Once a month, I will be spotlighting a part of the Pittsburgh area (typically not a Pittsburgh address) and some of my favorite businesses in that area! Expect to see breweries, boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, and other unique businesses throughout the week of the spotlight. This is to drive interest to smaller businesses that sometimes get overlooked for not being right in the thick of the city. I hope you enjoy!
Hiya!! I am so excited to be starting this series I like to call “Suburb Spotlights.” The first area I’m covering is none other than my hometown neighborhoods, Tarentum and Natrona Heights. A lot of people think that to find cute clothes or great breweries, you have to go to the trendy neighborhoods of Pittsburgh like Lawrenceville or the Strip District. This series will hopefully help you realize that there are plenty of adorable, affordable, and unique little businesses scattered in the towns that a lot of us work or live in! Sooooo, without further ado, let’s kick this off!
First up, we have an adorable boutique and cosmetics store, OliviaGrace & Co. and Merle Norman Cosmetics. I grouped these businesses because they are both located in the same storefront on Corbet Street and run by the same business entrepreneur, Olivia! As you walk into this shop, you’ll notice the faded Isaly’s logo (pictured above). As you walk through the first door, you’ll see old flyers and news articles from a truly iconic Pittsburgh business. I think it’s so special that there is a little piece of history displayed from decades before. ANYWAYS..to the boutique!! OliviaGrace & Co. offers adorable clothing, accessories, soaps, candles, and other goods. You will find a lot of items from eco-friendly companies and other small businesses such as the adorable Pittsburgh earrings seen below. They were made by a Merle Norman ambassador and jewelry maker, Rachel. If you know me, you know I LOVE Pittsburgh, so I was immediately sold. Other businesses with products featured here are Fire Lake Soapery and The Future is Bamboo.
When I made my first visit down with a friend, we perused through the different rooms and I ended up purchasing the earmuff headband in a lavender color and the olive green crossbody purse, in addition to the Pittsburgh earrings. Let me tell you, this purse is seriously the best thing I’ve ever purchased. The largest pouch is big enough to fit my Kate Spade wallet and the smaller pouch is perfect for my phone, keys, and lipgloss. While the tiny circular pouch isn’t SUPER useful, it makes the purse so much cuter LOL. This was only $30 and is a great dupe for the designer bags in this style, plus you’re supporting a small business 😊 If you aren’t able to make your way down to Tarentum, you can shop the boutique styles online at OliviaGraceandCo.com.
Last but not least, you can find ALL of the Merle Norman goodies here, as it is also a cosmetics store! I have used the Merle Norman makeup wipes, eye shadow primer, wrinkle smoother lips, and expert touch finishing spray and I am a FAN. I have yet to personally use any of their makeup products, but you can always see their cosmetics in action by visiting the Merle Norman Tarentum Instagram account! I did also hear from a friend that their Miracol mask is the bomb, so I will definitely be trying that next 😉
This business in Tarentum is just a few doors down from OliviaGrace & Co. and is the perfect stop in the morning or afternoon for a pick-me-up. Harvest Moon brews the Pittsburgh famous, La Prima Espresso Co. coffee and crafts classic and seasonal drinks with their delicious coffee blends. Some of their classic items available year-round are Americanos, lattes, cappuccinos, chai tea, frozen frappes, and cold brew (decaf & regular). Their current seasonal menu features some incredible winter-themed drinks such as the Dirty Noggin’ which is steamed eggnog with espresso, and my personal favorite, the Winter Wonderland which is a brown sugar cinnamon and peppermint latte, YUM!
Aside from coffee, they also offer some delicious pastries, both sweet and savory. These pastries are sourced from other local businesses like Freedom Farms and 360° Bakery. The raspberry shortbread from 360° is AMAZING. Anytime there is shortbread anything in their case, you have to try it! If you are looking for something more savory, they often have bacon cheddar scones as well as a small variety of handpies. I have tried the breakfast handpie which is filled with sausage, egg, and cheddar, and my gosh was it good. The flakiness of the crust was absolutely perfect. All of their “salads” are from Freedom Farms and are perfect for a grab-and-go snack. Some favorites are the couscous, chicken, and macaroni salads.
