Zelienople: A Modern Place with Old Fashioned Grace

The Baron Dettmar Basse would not quite recognize the town he named after his daughter, Zelie. After all, 1802 and 2023 don’t have much in common! However, the Baron should be proud of the community that bears her name. Zelienople, as its motto goes, is truly “a modern place with old fashioned grace!” and once those passing through pause to explore, they will agree. Zelienople, located a short distance from Cranberry and Wexford and conveniently located close to Interstate 79, is worth the drive. Whether you’re looking for a new place to explore and shop, great food and breweries, or a bit of culture, Zelienople has it all.

North Main Street is made for walking. Boutiques, galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, and a historic theater are nestled into town. Cruise into a free parking space along Main Street or in the nearby lot on New Castle Street and start your journey. If you need a coffee first, early risers can grab a variety of caffeinated drinks (or smoothies!) at Spring & Main, a cafe with plenty of lunch options, too. Then, stop by Con Yeager Spice Store nearby, in operation for more than 90 years. In the shop on Main, foodies can find the basic herbs and spices they need to replenish their spice drawers and will enjoy perusing the array of seasoning mixes and rubs. Grab something unique and later fire up the grill to make a delicious family or romantic dinner.

Across the street, Local Boutique 16063  is a fashion stop worth making. Owner Angela Dawson has spent her career working in the fashion industry. Opening her boutique doors in 2015, the store is cozy and filled with trendy fashion choices. Her selection can best be described as on her website, having “an elevated casual feel.” Shoppers will be impressed by Angela’s must-have sweaters, jeans, skirts, dresses, and lounge wear and intimates. Browse the jewelry, handbags, and other inventory if looking for a gift or for something to complete an outfit. Visitors to town with babies, toddlers, or tweens should then stroll to Local Boutique Kids, Angela Dawson’s sister store. Featuring quality soft and stylish infant and toddler clothing along with trendy choices for pre-teen girls, shoppers will be equally amazed by the tunnel in the store front and swings  at the store’s rear, providing shoppers of all ages an opportunity to enjoy the experience. Plaid jackets, beanies, and shirts for toddler boys and chic dresses, puff sleeve shirts, and floral shorts for girls are only a few choices.

For those still in the mood to shop, cruise across the street to Eva Bryn Shoetique. Owner Kelly Carney and staff are both knowledgeable and friendly. Kelly takes pride in giving a personal shopping experience to her customers, and Kelly – knowing most of her clients’ shoe sizes by heart – makes the shopping experience unique. Falling in love with shoes through friend Karen Fletcher while living in Scotland, Kelly returned to the states and jumped on Karen’s offer to mentor her and share her love of shoes with the Zelienople community. Including Luna Selene, a Pittsburgh-based shoe line, along with Jeffrey Campbell statement heels and alt-rock boots, Eva Bryn Shoetique’s wall of shoes will hook shoe lovers. Pikolinos, a more laid back brand from Spain, and tons of other brands are on display. Whether shopping for day or night, Eva Bryn has designers and styles for many occasions. Shoppers can check out the shop’s jewelry, clothing, and handbags too.

Some say shopping is their cardio, and Zelienople has many places to refuel after a good shopping workout. Next to Eva Bryn Shoetique is the Kaufman Tavern. The building is a town landmark, built in 1902. First operated as a hotel and then as a place for local workers to stay, the building was purchased by E.F. Kaufman in the 1920s and became a restaurant in the 1970s under new ownership. The original space had four dining areas, a lounge, and a coffee shop. Damaged by fire in 2011, the restaurant sat vacant. Borough efforts to save the building eventually were successful as was owner of Breakneck Tavern in Mars, Jason Eisenreich. Eisenreich opened the Kaufman Tavern in 2020. The Victorian yet modern style of the restaurant makes it the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or have lunch or dinner.

Guests will experience a menu with an American fusion vibe. The Kaufman Tavern is a great place to keep in mind for an upcoming happy hour with friends. Baked Brie, Crab & Crawfish Dip, and Seared Scallops are a few of the appetizer choices. Hanger Steak Poutine is a featured entree item along with Shrimp and Grits and a brown sugar and cajun rubbed Skuna Bay Salmon dish. The entirety of the dining experience makes a visit to the Kaufman Tavern a necessity.

Beer enthusiasts can exit the Kaufman Tavern in the rear and walk a short distance down New Castle Street to Burgh’ers Brewing. Burgh’ers opened its Zelienople location in 2010. Joining with friend and brewer Neil Glausier in 2017, owner Fiore Moletz opened his current spot featuring beef and brews while sticking by his vision of being “approachable, affordable, and sustainable.” Select a burger from menu options featuring Pittsburgh names like the Shadyside, Mexican War, or Forest Hills, or choose from other sandwich options or even build your own burger. Most definitely though, pick rosemary fries as a side! No matter the meal choice, what Burgh’ers customers will get is ingredients purchased from farms within a 200-mile radius. Of course, nothing goes better with locally-sourced grub than a good beer. Sample the array of options by enjoying a flight; Burgh’ers offers a selection of IPAs, various lagers, and a perfectly sweet and sour Farkleberry Tart which is a fan favorite of those who enjoy sours. Brewmaster Glausier’s beer does not disappoint.

