What’s Next for Pittsburgh – Review

Joe & Pie matches coffee and pizza for a quirky dining experience.

by Kim Lyons

It’s a little hard to believe no one has thought of a pizza and coffee combination as a restaurant concept before, because the two seem like a logical match. Carbs from your pizza lead to sleepiness which requires a caffeine boost.

Enter Joe & Pie Cafe, a new restaurant on Liberty Avenue Downtown run by two immigrants from Kazakhstan, who decided to pair the two American menu staples.

“We tried to think of something different, but something we knew that people would like,” says co-owner Kairat Ussenov. The concept of pizza and coffee felt right, but they struggled a bit to find the best way to package the idea. Not everyone wants coffee with their pizza, and vice versa. But once they came up with Joe (as in coffee) and Pie (as in pizza), everything sort of fell into place, Ussenov says.

Ussenov arrived in Pittsburgh last year to join his cousin Symbat Sarin, who had been in Pittsburgh for about five years. They knew they wanted to start a restaurant, and knew it would involve pizza, but it took a bit of experimentation to arrive at the perfect recipe.

And with the vast differences in style and preference among American varieties of pizza, like Chicago’s deep dish and New York’s huge slices, Ussenov is savvy enough about pizza loyalties to avoid categorizing Joe & Pie’s pizza as one specific type.

“If I say ‘New York,’ then people will come in and say ‘oh that’s nothing like New York!’” he says. “We try to make sure it’s pizza that anyone will enjoy.” He adds that their dough and sauce are made from scratch, and they’re considering alterations and different toppings per customer requests.

In addition to the crepes, omelets and sandwiches on their breakfast menu, Ussenov says he’s planning a breakfast pizza as well. Joe & Pie is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, but the kitchen is closed on Fridays between 12:30 and 2:30. That’s to allow the cousins, who are devout Muslims, to attend Friday prayer services.

They’ve been open less than a month, but have already partnered with other local vendors: Paddy Cake Bakery supplies their desserts, and they get their joe from Commonplace Coffee. They’re planning delivery in the Downtown area, and catering as well.

“We love Pittsburgh, and we want to make quality food for people in a hurry,” Ussenov says.

See the review on “What’s Next for Pittsburgh”

Discover The Burgh – Review

Joe & Pie Review – Solid Pizza in Downtown Pittsburgh


On our never-ending quest to find the best pizza in Pittsburgh, we were tipped off to a local pizza joint and cafe in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District downtown known as Joe & Pie.

This restaurant takes on a bit of an odd structure in that it is open for almost the entire day, serving breakfast and coffee in the morning, and pizza, gyros, and sandwiches in the evening. That concept doesn’t sound like it would be a combo with a delicious product, but we were pleasantly surprised with the pizza all the same.

Not Following the Pizza Mold

One of the things we always look for when it comes to eating pizza in the city is if it follows the same mold that most pizza shops fall into with no discerning factors amongst themselves.

Joe & Pie stands out for two notable reasons, their crust and the unique topping combinations that are offered.

The crust at Joe & Pie is unique to us as it is incredibly thin in the middle (it almost takes on a cracker like consistency when baked), and big, puffy edges on the sides. As we ordered takeaway the crust itself was not the crispest by the time it was delivered; however, you could get a solid bite into it all the same.

For our first pie, we had to try the namesake, the Joe & Pie special- topped with white sauce, gyro meat, mozzarella and feta cheese, spinach, and tomatoes. It would be going a bit too far to call this one a gyro on a pizza, but the depiction is fairly close.

The pizza itself was incredibly rich, so much so that Angie professed that she was not a fan of it on her first try because it was a bit too savory (while I respectfully disagreed, it is worth considering going in for a white sauce pizza such as this).

Grabbing a Gyro from the Rest of the Menu

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the menu at Joe & Pie goes well beyond the standard pizza menu, and during lunch and dinner hours includes wings, rolls, sandwiches, full pasta dishes, calzones, and much, much more.

To accompany our pizza I decided to go for a lamb gyro, as I thought it would compliment our gyro-esque pizza quite well.

The gyro itself was among the larger of all of the gyros we’ve enjoyed in the city, and was overloaded with lamb and toppings. The thick pita was a bit hard to get through in a few bites, but the extra sauce ordered helped compensate for the large, dry wrap and is highly recommended.

Overall, the gyro itself is a fairly solid iteration for a non-Greek restaurant, especially for those looking for a large meal that isn’t pizza. Would we get it again? Perhaps- but we are certainly glad we did the first time. With a menu as large as Joe & Pie’s we are looking forward to trying another side to go with our next pie to see how they stack up!

Joe & Pie is located at 955 Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh City Paper – Review

Joe & Pie in Downtown Pittsburgh offers quality coffee, pizza and more.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner options also include omelets, shawarma and eggplant parmesan.

By Rebecca Nuttall @PghReporter

The concept for new restaurant Joe & Pie seems pretty simple: coffee and pizza. But there’s more on the menu at this new Downtown eatery than the two named items.

Run by co-owners Kairat Ussenov and Symbat Sarin, Joe & Pie offers a slew of breakfast, lunch and dinner options, including omelets, chicken and lamb shawarma, and eggplant parmesan.

But, of course, coffee and pizza are the main draws. With a background serving traditional pizza-shop fare, opening a similar shop seemed like a logical step for the pair, until they noticed a gap in Downtown’s current food offerings.

“It’s a new concept in Pittsburgh — coffee and pizza in the same place,” says Sarin. “When you go to other places, you don’t get quality coffee with your food. So that’s why we came up with the concept.”

Joe & Pie’s espresso and coffee menu includes traditional café staples like cappuccinos, lattes and macchiatos. But if you stop in for lunch or dinner, you’ll also catch the aroma of their gourmet pizzas, calzones and fresh wings wafting from the kitchen. (A vegan menu is in the works.)

Ussenov and Sarin join the many business owners committed to local suppliers. Their coffee comes from Commonplace Coffee, and their pastries are from Paddy Cake Bakery, in Bloomfield. When the weather gets warmer, they’ll also add locally sourced gelato to the menu.

“We decided to choose the best brands in Pittsburgh and put them all together to better serve our customers,” says Ussenov.

See the review on Pittsburgh City Paper