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#1 Zekes Coffee -East Liberty
6015 Penn Ave
Zeke’s was my first coffee stop in the Burgh, mainly due to it’s super close location to my work. The barista’s here are a friendly, knowledgeable, eclectic bunch that are happy to steer you in the right coffee-making-decision. Zekes get’s high praise for it’s small batch blends that they roast just down the street and for their Amazing array of snacks and pastries. (I recommend the meat pies and snickerdoodle cookie…or the shortbread…okay anything with sugar).
I typically will grab a cold brew here which is really nice, but their caramel latte is also a solid choice.
If you like high quality coffee and made-from-scratch pastries at a reasonable price in a no frills store, this is a great coffee stop for you.
It has a picnic table and some other small outdoor seating, as well as a few indoor seats as well with easy access outlets. You can buy one of their many blends to take home with you, or even one of the empty burlap coffee sacks to decorate your home in true coffee-addict fashion.
They also serve a nice variety of loose leaf teas.
Parking is tricky with only a few parallel spots on Penn Ave, but there are small lots scattered nearby.
Zekes is open Mon-Sat 7am-7pm and Sunday from 8-6pm.
If you’re not that familiar with East Liberty, it’s just down the street from Target, Bakery Square, and Shadyside’s Millies, Casbah, etc.
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La Prima Espresso Co.- Strip District
205 21st St.
La Prima is about as classic as it gets. If you’re missing the old-world magnificence of Italian crafted espressos than go no further. Located in the heart of the Strip District, La Prima is a favorite in town, with many other coffee shops sourcing either their coffee or their espresso machines from them. It’s also attached to a pastry and pizza shop which has passable cannoli’s and mind blowing slices…so that’s always a bonus.
If you’re into flavored coffees and frosty blended concoctions then this may not be the right spot for your caffeine fix. La Prima’s menu is succinct. Coffee, shot of espresso, cappuccino, and a few others round out the menu. Fresh squeezed orange juice is available for those that haven’t the fortitude for a quality shot of liquid gold.
La Prima also is a constant presence in the community, partnering with programs to promote the instruction and use of Italian as well as promoting sustainability and green coffee sourcing.
The best aspects of La Prima, apart from their amazing espresso, would be their small selection of tables out front. On a busy day in the Strip, there’s nothing better than snagging one of these prized spots to sip and people watch in the sun. Inside has only a few standing tables only. No outlets here so make sure your devices are fully charged up before you visit, or put down the phone and join in on one of the card or domino games run by it’s faithful Italian-American customers.
Parking can be a challenge during the strip’s busy hours (lunch and the weekends) but if you time it right you’ll have no issue grabbing a cup on your way to work or around town.
La Prima is open:
Monday- Wednesday: 6-4,
and Sunday from 7-4.
If you’re not sure where exactly it is on the strip it’s down the street from the catholic Church on Smallman street, across from the Wes Banco bank.