurant Hana, 4407 Butler St.: Appetizers and entrees from the sushi bar; teriyaki seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes; hibachi noodles and meats; and tofu, chicken and shrimp with a Thai accent fill out the menu.


12Bella Christie and Lil’ Z’s Sweet Boutique, 3511 Butler St.: The Willy Wonka-esque store has funky-flavored cupcakes like sugar plum, peppermint hot cocoa and red velvet; and chocolate-covered bacon, pretzels, marshmallows (vegan) and Oreos (gluten-free).

13Espresso A Mano, 3623 Butler St.: Celebrate direct coffee-trade companies with a macchiato, chai latte, cortado or a good old straight espresso.

14Supreme Pizza, 4012 Butler St.: It’s just not about the taco, Veggie Delight and steak/white sauce pizzas but also the hoagies (salami, cheeseburger, chicken parmesan) and specialty hoagies (steak supreme, turkey club, Buffalo chicken).

15Crazy Mocha, 4032 Butler St.: The local chain satisfies the new wave of coffee nerds with its Monkey Mocha (traditional mocha with a shot of banana syrup) and snickerdoodle coffee, and traditionalists with espressos and cappuccinos.

16NatuRoll Creamery, 4318 Butler St.: Mix-ins are added to vanilla, chocolate or flavored batter on a cold metal plate, and then rolled into scrolls the Thai street-food way for a Monkey Business (banana and Nutella) or Cookie Monster (Oreo chocolate).

17Pesaro’s Pizza, 4324 Butler St.: Pie sizes range from junior (4 slices) to python (16 slices), and specialty varieties include Philly Steak, 5 Cheese, pierogi, Chicken Bacon Ranch and gyro.

18La Gourmandie Bakery, 4605 Butler St.: Buche de Noel, above, textured to look like a yule log with hollies et al, is the creme de la creme of holiday desserts and comes in chocolate buttercream or hazelnut buttercream. But that’s not to say that the large macaron filled with lycee cream and raspberries or the eclairs filled with chocolate pastry cream should be overlooked. Nor should the crusty baguette and the buttery croissants be ignored.

19Zen, 5100 Butler St.: The menu feels endless with stir-fried noodles and rice dishes; lightly fried tempura meats and vegetables; teriyaki seafood and meats; and vegetarian options.

20That’s Amore Pizzeria, 5123 Butler St.: Space is tight inside, so place your order for pizza, calzone, hoagie or gyro and then take a walk down Butler Street until it’s time to pick it up.

21Caffe D’Amore, 5400 Butler St.: Get a caffeine fix at 7 a.m. with an Ethiopian Amaro Gayo (with notes of blackberry jam, spice and black currant) or a Coconut Green Chai. Take it for-go in Mason jars (for an extra $1) along with a warm cinnamon roll with frosting on top. If you come back with the jar or a travel mug, you get 25 cents off the next drink.


22Senti, 3473 Butler St.: Travel to Italy without a passport here. Insalata, antipasti, zuppe e paste and secondi like chicken with caponata sauce, mashed white sweet potatoes and Swiss chard, above, are served in an elegant setting.

23Pan, 3519 Butler St.: Bite into modern pan-Asian flavors with the Naigamo Poutine (yam, miso gravy, goat cheese), Mee Goreng (lo mein, chicken, bok choy, 5-minute egg), double-fried pork wings with tamarind barbecue, Peking duck confit tacos and Key Lime Scallop sushi.

24Morcilla, 3519 Butler St.: It was ranked fourth on Bon Appetit’s 10 best new restaurant list this year for a good reason. Dinner here means being in a Spanish state of mind and ordering salted cod croquettes with burnt lemon and honey; Oxtail Montadito (mini baguette) with caramelized onion and mahon cheese; a platter of smoked baby back pork ribs, scallions, smoked potatoes and pomegranate sherry caramel. And definitely the churros with chocolate hazelnut fondue.

25Matteo’s, 3615 Butler St.: Owner/chef Matthew Cavanaugh specializes in Italian, seafood and steak dishes, featuring entrees like mushroom ravioli in herbed garlic sauce, shrimp stuffed with crab meat and topped with sherry cream sauce, and Delmonico steak with Marsala demi-glace.

26Roasted Barrelhouse & Eatery, 3705 Butler St.: Meats are slow-roasted in-house and feature in the sammies like Dunkirk (roast beef, horseradish sauce), Italian Roast Pork (porchetta, provolone, braised rapini) and Chicken Lickin’ (coleslaw, Island barbecue sauce).

