By Elsa Buehler | Staff Writer
It’s that time of year when the question of whether or not you’re sick of campus dining is needless. Finals are approaching, FLEX is low and you find yourself trudging to Market for one of those delicious cold-cut sandwiches that we all so dearly love.
Off-campus options are limited to China Wok and Milano’s, whose monopolies reign over our great school, or the very pricey Postmates and UberEats delivery services. Now there’s one more choice to add to the list: Merante Brothers Italian American Market, which celebrated its reopening this past October.
From fresh deli options to baked goods to groceries and Italian specialty items, Merante Brothers, located at 6 Marion St., offers a tempting spread of homemade authentic Italian food, as well as many other essentials. No business within a substantial proximity to campus can compete with the quality, variety and service that Merante Brothers offers. And at just a couple of blocks from campus, the location really is ideal.
Visit Merante Brothers for yourself, and you’ll likely be greeted by Vincenzo and Marco Merante, or their father, Pasquale. Part of the appeal of the old-school market is the deep connection that the family has with the community. The Merantes seem to know everyone milling around their store, and they’re friendly and accessible to anyone else who may be shopping.
Merante Brothers first opened its doors in 1962 and was originally owned by brothers Italo and Salvatore Merante. Always a fully family-owned business, the market has been well-known to the Uptown Pittsburgh community since its original opening.
Though they specialize in all kinds of Italian food, Merante Brothers is particularly known for its homemade Italian hot sausage. The store remained fully operational until the 90s, when the Merantes sold only sausage. In 2000, Merante Brothers officially closed.
According to Marco Merante, before the reopening, his father Pasquale was a plumber by trade, so the renovations for the market were just another family project. Lots of hard work transformed a couple of storefronts already owned by the family into one big market space, completely unrecognizable to many as the same Merante Brothers Market.
The Merantes have designed a brand new full menu, which they are excited to showcase. Some items are offered on a daily basis, but they recommend checking in on their daily specials, which are sure to impress.
Two and a half months after the reopening, the market is bustling with new customers, as well as ones who have known the Merante family for more than 40 years.
Marco Merante says that “everything sells,” but lists eggplant parmesan, pepperoni bread, soup, chili, pasta salad, meatballs and fresh baked goods as just a few favorites to look out for as daily specials. Marco also makes specialty breakfast sandwiches as part of his “secret menu.” (The Merantes have a sign that reads, “If you don’t see it, ask for it. It’s gotta be here — somewhere,” next to a row of old family photographs). In addition, Merante Brothers offers a great selection of fresh deli, grab-and-go foods, Italian specialty items, grocery staples, candy bars and other necessities, making it a highly in-demand resource for students, just a short distance away.
Merante Brothers may be well-known to resident community members, but expansion is just as important to the market as is customer loyalty. Pasquale and his sons anticipate the opening of the new Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital on UPMC Mercy’s campus in 2020 for more customers, as well as business from Duquesne students who are desperate for a taste of home.