The 14-hour Rock All Night Tour descends on Lawrenceville on Saturday, the second year for the Art All Night spinoff from nightlife maven Michael "Zombo" Devine. Singer-songwriters, garage bands and all sorts of local music acts kick off morning sets in coffee shops, markets and bakeries, then move to bars and parks by midday and fill in neighborhood venues throughout the evening.
The many options on Butler Street can host crowds with diverse appetites for coffee, cocktails, food and brews.
Below are a handful of recommendations for places to eat and drink without a wait, from morning through the wee hours. Cure is not included in this list, as it's quite crowded on standard Saturdays and is a more tailored experience than the casual options below.
Coffee and early eats
Count Kickback Pinball Cafe (4326 Butler St.; 412-682-3200; facebook.com/kickbackpgh), among the newest places in the neighborhood, a retro-themed shop opened by Mara Klein in May. Nestled among Arsenal Lanes and Rather Ripped Records, it's the latest to pull nostalgia into the present with lo-fi-era leisure pursuits. A pinball-esque floor painted by Brian Holderman serves as a mesmerizing focal point, on which red and white tables are positioned as bumpers. The favorite sandwich is the hot smoked salmon cured by Out of the Fire Cafe in Donegal, served with avocado, tomato, greens, onions and pesto. But the best-seller is coffee made with Kickback's house blend.
Coffee nerds gravitate toward Espresso a Mano (3623 Butler St.; 412-918-1864; facebook.com/espresso.amano), where friendly staff members will learn a name and a standard order if they don't know it already. Matt Gebis opened the shop in July 2009, and it now offers everyday and esoteric brews, blends and single-origins from Counter Culture in North Carolina; Forty Weight Coffee Roasters in Ithaca, N.Y.; Ritual Roasters in San Francisco; and locally owned Commonplace Coffee. While free wireless and several sets of daily newspapers make this a reading and working spot, it's also hospitable for conversation and light repast, with hand pies and sandwiches made from Kate Romane, chef at E² in Highland Park.
Coca Cafe (3811 Butler St.; 412-621-3171; coca-cafe.net) has been the stalwart on Butler Street since 2003, when Carrie Rudolph, Melanie Ritchey and Jared Marran converted a lounge into a cafe. Regardless of the diversified offerings that have opened on the street since then, loyalists will wait for seats, lured by the promise of a hefty breakfast or brunch including banana breads and fruits, egg sandwiches and omelets. For less of a wait, consider the small-plates dinner menu, from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
It smells heavenly at Wild Purveyors (5308 Butler St.; 412-206-9453; wildpurveyors.com), a retail market and wholesaler, where customers will find wild edibles, meats, local cheeses, beautiful produce and prepared foods. Proprietors Cavan and Tom Patterson last fall opened the shop, where they have installed counters carved from tree trunks, exposed brick walls and imported vintage accoutrements. For the day's event, stop here for breakfast frittata or early lunch: cucumber or tomato gazpacho and a grilled cheese.
Spicy pork gyro, saganaki, artichoke pasta, housemade yogurt and rice pudding are among the rustic fare at Pastitsio (3716 Butler St.; 412-586-7656; facebook.com/pages/PASTITSIO/125315764990), a little BYOB joint in Lower Lawrenceville. The restaurant is named for the casserole-style dish featuring pasta, ground lamb, egg and noodles baked and served lasagna-style. Owner Stamitas Bournias, having graduated from the culinary school at Johnson & Wales several years earlier, opened the Greek-inspired restaurant in 2010. A deli case displays homemade grape leaves and spanikopita, while a chalkboard menu lists daily specials. A handful of tables sits on the cozy patio, a good spot to watch the neighborhood goings-on. Take note, as Pastitsio closes at 2 a.m. Sunday, where Mr. Bournias will be grilling on the patio.
A roomy patio, a good happy hour, a compelling drink list and a unique menu make Tamari (3519 Butler St.; 412-325-3435; tamaripgh.com) in Lower Lawrenceville a draw from 5 to 7 p.m. Sundays through Fridays. Ceviche, watermelon gazpacho, mushroom salad and croquetas -- anything less than $10 -- is half off, along with a short list of drink specials that change nightly. Owner Allen Chen says tuna tartare, pork belly with hominy grits and cherry tomato, as well sushi are crowd-pleasers. This weekend, he will tempt adventurous eaters with a special of wild boar.
