Here are a dozen places to visit in Downtown/Strip District, East End, South Side and South Hills for the best tacos in Pittsburgh.
So here it is, less than two full days into 2014 and if I can paraphrase in my most ear-stabbingly shrill Sarah Palin-ese, "How's that New Year's Resolutioney-changey stuff workin' out for ya?"
Are you cleaned out from your kale cleanse? Are your PX-90 DVDs already piling up dust in favor of that "Sharknado" director's cut you got for Christmas? Is hot yoga making you feel like hot Yoda (sweating like a pig you are, yesssssss)? Has the Paleo diet turned you into an actual loin-cloth-wearing caveperson?
Whenever it inevitably comes to pass this year that you come to terms with your own human weakness, here's gluttonous Munch's suggestion for a dietary resolution breaker: a stop at Lupi & Leo in Greensburg for the terrifically titled Pierogie Hoagie.
From a purely parochial marketing standpoint, that name is pure genius. In a region that puts our favorite lil' Polish dumplings on any and all manner of sandwiches, burgers, pizzas and Major League Baseball fields, and is also among the few places in the country that doesn't call a long sandwich a "sub" it's almost amazing that no one has put a Pierogie Hoagie on a menu before (that I've seen, anyway).
Locally made potato and cheese pierogies sauteed with butter and onions and topped off with cheddar and white American cheese, crispy bacon, jalapenos and mayonnaise on a house-baked bun ($9.99), it makes for a delicious and decadent option on an eclectic menu where the items don't seem to fit together yet oddly works out quite well. And that's not unlike Lupi & Leo itself: a cheery, colorful BYOB space carved out of a former Prizant's Carpet Warehouse on a commercial stretch of Route 30.
Over a growler of Pacific Ring IPA from Lawrenceville's new Roundabout Brewery, my pal and I started with the bacon-wrapped dates ($7.99), sweet dates with savory, crispy bacon then lightly topped with a bleu cheese made for a nice, flavorful opener. We split the Asian Pork Pizza ($16.99), which had nothing particularly Asian about it past the plum sauce brushed on the fresh dough. Further topped with roasted pulled pork, bacon, jalapenos, pineapple and gorgonzola, this pizza had a borderline absurd combination of accoutrements that worked surprisingly well together (despite the possible misnomer).
In addition to the pizzas, salads and sandwiches (dubbed "Cicci's"), main entrees include anything from shrimp and grits ($17.99) to roasted pumpkin and Marscarpone ravioli ($15.99) to braised beef short ribs with polenta ($23.99), or spaghetti and a meatball made with fresh pasta from Fede in nearby North Huntingdon.
While I wolfed down the aforementioned Pierogie Hoagie with gusto, my friend enjoyed another fun and tasty interpretation of a local staple, the Roasted Turkey Devonshire Crepes ($12.99). A pair of soft crepes, filled with a praline-injected house roasted turkey breast, crispy bacon, sweet peas and grape tomatoes, then covered in a cheddar cheese Devonshire sauce and served with a fresh cut fries and a massive house-made breadstick.
Desserts are made in house, so despite being overstuffed, we kept room for our sweet spots. My pal had a rich-as-it-sounds eggnog creme brulee ($5.99) and I went with "apple pie in a jar": a nice warm slice of apple pie, artfully stuffed into a Mason jar, topped with house-made ice cream and caramel syrup ($5.99).
With an offbeat menu in something of an odd location, Lupi & Leo could be in danger of being over-the-top and gimmicky, but the food is good and service warm and friendly, and that's all you can ask for -- besides a Pierogie Hoagie.
Lupi & Leo is at 201 West Drive, Greensburg; 724-838-8160 or restaurantgreensburg.com.
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