Pittsburgh is a vibrant city full of shops, restaurants, and newly-opened activity hubs. This summer, explore some of the city’s Black-owned businesses that offer unique products and a firm grounding in the community.
With so much to see and do in Pittsburgh—especially during summer—it’s challenging to narrow down your options. If you’d like to spend an afternoon getting a bite to eat and browsing local shops, try focusing on Black-owned businesses that offer stellar products with a community focus. Here are seven great locations to get you started!
If you’re in the mood for some of the best barbecue in town, head to Showcase BBQ—and get there early so you don’t miss out on your favorite items! With everything from full chicken dinners with sides to quick lunch sandwiches (all at very reasonable prices), Showcase BBQ offers a menu that everyone in your group will love. Make sure to order extra sauce to take home after the meal—it’s addictive!
Looking for a place to stop in and grab a bit of dessert? Try MadDez Sweetz in the heart of the city for “Sweets that makes the Soul go Mad.” You’ll find a wide variety of homemade options here, including breads, cookies, muffins, and cakes. You can order many items to fit dietary restrictions, including gluten-free, vegan, and diabetic. Visiting the shop will give you a unique glimpse into the creativity and whimsy behind this chef’s baking vision, one that she honed right here in Pittsburgh. By sourcing local ingredients and serving her beloved community, MadDez Sweetz truly gives every customer a sweet experience.
Coffee spots are a dime a dozen these days, but Griff’s Grounds Coffé offers a full coffee experience you won’t want to miss. This coffeehouse features French-pressed coffee and delicious tea (all made-to-order) in various unique flavors and is more than just a spot to stop. It’s a Coffé. The family-owned business designed the space for customers to stay and enjoy their drinks with friends and the community, so make sure to have enough time to chat with neighbors when you stop by. Events held at the Coffé, as well as appearances at gatherings around town, make Griff’s Grounds a staple of the local food and beverage community.
Now a staple of Pittsburgh’s North Side, Café on the Corner started with a strong will to help revitalize the neighborhood and provide opportunities for community members to learn about food service and hospitality. The owners put their hearts into not only the food they make (delicious sandwiches, soups, salads, and soul food), but they also dedicate time to their non-profit, Kitchen of Grace. You’ll find plenty of neighborhood “regulars” when you visit since the atmosphere and food are so inviting!
Looking for something creative to do during the summer heat? Head to Kiln -N- Time to paint pottery, take a canvas-painting class, learn glass fusing or wheel throwing, and more! The studio requires reservations but is available for kids and adults of all ages. You can even book it for parties! Immerse yourself in an atmosphere that cultivates individual creativity and artistic expression. Plus, learn a new skill or spend time with family and friends in this unique space.
Stop by the Hill District and visit Ujamaa Collective’s retail artisan boutique for a wide variety of locally and internationally made clothing, jewelry, literature, household goods, and more. The pieces here are sourced through fair trade agreements and connections within the local and global Africana communities. More than just a retail location, however, Ujamaa Collective is a non-profit with a mission: “to act as a catalyst to advance Africana Women by providing a fair trade marketplace for cultural, artistic and entrepreneurial exchange…rooted in our values of meaningful work, creativity, community, and wellness.” Enjoy an outing surrounded by beautiful artwork that supports a worthy cause!
There’s nothing quite like browsing the shelves of a local bookstore—most are cozy and packed full of the owners’ favorite reads alongside recommendations from other staff and community members. The Tiny Bookstore is “Pittsburgh’s smallest independent bookstore.” Still, it offers a vast selection of new and used books, collectibles, and other gifts. Visitors will appreciate the curated reading lists for various topics, including the Black Joy section that features “uplifting books that celebrate Black History, Black Creators, and Black Achievement.” After a prolonged closure due to COVID-19, the bookstore is set to re-open to the public for in-person browsing, so call for available times.
These businesses showcase the best that Pittsburgh has to offer. Take advantage of your free time this summer to visit!