As a Pittsburgher, I have mixed feelings about Shadyside.
On one hand, it is definitely a fun part of the city to take visitors to show off that fact that Pittsburgh is a "real place". When my friends would diss the legitimacy of PGH I would drag them over there, point out the big houses and make them walk down Walnut.
On the other hand, it is too flashy. I don't want it to be the representation of "cool Pittsburgh." I have a general distrust for the authenticity of anywhere that has a L'occitane, even in my own dear city. That is seriously the rule I live by when I travel - avoid L'occitane.
The stretch of South Highland Ave between 5th Ave and Center works as an eastern border of Shadyside, creeping into East Liberty. The area has a lot of popular restaurants, as does East Liberty.
I have spent a lot of time on South Highland in my lifetime.... mostly because of the ice cream shop that was once located there, Oh Yeah! Ice Cream. This ice cream shop was a magical place where you could mix almost 100 different toppings (nutella, captain crunch, bacon, ect.) into your ice cream. The ice cream was nothing special, but the topping options were the coolest thing in the world to me.
When Oh Yeah! closed in 2015, I stopped going to South Highland (sad truth). I don't even drive down it that often because there is often construction or incompetent drivers and I can't handle either of those things.
However! This week I visited South Highland Ave for lunch at Noodlehead. DAMN - shit has changed! Where have I been?
This street has completely changed from what I had remembered! The tiny shops near the bus stop are completely empty - something new will probably go in them soon.
Restaurants turnover is a pretty common occurrence in Pittsburgh, especially in this area. The restaurant 'Buffalo Blues' has closed and is gutted. An Urban Tap will go into the space eventually. This will be the second Urban Tap in the city, the first being on the South Side of the city. The restaurant boasts almost 40 beers on draft and fancy bar food.
I am sure it will be wildly successful - I just fear the douchebags it will bring to the area.
Somethings have changed less dramatically. In fact, a former Thai food restaurant (Typhoon) is now... a Thai street food restaurant (Noodlehead).
Noodlehead has a much smaller menu than Typhoon, serving around 10 different (but similar) noodle dishes that come out fast. A meal here is easy to fit into a lunch break if you work in the area. Prices range from $6-$9.
The good lunch deal probably helps the restaurant stay busy during the day. Additionally, when I walked by at 9pm on a Thursday it was packed. Hopefully this will mean a better fate for Noodlehead than Typhoon.
Also and an ice cream shop is now.... a different ice cream shop! Oh Yeah! Ice Cream is now Millie's Homemade Ice Cream. Wohooo!
This, I am more excited about. As I mentioned above, I loved Oh Yeah!, but the ice cream was nothing to write home about. It was all about the unique list of toppings to mix in.
Millie's is all about quality ice cream. Chad Townsand was formerly the executive chef at the former Pittsburgh hotspot restaurant, Salt of the Earth. When Chad left Salt of the Earth in 2014 he considered opening his own restaurant.... but got preoccupied with the idea of providing Pittsburghers with delicious homemade ice cream - something few people in the city were doing.
They started small - selling to restaurants and creating a CSA type service for the ice cream - and it quickly became a hit!
Fast forward 2 years and here we are, Millie's now occupies Oh Yeah!'s former spot on South Highland Ave.
Let me tell you - this ice cream does not disappoint. The flavor options are unique and DELICIOUS - caramel, coffee, blueberry with lime curd and graham crackers.... I was thinking about them all day.
It is ice cream. Do I really have to convince you to go try it for yourself? $4 for two scoops of gourmet ice cream - are you still sitting there on your phone? What are you doing? Go get some!
Thanks Millie's... you are too close to my work for comfort, so I am sure I will see you again soon!
One last note: A cute coffee shop called "Adda" has also opened on South Highland. I haven't been yet. Looks adorable, and I like the name . Again because it is really close to my work and sells caffeine, I am sure I will visit soon and give yinz the low down!