You won't find Verdetto's listed in any glossy tourist guide. It lies beneath the snarled concrete overpasses of Interstate 279, and is surrounded by darkly lit streets and vacant lots. That same highway separates Verdetto's from the North Side attractions just a few minutes away. It's close, but not close enough to be counted among destinations for tourists.
And it should.
Not many bars, at least in Pittsburgh, list home-made turtle soup as a signature dish. This alone should put Verdetto's on the map, but the joint also serves some mighty fine wings. The Buffalo wings -- as well as the laudable garlic-parmesan -- should be considered contenders when compiling a list of the city's best wings.
Other standouts from Verdetto's bar-cuisine menu include macaroni-and-cheese wedges and thin, hand-cut fries. The fish sammich is a keeper, beer-battered (with Iron City) and served with tartar sauce made in house. All dishes are under $10, except for the Pittsburgh salad, which is hardly a wallet-buster at 95 cents more.
Verdetto's features several beers on draft: At two bucks a pop, jars of Iron City and Yuengling come highly recommended.
Verdetto's is housed in an historic building with high tin ceilings and many original fixtures. Light-stained wood and dark-green paint make the bar area nice and homey. A poster of the 1970s Pittsburgh Penguins adorns one wall; on another, hanging near the classic-rock-heavy jukebox, is a photo commemorating an Art Rooney Sr.-led fundraiser (former Steeler and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron "Whizzer" White was a guest).
A small, separate dining area located toward the back boasts antique wooden booths and an old telephone booth. It's quaint enough to take your parents, but you won't feel like you're in a Victorian theme-park.
Verdetto's is only open Monday through Friday, for lunch and dinner. Despite the lack of weekend hours, the wings and fries alone are worth crossing the highway for. And a bridge or three.
Verdetto's Restaurant & Bar
814 Madison Ave., Spring Garden