Ladybird’s Luncheonette is a bit of a drive from Pittsburgh, but it’s definitely worth it. Located in Ellwood City, this charming bakery offers a wide array of menu items from sweet and savory pastries to salads to toasts made on homemade bread. They even have fresh, cold-pressed juices. Everything on their menu is house-made and the menu ingredients are sourced as locally as possible.
Chef and co-owner Jade Cageao is an Ellwood City native and has years of pastry experience. Ladybird’s Luncheonette was originally an ice cream shop called Sweet Caroline’s when Cageao bought it in May 2019 with her brother. She started adding pastries and a small selection of sandwiches soon after she bought the shop. The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 was when the menu was fully expanded to what it is today, and the name Ladybird’s Luncheonette soon followed.
A definite must-have when you make the trip is one of their ginormous sandwiches. I’m talking sandwiches so big, they could feed at least two people. These sandwiches are piled high with local, fresh ingredients and made with naturally leavened bread made in house. The sandwich that stood out the most was the Roast Beast.
The main star of the Roast Beast is house roast beef, but it has some side characters that add to its flavor. The homemade bread is crispy and the sharp cheddar cheese is slightly melted thanks to a panini press. The sharp cheddar adds a tang to the sandwich that complements the roast beef. Pickled cucumbers and arugula gave the sandwich a bite of acidity and freshness to balance the heaviness of the roast beef and cheese, which was much needed. The final component of the sandwich was the horseradish mayo, which added a bit of a kick to this otherwise tame sandwich. Everything came together to create a decadent sandwich that I didn’t even come close to finishing. It was great to have leftovers for lunch the next day, though.
If you have some room left after finishing your sandwich (I’m not sure how), make sure you get a cookie. I had a chocolate chip cookie that had a chewy, scone-like texture that melted in my mouth. The copious amount of chocolate chips didn’t hurt, either!
Ladybird’s Luncheonette is open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. I went on a Saturday and had to wait a while for my sandwich to be prepared. One of the workers recommended giving the restaurant a call to pre-order, so your food is ready when you arrive.