Tazza D’Oro on campus

Tazza D’Oro constuction in the Gates Hillman Center is almost complete. (credit: Celia Ludwinski) Tazza D’Oro constuction in the Gates Hillman Center is almost complete. (credit: Celia Ludwinski) The site for the new café promises to be a popular hangout spot as soon as it opens. (credit: Celia Ludwinski) The site for the new café promises to be a popular hangout spot as soon as it opens. (credit: Celia Ludwinski)

The new café opening at the Gates and Hillman Centers is more than just coffee — it is going to be a fantastic experience in itself. Just when it seemed the buzz about the new building was dying down, Highland Park’s Tazza D’Oro café announced its opening in the space in less than two weeks. The location in the R-Bar Café on the third floor of the Gates Center is definitely a place that one can constantly revisit and never get tired of enjoying. The bright colors, comfortable chairs, and open spaces are all extremely inviting. The owner, Amy Enrico, commented on the café’s mantra in the Jan. 1 issue of the Pittsburgh City Paper. “The thing we’re good at isn’t tangible — it is to create a culture and experience around coffee,” she said. And the café definitely has an unpretentious charm that would be almost impossible to duplicate.

Looking back at what Enrico said, it is quite clear what she meant. She wanted to create a destination, a spot in the community — and there are no better words to describe Tazza D’Oro. Based on a few visits to the Highland Park coffee shop, it was evident that there were some familiar faces, and some new — all extremely content with being there.

From people conducting personal tutoring lessons to having their first date there, this cafe has had several visitors, each of them coming back for more. Over the years, the meaning of “going for coffee” has been revolutionized, and it has become all about the company you go with, the location, the atmosphere, the reason why you are there, and, most definitely, the coffee. And Tazza D’Oro has it all. When you visit the Highland Park branch, it is very hard to find a vacant seat, and so it is easy to presume that those comfy chairs in the Gates Center location will definitely be worth fighting for!

The café offers a wide selection of coffee and espresso, delicious paninis (the artichoke and tuna or the eggplant are extremely tempting), scrumptious biscotti (try the vanilla, it is delicious), and cookies (the peanut butter and the chocolate chip one can easily become favorites), along with several other pastries and Sunday brunch items. It is easy to sit for hours with the Sunday brunch menu — each item available looks mouth-watering.

Try the tasty Pizza Romana from the daily menu. It consists of artichoke hearts, prosciutto, kalamata olives, sauteed portobello mushrooms, and delicious melted fresh mozzarella cheese. Since Enrico insists on using locally produced ingredients, the food is extremely fresh.

There are a variety of coffees available, from the traditional Italian cappuccino to flavored lattes to an Americano. The café also serves cups of the Highland Park blend — a dark, smooth, yet sweet coffee, made from coffee beans from such parts of the world as Africa, South America, and the Middle East.

Also available are a wide selection of over 50 choices of herbal teas and regular teas. Making a choice can get confusing, so feel free to experiment. The Lychee Black tea is extremely unusual and has a sweet Asian grape fruit-like flavor, proving the uniqueness of the different flavors at this cafe. You should also definitely try the Harney & Sons Chocolate mint black tea.

Tazza D’Oro at the Gates and Hillman Centers is going to become an ideal location to get homework done, catch up with a friend, or simply get away from hectic Carnegie Mellon life. Go ahead and try one of the to-die-for Italian cappuccinos — they’ll transport you straight to Italy — along with a delicious cookie. After one taste, you will definitely be back, fighting for a chair or an open window seat.