A Café That Does It All
I’ve dined in quite a few cafes for someone my age. Most have been coffee shop-esque, with little focus on food and its effect on guests. Moreover, even fewer have tried to please all guests in terms of dietary restrictions. Many times I have guests over at my house or out and about who are gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, or lactose-intolerant. In these cases, I need a local establishment that can cater to these needs and still provide tasty options for anyone who comes. Red Oak Café to the rescue! And I was so happy to reconnect with one of my friends over breakfast there, Casey Abramson.
There is definitely a casual vibe to Red Oak, something that only a family-owned operation can accomplish. The café conveys a sense of locality and warmth, only enriched by the wall murals of Pitt and Pittsburgh. The space is a little cramped, but that aspect only jumped out at me due to the popularity of the place during the school year.
The service was not quite what we expected. Between no menus where we needed them, the slow and backed up kitchen staff (leading to us waiting a decent amount of time for our meal), and the fact that Casey’s potatoes were cooked with butter (when she specifically requested they not be), there was much to be disappointed about.
The quality of the meal sure made up for the dearth in service quality. My strawberry and banana smoothie was filling and rich, without being too strong on any one flavor (yogurt, fruit, etc.) I also ordered a hardy breakfast burrito, which stayed warm for a long time. Overall, I would say the food is filling and keeps you full throughout the day.
The price is great for college students, and a really good breakfast or lunch definitely won’t set you back more than fifteen dollars. Plus, there are free coffee refills!
What did Red Oak in was the service, but this is still an above average spot in a college town with lots of strong competitors.
Best part of the experience?
Well, catching up with Samson obviously! He’s always great company. But, if I’m just focusing on the restaurant, I’d say seeing how many options Red Oak Café has on their menu! I can’t eat gluten or dairy, so their menu is incredibly accommodating for me and I always love going there.
What needs the most improvement?
The wait time is always a bit long, and their kitchen seems a bit chaotic. But that makes sense considering the amount of space that they have and their recent popularity.
What kind of place is this (who would you bring here, for what purpose, etc.)?
It’s a delicious and super casual restaurant, perfect for any breakfast/brunch/lunch desires. Personally, for the kind of lifestyle I live, I would bring anyone here! The very laid-back environment is great for friends, or even to take the edge off of a first date! I also love bringing as many people as possible here because as I mentioned before, their menu is great for my food intolerances.
I had an omelet with lots of veggies and roasted potatoes on the side! The omelet was delicious, but unfortunately, they cooked my potatoes in butter so I felt a bit sick after the meal. However, the meal was still super delicious. I have always been very satisfied with whatever I order off of their menu!
Casey Abramson is a rising senior at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Media and professional Communications with a concentration in Corporate and Community Relations and Digital Media. She spends her free time singing with her a cappella group, spending time outdoors, and she is super passionate about anything involving music, food, traveling, and people!
Red Oak Café is a fresh and healthy, family-owned eatery located in the heart of the Oakland Neighborhood of Pittsburgh. To see their menu, which includes all-day breakfast options, check out their website: http://redoak.cafe/