Pusadee's Garden (5321 Butler St.; 412-781-8724; pusadeesgarden.com) is a destination for its lush pagoda patio, verdant green with romantic warm lighting. The Tongdee family opened the BYOB restaurant in 2009. It's a traditional Thai restaurant that's sibling to the now-closed Typhoon and the recently opened Noodlehead, both in Shadyside, where diners will find very spicy soups and garlic nam pla wings. A fragrant tom kar soup is a resonant starter here, followed by a bright papaya salad with peanuts, shrimp and green beans. Unlike Noodlehead, Pusadee's Garden is conservative on the heat, so there's no need to be afraid to ask for extra spice.
Piccolo Forno (3801 Butler St.; 412-622-0111; piccolo-forno.com)has a handful of sidewalk seats at the restaurant run by Domenic Branduzzi and his family. For lunch, order crisp, thin-crust pies and an insalata di farro with radicchio, red onion, grape tomatoes and grains. For dinner, consider soup of the day, panini, pastas and specials. Large portions of rustic Italian favorites and a welcoming dining room mean there's usually a wait. Be prepared and BYOB.
Roundabout Brewery (4901 Butler St.; roundaboutbeer.com) is the newest addition to the beer circuit, an Upper Lawrenceville spot from Steve Sloan and his wife, Dyana, who is from New Zealand. Upon returning to the U.S. from a stint living there, Mr. Sloan became head brewer for Church Brew Works, for whom he helped win four medals at Denver's Great American Beer Festival, where he was named Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year. Try the Ginga Wheat, a ginger beer popular in New Zealand, made here as a wheat beer with honey, rather than as a light lager. Hopheads may appreciate the Hy-Pa, a hybrid pale ale and IPA. Stop here for a tasting or to pick up a growler to bring to a BYOB place.
Tender Bar + Kitchen (4300 Butler St.; 412-402-9522; Tenderpgh.com) is an inviting space to sit at the bar with a gorgeous cocktail and fine company. This sibling of Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina opened in May. Set in the former Arsenal Bank, Tender features a handsome bar with interesting flourishes, such as the wall of checks from the 1890s. For a cocktail, try a Vieux Carre or the Old Bond Street Fizz, as gin and bourbon join creme de violette topped with frothy egg white. Or tell the bartender a favorite spirit and allow him to guide. The restaurant also has outdoor seating and an abbreviated menu for late dining from 10 p.m. to midnight nightly.
Bill and Michelle Larkin at Arsenal Cider House and Wine Cellar (300 39th St.; 412-260-6968; arsenalciderhouse.com) have helped make cider less staid since 2010, with its biker-punk image and prolific community outreach. Start with the easy drinking Picket Bone Dry and move on to more robust ciders such as hoppy collaboration, the Kaiser Cider, blended with Penn Kaiser Pils. The tasting room is open noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday and 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays.
Since 2012, Industry Public House (4305 Butler St.; 412-683-1100; Industrypgh.com) offers built-to-order fries, nachos and burgers, but beer geeks come here for local brews. Dominating the taps are variations from Fat Heads, East End, Sly Fox, Troegs and Southern Tier, and a handful come from Great Lakes in Cleveland.
Megan Lindsey and Tim Tobitsch opened the largest Franktuary (3810 Butler St.; 412-586-7224; franktuary.com), their second location, in January. Brunch, all-day eats, dinner and late-night are all options, with pierogies, hot dogs, poutine and meatballs on the menu. An open garage door allows the evening in, as do seats along the rail looking out to the sidewalk. This is where to sit when trying one of a tight list of cocktails -- including the build-your-own-spritzer -- or a craft brew.
A sprawling patio with bar height wooden tables is the place to be on sunny days and warm nights at Round Corner Cantina (3720 Butler St., 412-904-2279; roundcornercantina.com), which Derek Burnell and Jesse Zmuda Burnell opened on Butler Street in 2009. Chorizo, pork belly or pulled-pork tacos come two to an order, are under $10 and available until midnight. An extensive selection of tequilas tempt aficionados, while micheladas quench thirst with a spicy kick.
Allegheny Wine Mixer (5326 Butler St.; 412-252-2337; alleghenywinemixer.com) celebrated its first anniversary last week. The wine bar with terrific cocktails and a rotating selection of craft beers was conceived by Jamie Patten, the former sommelier at Silk Elephant, Toast and Pittsburgh Golf Club. Meat and cheese plates are served until closing time. For more adventurous eating there's also the bizarre but tasty bacon cheeseburger pate or the delicious head cheese -- both from DJ's Butcher Block in Bloomfield. Also try the local trout with horseradish dill creme fraiche, cured by neighbor Wild Purveyors. Toasties are the nostalgia sandwiches of grilled cheeses layered prosciutto and gruyere, cheddar and apples.
Melissa McCart: 412-263-1198 and on Twitter @MelissaMcCart. First Published August 8, 2013 4:00 AM