Get out of that Starbucks rut with these Pittsburgh standouts

La Prima provides rich coffee located in the Strip District.

Anne Hampton

Throughout Pittsburgh, there are many great places to eat, get a coffee, or grab something sweet. But out of the many restaurants, bars, cafes, candy shops, and ice cream places, there are four downtown spots that are must-try Pittsburgh staples.

La Prima is an Italian espresso and cappuccino bar. The small cafe is an extraordinary Pittsburgh gem when it comes to purchasing rich coffee.

The freshly brewed americanos are full of flavor and the cappuccinos are light and creamy. La Prima also sells espresso bean blends for those who love the taste but prefer to brew their coffee themselves.

Coop de Ville is located in the heart of the Strip District and serves as the perfect hangout spot. While the restaurant is most well-known for its sandwiches, there is more to it than just the food.
The coffee bar, duckpin bowling alley, and arcade give customers plenty of reasons to keep coming back.

The coffee bar has unique drinks to try, such as “Coca Puff” and “Reese’s Cup” lattes. They also offer an array of fresh-baked goods, ranging from muffins to cheesecakes.

The duckpin bowling alley is absolutely adorable. Unlike most bowling alleys that strive to look futuristic or modern, Coop de Villes’ duckpin alley sits in a quiet corner of the restaurant and holds a classic 1960s aesthetic.

The arcade is arguably the best part of Coop de Ville. It contains many old video games like Pac-Man, Street Fighter, and Space Invaders. The vintage arcade gives a new generation of kids exposure to games popular in the ’80s and early ’90s. Coop de Ville is a great spot for family bonding, with a variety of activities.

Another fun Pittsburgh restaurant is Moonlit Burgers. Similar to Coop de Ville, Moonlit Burgers is loved for more than just its food. There are two Moonlit Burgers locations, one on Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh and another on Potomac Avenue in Dormont.

The restaurant decor makes the place feel like eating in an outer-space diner. Both locations are completely decked out with neon lights and bright signs that make for a fun dining experience.

Not only does the restaurant have good hamburgers, but they also serve delicious chicken fingers, shoestring fries, and soft-serve ice cream, customizable with a variety of flavors and toppings to choose from.

Moonlit also accommodates different dietary lifestyles by offering meatless burgers and gluten-free buns.

Grandpa Joe’s is a candy shop inspired by Ronald Dahl’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The shop holds a variety of candy, ice creams, sodas, and merchandise. The store has tons of rare products that customers would not find in a regular store including retro candies and snacks from different countries.

The candy buffet is one of the highlights of the store. Those who can’t make up their minds can purchase a small box for $5 and fill it up with sweets of their choice – giving shoppers an opportunity to try an array of candies.

For many people, their first instinct would be to find a Starbucks or Eat n’ Park when looking for a place to eat, but there are also many underrated and overlooked restaurants and cafes in our city. Diners can find a good restaurant anywhere in Pittsburgh if they take the time to look, and these four places are just a few of the many lesser-known spots that take dining to the next level.