On the North Side, Arnold's Tea offers off-beat beverages and a comfortable environment | On The Side | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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On the North Side, Arnold's Tea offers off-beat beverages and a comfortable environment

"It's not just grab-and-go ... but a place where people can feel at home."

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It's not always easy being a tea drinker in a coffee world, but Arnold's Tea Shop and Café — which opened in the North Side at the beginning of March — caters to those who prefer their beverages steeped.

The menu features hot and cold signature teas, including chai lattes (masala, rooibos vanilla, chocolate or matcha) and Pom Pom (rooibos with pomegranate). There's also an impressive selection of loose-leaf teas, ranging from basic black to the exotic (chocolate marshmallow maté, coconut-cream banana). For sustenance, Arnold's offers a wide selection of sandwiches and pastries. And, yes, there's even coffee — regular or decaf.

Owner Verna Arnold — who grew up in Hazelwood — always dreamed of owning some kind of food-service business. But tea didn't enter the picture until she retired from her job as a principal in the Pittsburgh Public School system and took time to travel. "Everywhere we went, we ended up in tea houses," she says. "I thought, ‘Pittsburgh needs something like this.' It was a chance to bring tea and food service together."

Buisness has grown steadily since opening, and Arnold says the spot — which is spacious but cozy with its plentiful seating, chalkboard menu and wood flooring — has become a popular place for meetings. "It's not just grab-and-go," Arnold explains. "It's become a place not just to find, in my opinion, the best tea in Pittsburgh, but a place where people can feel at home."

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