Intro: Eden as a Dietary Haven
I am acutely aware that not every one of my viewers will head over to Cure for a delicious charcuterie board or fawn over the pizzas at Fuel and Fuddle. More and more people nowadays are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and/or lactose intolerant. I believe that good food can be enjoyed regardless of any dietary restrictions, and Pittsburgh, as a phenomenal foodie town, has restaurants to complement any taste or restriction. So when my good friend Erin invited me to brunch at Eden, a vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free café in Shadyside, I donned my adventurous foodie hat and said “why not?”
The atmosphere of Eden was simple, small and quaint. I noticed a lot of local artwork and photographs on the walls, which were all available for purchase. The overall mood was a little dreary and dull, as there wasn’t much activity and the lights were quite low. However, this was also very calming, as the lack of hectic movement of customers and servers was, in a lot of ways, relaxing.
In all honesty, the service was seriously lacking. While Erin and I were the first ones to be seated, we were the some of the last people to be served in the restaurant, which at most consisted of 7 parties. Nothing is more irritating than slow service, and it seemed as if our servers were moving at a crawling pace. Other than that, everyone was pleasant but not necessarily hospitable for a Sunday morning.
I think the best way to describe our meals were “they did the best they could have with what they had.” Now nothing was truly “bad” (except for the vegan sausages, dried beans and mushrooms does not a sausage make). But I will be honest, working to create a menu where your ingredients are limited and your guests are restricted certainly isn’t easy. And I have to say, most everything else was very good. The tempeh bacon (a type of tofu) was infused with a type of maple syrup which brought out smoky flavors event though there wasn’t any meat to smoke! And my brie-stuffed strawberry French toast was actually really tasty, despite its lack of gluten. I also have to give a shout out to the French press coffee, which was really bold and exquisite.
Eden wasn’t extremely expensive, but select items (like the sides of the tempeh bacon and vegan sausage) were a little expensive for how much you got and, in the case of the sausage, what they tasted like.
The service was one of the biggest deductions in my book. I can completely understand the different tastes and flavors from what I am normally used to with regard to the specific food items. However, there are few excuses for diminished service.
What aspect of the restaurant was the best?
I think the best part of Eden is that it provides a completely alternative experience for people who have certain allergies, sensitivities, or dietary restrictions. People who, for whatever reason, can’t or don’t want to eat gluten or meat have an entire menu at their disposal here, rather than two or three options crammed in, which is what they would be restricted to at other restaurants. Also, Eden provides a certain piece of mind for those with a gluten allergy/sensitivity. Nothing on the menu has gluten in it, so there’s zero risk of cross contamination. For me, that’s the best part. You can go and eat yummy food and not have to worry about getting sick.
What aspect of the restaurant could use the most improvement?
Everything at Eden was great, but it did take us awhile to be acknowledged by the waitress. Their laid-back vibe is fun and cool, but they could probably work on speedier/more urgent service.
Who would you bring here and for what?
I would bring vegans, vegetarians, and anyone with a gluten allergy or sensitivity here for sure! On top of that, I would bring anyone that is open to new food experiences, or interested in healthy options with exotic twists. Eden probably isn’t the place for picky eaters, or anyone in the mood for greasy or heavy food.
Describe your meal
I ordered a gluten free waffle with peanut butter, chocolate chips, and bee pollen as toppings! It came with coconut almond butter and organic maple syrup on the side. It was very sweet, light, and delicious. The gluten free waffle tasted just like a regular waffle, and if I hadn’t known, I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. The bee pollen was super interesting, and tasted like a mild, powdery form of honey. Kind of exactly how you would imagine it to taste! Overall it was a great tasting, easy on the tummy brunch!
Erin is a Junior at the University of Pittsburgh from Exton, PA, about 45 minutes from Philadelphia. She is an English writing and pollical science double major. Erin loves Pittsburgh because of its uniqueness with tons to do and Pitt is right in the middle of it all. She is grateful for all the opportunities she has at Pitt, including having to grow up quickly just to survive in the city school atmosphere.
Eden is a local café and restaurant serving a variety of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options in the Shadyside district of Pittsburgh. The café have recently undergone new management but still remain true its roots.