Lauren Weigand has attended Pitt for more than four years and has experienced a lot of the food Oakland offers.
“I think Pittsburgh is a big foodie city and I honestly think there’s a lot of good food in Oakland,” Weigand said. “There’s a lot of new places that are coming to Oakland too that I’m excited about.”
There are many dining options for students both on and off campus. As the academic year ramps up and many students are back on campus for the first time in more than a year, they reflect on some of their favorite Oakland restaurants.
Weigand, a fifth-year microbiology major, mentioned some of the new spots coming to Oakland that she’s excited for, and some she already frequents.
“Baby Loves Tacos is coming to Oakland. The Colombian Spot is coming to Oakland. Bao, I really like Bao. It’s a new restaurant,” Weigand said. “They make really good Taiwanese food and they also have cool drinks.”
Weigand also said she likes finding a place with quality food and described how she rationalizes the cost.
“I really like something that’s a little off the beaten path and I appreciate when ingredients are fresh and there’s good variety,” Weigand said. “And again, going off of what you want to spend, you can make it economical or you can have a treat after a class or a test or something.”
Weigand isn’t alone. Undeclared sophomore John Segebart cited the variety of foods in the area as a bonus.
“I’m still trying out everywhere and there’s a big variety of food for sure, and it’s honestly really exciting to just go get takeout and maybe go eat out on the lawn with your friends,” Segebart said. “I love that about this place.”
Segebart also mentioned cost as a contributing factor to his meal purchasing decisions.
“I kind of look for spicy stuff really, ” Segebart said. “That and anything that’s like $10 or below.”
Like Segebart, price is also a major factor for Jack Veith, a sophomore and computer science major, who said cost is often on his mind when thinking about food.
“Price is definitely something that I try to pay attention to because money is not like, super expendable to me at all times,” Veith said.
Veith said Noodle House on Forbes Avenue hits the spot.
“I like the atmosphere, I mean, I like ramen in general,” Veith said. “It’s just a comfort food. It’s something I feel like I can always eat. It’s pretty filling too, not that expensive, so it’s just a nice meal I can always go to.”
Veith said he also wants to experiment more and try some of the different foods offered around Oakland.
“I am trying to experiment with the types of food I’m eating, like different global cuisines, just because I have the opportunity now,” Veith said. “There’s so many options around Pitt.”
Not everyone on campus agrees that there is enough variety, and one group with limited options is vegetarians and vegans. Avina Patel, a sophomore global management major, talked about the difficulties of finding places to eat that work for her dietary restrictions.
“I’m a vegetarian so it’s harder to find protein options, especially at places around campus,” Patel said. “Pitt has started accommodating vegans and vegetarians a lot more but it still can be kind of difficult.”
Tatiana Limoncic, a first-year history major, mentioned one of the few spots which gives her options as a vegan.
“Hunan is a Chinese restaurant,” Limoncic said. “I’m vegan and it has a lot of great vegan options, which is kind of rare around here.”
Limoncic said besides maintaining her vegan lifestyle, she also has to include other factors, such as price, when looking for a place to spend her money.
“I’m always looking for vegan options obviously, but also not a super expensive price range because, you know, as college students it can’t be too high,” Limoncic said.
Ruby Natelson, a junior psychology and anthropology major, said she looks for healthy options but sometimes resorts to the fast-food and chain restaurants in the neighborhood.
“I try to eat in a nutritious way, but I definitely am a big fan of carbs and like pasta and stuff, so definitely I’m a big fan of Italian,” Natelson said. “I don’t mind that there are fast-food types of places around here. I feel like if I eat it’s not so much the more unique restaurants I’m sad to say. It’s more so Panera, Chipotle or Five Guys.”
Natelson is excited for some of the restaurants moving in, such as Viva Los Tacos, which is replacing the O at the corner of South Bouquet Street and Forbes Avenue.
“I’m definitely excited. I feel like a lot of the time I save eating out for a treat, but it’s always nice to have more variety and stuff like that, so yeah, for sure,” Natelson said. “Having more stuff around is always a good thing in my opinion.”
Leila Stansberry, a junior computational biology major, talked about some of the other non-food elements that draw her to a restaurant.
“If the establishment is clean and has bright colors, it really attracts me to it,” Stansberry said. “CHiKN is very bold and bright which is why I’m attracted to it a lot. It doesn’t have too much on the menu but it’s attractive enough to keep me going back.”
Stansberry said students are constantly on the lookout for new restaurants to eat at, since good food can be hard to find.
“I love food. If I could eat it all day I would, but obviously my stomach does not have the capacity for that,” Stansberry said. “But when you find good food it’s hard to let go.”