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Posts Tagged ‘pittsburgh coffee’

Switching Positions – Crazy Mocha

September 12, 2016 Leave a comment

cr-first-day-picAlrighty, then ….. for all those loving to jump to conclusions, this article isn’t about making lifestyle choices or anything of the such.

Sorry to disappoint y’all … so ya can jump back from whatever conclusion you landed on (or skip reading this post and pop in your “Office Space” VHS tape .. which will probably be more entertaining).

Anywayz (we’re adding “z’s” to then end of lots of words to appeal more the Millennial generation) :-),

The pic is the view of the new Crazy Mocha store in Sewickley, PA. Now, for a SWB article, does this have a point at all?

Yep.

The blog, when it was on Apple’s web hosting site (yeeeeaaaarrrrs ago) was started with it’s first post in April of 2006 and the posts for years after being written at the Crazy Mocha in Southside when the company had a few stores to speak of. At least two other national blogs and twenty to thirty long time running local blogs were started that year in that Crazy Mocha location.

Now, the newest gem of the store chain – the relocated site in Sewickley PA site has opened for it’s first day with the chain now having way over 30 stores in multiple states (not bad for a local Pittsburgh company, right?)

In honor of Crazy Mocha providing such a beautiful new store, SWB thought it might be a good time to re-kick Screaming Weasel (not to mention with some inspiration from the latest literal bridge burning of the Liberty Bridge).

Check out the new store if you get a chance – even if you don’t live in the area … it is well worth the stop in to another location to celebrate and support a local company.

If you can’t get out to Sewickley – stop at another Crazy Mocha and tell them you saw the post!

-SW

Marty’s Market – new site at an old friend’s house

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Marty’s Market – 23rd and Smallman

…. if you recognize the address, it used to be the Right By Nature market, which just didn’t make it. We were fans of that store in the beginning, but near the end it just wasn’t the same.

Marty’s seems to be playing a better game … so keep tuned as it grows, as SWB feels you may be pleasantly surprised.  And, yes …. there is a Marty.

Marty’s was conceived as a business in the businesses of helping change the local food system, and having “food made of food”.  Sound familiar.  Not really, right?  Most of the food businesses are in the business of bottom line only …. not caring whether you eat, nor whether you can still fit though the door of your house.  The people at Marty’s actually care, and that shows in how the business is evolving.

To those those who like the mainstream stuff, we apologize, as we are elated that at no time will you ever see Marty’s contracting out the cafe’ to McDip’s.  The food at Marty’s will actually be good for you.

As we said, we shopped at and liked Right By Nature in the beginning, but as they compromised their beliefs, things became confusing, and as a result they eventually went away.

We don’t feel that Marty’s will at any point, go away. SWB sees a much better business model in place.  Things like starting small, and not opening with a huge bang allow the folks at Marty’s to really tweak things to what customers want.  With trained staff on food systems you get at least a few highly knowledgeable staff on site to answer questions.  With an excellent chef, there are no compromises on cafe’ food. With perfectly chosen coffee, your morning brew from Marty’s coffee bar will put a smile on your face on even the worst day.

We like what we see and will give you updates at this new site evolves.

Link: Marty’s Market

-SWB

Review: Big Dog Coffee

April 28, 2010 Leave a comment

A shot of Dig Dog Coffee … click it to go there.

It took us a while, but we got here.

I always love checking out the privately owned coffee venues in the area.  It’s where you really get a taste of the community (along with the local beans).

We visited around lunch time.  Parking was available, but tight on the street.  Additional spaces available at the SouthSide Works garages very close to the venue. Big Dog is easy to find and very accessible and it’s definitely inviting.

We ordered a typical latte with caramel, nothing fancy.  It was quickly made with great service and it tasted great.  The atmosphere inside was extremely welcoming (it was like walking into your house).  Not load, relaxing music (but not typical local radio) playing, and extremely clean.

The pricing was extremely reasonable – either cheaper or in line with typical pricing at other coffee spots.  We didn’t get to try the food, but as reported by others, it’s great too.

The representation Big Dog gives on it’s website is very accurate (if you like the website, you’ll love the place).  They are also involved in the community – which is a major plus for a local business.

Free wireless – Yes, but they will give you a password at the counter.

We will shortly add this to SWB Recommends, as it’s definitely a go to place to relax and sip some hot java.

Update:  We tried the stuffed pepper soup — excellent!!!!!!

-SWB

PS – If anyone has had a change to have the food, please leave a review comment.

Review: Uncommon Grounds Cafe

May 12, 2009 1 comment

uncommongroundsCapture from The Uncommon Grounds Cafe website, click it to go there. Another excellent Cafe opened up, and there are two things extraordinary about it: 1. It’s a Church Army project, and 2.It’s in Aliquippa. Now, before you go click on to the next article right away, muttering in your head “there’s no way I’m going to anything in Aliquippa without a 9mm in my pocket, nor am I going anywhere to get preached at” … listen up a bit – this place may change your mind, and may change Aliquippa.

First when you see the front and realize the work done to the building (and the fact that it was done mostly by volunteers), it will quickly drop your jaw. When you walk in and find something that Shadyside, Mount Lebanon, and Southside Works wished they had – you will end up staying a while.

When you sit in The Uncommon Grounds Cafe, you look out the window at the beautiful playground across the street and out the side doors at the mini-park (which is to be expanded in the future) and your mindset is no longer in Aliquippa. When you taste the quality of the food and coffee, you no longer see a line cook behind the counter … you see a chef and a barista. When you notice the inviting friendliness of all of the people (not just a few looking for contacts) you start marking in your mind this is a place visit again. When you don’t get preached at, you experience the reality of the people there. When you go back a few more times, you notice a community being reborn, not from stimulus funds, but from themselves and their beliefs. Even if you don’t believe the way they do, you still become “part of the family”.

