Before ecoRDN returned to Pittsburgh from NYC living we made a list of all the many vegan-friendly food hubs to visit upon return to our glorious city and Spak Brothers topped the list. Spak forged a path not many dared back when they first opened their doors. Sure Pittsburgh has seen a vegan-friendly boom over the last five years, but before that boom the vegan scene was practically crickets. There was the dope East End staple Quiet Storm, the Southside Zenith with their epic brunch and all-vegan dessert, however pizza and wings were not yet on the menu. Thus enter the Spak!
Spak Brothers caters to the omnivore, vegetarian and vegan in one swoop. Pizza, wings, hoagies and fries are already famous foods for all the meat-eaters in this Steel City and so it was quite inspiring when we heard about all the vegan options available! ecoRDN were so stoked over the menu we decided to make multiple visits to sample numerous things in order to drop a well researched post into your lap (and eat so much vegan everything!)
ecoRDN made a total of three visits over the span of four months. Ahead is a rundown of all the amazing samples!
Seitan Buffalo Wings
We ordered wings twice although they weren’t as good the second visit. That’s not to say they were bad, they were delicious, just not as good as the first time. The first batch had gnarly seitan chunks, perfectly toothsome and rich to the eye. Whereas the second visit saw more like shredded chunks of seitan. It looked more like barbecue than wings, but the flavors both times were on point! The sauce remained the same, spicy piquant and buttery vegan buffalo with the sidecar crisp chunks of celery and luscious ranch which boasted an amazing aioli texture with a flavor like sour cream & onion dip, super rich and creamy! The food is quite salty, so be warned. During our third sojourn we schlepped the food back home and steamed up a huge trough of fresh broccoli on the side to cut the salt and it helped a lot. If you are eating a low sodium diet this is not the food for you. But if soulful vegan pub grub is what you’re after, you are in for an awesome treat.
Seitan Pittsburgh Steak
Shaved hosemade seitan on a chewy lightly toasted hoagie roll topped with banana peppers, mushroom, grilled onion, grilled pepper, lettuce, tomato, vegan mayo and french fries! We in Pittsburgh put french fries on everything from sammies to salads. Gooey rich hits from the mayo and cheese combo lace the umami bomb of savory seitan and all that grilled caramelized mirepoix… Yes indeed! This is a remarkable sandwich. A perfectly executed Pittsburgh hoagie with the chewy crunch of the lightly toasted bun that houses the savory rich marriage of meaty seitan, lush vegan mayo and grilled vegetable umami goodness.
No toppings, we wanted to taste the cheese, sauce and crust. Absolutely perfect execution! Chewy crust, not too crispy not too soft, not too oily. Sweet sauce though not candy sweet, and not overly pungent with herbs, but mellow and rich. More awareness of the tomato and garlic instead of piney oregano. And the cheese melted up nice, stayed stringy and gave that rich fatty hit to drop the mic. Spak Brothers vegan pizza is exactly what you need for that plant-based Pittsburgh pizza fix. Quite possibly the finest vegan pizza ecoRDN has ever eaten. Two Boots (NYC) and Spak Brothers have set the bar very high, hats off and mad props for that! We can’t wait to eat more after we work off this last round!
Needless to say Spak Brothers delivered in spades! Although the foods offered are not for ecoRDN’s everyday every meal consumption, special occasions are certainly a go! And those days when ecoRDN feel compelled to put in 15+ miles on foot loading up on that good Spak Brothers fuel prior to the epic jaunt is a no brainer!
Great atmosphere, great attitude, great decor and superb vegan food, Spak Brothers has it all! A true Pittsburgh original we at ecoRDN are proud to support! Hell YES!
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Stay Cool and Eat Well!