Learn more about Burgh Bits and Bites...

Sylvia, Founder and Tour Guide

Sylvia is a first-generation Pittsburgher, who spent her formative years in the South Hills. Her family roots extend across Switzerland and Germany and her language skills include English, German and Swiss-German (yes…it is a language!).

In the early nineties she decided to explore her family's European roots and headed for her father's native country of Switzerland. Once there, what was meant to be just a few months visit ended up becoming an eight year sojourn. During her time living and working in the "old country" Sylvia explored the myriad regions of Europe from Alsacian vineyards to Greek beaches, Italian islands to French countrysides and everywhere in between - soaking up the unique sights, sounds and flavors along the way.

Once Sylvia returned to the US, she set about re-discovering her hometown with its own many offerings and rich history. Her most recent job back home was as Assistant Director, Business Development for Executive Education at Katz Graduate School of Business. Soon thereafter she began volunteering with the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and more recently with the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) as a tour guide.

It seemed only natural then to combine a love of good food, an affection for the 'Burgh and her skills as a tour guide into specialized walking tours highlighting Pittsburgh's best bits and tastiest bites. Sylvia currently resides west of Pittsburgh with her husband and their two children.

"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude."- G. K. Chesterton

Gabe, Tour Guide

Gabe is a life-long Pittsburgh resident who taught for over 30 years in the Pittsburgh Public School system as a homebound teacher for special needs students. Since retirement, Gabe has pursued his interest in the history and architecture of Pittsburgh through his involvement with Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF).

Sylvia and Gabe initially met while conducting a PHLF tour. She encouraged him to become involved in the Strip food tours. The unique quality of these food businesses appealed to Gabe for many reasons, one being: "I have a great time giving these tours, it brings back fond memories of my grandfather who owned a grocery store and would visit the Strip to buy goods."

To learn more about Gabe and his knowledge of Pittsburgh and conducting tours, read thisPittsburgh Post Gazette article. Gabe is married to Karen and has a son, Paul, a daughter, Amanda, and three grandchildren.

The more you know,the more you love, and by loving more, the more you enjoy."- St. Catherine of Siena

Jen, Tour Manager

Jenifer moved to Pittsburgh from Annapolis, MD a little more than 6 years ago. Living most of her life in and around the Washington, DC area afforded her the opportunity to explore different ethnic restaurants and partake in various cultural activities. Her experiences in DC coupled with her travels to Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean, confirmed Jenifer's love of culture and the cuisine native to the places she traveled.

After attending one of Sylvia's first tours, Jenifer fell in love with the Strip District. "In the Strip, I'm able to find the foods and authentic ingredients to recreate the dishes I enjoyed during my travels." The fact that she is happy to try new foods certainly makes her visits to the Strip an adventure.

Previously, Jenifer worked for 15 years in pharmaceutical and medical sales. She loves to talk to new people and share her passions. Jenifer and her husband live west of Pittsburgh with their two daughters.

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Corinne, Tour Guide and Tour Guide Trainer

Corinne is a Pennsylvania native and University of Pittsburgh graduate who has lived in Pittsburgh for over 15 years. She currently works as the Director of Tourism at Rivers of Steel Heritage Tours and creates customized tour itineraries for bus groups visiting the Pittsburgh region from all over the United States and Canada. Corinne got her start in Pittsburgh tourism with 'Burgh Bits and Bites and believes that exploring the food in a neighborhood is one of the best ways to experience the culture of the community.

Corinne loves to travel, most recently to the Middle East and Africa, but also loves being a tourist in her own city!

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

― J.R.R. Tolkien

Richard, Tour Guide

Richard is a native of Pittsburgh. He worked in education as a history teacher, principal, and school district superintendent for 37 years. He is an avid historian who has served as a docent with Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) since retiring in 2008. At PHLF he met Gabe, who encouraged him to explore working with Sylvia.

Richard loves leading tours of the Strip District (and eating there!), having lived a mile from the area for over 40 years. "I am amazed at how the Strip District served as an entry point to Pittsburgh for so many immigrants and played a critical role internationally as the birthplace of incredible discoveries and technological developments. Its diversity continues to serve as a window to the world."

Richard and his wife Valerie have four daughters, Hilary, Heather, Hayley, and Halyse and a granddaughter, Vera.

Richard was recently featured in this article regarding the Northside tour.

"We are each of us angels with only one wing. And we can only fly embracing each other." Luciano DeCrescenzo

Beth, Tour Guide and Food Writer

A lifelong resident of Pittsburgh and a lover of all things food related, Beth feels that introducing people to the food in our city is a job that she was destined to have. For many years on an informal basis she took friends to one of her favorite places on earth, The Strip District, and introduced them to the many sights, sounds and hidden food treasures. Crossing paths with Sylvia while pursuing her Master's in Food Studies at Chatham University, Beth found her dream job.

