La Prima opens its third Pittsburgh coffee shop

Located at the ground level of the AC Hotel Pittsburgh, La Prima’s expansion into downtown can be found at Smallman + 11th Street. We toured their new digs.

by Aadam Soorma
June 20, 2019

Ciao! La Prima has expanded.

The Italian-rooted coffee roasters you’ve visited in the Strip District are now pulling espresso at a shiny new shop at the corner of Smallman and 11th Street.

Sharing an address with AC Hotel Pittsburgh, the La Prima team has unveiled a stunning, naturally lit, modern take on what it means to be a Pittsburgh coffee shop.

A Little History

Started in 1988 by Sam Patti, La Prima’s beginnings actually included selling coffee and espresso equipment. They are genuinely Italian and, to this day, Sam Patti consults with local universities on their cultural programming and study abroad curriculums.

La Prima plans to keep their flagship “bar” open at Penn Ave and 21st St in the Strip District. They will also continue operating their full-service Carnegie Mellon University shop, located inside Wean Hall. Additionally, they will continue operating their coffee roaster in Chateau and delivering wholesale coffee beans to coffee shops and businesses around the city (from the roaster).

La Prima and AC Hotel Pittsburgh

The La Prima team took on this expansion project with local architecture firm DLA+. The interior design elements are modern, and naturally VERY well lit with large, floor to ceiling windows that flood the space with light from 11th Street, facing the convention center.

DLA+ is one of the only architecture firms in the world to obtain a permit to work on the Vatican in Italy.

If you visit La Prima Downtown, the point of sale (where you pay for your coffee) will read ‘AC Hotel.’ Don’t be alarmed; La Prima shares an address with the hotel directly above it.

This La Prima location differs from their Strip District location in a few ways:

  • WiFi access
  • Very clean, modern bathrooms
  • Plenty of seating
  • A regularly serviced food program
  • Still and sparkling water on tap (self-serve)
  • A huge “tree” column cover that will eventually hold merchandise on perched shelves

Parking pro tip: if you’re driving to La Prima’s downtown space, there is a garage located beneath the AC Hotel Pittsburgh. You can park there OR in the surface lot directly across the street (access from Smallman Street or Railroad Street).


Header Photo: Cole Bradley

AC Hotel by Marriott Pittsburgh Downtown
Getting there
1126 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA
More Info


In 2012, Aadam moved to Pittsburgh. He's currently parked (sans chair) in Lawrenceville and plans to stay a while. On the weekends, you'll find him driving a small green bus (Porter Tours) as he leads tours at local breweries. Got a fun story idea? DMs are open: @asoorma.

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