Burgh’ers owner Fiore Moletz also knows Italian food. For readers wanting to impress a date or take their partner out for the evening, Moletz’s Della Terra, meaning “of the earth,” is a welcomed addition to Zelienople. Moletz and his wife, owner Michelle Moletz, honor the history of the building and town while providing a unique Italian bistro dining experience. The building, which third Mellon Bank built, later became Citizen’s Bank. The restaurant’s interior honors the colors of both banks while blending in a 1940s style. Chef Rich Burns, a Zelienople native, perfectly fuses traditional Italian cuisine with Moletz’s standard of using local farms and suppliers. Foodies can enjoy pizza or hearth bread hot out of the wood burning oven or one of the delicious pasta options. Because ingredients are locally sourced, pasta selections change with the seasons. A unique cocktail menu and wine selection adds to the ambiance of the Della Terra dining experience. End the night by sharing a dessert or dessert cocktail.

Zelienople’s food and beverage options don’t end with Burgh’ers and Della Terra. Equally good beer and food can be found at ShuBrew and General Shu’s. The original ShuBrew location opened in 2013 on Main Street. The tiny but cozy spot offered quality beer and locally sourced food from around the globe. That location is now open as General Shu’s, focusing on Chinese cuisine, both authentic or with a chef-inspired American twist. Featuring ShuBrew beers and other cocktails, General Shu’s is a “fast-casual, communal, and welcoming taproom” that pays tribute to the Chinese food and flavors that were a hit on the original ShuBrew menu.  Those looking for a more expansive draft list should walk across the street to ShuBrew. With multiple light beers, lagers, IPAs, and stouts, ShuBrew drafts will be loved. The White Can West-Coast IPA is the perfect balance of grapefruit, orange, and spice. The stouts and sours on tap are some of the most flavorful and smooth around. Signature cocktails (the Old Fashions are something to rave about!) are made with local spirits, and wines and ciders are also from the Keystone State. Before drinking too much, peruse the menu for a wide variety of delectable options. Those manning the kitchen take pride in serving quality food and partnering with local farmers and suppliers. ShuBrew was the first Butler County restaurant to earn a platinum designation from Sustainable Pittsburgh. Additionally, ShuBrew hosts events and has a private room for parties, but the most unique aspect of the new location is the rooftop bar. Warm weather can’t come fast enough!

During your visit, make sure to prioritize catching a show or movie at The Strand. Built in 1914 by the Sapienzas, Italian immigrants striving for a better life in Zelienople, the couple originally wanted the space to be a fruit market. However, a local banker convinced them the town needed a theater. So, the building was uniquely both. Later, the market moved across the street and is now one of two wineries in town. Open until the 1980s, The Strand closed after financially struggling due to cinema popularity in the suburbs and was closed for over two decades.

In 2001, The Strand Theater Initiative was founded with the intention of not only renovating the building but bringing it back as a cultural and educational staple in town. The doors have now been open for almost 15 years. Visitors to The Strand can catch a classic movie, tribute bands and artists, magic shows, and more. Partnering with the school district, a Valentine’s Day concert featured the Seneca Valley Chamber Orchestra. A recent sold-out event brought actor and recording artist Mandy Patinkin in “Being Alive” to the theater. This was the Tony Award winner’s only Pittsburgh show. The revitalization of The Strand is a testament to what can happen when a community and organization work together to support its history while prioritizing the arts and entertainment.

For the arts-inclined, Curio, an art gallery and workshop owned by certified art teachers, and other galleries and studios on Main and Spring Streets will pique your interests. Curio features local and regional art for purchase and is also a studio that offers classes and workshops. Photography, paintings, handmade artisan items, DIY art kits, and other types of art give shoppers the opportunity to see what local artists have to offer. The friendly owners, Jason and Lauren Shorr, have utilized the space as only artists can. Head into the Clay Cave to see the spacious workshop where private parties and classes can be held. Classes include painting, clay, and pottery options for all ages — even preschoolers!

While exploring these must-sees in Zelienople, visitors will discover there is even more to be found. Room to Gow, a fun store featuring educational and entertaining toys, books, and games, or Little Green Bookstore may interest some – while others will want to check out Elluinger’s Meats & Deli for quality meats, cheeses, beef sticks, or a fresh deli sandwich. Some may return to discover the historic attractions in town or in nearby Harmony Historic District or want to bring the family to Zelienople in July for Horse Trading Days when the area is bustling with local vendors featuring their arts, crafts, and tons to keep the kids busy.  Zelienople more recently began open-air markets on Thursdays running May through October. Stroll into open shops, see what’s for sale at the sidewalk sales or from local artisans, listen to live music, and more. Zelienople and the surrounding area is a place to come and to return. When looking to get out of the city or to bust away from suburban traffic, keep Zelienople in mind.


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