Prior to her current academic pursuit, Beth's professional experience included working with children and their families at The Caring Place and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. She has one teenage son, Teddy and enjoys reading, cooking and travel and volunteers with the Penn Trafford Marching Band , her church and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

In addition Beth is a freelance food writer in the Pittsburgh area. Her most recent articles can be found here and here.

"Be joyful because it is humanly possible."
― Wendell Berry

Cheryl, Tour Guide

Cheryl moved to Pittsburgh in 1992 after marrying Mike. Upon arriving in Pittsburgh they quickly found the Strip District and fell in love with it, visiting often!

"For me the Strip District was a throwback to my growing up in the Bronx, NYC. It was an explosion of culture and incredible foods." Her travels have included Spain (studied in Madrid), Mexico, Trinidad/Tobago, Canada, Caribbean Islands and more than half of America which presented her the opportunity to experience many culinary delights. She marvels at the city's transformation from the "Great Industrial Steel Days" to a place that is vibrant & current, yet still maintains its rich diverse cultural heritage. That heritage includes many delectable recipes passed down from generation to generation. Sharing snippets of Pittsburgh's rich history and her zeal for food with others is a match made in heaven.

Cheryl has recently taught in the West Hills Area for 16yrs. She and her husband have a son Ray and daughter Emily. Faith, family, education, cooking, service, and travel are at the heart of her DNA.

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
- Abraham Lincoln

Christine, Tour Guide

Christine was raised in Sewickley, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Her third grade teacher was one of her favorite teachers and since then, she has always wanted to teach. Even though her job title is "4th Grade Teacher", teaching is a part of her. She loves working with children and seeing the wonder in their eyes while doing a science experiment and the sense of pride when they succeed in learning something.

Christine also loves to travel and learn something new everywhere she visits. Her vacations aren't to the beach, but riding Segways through the mountains of New Hampshire, taking a helicopter ride over Hoover Dam, seeing icebergs in Alaska and zip lining in an underground cave in Kentucky. Although it's on her Bucket List to visit and learn something in all 50 states, exploring the treasures right here in Pittsburgh is also a passion of hers. Christine would also love to sky dive and be fluent in Spanish! "I love to laugh, meet new people and try new things. Life is about experiences and the more I have, the more blessed I feel. I try to live each day to the fullest and cherish even the smallest of moments.

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
- M.K. Gandhi

Missy, Tour Guide

Missy moved to Pittsburgh from her native WV 17 years ago. She has been an elementary school teacher for 14 years.

She has had the opportunity to travel to other countries with students as a teacher leader in the People to People International Program. Through these travels she discovered the joy in experiencing the unique tastes of food from other cultures.

She enjoys meeting new people and hearing their stories.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."
- Helen Keller

Valerie, Tour Guide

Valerie is a Pittsburgh native, and originally from the Gibsonia area. She is also a (2000) graduate from Duquesne University School of Education, and holds a Master's degree in Psychology in Education from The University of Pittsburgh. She currently works as Special Education teacher in the Woodland Hills School district.

While her roots and deep love for everything food-related originate in Pittsburgh (especially charcuterie and cheese plates), she has a passion for travel.

She not only enjoys trying new food around Pittsburgh (and the world!), she also enjoys growing it. She currently manages a garden at the Woodland Hills Administration Building. Valerie was recently featured in this article and video written by Doug Oster of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Valerie currently lives in the Swissvale area.

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
- Virginia Woolf

Gina, Tour Guide

Gina is a native to the Pittsburgh area and grew up in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Family and tradition is a big part of how she was raised. With Italian and Slovak roots, food has always played an important role in her life. Her job as a 2nd grade teacher has given her the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country, and to explore the world. Gina is always ready to meet new people, and have a great time doing so.

"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."
- Mae West

Michelle, Tour Guide

Michelle is a life-long Pittsburgher - born and raised East of the city of Pittsburgh. After High School Michelle knew her dream was to travel, so she studied Travel and Tourism which led her into a 25 year career between Hotels and Travel Agencies. Michelle married her high-school sweetheart, and have 2 beautiful daughters. After her first daughter was born is when she really found a passion for cooking and learning about different cultures (a Food Network Junkie!).

As the years passed, she no longer wanted a desk job and wanted to combine her love for food and customer service. She currently manages The Olive Tap, an Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Emporium in the Strip District. This is where she had the pleasure of running into Sylvia - The owner of Burgh, Bits and Bites while she was on a tour. One thing led to another and Michelle was able to bring her tourism background and mix it with a flare of all foods! Tour Guide/ Food Tour - What a winning combination.

“Keep smiling, Because life is a beautiful thing and there is so much to smile about!” Marilyn Monroe

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