The Best Places to Eat Around PPG Paints Arena
In Pittsburgh, our seasons are defined by the sports we’re watching. And right now, we’re deep into Penguins season. That means that you’re probably spending at least a little bit of time in the PPG Paints Arena. And while the Uptown arena is located in a part of town that doesn’t exactly scream “best food in the city,” there are still a few choice places within walking distance to grab a bite to eat before a game, or one of the arena’s other events.
Z-Best is the best. The super-tiny barbecue spot has some of the city’s greatest smoked chicken and fall-off-the-bone ribs, and the Southern-style sides, like mac & cheese, collard greens, and fresh cornbread are an added bonus. Located just down the street from the arena, Z-Best does most of its business through takeout, but has tables available for pre-game dinners, too.
Though the Souper Bowl is best known for its bar, don’t overlook it as a go-to spot for fueling up on your way to the arena. It's got a large menu of traditional bar food (think burgers, hoagies, and wraps), but we’re really in love with the crisp wings, which are available in a number of signature sauces, from hot Thai chili to a house mix of BBQ and Buffalo sauces.
Tucked inside the Hotel Monaco, you’ll find a cozy, upscale tavern, perfect for an elegant dinner or drinks before the game. The menu has plenty of elevated gastropub picks, from a New York strip steak with duck fat fries, to hearty lamb stew served in a cast iron pan. Don't sleep on the bar's deep selection of house cocktails or any number of regional brews.
Downtown’s Sienna Mercato is a bit of a hike from the arena (plan on at least a 15-minute walk), but that shouldn’t dissuade you from stopping by before or after a PPG Paints Arena event. You’ll find three floors of mouthwatering Italian food here, from Emporio: A Meatball Joint on the first floor, Mezzo, with pasta, pizza, and charcuterie on the second floor, and Il Tetto, the excellent and picturesque third-floor rooftop bar.
There’s plenty of Southern influence going on at this game day restaurant, located just across the street from the arena, like fried green tomatoes and a ‘Po Boy menu with oysters, shrimp, and catfish. Buford’s Kitchen also has a build-your-own burger menu with everything you need to make a one-of-a-kind creation, and milkshake options that will give your sweet tooth a thrill. We especially love the Peaches ‘n Cream shake, studded with pecans and topped with peach compote and cobbler crumbs.
This no-frills pizza shop is the perfect place to grab a slice or a pie before any PPG Paints Arena event. It’s on the way, it’s incredibly cheap, and the hoagies (classic Italian is our favorite) are two-handed affairs that will leave you full well into the third period. Added bonus? You’ll find a full bar, so you can grab a beer or two before the game.
If you’re already in the arena and find yourself a little hungry, head up to the upper level for Burgatory’s PPG Paints Arena outpost. You’ll find a selection of gourmet burgers, sandwiches, fries, and shakes. The menu is slightly smaller than the regular restaurant options, but it includes that insanely good chicken sandwich with fresh guacamole, and a ‘psychedelic’ Portobello mushroom burger with smoked gouda and roasted red peppers.
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