In a year that was split between Pittsburgh and Buffalo, The Best of 2014 is kind of like a best of the rust belt. One thing is for sure, though: these two places have a whole lot of delicious food to offer. Rules for entry are reverting back to 2012, meaning if you want the best I have eaten outside of the two places I called my home this year, you’ll have to do so in the Travel section. There’s a lot there to enjoy. Once again, without further ado, here is The Best of 2014:
Blue Monk (Buffalo)
Ever a tough category, Blue Monk barely edges out another Buffalo favorite with perfect bacon, cheese and a fried egg. Oh, and of course an amazing patty.
Honorable Nod to Grover’s (Buffalo)
Smoke on the Water (Buffalo)
Not only is the food beautiful, it tastes even better. Each option is better than the next and somehow each is infused with a perfect smokey flavor.
Meat & Potatoes (Pittsburgh)
I didn’t get the 34 oz. Bone-In Ribeye Meal for Two when I first went to meat and potatoes, so unfortunately my review doesn’t reflect it, but just know that it is as amazing as you would expect from such a place.
Bar Bill (Buffalo)
In the world of wings, there is Bar Bill and there is no one else. Not even the vaunted Duff’s. If you go to Buffalo, you must go to Bar Bill. The crappy line and the poor service are completely worth it to bask in the simple glory of perhaps the greatest wings in the world.
Best Hot Dog
D’s Six Pax & Dogz (Pittsburgh)
D’s is a delight to anyone looking to enjoy sports bar-esque food and seems to excel in all things, but their variety of hot dogs featuring unique toppings makes the place worth returning to over and over again.
John & Mary’s Subs (Buffalo)
Apparently I don’t eat too many sandwiches in Buffalo or Pittsburgh, but John & Mary’s Stinger is truly awesome no matter where it is eaten, featuring sliced steak, buffalo chicken tenders, some unknown cheese and additional blue cheese that I added to the mix.
Vincent’s Pizza Park (Pittsburgh)
The Vinnie Pie is all about tons of toppings, uneven crust and a pool of grease. In other words, it is a pizza perfectly fit for an unvegan. Sausages and pepperonis are the way to go.
Honorable Nod to Pizza Sola (Pittsburgh)
With only one entry into the Breakfast/Brunch category, Buffalo’s Savory’s pulls out the win against some stiff competition from Pittsburgh. It’s hard to go wrong when you combine eggs, meats and potatoes into a hashy dream.
There are few things more ‘Merican than Mac and Cheese and there are few places in the world that do it better than Kelly’s. It’s nothing fancy, but is executed to a perfection that I have never seen before Kelly’s and most likely never will again.
Honorable Nod to Butcher and the Rye (Pittsburgh)
El Burro Comedor (Pittsburgh)
It took a while, but I finally found greatness in Mexican food at El Burro, which channels the San Diego part of Mexico. Return visits have only further proven that El Burro needs to open a location closer to me.
Honorable Nod to Smoke BBQ Taqueria (Pittsburgh), if it ever opens back up!
Best Random Ethnic Food (By Region)
Everyday Noodles (Pittsburgh)
Xiaolongbao and Dan Dan noodles FTW!
Honorable Nod to Grit & Grace (Pittsburgh)
Park Bruges (Pittsburgh)
Kinda Belgian, kinda French-Canadian, completely awesome.
Honorable Nod to Mike & Tony’s Gyros (Pittsburgh)
Because Jewish food doesn’t really fall into any other category, Nu takes the cake in the Middle Eastern region.
Honorable Nod to Salem’s (Pittsburgh)
Casa Rasta (Pittsburgh)
Jerk Chicken Burrito (not pictured)? Hells yes.
Honorable Nod to Texas de Brazil (Pittsburgh)