Since November, Morningside's Lilliputian business district has included a cozy storefront coffee shop, Morning Glory Coffeehouse. With a profusion of plants and wood tones, a foosball table and a little George Harrison on the stereo, the place has a homey feel you won't find replicated at one of the chain coffee joints, and a few quirks you won't find anywhere else in town.
The café offers such amenities as free high-speed wireless, a full espresso bar that uses "100 percent organic, fair-trade and shade-grown" coffee and -- a nice bonus -- free refills on house coffee. And if you're a mite peckish, it offers the familiar wraps, paninis, bagels and veggie pies, as well as something called "chai latte oatmeal" -- all at quite affordable prices. For your sweet tooth, there are baked treats, including monstrous, honey-flavored chocolate-chip bars and, in a nod to the local obsession, cupcakes with tiny Steelers logos made in frosting.
Though Morning Glory has only been open since late fall, it boasts a busy schedule, with intimate music shows and other events happening a few times a week. If your initial thought of "coffee-shop music" is the usual cloying collegiate troubadour, think again -- the offerings range from chamber folk to experimental music, old-timey to electronic, from locals to touring musicians from overseas.
That musical sensibility comes from owner Jeffrey Alexander, who moved here from Rhode Island about a year ago with his girlfriend, Miriam Goldberg; together, they run indie label Secret Eye and perform as Dead Forest, Dead Sea. In the 1990s, Alexander toured in indie-rock bands, and later booked a prominent Providence venue, AS220, for several years.
Appropriately enough, Morning Glory's signature drink is the Rhode Island Coffeemilk, "the official drink of Rhode Island": a cold beverage made with milk and concentrated, caffeinated coffee syrup. Alexander says that while it's omnipresent in Rhode Island, and especially popular with the kiddies, it's not usually available elsewhere.
To suit Pittsburgh's colder climes, Morning Glory has invented a hot version of the drink, using steamed milk. The hot coffeemilk is sweet, creamy and nutty, somewhere between an extra-sugary regular latte and a hot chocolate -- in other words, quite delicious on a cold day, and worth a visit to try it out.
"The idea of making it into a latte, that's not a Rhode Island thing," Alexander says, "that's a Morningside thing."
1806 Chislett St., Morningside
412-450-1050 or www.moglocoffee.com