The Grand Concourse

Preparing an omelette for last night’s dinner summoned a memory of brunch with my Pittsburgh pal last year. She understands that I often select restaurants based on atmosphere rather than the promise of a good meal. Luckily, Pittsburgh’s Grand Concourse lives at the happy intersection of amazing atmosphere and delicious food.

This Pittsburgh landmark is located in a 1901 railroad station built by the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad. Friends, this is now one of my favorite restaurants anywhere.

The 80,000 square foot building was brilliantly transformed into a restaurant in 1978. The stained glass vaulted ceilings are magnificent. Marble columns look substantial. A grand staircase is, well, grand.

Even the hallways and restrooms are lovely with mosaic tile floors and exquisite woodwork. It’s no wonder this building, with its Victorian and Edwardian styles, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

We sat in a space that I believe is an enclosed porch, giving a terrific view of the outside world. There was some kind of fitness expo happening in town that weekend so we saw plenty of fit people walk by and even engage in some kind of bizarre bridal shoot for an extremely sculpted couple.

Meanwhile, I thoroughly enjoyed my brunch buffet and had a selection of small desserts. Fitness modeling is not in my future.

They have lunch and dinner menus, offer takeout, and host Sunday buffets as well as special buffets for holidays like Easter and Mother’s Day. Reservations are recommended even for a regular day. The prices are higher than a lot of restaurants near me but the food is better quality than your typical sit down restaurant and I was pleased with the value.

We saw people in all manner of attire but it feels like such a special place I was glad we dressed up a bit. I hated to look like too much of a hillbilly tourist in such a nice place so I made just a few photos. Besides, pictures really don’t do this building justice.

There’s something about this place, about the light and air and that makes it feel different. It feels timeless yet old, fancy but comfortable.

It’s a study in contradictions.

At one point, I found a settee near the buffet and simply sat down to absorb my surroundings. The late morning sun illuminated the stained glass and the air was filled with the murmur of conversation and clink of silverware. Servers scurried by with purpose while guests wandered about, making impossible choices from the buffet.

I swore if I turned quickly enough I might glimpse a Victorian couple or a traveling salesman with a trunk full of samples in tow.

This was a delightful experience and one that I would repeat if given the opportunity. Want to learn more and perhaps admire the menu? Click here to visit their website.

10 thoughts on “The Grand Concourse

  1. WOW! Another place that I must go. Thanks!
    I appreciate the fact you curbed your photo taking, so as not to look like “one of us” hillbilly tourist types. We wouldn’t want to get a bad name. (Ha)
    I always think of Gomer Pyle saying….”Gall-lee!”, when I go to the big city, and feel like a fish out of water!

    • Christine, you will love this place! I didn’t mention this in the story but they have a vintage machine that makes donuts and drops them into a spinning bowl. Then you grab a piping hot donut and dredge it in powdered sugar or cinnamon. I felt like a kid waiting for my donut! Lol

      And yeah, I often think of the Clampetts rolling into the big city!

      • We’re thinking about a fall biking tour back east and looked at one that starts in Pittsburgh, but the daily rides were too long for me, even with an e-bike. I want to have time to enjoy sites along the way, not pedal all day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s