Whimsy on Fifth

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A one stop shop for all fashion, home décor, jewelry, gourmet treats, custom gift baskets, upscale resale and retail – or just quirky trinkets! – Whimsy on Fifth is your place. Located at 3402 Fifth Avenue in Oakland, Whimsy on Fifth is an eclectic, fun and whimsical place to shop for some much needed retail therapy. Owner, Jennifer Travers Skidmore, opened its doors on January 23, 2017, and welcomes everyone to drop by her new boutique. “We’re a one-stop-shop for all gift shopping, balloons, wrapping and celebratory items… If you give us a notice ahead of time, we’re even happy to get things ready for events!” said Jennifer. Whimsy on Fifth even plans on offering flowers and monogramming services in the near future.

Jennifer’s husband previously worked at Carlow University and her children attend Carlow’s campus elementary school, so she would pass by the 3402 Fifth Avenue storefront very often prior to making it her business. “The space called me from a distance, so I asked the Sciullis next door at Sciulli’s Pizza about it and they were happy to give me a tour!” said Jennifer. “Oakland is a really neat community with all types of people and professions, and Whimsy aims to capture the large walking demographic that Oakland has,” she continued.
Whimsy on Fifth hopes to have an official grand opening sometime in the spring. Jennifer also currently attends Harvard University studying for her Masters in Museum Studies.

When asked what her favorite part of the Oakland commercial district was, Jennifer responded with “3402 Fifth Avenue!”

Whimsy on Fifth is open:
M-F
10am – 6pm
Hours subject to change; follow Whimsy on Facebook.

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Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza

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Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza, located on 3619 Forbes Avenue in Oakland, is bringing fresh, customized pizzas from the hearth to your plate. Lotsa plans to officially open in mid-March and can’t wait to share its fresh ingredients, signature crisp crusts and smokey flavors to your taste buds. Jenna Martino, marketing analyst for Lotsa, is excited to kick off their Oakland location. “Lotsa provides a variety of flavors we know college students will love… We have customizable 11” pizzas that have the freshest ingredients,” said Jenna.

Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza prides itself in its quick service and the fact that it’s open late for the hungry night owls of Oakland. “Lotsa is definitely fast-casual and customers will always get a great product quickly,” said Jenna. “We’re open late too so we can serve the Oakland night life!”

Lotsa was started in 2015 in Morgantown West Virginia and hopes to have 12-15 locations by the end of this year. “We love college campus locations because of all the foot traffic, and Oakland sure has a lot of that,” said Jenna. Lotsa encourages everyone to drop by and try their Build Your Own Pizza option where you can choose your dough, sauce, cheese and up to five toppings for only $8.99.

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Fuel & Fuddle – the latest restaurant in sustainability

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Fuel and Fuddle, located at 212 Oakland Avenue, is the latest restaurant to get designated and make equipment upgrades through the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants program. Fuel and Fuddle is a true hot spot in Oakland serving upscale bar and grill food since 1996, and owner and OBID Board Member, Brandon Smith, is happy with his business earning a Silver plate designation level. “The program definitely made me more aware of the importance of green practices and equipment to be environmentally friendly and help save money,” said Brandon. “Thanks to the knowledge and expertise of Rebecca Bykoski, program manager of the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants program, we were able to tackle the designation process as well as identify equipment we could switch out,” he continued.

Fuel and Fuddled used the funds provided by the program to replace a 30 year-old furnace. “Instead of repairing the old furnace, I found value in a new high-efficiency furnace that used less gas saves money in the long run,” said Brandon. Brandon would like to see more Oakland restaurants jump on board this opportunity to save money through sustainability. “It’s nice when doing the right thing is the thing that helps your business grow,” he concluded.

Piada Italian Street Food Comes to Oakland

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There’s a new restaurant in the Oakland business district, and it’s molto bene (very good)! Piada Italian Street Food located at 3600 Forbes Avenue opened its doors on Monday, January 16, and its deliciously fresh bites are making it quite the popular spot to eat. Piada was started in 2010 in Columbus, OH, by Chris Doody, who also started Bravo! Cucina Italiana and Brio Tuscan Grille. There are now 35 Piada eateries in the United States serving authentic Italian food. “We chose to put a Piada in Oakland because of the high traffic and density of people there on a daily basis,” said Katie Sullivan, Business Development Manager of Piada. “Pittsburgh definitely has friendly people and a thriving restaurant culture,” she continued.

On Piada’s opening day, the restaurant donated 50% of its sales to the Oakland Food Pantry operated by Community Human Services. “We had one of the best openings ever – in the history of Piada openings! We were able to donate $5,000 to the organization, and it was wonderful to see all of the people lined up to enjoy Piada’s healthy, quick and customizable bites!” said Sullivan.

A piada (or a piadina), itself, is an Italian thin crust dough, baked on a stone grill and hand-rolled with fresh, authentic ingredients. “Piadas are delicious and perfect on the go! My personal favorite food item is Grass-fed Meatball topped with pomodoro sauce and parmesan,” said Sullivan.

Piada Italian Street Food is open Monday to Sunday from 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Redhawk Coffee Opens in Oakland

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If you need your coffee fix, the Oakland business district has a new coffee shop located at 120 Meyran Avenue. Redhawk Coffee opened its doors on New Year’s Eve, and owners Braden Walter and his wife Mary Gonzales look forward to what 2017 has to bring! Redhawk’s specialty beverages are espresso drinks and single-cup brews, and everything that goes into the cup is hand selected by Walter and Gonzales. “We like to explore and test different flavors. If we like what we taste, we bring it in to share with others! If we don’t, we kick it to the curb!” said Walter.

With over 13 years of experience, Walter puts his barista skills to work behind the counter while Gonzales handles the business side of things, making them a great team that’s excited to tap into the Oakland market. Redhawk Coffee was established in the summer of 2016 as a coffee truck managed by the duo. “The truck was a 1969 Boyertown that had over 700,000 miles on it! We weren’t looking forward to the winter months because coffee is pretty sensitive to temperature changes, so we decided to move the business indoors,” said Walter.

Walter and Gonzales chose the Redhawk name because there are tons of Red-tailed hawks where they live in Wilkinsburg with their two daughters. The team looks forward to the students coming back from winter break and welcomes everyone to drop by and enjoy what they have to offer. “Oakland needs a specialty coffee place like Redhawk… we’re excited to see different faces coming through our doors every day,” said Walter.