The first time I heard of DiAnoia’s Eatery was after I graduated from the University Of Pittsburgh and was back in the good old state of New Jersey. All I kept hearing was, “Gnocchi in a bread bowl” and I remember thinking, I need that in my life. Talk about FOMO.
Fast forward to a visit in summer of 2018 to the ‘Burgh and I finally had DiAnoia’s in my life. From the giant “Spaghetti” sign above the kitchen area to the many paintings of Italy (some of which I’ve been lucky enough to explore in real life) I felt as if I stepped into a little slice of Italy right here in the Strip District. A friend and I dove into the fresh bread with whipped ricotta (just a side note: I can and actually do eat ricotta out of the container with a spoon and pieces of bread when making lasagna with my mom) and it reassured that my relationship with carbs was a positive (and delicious) one. I ordered the Cacio E Pepe and of course, my friend did the smart thing and ordered the infamous gnocchi in the bread bowl. I can still picture what that tasted like in my head: carb and cheese heaven with a heavy dose of tomato sauce.
The point here is that my first experience at DiAnoia’s on a warm July night was a dream. From there, I’ve stopped in for a cup of coffee, a sandwich from their deli hours (aka lunch) and even met a friend for brunch when I first moved back; the breakfast pizza is most definitely not to miss.
But being an Italian grl from New Jersey, I had to dig deeper than cleaning my plates clean every time I went. AKA, I needed to sit down with the DiAnoia’s team and hear about their journey and where the concept came from. Plus, if there was any way I was going to obtain the infamous meatball recipe, that would most likely be the way.
I didn’t leave with a recipe, but I did however leave with a deeper love and appreciation for everything DiAnoia’s stands for. I finally got to meet David Anoia and Aimee DiAndrea, the owners and masterminds behind the menu and hear about the space and what they think of social media when it comes to their business.
On The Concept:
The duo was really looking to capture an all-day eatery. In other words, a place you can stop in on your way to work for an egg sandwich and coffee, or fast-casual lunch-time options that are fresh and delicious, while also providing a perfect and romantic ambiance for a full dinner menu. Plus, you can’t forget brunch and craft cocktails. With multiple trips to Italy, they saw a concept overseas that just wasn’t being executed anywhere in Pittsburgh.
On The Location:
Dave and Aimee were looking at locations all over except in the Strip District, with the intention of operating a smaller deli and breakfast feel. However, when they walked into their current location, it just spoke to them. The space allowed more room for dining and a much larger operation than they had imagined. Being located in The Strip has allowed them to organically see customers walk through the doors, whether people are just passing through town or are true locals.
On The Impact Of Social Media:
It’s no secret that DiAnoia’s has a huge presence on social media, especially on the ‘Gram. I mean, just clicking on their location reveals endless photos from happy diners sharing their mouth-watering meals. But that’s not all just coincidence. Aimee comes from a marketing background and runs the accounts, especially the Instagram, where she says you can’t afford to not be on there. It’s a way to get what you do (and your mouth-watering food) in front of a large audience, especially one made up of people that enjoy exploring new restaurants.
On The Menu:
If you didn’t know, the spaghetti and meatball recipe comes from Aimee’s Great Grandmother; her Grandfather was in the army during WWII and made his mother’s meatball recipe for the commanding officers. The officers loved the meal so much that they asked him to stay on-base and become the chef. AKA, this recipe is worth any trip that you make here.
When it comes to curating and creating what you see on the menu, Dave and Aimee explain that it’s a group effort from the two of them and their amazing kitchen staff, with a little bit of inspo from their Instagram feeds. A few trips to Italy yearly also work to fuel what’s served and created.
On Their Favorite Part Of The Pittsburgh Community:
Dave and Aimee both acknowledge and appreciate the culture that exists in Pittsburgh, both among its customers and fellow restaurants. They note that there is less competition between chefs at different restaurants and instead, these other chefs have become friends and allies. Their customers also consist of regulars that come in sometimes more than once a day! I mean, I don’t blame them; if I had all of the money in the world, I would dine here at least three times a day.
Have you visited DiAnoia’s yet? Let me know what you thought at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Photo Credit: Spaghetti & Meatball and portrait photos by Erin Panosian
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