This week, I decided to stay on the 61B well past my usual eating exit (Forbes and Murray) and found myself just past Frick Park at Square Cafe. It’s a very whimsical place with a bright blue wall and a menu big enough to match its over the top appearance.
The location: Located just a few minutes past Frick Park, Square Cafe is the perfect place for a quick brunch or even a drink before a stroll in the park, and it’s easily accessible by the 61B. This makes it close enough to be within reach on a Sunday morning and the direct bus route makes getting there even easier. I am all about places that I can take one bus to and not a Lyft, so that instantly gave this place some bonus points that the other places I’ve visited didn’t quite have.
The vibe: The restaurant itself is pretty small, but I’ve just accepted that this is a fact of Pittsburgh. The mood inside is very light and playful and almost gives off little kid playroom vibes. It’s definitely not the all white, upscale, millennial scene with mimosas that comes to mind when you hear the word brunch. It’s a nice refreshing breath of air from the typical scenery.
The food: This place comes equipped with a pretty long drink menu with a lot of very creative drinks, although it is also a cafe. One that stood out to me was their Smokin Mocha which came with all the regular mocha ingredients but also included cayenne. My whole family is from New Orleans, and I’ve literally been eating cajun food since before I had teeth, so naturally, I am a lover of all things spicy. This drink was more of a spice you felt in the back of your throat as an afterthought instead of an all over mouth feel, but I still enjoyed the extra little spice. There was also a milkshake with potato chips at the time I went that I have not been able to find on the menu since so it could have been a special that they quickly realized was a mistake. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about the whimsical foods and drinks, but if you’re going to do it then it has to be good and this was not. It tasted like they blended in Cheetos instead of potato chips and left quite the unpleasant aftertaste.
Now finally on to the food. It was okay. This is a place that definitely does sweet better than they do savory. The lemon berry ricotta pancakes were great, but someone else at my table had something with brisket or some other type of meat on top, and it was crazy dry. A sauce on top or even an over easy egg could’ve done wonders for the meal. The meat was also a bit bland for my liking. So if I were you, I’d stick to the sweet and let whoever you came with try their luck with savory if they're feeling lucky.
Lit or Nah: This place was definitely lit. I enjoyed the atmosphere more than the food, honestly. I won’t say that you can cross this place off your list completely, but you don’t need to break your neck to get here. If you don’t make it here, you’ll live. That direct bus route to the restaurant though is definitely a redeeming factor that keeps it on my radar when I want something other than Pamela’s and don’t want to pay for transportation.