Video via Andrew Rush

This April, we brought Best Bites to the Strip. Your favorite tasting tour took to the streets of one of Pittsburgh’s best walkable neighborhoods, and it was a success!

Our guests’ feedback is in, and we’re ready to share the People’s Choice awards for Best Bite, Best Drink, and Best Tasting Experience of both the Upper Strip and Central Strip tours.

Upper Tour

The Upper Tour of the Strip spanned a wide range of restaurants and drink stops with everything from whiskey and wine to pizza and ribs! Some stops included Pane è Pronto, Pizzeria Davide, Wigle Whiskey, and Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle.

Best Bite

The People’s Choice for Best Bite of the Upper Tour was CADENCE+ Cellars Speakeasy. They served a delicious sample of Mini Beef Wellington that had guests’ mouths watering!

CADENCE+ Cellars is a modern-industrial speakeasy and restaurant in the Strip District that features live music events and has a fully stocked bar of wine, whiskey, beer, and more. Some other hits from their dinner menu include their Kurobuta Pork Chop, Mala Braised Short Rib, and Crispy Skin Salmon.

Best Drink

Kingfly Spirits had the People’s Choice for Best Drink of the Upper Tour. They served a refreshing “Kingfly Gin Julep” which was a mix of Kingfly Gin, Grapefruit Cordial, Grenadine, Honey, and Lime. They also brewed up a “Coffee Old Fashioned,” which consisted of Kingfly Blended Bourbon & Coffee Liqueur, Panela, and Bitters.

Kingfly Spirits is a craft distillery, cocktail bar, and luxury events venue that prides itself on being a transforming experience, like the distilling process itself. They have plenty of special events to keep the experience fresh, such as live performances, candle making workshops, “Doggo Days,” and salsa nights!

Best Tasting Experience

The clear winner for the People’s Choice for Best Tasting Experience of the Upper Tour was CADENCE+ Cellars Speakeasy! Not only did they have the Best Bite, they also gave guests an unforgettable experience.

One guest said, “Love this event! So many great choices it’s hard to vote for just one of each. But CADENCE+ went above and beyond with upscale food/drink, presentation, live music and super friendly staff.”

The folks at CADENCE+ always provide a unique and high-quality experience with the underground, prohibition era feel combined with their award-winning service and upscale food selections. Guests said, “The Speakeasy tour was fantastic!” and “CADENCE+ was incredible…presentation/display, speed, food, tours, staff were all amazing.”

One guest mentioned that they never knew about CADENCE+, but their group went back after the tour to get more food and drinks! Thankfully, guests can experience The Cellars with larger groups of friends and family too – they offer private tasting rooms for intimate social events, as well as an 150-person event space that’s perfect for networking events, birthday parties, bridal showers, and small weddings.

Central Tour

The Central Tour was a more condensed tour of the Strip and featured a great variety of restaurants and drink stops. Our stops offered beverages like beers and lattes, a taste of the sea with poke bowls and sushi, and classics like pepperoni rolls and Primanti’s capicola and cheese sandwiches. Some stops included Kaya, Soluna Coffee & Mezcal Bar, The Tavern, and de Fer Coffee & Tea.

Best Bite

Papa J’s Twin Plaza was the winner of the People’s Choice for Best Bite of the Central Tour! Guests loved being able to choose their own slice of pizza to taste and thought the staff was “very friendly and welcoming.” Some of the 14 Roman pizza cuts offered were Margherita, Incredible White, Sweet Sausage, Zucchini, and Red Hot Buffalo Chicken.

Papa J’s is an Italian favorite in Pittsburgh. Previously located in Carnegie, their newer Strip location balances tradition with technology – owner Michael Troiani boasts that they have the “best gelato machine in the world, best pizza oven in the world” and “super-intelligent” pasta equipment. Some favorites from their menu include the Carnegie Carbonara, the Chicken Pamigiano, and their many flavors of Gelato (and Gelato Cocktails!).

One guest said, “Papa J’s was the best…very organized…very polite…food was great. They actually thanked us for coming.”

Best Drink

The People’s Choice for Best Drink of the Central Tour was The PA Market! They served a delicious Blue Peachy Spritz, which was a mix of Pomegranate Peach Tea Infused Vodka, Blueberry and Peach Syrup, White Cranberry Peach Juice, White Wine, and Bubbles.

The PA Market prides itself on being ‘a taste of Europe in the Strip.’ They are a European-inspired market with two floors of food vendors, cocktail bars, and a library of wine! They even have a Wine Club that gives members access to unique, hand-picked wines from smaller wineries around the world. Visit The PA Market for a relaxed dining atmosphere, and keep an eye on their educational classes to learn how to make your own cocktails.

Best Tasting Experience

The Best Tasting Experience of the Central Tour was Mancini’s Bakery! They did an amazing demonstration of their bread making process and Signature Twist. They served slices of pepperoni rolls with marinara sauce.

Mancini’s was established in 1926 when James Mancini began baking 100 loaves of bread every night, delivering it to customers the next morning. He began a small bakery in McKees Rocks that has been passed down through generations of the Mancini family. They bake 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, making over 10,000 loaves a day in their two locations in McKees Rocks and the Strip District!

The reviews are in, too!

The Made in PGH crew is so glad the Strip District tours were a success, despite the cold and misty weather. We’re happy to hear and share some feedback about the tours. Here’s what the people had to say!

Images via Andrew Rush. Quotes via Best Bites guest survey.

The next Best Bites is taking place in Lawrenceville on Saturday, June 24th, 2023! Save the date and enter your info below to get added to the Best Bites email list. You don’t want to miss out on this!

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This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Caitlin McDonough

Caitlin is a native Pittsburgher who helps out with Made in PGH behind the scenes. She loves to thrift and antique hunt, always looking for hidden gems in the Burgh. She's a lover of pickles and pierogies, ciders and sours, and of course, the Pirates and Pens.

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