- Mt Lebanon Magazine - https://lebomag.com -

3 more stops

To see new sights and experience new things, we sit on planes for hours and book train tickets to faraway cities. But what about the gems right around the corner?

That’s the inspiration for Three More Stops, a new series featuring Pittsburgh neighborhoods directly on the light rail transit line. Mt. Lebanon is a community with quick access to both Blue and Red lines, several stops of which are within walking distance for residents all over town. With the rollout of electronic ticketing options, it’s no longer a cash-only endeavor—an annoying, not endearing, quirk for years. It also functions independently of road conditions; when ice and snow hits, it’s the trolley that keeps running through the storm.

Where can the “T” take you? Well, as it turns out, lots of places.

Like Beechview’s Broadway Avenue. Approximate time from Mt. Lebanon Station: between 6 and 9 minutes.

Trolley Stop: Hampshire
Brew on Broadway, predictably located on Broadway Avenue in Brookline, is a coffee shop with a purpose. It functions as a community meeting place, mini gallery for local artists and is a registered 501(c)(3). [1]
Brew on Broadway, predictably located on Broadway Avenue in Brookline, is a coffee shop with purpose: a community meeting place, mini art gallery and is a registered 501(c)(3).

Brew on Broadway Many of us want to do something good for the world, but before we can even begin to function, we need a cup of coffee. Brew on Broadway, a community-owned coffee shop on Broadway Avenue in Beechview, is a nonprofit, so you can get your caffeine fix, breakfast—be it an authentic New York bagel or locally baked pastry—all while supporting Beechview’s community development. And the coffee is good; Brew on Broadway uses beans from Commonplace Coffee, another acclaimed local Pittsburgh business.

Beyond the high-quality consumables, Brew on Broadway also functions as a community center, particularly now that the Beechview branch of Carnegie Library is under construction. Amateur Acoustics Anonymous meets every other Tuesday night and gives musicians a place to strum their guitars; Uncommon Board Game Night is the first and third Sundays of each month, and there’s a monthly trivia night. The coffee shop turned community room also holds poetry readings and jazz nights, among other evening events, which are all BYOB and announced on its Facebook Page.

Crested Duck Charcuterie Vegetarians: Skip this. Carnivorous foodies rejoice: Crested Duck Charcuterie exists, and it has a bacon club.  This artisan meat market and restaurant sources its meats from small-scale often family-owned farms in the Pittsburgh region. The Moroccan lamb coppa, a dry-aged and seasoned lamb shoulder, was a finalist for the 2013 Good Food Awards. One Yelp reviewer requested the ingredients of his sandwich be read as his eulogy and would like to be buried in the baguette. It is BYOB.

Kevin Costa of the Crested Duck Charcuterie runs a small restaurant with a big passion for high quality and often locally sourced food. [2]
Kevin Costa of the Crested Duck Charcuterie, a small restaurant with big passion for high quality and locally sourced food.

Although the meat market is now located in the Strip District,  the restaurant remains on Broadway Avenue. Crested Duck Charcuterie also offers butchery classes for anyone interested in learning to properly carve a chicken, duck, rabbit, lamb or pig. They’ve also begun offering brunch on Sundays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. with offerings like sweet potato and duck confit hash.

At left: At Las Palmas outdoor taco stand, diners can add their own ingredients to their tacos, including a variety of salsas ranging from mild to mind-blowingly spicy. Right: El Milagro grocery store turned restaurant is a popular pick in the neighborhood, but you may need to bust out a little rusty Spanish while you're there. [3]
At left: At Las Palmas outdoor taco stand, diners can add their own ingredients, including a variety of salsas ranging from mild to mind-blowingly spicy.
Right: El Milagro grocery store turned restaurant is a popular pick, but you may need to bust out a little rusty Spanish while you’re there.

Muchas Comidas Mexicanas Looking to get a taco down the hatch and be on your way? Las Palmas outdoor taco stand is waiting for you every day, from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m., with a wide selection of taco fillings and an indoor picnic table in case it’s raining.  It’s as quick as it is high-quality: free add-ons include authentic, sometimes very spicy salsas and toppings, and you can’t beat the price at $2.50 per taco.

El Milagro If you want to sit down but don’t want to dress up, El Milagro should be on your list. The grocery-store-turned-restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside and feels like a diner on the inside, but the beauty of El Milagro reveals itself the moment your plate comes out of the kitchen. Like most of the places on Broadway Avenue, bring your own bottle. The menu and sometimes your wait staff are Spanish-only; bring a Spanish-English dictionary or your smart phone data plan to decipher anything you don’t understand. Or trust your gut and point, unknowingly, at your order. The food’s taste needs no translation, though: delicious.

Trolley Stop: Shiras
At left: Casa Rasta owners Laura Ruiz-Fraga and Antonio Fraga's menu combines Caribbean fare with Mexican dishes. Right: At this local shop, Slice on Broadway, it's hard to keep your eyes off the New York style pizza. [4]
At left: Casa Rasta owners Laura Ruiz-Fraga and Antonio Fraga’s menu combines Caribbean fare with Mexican dishes.
Right: At this local shop, Slice on Broadway, it’s hard to keep your eyes off the New York style pizza.

Casa Rasta Sit down, dress up, and feed yourself Mexican-Caribbean fusion fare at Casa Rasta. Predictably BYOB, but with a twist: Bring a bottle of tequila, pay $10, and they’ll serve up margaritas mixed with your liquor for as long as the bottle lasts. Citrus marinated pork, coconut rice, and jerk chicken with homemade jerk sauce all have a place on the menu, and this spring they’re bringing back an old tradition of live reggae music on Tuesday nights.

Slice on Broadway Deserved winner of WPXI’s Pittsburgh’s Best Pizza contest in 2012, Slice on Broadway brings authentic New York style pizza to the humble South Hills of Pittsburgh. Along with the spectacular noms are some weird, weird names, like “The Frisky Billygoat,” a pizza topped with meatballs, goat cheese and roasted red peppers. And by now, it shouldn’t be a surprise that you can BYOB.

Trolley Stop: Belasco
Fighting over the World's Steepest Street title is Canton Avenue, a few minutes’ walk from Broadway Avenue. [5]
Fighting to be named World’s Steepest Street is Canton Avenue, a few minutes’ walk from Broadway.

The World’s Steepest Street? Hidden among the South Hills of Pittsburgh is one hill to rule them all. Sources claim Canton Avenue, which shoots off Coast Avenue, itself a large hill, has a gradient between 33 and 37 percent (sources disagree) and might be steeper than Baldwin Avenue in New Zealand, the current and official Guinness World Record holder. This street is borderline dangerously steep; instead of a sidewalk, there are stairs, and the snow plow doesn’t go here.

Unless you want an open container citation, though, don’t BYOB to this one.

Just around the corner, Broadway Avenue’s a great place to get “out of town,” in under 10 minutes. Oft overlooked, it makes one wonder: what else is hiding down the trolley line?

Beechview has some great summer events:

Taste of Beechview
Saturday, June 20, 2 to 5 p.m. along Broadway Boulevard in the public parking lot near the Fallowfield Light Rail Station. Visit for local restaurants, artisans, artists, and live music.

Beechview Farmer’s Market
Every Thursday from June 11 until October 22 from 4-7 p.m. in the public parking lot near the Fallowfield Light Rail Station.

Photography by George Mendel

Read the three other stories in this series

Three More Stops — the North Shore [6]

Three More Stops — Mt. Washington [7]

Three More Stops — The Last Installment [8]