The entertainment consists of spoken word, and excellent local musicians (they are always looking for more … so give them a buzz). Entertainment here is family oriented, but not cheesy, and everything is very “kid safe”. In other words, you can take your kids there without worry of “alternative poetry” and such that you will have to explain when you get home and still hang out at a very cool place. The music is not hardcore Christian, and not lame. When SWB visited we were treated we an extremely good version of Solsbury Hill in the way Glass Moon did the song (yes, I’m aging myself here, but give me a break, and help me push my wheelchair in the door if you see me at UGC).

There are a few characters to be found at Uncommon Grounds – one of the best and most delightful is John Stanley (an import from Australia), who started the place (and incidentally held it up as part of it fell down). Click Here for the Uncommon Ground Cafe Story story to date.

Looking at this establishment purely from a “secular” point of view we give it the following ratings:

  • Food quality and originality – 4.5 out of 5
  • Atmosphere – 4.7 out of 5
  • Entertainment – 4.5 out of 5
  • Beverage Selection (all non-alcoholic) – 4.5 out of 5
  • Service – 5 out of 5
  • Overall – 4.64 out of 5

And yes, we’re comparing them to the cool places where all of the “seen and be seen” people hang out.

On a side note: If you have ever visited the main road of Aliquippa, you can easily imagine the next Shadyside, maybe a little more affordable and family friendly. The parking access is excellent, sidewalks wide (great Tuscan outdoor cafe’ potential), and close to major highways. This group may have kicked off the next hot spot.

If you are not into the “church project” aspect of UGC, keep in mind they go through great lengths to support local businesses (and they serve Kiva Han coffee … although I may have to work on John to sneak some La Prima in there too)- so you may want to look at them from that angle. The people at The Uncommon Grounds Cafe are some of the few that do honestly good work without expectations of reward from others. This is the type of community venture you support, simply because it does take root.

The Uncommon Grounds Cafe will be listed under SWB Recommends

-SWB

PS – If you don’t want to drive to Aliquippa, please keep in mind this project is supported by donations. Click Here to go to their website and send ’em a fin (or more) … it all builds up.

BTW – this is the type of place you visit, end up saying “Wow!”, and come back to every week. Give it a try.

Coffee Addict

March 6, 2009 Leave a comment

…. that’s me.

And I’m not even tryin’ to fix the issue 😉

Anyway …. I just picked up the La Prima “Right By Nature” dark blend today in the Strip District – so I’ll have a review coming up shortly. Right By Nature in the Cork Factory Parking Garage highlights locally roasted coffee. The also have a great line of organic foods.

Come to think of it …. we be in the game if someone would just figure out how to get a car to run off of spent coffee grounds!

-SWB

PS – Coffee is brown, and so is what comes out of my pets ….. I hope you aren’t reading this line during lunch.

….. when you notice senseless juvi humor here you can tell SWB is trying to expand it’s readership.

A New Coffee Town Named Pittsburgh

February 26, 2009 Leave a comment

expressowindow

One industry is really picking up in Pittsburgh. Coffee.

Now, I should really pick on these people, because in my day you just poured it. You might have also been able to get a donut in a coffee house, or coffee in a donut shop. Things have changed.

Today, coffee and things related have really grown into an art form. Everything from the selection of beans to a roasting style. The final brewed product has arrived at a level that parallels much gourmet food production. We’ve hosted the best ever attended regional Barista competition, and considering that coffee is an international attraction itself adds to the tourist pull for Pittsburgh. The coffee houses have gone from the hole-in-the-wall coffee shop that my father once owned in the South Hills Junction to ones comparable to four and five star restaurants.

One of the amazing things to change is that no longer is the Mr Coffee machine the only way people are brewing coffee, many are going back to the proper and/or traditional way of using a French Press and the like. People are actually buying locally roasted Pittsburgh Coffee and not just the warehouse stocked major brands. Although this doesn’t seem much to many ….. it can be a huge industry for the local region. It can also spawn multiple sub-industries in the areas of entertainment, service, etc.

My favorite sites to visit in Pittsburgh are Kiva Han and Crazy Mocha – both Pittsburgh venues that I prefer to support. 21st Street Coffee is also a wonderful establishment to visit in the trendy Strip District of Pittsburgh. A very recent article in The Post-Gazette really shows and highlights how the coffee industry has grown in Pittsburgh to the point where someday we will probably claim leadership in that industry. China Millman will also add to his dining column in the Post-Gazette in print and The Buzz on the the PG’s website online.

No longer is the coffee house a place for just old people to gather, or a place for teenagers to make minimum wage, or a hole-in-the-wall in a community – it is now a place of talent, friendship, skill, culinary aromas, family, and careers.

The fast growing coffee industry in Pittsburgh is proof that this city will re-invent itself in ways we have never thought of nor expected.

-SWB

P.S. Don’t be cheap …. tip your Barista.

…. AGAIN … don’t be cheap …. tip your Barista.

Links

Coffee Tree – Pittsburgh Coffee Roasters with multiple locations.

Kiva Han – Pittsburgh Coffee House and Roaster in Oakland.

Crazy Mocha – Pittsburgh Coffee House with multiple locations.

Voluto Coffee – Coffee House on Penn Avenue in Garfield.

La Prima – Coffee Roasters and Coffee House with multiple locations in Pittsburgh.