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Curbside Coffeehouse gets you caffeinated, fed and on your way

Commuters from Oakmont, Harmar and Fox Chapel have put Curbside Coffeehouse on their GPS. The Blawnox bistro, hunkered down at the northern end of the borough, blends youthful enthusiasm with a brisk, can-do efficiency. The food isn't half bad either.

Its relatively isolated location is actually a plus. Because it's not located in the bowels of some outsize strip mall, southbound motorists can zip straight off Freeport Road into the parking lot, grab a cup of nerves and zip out again.

Curbside is owned and run by the eminently outgoing Kylee Clements, who took over the business in 2008, seven days after graduating from Duquesne University with a double major in entrepreneurship and marketing. It had three prior owners, but Clements, a human exclamation point with a seemingly endless reserve of energy, appears to be a perfect fit.

The walls, painted in contrasting baby blue and sea green, lend the place the feel of a day care center with cool furniture and funky light fixtures. For those not in a rush, a couch in the rear of the shop provides a quiet retreat to catch up on last month's magazines. An art deco fireplace provides a homey touch.

Curbside Coffeehouse started out with coffee, tea and pastries, but Clements realized that people too busy to make their own coffee probably don't make their own lunch, either. She's up at 5 a.m. most days, preparing sandwiches and salads with a rotating staff of four. They're wrapped or boxed and put behind the glass counter for quick and easy access.

Kylee's mom makes the muffins ($2) in flavors that include lemon poppy seed, cinnamon, butterscotch, pistachio and double chocolate chocolate chip. Large biscotti, made across the river in Penn Hills, also is available for $1.75 each.

For a more natural sugar rush, the fruit salad ($3.50) is a good choice. It features blueberries, cantaloupe, watermelon and pineapple, with your choice of strawberries or peaches. The chicken breast and Gouda cheese sandwich ($5) is delicious, with lettuce, tomato and spicy chipotle mayo. The pastrami and pickle sandwich ($5) with yellow mustard is deli-quality good.

Office workers at RIDC Park in nearby O'Hara often order the Cranberry-Almond Salad ($5), since it's fresh, flavorful and a meal in itself.

Just don't expect the same thing every day, since the menu changes often. Daily specials, chalked on the blackboard behind the register, can sell out quickly. Their fresh-roasted coffees are available for purchase.

Additional Information:

Curbside Coffeehouse

Location: 405 Freeport Road

Hours: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Fridays; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays

Details: 412-828-9810

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