Bear N Mom - Dining at Atria's in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Atria's Restaurant on Freeport Road in O'Hara Township is a mixture of experiences. The ambiance is one comparable to a Sun Room at a Country Club. While the restaurant is no longer what you would call new and shows some of it's bumps and bruises, that makes it distinctive in itself. The cheery yellows and white which are enhanced with floral window drapery are mood lifters in themselves.

If any of you remember Stouffer's Restaurant on Penn Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh, you can get a definite feel for the type of upscale dining experience Atria's offers. Pricing is mid-range. I have paid more for less quality.

It was pleasant to be served by a friendly and helpful waitress who made me feel like I was the only patron in the room. Being in the mood for a Steak Salad, her interjections as to how my steak would be served were right on target and the steak was done exactly how I like it - medium rare. The waitress told me I needed to order medium in order to achieve the red meat just before it turns pinkish.

My only disappointment was the fact that the restaurant only serves Pepsi products. Being a staunch Coca Cola drinker, I couldn't bring myself to order a cola and made due with ice water.

While I waited for my meal to be delivered I was given the opportunity to observe the rest of the staff as they waited on and handled the patrons for this evening. It was refreshing to watch the staff helping each other serve and accommodate customer needs. They all worked as a team. I observed a patron being given special attention because through a misunderstanding she was not happy with her drink order. The difference in drink ingredients was explained to her and she was satisfied with the replacement cocktail. Before I was done, I was visited by the evening manager to inquire as to my satisfaction with my meal. I was not the only patron she visited. I had observed her going through the room at opportune moments to speak with the patrons.

When my salad arrived, it was a very interesting and pleasing presentation. The bed of greens was garnished with diced eggs. The steak was sliced across the middle of the salad and surrounded by fine fried onion straws around the edge of the bowl. The onion straws reminded me of a whipped cream swirl around the plate. The ranch dressing, served on the side, was not a buttermilk ranch but a peppercorn ranch which gave it a different taste. Once I tasted the salad I was surprised that a distinct vinaigrette taste permeated the salad which did take away from my favorite ranch dressing. All in all, it was a good salad and I was taken up in the distinctive difference that Atria's Restaurant made to one of my favorites.

When I inquired I was told that the onion straws are made by their chefs and I must say they are very light and good. The only drawback is that if you can't eat your entire salad and want to take some home the onion straws seem to mush up in the salad dressing when left too long.

I tried to force a dessert and their menu was most tempting with pecan bread pudding, carrot cake and some of my other favorites but my salad had filled me up and I didn't want to spoil the meal by gorging myself.

As I was leaving, I inquired as to the Atria's chain and was told that it is a local Pittsburgh Chain with just 7 restaurants in the Pittsburgh area. I am told that each is similar in ambiance as the one in O'Hara Township. I'm going to have fun visiting the other locations to try some of my other favorite restaurant choices that I noticed on their menu.

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