URBANIST’S 2019 PITTSBURGH WISH LIST

The shape of things to come always looks a bit blurry at the beginning of the year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put a few wishes out into the universe. Last year, we saw all kinds of new things in Pittsburgh: fun, fast-casual offerings, fine dining to rival any larger city’s, makers galore and even one of our favorite home goods brands right here in our own city.

To keep the momentum going, here’s everything we’re crossing our fingers and hoping to see pop up in Pittsburgh at some point this year.

More design! We say it every year, but we just can’t get enough of this city’s beautiful, inspiring spaces. Last year we loved sipping cappuccinos against the backdrop of Schoolhouse Electric light fixtures at The Bureau and sipping champagne against the whimsical wallpaper over at Poulet Bleu, and this year, we’re looking for even more beautiful openings to pop up in every neighborhood.

The Bureau

Smaller portions, lower prices. While we love the occasional fancy blowout meal, we’re more often looking for grab-and-go options at a lower price point for lunch or as an afternoon snack with a happy hour cocktail. We’d love a few more cafe-style dining options or unique takeout eateries — think LA-style salad bars, greasy spoon diners or tapas restaurants with shareable plates for your whole crew.

A fun social club concept. A large-scale social club with games, a bar, dancing and maybe even an outdoor pool (hey, we can dream!) would be the perfect addition to Pittsburgh’s nightlife scene come summertime. Nashville’s Pinewood Social is a great starting point — just maybe add a bigger outdoor space.

More substantial ‘pop-ups’. With so many great local restaurants and talented makers in town, we’d love to see even more pop-ups and collaborations, especially ones that feel like the real deal. It’s always fun to discover a new thing you love by visiting a place you already love, and pop-ups are a great way to do just that. PG&H was a great addition to Downtown in 2018 and we hope 2019 brings the heat!

PG&H, photo by Cory Morton

Simple, timeless concepts and styles. Everyone gets excited when a wild new conceptual restaurant comes to town, but for those nights when you just want to cozy up with a glass of wine and a simple meal, you’re likely looking for more of a standby. We think the key to creating that kind of go-to eatery is by perfecting a timeless concept, from the menu to the interior and everything in between. Dream Pittsburgh addition: the East Village’s Prune which has been one of the hardest tables to get in NY since 1999 for a good reason; it has only gotten better with age. 

Far-flung cuisines. One of the things we love most about Pittsburgh is its diversity, and that definitely includes its restaurant scene. This year, we’re hoping for even more cuisines from all over the world (and design-forward interiors would be a terrific fridge benefit). Favorite 2018 additions: Soju in Garfield and Choolaah in East Liberty.

Chengdu Gourmet

Outdoor spaces that span the seasons. The current Pennsylvania mindset seems to be that you can only sit outside to eat when it’s the perfect, balmy 70-degree day, but if you visit any European city or even a tropical destination, that’s absolutely not the norm. We’re here to make the case for sitting outside despite the elements, not just because of them: we’re talking bundled up with a Hot Toddy on a sunny, 40-degree afternoon, enjoying the heat in mid-July with a glass of frosé and a shady canopy, and other types of nearly-year-round al fresco options.