Eat: A few more meals at the Pittsburgh Public Market

By now, you’ve likely heard that the Pittsburgh Public Market is moving. In late 2015, the Strip District market, which houses an array of food vendors and local artisans, got the news that their landlord would not be renewing the lease. It was a blow: after all, the Pittsburgh Public Market had only occupied its new home for a couple of years, moving from the produce terminal to its current Penn Avenue spot in late 2013.

Right now, the future of the market is uncertain. The Market Council is actively searching for a new location, but no deals have yet been struck. “We are hopeful for a smooth transition to a new spot, but it is likely that we’ll have some downtime in between,” explains Jilly MacDowell, who manages marketing and promotions for the market.

Though a lot is up in the air, the Pittsburgh Public Market will remain in its current location through the end of April. And if you haven’t stopped by recently, now is the time. The Pittsburgh Public Market boasts a diverse lineup of vendors, from market mainstays like East End Brewing to brand-new additions like Warrior King Pastries, a Ligonier-based bakery that specializes in classic French treats. Options are unique—The Colombian Spot, for instance, is the only place for Colombian food in the city.

I’ve heard some argue that the Pittsburgh Public Market is unnecessary, as the Strip District itself is one big market. I would respectfully disagree. A large indoor public market can be a huge piece of a strong local economy. The Pittsburgh Public Market provides a place for new entrepreneurs to get their footing or an additional retail location for established businesses. The market is also a space for business owners to pool resources and share ideas, and collaborative projects (like an affogato made with Caffe D’Amore espresso and Pittsburgh Ice Cream Co. ice cream) pop up regularly.

Whatever the future holds for the Pittsburgh Public Market, there are plenty of reasons to go check it out right now. Head to their website for hours and a full list of vendors.

In other Strip District shopping news, Marty’s Market announced yesterday on Facebook that they have closed. “We have had to make the extremely difficult decision to close our doors,” reads the post from Marty’s, a market, restaurant and coffee bar that opened in 2012. “All of us at Marty’s Market would like to thank the Pittsburgh community and our wonderful customers, farmers and vendors for an amazing three and a half years!” Some have already suggested that the Pittsburgh Public Market should take over that space, though whether that is a viable possibility remains to be seen.

Drink: Bloody #9 at Spirit

If the words “brunch club” don’t set your mind and stomach to whirling, then I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do for you. But if that sounds like a club you can commit to, then Spirit has some big news for you.

Yesterday, the Lawrenceville hotspot hosted their first brunch. Spirit, known for late-night dance parties and killer thin crust pizza, now counts a wildly affordable brunch among their ever-evolving list of weekly happenings. For just $11, you can chow down on endless pizza and brunch options like biscuits and gravy, granola and quiche. And unlike plenty of brunches, where vegans are stuck with black coffee and dry toast, Spirit is taking pains to cater to all diets. “There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options cooked by real vegetarians,” explains Chef Ben Houck in a press release.

A la carte drink options will include bottomless coffee (roasted on site), fresh-squeezed juices and a changing menu of bloody marys and mimosas. The Bloody #9, for instance, features a house mix made with yellow tomato, horseradish and caraway seed. Brunch at Spirit will also feature a rotating lineup of DJs who will play appropriately chill music, perfect for nursing a hangover and catching up with friends.

Oh, and about that Brunch Club: after five brunches, members of the club get a free brunch and an official Spirit Brunch Club t-shirt. As mama always said, the only thing better than an $11 pizza and brunch buffet is a free pizza and brunch buffet.

Do: East-End Food Co-op’s Winterfest

This Saturday, East End Food Co-op is hosting Winterfest, their annual fundraiser that benefits the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. For about the cost of a sandwich, you can enjoy food, music and more while supporting a great cause.

Winterfest takes place at the Hosanna House in Wilkinsburg from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 23rd. Tickets are $7 for co-op members, $10 for non-members and just $3 for children. The Co-op Café is providing a light menu of vegan and vegetarian snacks and desserts, and other vendors will be on hand with additional food. All food and non-alcoholic drinks are included in the ticket price, as well as one complimentary raffle ticket. Additional tickets, which can win you prizes donated by local businesses and organizations, will be available for purchase.

For an extra $5, attendees can gain access to the open bar, which will include wine and several beers from East End Brewing Company. DJs will be on hand to keep the music flowing and the family event offers kid-friendly activities like face painting and a photo booth. (We featured Winterfest, along with lots of other great events, in our “Top Family Adventures in Pittsburgh This January.”)

Click here to learn more and purchase tickets.