Now to the good stuff…..THE CHOCOLATE! Owner, Desiree Singleton is just as sweet as the chocolate treats that she creates in the back half of this shop. With knowledge and experience in specialty chocolates, she has the perfect touch (& taste) when creating Harvest Moon’s treats. The item they are most known for, which also happens to be my favorite is their Buzzy Bark! This chocolate bark is a mixture of their delicious chocolate, Oreos, caramel, pretzels, and espresso. The Dark Buzzy Bark is my all-time fave!! Other chocolate treats like chocolate-covered pretzels, Oreos, marshmallows, etc. can be purchased. They also have basic chocolate bars, bars with nuts, non-pereils, pecan bark, the list goes on and on! If you are a business, you are also able to order custom chocolate from them. When I visited the one day, Desiree showed me some chocolate bars they made for an event at The Frick. Another fun collaboration I love is the Best Ever Granola chocolate bars! These bars are sprinkled with their gluten-free and vegan granola making for the perfect combo. So, whether you are a business, or just someone looking for delicious chocolate, Harvest Moon is your place!
Owned by a Natrona Heights native, Shelby Brown, this food truck serves up the freshest açaí and dragonfruit bowls on the go! During March-Mid November Main Squeeze travels throughout the Pittsburgh area for events, but new this winter, she will be taking curbside pickup orders via text to 412-330-1991 M-F 9am-1pm. Pickup will be at 319 E 6th Ave., Tarentum, PA 15084 (Barley Bar).
If you’ve never had a smoothie bowl before, let me break it down for you. The base of the bowl is basically a smoothie made with açaí berries or dragonfruit. When you’re ordering, Main Squeeze makes it super easy for you. After you select your base, you decide the type of granola you want to add on top. When I recently ordered, the options were honey oat or blueberry flax granola. I knew I wanted some sweetness so I went with honey oat! Next you choose 2 toppings. Her current toppings are the following:
- sliced almonds *
- chia seeds
- unsalted peanuts
- flax seeds
- peanut butter drizzle
- hazelnut drizzle
- dark chocolate chips*
- mini milk chocolate chips
- sweet coconut flakes
* – indicates items I chose
Next up is to decide which fruits you want to add! This is my favorite part because I choose them all LOL. This time she had strawberries, bananas, and blueberries so I added all of those and topped with agave sweetener (kinda like a honey).
Another piece of Main Squeeze’s business is their pressed juices! They have immunity shots, juices, and full cleanses you are able to purchase. The cleanse options they have available are 1-3 days and they come in the adorable green coolers pictured above. Make sure you plan ahead with these so you can place your order in advance! If you just want a solo juice, they have different options that are available depending on the day. Check out their Facebook or Instagram for up to date info!
This business is one of my favorites because Shelby and I actually went to the same elementary school. Seeing someone come from the same little school as me makes it that much more real that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it! Main Squeeze is currently going into its FIFTH year in service, and has some exciting things coming up real soon……
If you follow my Instagram page, you’ve likely seen stories of my nails 💅🏼 After much searching throughout the Burgh, I finally found my gal! I’ve been going to the same nail artist for the last 6 months, and she crushes it EVERY. TIME. Her name is Victoria, known on Instagram as @vtnailss_ , and is an employee at New Nails in Natrona Heights!
Aside from manicures, New Nails has a number of services all listed in the photo above. Victoria said that her most common service is acrylics by far, followed by dip, then gel. My favorite thing about her is she is always willing to give fun designs a shot! Over time she adds more skills to her arsenal, so if there is something on trend, let her know you’re interested.
My go-to is dip every 3 weeks. After two appointments my nails had the length they needed to pull off any shape on their own. Never be afraid to mix it up with some neutrals and wild designs and colors!
When people are in the Natrona Heights area, I often get asked, “where is the best place to eat?” My answer is ALWAYS Capri. This authentic Italian restaurant is one of the best Italian spots I’ve ever eaten at. Owned by a family from Italy, this restaurant offers so many options that all have that homemade deliciousness. Capri sells the typical pasta and entrees like eggplant parm, gnocchi, cheese ravioli, etc. but also sells pizzas and lunch time bites! My two favorite pizzas are the Margherita and Buffalo chicken, but honestly you cannot go wrong. My favorite lunchtime bite is the grilled chicken panini (definitely big enough to split) and wedding soup.
As for pasta, when I order with friends we try to do a mix and match situation so we each can have a little bit of everything. The portions will definitely leave enough for more than one serving. Above, you can see the hot cheese balls appetizer, eggplant parm, chicken & broccoli alfredo, and pasta with vodka sauce. When I order the eggplant parm, I always ask for the spaghetti on the side with vodka sauce instead of marinara (menu hack 😉). The bread is incredible as well and is a great way to make sure no sauce gets left behind!