BLOOMFIELD

Benvenuto a Bloomfield! 


Best known as Pittsburgh’s Little Italy, this neighborhood wears its ethnic pride on its sleeves—and on its streets. There’s no mistaking your arrival here: two bold and beautiful signs welcome visitors to the Liberty Avenue gateway. Fire hydrants, street curbs, and light posts are striped in bold red, white, and green. Storefronts proudly display names such as Cercone, D’Amico, Lombardozzi, Merante, and DelPizzo.

But Bloomfield is more than a daily Festa Italiana—it’s a neighborhood that serves visitors and residents with a wide variety of dining and shopping options.


History
When approaching Bloomfield from the Bloomfield Bridge, it’s hard to imagine that this densely packed residential neighborhood was once noted for rolling farmland that nourished the area’s earliest settlers. George Washington makes reference to the area in his journal, describing his travels along “the high ground through a field of many blooms.”


Despite its current reputation as an Italian-American enclave, the community was populated primarily by German immigrants as early the late 1700s. Growth of the community’s German population continued throughout the 1800s, and Irish immigrants arrived after the Civil War, as well. Examples of some well preserved Victorian homes from this era are visible on Mathilda and Winebiddle Streets and on Atlantic and Pacific Avenues. Liberty Avenue, the main business thoroughfare, was also plotted out in the 1880s, and here the Germans also founded St. Joseph’s Church, a Gothic Revival gem built in 1886.


Beginning after World War I and continuing into the 1970s, Italian immigrants arrived in Bloomfield, lured by job opportunities at the neighborhood steel mills and railroads. Most new arrivals hailed from three towns in Italy’s Abruzzi region, with the strongest surge following World War I. The Italian community built their own house of worship, Immaculate Conception, in 1906. (The parish rebuilt their Liberty Avenue church in 1961.)


At one time, Liberty Avenue was primarily home to businesses owned by families of German heritage, and Italian merchants were located on Lorigan Street. In the decades following World War II, Italian restaurants and businesses gained a larger presence on Liberty Avenue. Today, you can take part in this heritage by visiting the restaurants, markets, bakeries, and gift shops that continue the celebration of Bloomfield’s Italian heritage.


More than Pasta and Provolone
Yes, it’s true that Liberty Avenue serves up a taste of Italy, but the neighborhood can satisfy your other cultural cravings, too. The Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, visible from the Bloomfield Bridge, is a bastion of Polish pride. Your cultural immersion begins in the parking lot, which is decorated with tributes to Polish heroes and communities. Inside the BBT (as it’s known by locals), you’ll find a wide selection of Polish comfort food, such as pierogies, haluski, and duck soup.

Your hunger for homemade lasagna just might be derailed by the scents of the wood-fired grill of Tessaro’s, widely recognized for serving up the city’s best burgers. Not convinced? During dining hours, stand at the corner of Liberty Avenue and Taylor Street. Now inhale. You’ll suddenly find yourself patiently waiting for a table.


Other favorite dining destinations include Thai Cuisine, Ritter’s Diner, and Nico’s Recovery Room, where the focus is on Greek food. And for night spots, Lot 17, Mezzanotte Café, and Gators offer great food and drink in a casual environment.


Two coffee shops, art galleries, and a record store are also on hand to satiate your hunger for arts and culture.

Travel Tips

- 3 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh central business district

- Get there by car or bus. The Liberty Avenue business district and the surrounding residential areas are easily walkable.

- Mapping? Major streets in and around the neighborhood include Liberty Avenue, Main Street, Baum Boulevard, and Friendship Avenue. Also accessible via the Bloomfield Bridge from Bigelow Boulevard (from Downtown) or Craig Street (from Oakland)

- Geocaching? Find Bloomfield caches on Zip Code 15224.

- Abundant street and metered lot parking make it easy to linger in Bloomfield. Additional details on parking, ATMs, and more are included in the itineraries.


Learn more at bloomfieldpgh.org