The Vandal - THE place to see and be seen in Pittsburgh (on instagram or in real life)

Originally published August 15th, 2016.

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Yesterday was my birthday, so I gave myself a day off from writing. (Though, to be honest, I probably would have enjoyed a full day of writing more).

My parents took me to brunch at the Vandal. I first met the Vandal back in April.

For months and months (and maybe even a year), I would stare out the windows of Industry Public House (the Lawrenceville staple located across the street), and ask myself, "Is that a barber shop?"   

I finally realized it was a restaurant (woops), and that I should check it out next time I was in Larryville.

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It only took one lazy afternoon of eating beignets and practicing calligraphy (yep, I was that person) in The Vandal for me to realize this place was doing it RIGHT.  

Yesterday proved that once again. 

The staff is incredibly kind, and it feels genuine, not fake or cloying (aka the worst thing in the world).  This is 'refill your coffee,' 'free beignets for waiting'  kind, and it makes the fashionably stark decor warm and friendly. 

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The plating is beautiful.  Especially in 2016, how are you supposed to not take out your camera?

From their brunch menu, my favorites were the Beignets and Fried Chicken Sandwich.  The Duck Egg Polenta and Biscuit Sandwich were also good, but nothing is going to beat the beignets and chicken.

The only conflict is the restaurants intimate size. The place feels cozy and exclusive, but the limited number of tables can cause build up.  Obviously, there's not much that can be done for this, so I try to not ding them too hard. I waited an hour for a table for Sunday brunch. And yeah, in New York or Chicago no one would have thought twice about that. 

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IF they asked me (which they didn't, obviously) I would suggest: cutting the women's bathroom in half and making the space into two smaller bathrooms.  Then, push the coffee counter back into the space occupied by the men's room. Boom. Done. I saw once episode of Flip or Flop and I know what I am talking about.  

The menu is small, but each dish is carefully selected. Large menus are often confusing, so no complaints here. 

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The Vandal takes reservations for dinner, but be prepared to wait for a table for weekend brunch. Industry Public (across the street) has a huge bar and massive beer list so it shouldn't be hard to kill some time. 

Otherwise, enjoy.  It Shouldn't be too hard

And the most important tip? The place is BYOB.

2018 update: It will soon no longer be BYOB.

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HAPPY GALLIVANTING!