27Barbecue Smoke Taqueria, 4115 Butler St.: When the smoker is opened, the aroma in the taqueria is tantalizing. It would be a sin not to order the smoked brisket, pork or chicken; chicken-apple taco; or the smoked cornbread.

28The Vandal, 4306 Butler St.: The open kitchen allows you to see how chef Csilla Thackray prepares the sunchoke soup with apple compote and sauteed leeks; and chicken confit with sweet potato custard, candied jalapenos and spaetzle.

29Pusadee’s Garden, 5321 Butler St.: The lush and beautiful garden (at least in late spring, summer and early fall) is not the only reason to visit this Thai restaurant; so are the pork meatballs that come with a lemongrass-tamarind sauce; and rice noodles topped with fried chicken, bean sprouts and bok choy.

30Cure, 5336 Butler St.: The Mediterranean-inspired restaurant is chef/owner Justin Severino’s first venture and features a diverse charcuterie menu, above, such as duck speck, pate, spreadable ‘nduja, lamb “porchetta” and salami infused with Fernet.


31Cantina, 3720 Butler St.: Lively music, bebidas and margaritas are what draws the revelers. And so does the party food like potato tacos with guacamole and queso fresco; Chipotle Brie Quesadilla; nachos with cheese, charred corn and pico; and churros with ancho-maple syrup.

32Franktuary, 3810 Butler St.: If hot dog becomes a religion, it would be called Franktuary. You can find a world of franks here, which include Pittsburgh (pierogi, vinegar slaw), PA Dutch (apple-onion jam, cheddar, scallion), Bangkok (peanut sauce, carrots, cilantro), Reykjavik (remoulade, onion, ketchup, mustard, crispy shallots). There’s a tofu one for vegans, too.

33Thunderbird Cafe, 4023 Butler St.: Music lovers also are treated to pub fare like a Pittsburgh wrap (chicken or steak with slaw, tomato, cheese), Thunderburger (pulled pork, cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce) and Loaded Fries (topped with bacon, cheese sauce and pico).

34Hambone’s Pub, 4207 Butler St.: Start with mac ’n’ cheese bites or pulled-pork nachos and finish with top sirloin steak or baked cod. There also are plenty of sandwiches to choose from.

35Tender Bar + Kitchen, 4300 Butler St.: For the late-night Happy Hour (10 p.m.-midnight), go with the light roasted chickpeas or the heavy Breakfast sandwich (chorizo, egg, cheddar cheese and avocado on a challah roll smeared with cilantro sour cream).

36Industry Public House, 4305 Butler St.: Wild boar bacon is the meaty word here, showing up in the Pig Iron appetizer, Model ‘T’ urkey sandwich (smoked turkey, Gruyere, garlic aioli), Management Burgher (wild mushroom, blue cheese) and Farmed Out Burgher (fried egg, barbecue sauce, white cheddar). The long list of draft beers also draw the loyalists.

37New Amsterdam, 4421 Butler St.: The renovated lounge has a rooftop beer garden and a menu that features steamed edamame with togarashi (Japanese spice mixture), grilled shishito peppers, spaghetti squash “noodles” and mac ’n’ cheese topped with crushed Cheetos.

38The Goldmark, 4517 Butler St.: If you are a night owl with an appetite, tuck in a fried chicken and waffle sandwich with creamy cilantro slaw; steamed pork bars with Sriracha aioli; mac ’n’ cheese with Frito crumbs; or roasted vegetable and orzo salad. Cocktail specials are offered nightly from 9 to 11, and a winter cocktail menu will be unveiled Nov. 20 in celebration of the bar’s one-year anniversary. Co-owner Adam Kulik, aka DJ Nugget, who has a wall of vinyls in his DJ booth, says the name is an “ode to Peter Goldmark,” the creator of vinyl records.

39The Abbey on Butler, 4635 Butler St.: Fried foods rule during the late-night hours, so nibble on nachos, fries ’n’ tots and fried zucchini, halloumi cheese, and pork rinds. The calorie-conscious could order assorted roasted vegetables and edamame hummus.

40Butterwood Bake Consortium, 5222 Butler St.: Chocolate sweet potato cake with cinnamon-espresso buttercream, butterscotch pudding, and ginger cake with salted-vanilla cream are just some of the unique creations by baker/owner Ally Slayden.

41Full Pint Wild Side Pub, 5310 Butler St.: Wash down the quinoa or orzo salad, Full Pint Jumbo sandwich (bologna, red and banana peppers, black pepper mayo) or Cueben sandwich (corned beef, pulled pork, sauerkraut) with one of Pint’s IPAs, ambers or ales.