What was once considered a shortcut to Route 51 has grown into a growing and thriving community that continues to add restaurants and businesses to its repertoire.
Nestled between Mount Washington and the south side slopes is Allentown, centered around the intersection of two major thoroughfares, Arlington and East Warrington Avenues.
Allentown, shaped like a right angle with a slender tail that extends into Mount Washington, is among the city’s hilltop neighborhoods that overlook apartments on the south side.
While Mount Washington is famous today for its slopes – the Monongahela and the Duquesne – Allentown was once home to several slopes connecting the South Side Flats and hilltop neighborhoods.
The Knoxville Slope – well known because it curved – started from the area around Bradish and S. 12and streets in Brosville near East Warrington Avenue. The Mt. Oliver Incline rose from Freyburg and S. 12and streets to Warrington Avenue near Mt. Oliver Street.
Now, though less than 0.5 square miles, the neighborhood is home to a growing number of businesses – with more on the way – and a growing rental scene.
Some of this growth, both commercial and residential, can be attributed to real estate company RE360.
“It was amazing,” said Ben Prisbylla, the company’s chief operating officer.
The company started working in the Hilltop area around 2012 — neighborhoods like Allentown, Knoxville, the Slopes, and Mt. Oliver — because owner Joe Callaway grew up in Mt. Oliver. Since then, RE360 has reclaimed vacant residential properties and storefronts that had seen better days.
The goal now, as then, has always been to attract businesses which, in turn, would attract current residents as well as those who live in other parts of the city to the neighborhood.
“Before, we had to really negotiate and really push to try to get people here,” Prisbylla said.
But that has changed. A storefront, recently renovated and now bearing a Maya Angelou mural and quote, was listed for less than 24 hours before someone picked it up. It will house The Open Road, a beer and soft drink store.
Things to do
Hilltop with lid closed: Launched in 2019, this neighborhood festival has come back strong in 2021 after a pandemic-induced hiatus. Although plans are still underway, Prisbylla said the neighborhood celebration will be back this year.
Allentown Night Market: Twice a year, makers, artisans, vendors and more fill two blocks with multiple outdoor and indoor market spaces. Live music and food are always part of the evening. The next one is scheduled for June 11.
Alla Famiglia (804 E. Warrington Av.): Upscale Italian cuisine in an elegant yet comfortable setting. Weekday happy hour specials range from raw bar Tuesdays with $3 oysters on the half shell to “bubbles and bites” Thursdays with bottomless $20 prosecco.
Onion girl (639 E. Warrington): Continuing the heavy metal theme, Onion Maiden is a vegan restaurant with an extensive menu of plant-based foods. Cash only. Proof of covid-19 vaccination required for meals on site.
The open road: Based on the Tonic Cafe in Lawrenceville for two years, this bar and soft drink store is getting its own storefront on East Warrington.
Inner groove: After several successful years in Verona, Inner Groove Brewing brings its rhythm to Allentown. Its second location is set to open this spring in East Warrington.
Shops & Services
• Guide to the Strip neighborhood
• a guide to squirrel hill
• Guide to Lawrenceville
• Shadyside guide
• an Oakland guidebook
Editor’s Choice | Food and Drinks | Lifestyles | local | Pittsburgh | South side