With the close-knit feel of a bygone era mixed with a contemporary attitude, Etna is a great example of today’s Pittsburgh. It’s a likely contender to be among the next batch of thriving neighborhoods to shift from well-kept secret to hot destination.
Fortunately this small town within our big city is no stranger to heat: It’s believed the town was named for Mount Etna, the fiery Sicilian volcano, in reference to its history as a hub of industrial furnaces.
One of the area’s quintessential river towns — along with Sharpsburg, Millvale and Aspinwall — Etna has played a part in Pittsburgh’s history from its pre-Revolutionary days through the industrial years and into today as a thriving home for small businesses.
The human scale of the borough is one of the most striking things about Etna. Filled with 18th- and 19th-century houses, as well as some more modern homes, there are no high-rises here to tower over residents. Church steeples are about the tallest structures in town, giving the place much the same atmosphere as it had at its 1868 incorporation.
Etna’s main drag, Butler Street (not to be confused with Lawrenceville’s identically-named main drag), connects the borough with Route 8 and offers easy access to Downtown and to the nearby North Hills. Independent businesses abound along this stretch, including the ultimate small-town necessity, Winschel Hardware store.
Hungry? Check out E-Town Bar & Grille for great fish sandwiches and daily specials. And for a taste of the Burgh’s favorite dumpling, try Cop Out Pierogies and their custom-filled, scratch-made savory and dessert pierogies. Etna newcomer Quickhatch Coffee & Food is a coffee shop with higher ambitions, hosting monthly brunch and pop-up dining events. Further down the road, Huntz’s Tavern has tantalized generations with its famous turtle soup.