It’s been a couple weeks since we bid farewell to 2018 — and for many, thought, “Good riddance!” — and we’ve had some time to reminisce about the past year. In 2018, Pittsburgh continued its food, retail and design renaissance, bringing with it new styles of dining, shopping from far-flung cities and interior trends that caught our eyes at every turn. In honor of the New Year, we’re rounding up our favorite things that we saw around Pittsburgh (and beyond) in 2018.

The Rise of the Design-Forward Coffee Bar.

via Astroid Coffee

Pittsburgh has always boasted great coffee, but this past year, many newer cafes put just as much emphasis on creating an inspiring interior as they did a great latte. The Bureau, helmed by The Vandal’s Joey Hilty and Emily Slagel, opened inside the brand new Schoolhouse Electric and instantly created one of our favorite spots to camp out with our laptops;  Adda opened its second outpost on the North Side, featuring the shop’s signature plywood bar and marble counters; Astroid arrived in South Side, and since it was designed by sister business Beauty Shoppe’s team, it’s beautiful; and Redhawk opened its second shop inside local maker space PG&H, perfecting the micro-shop and allowing visitors to shop locally made home goods while sipping on a cortado.

Fast-Casual for the Future.

via Choolaah

The future of fast-casual fare is more exciting than the old standard burger and fries. This past year, we watched as the city gained tons of delicious grab-and-go options, including Bird on the Run, Kahuna and Choolaah Indian Barbecue for lunch in East Liberty; Ki Pollo for tasty fried chicken and empanadas in Lawrenceville; and Penn Cove from the Penn Ave Fish Co folks serving up some of the city’s freshest sushi for the next night you work late.

Better Bread.

via Madeleine Bakery & Bistro

Paleo be damned — we love bread, and it looks like Pittsburgh does, too. Bitter Ends, Driftwood Oven, Dianoia’s, and Madeliene all threw their hats in the ring for the city’s best bread, each offering its own unique spin on the classic French loaf, crusty Italian, sourdough pizza and much more. Needless to say, it was a tie for our favorite (we may even need to do some more tasting in the name of research).

Family-Style Dining.

via Fairmont Pittsburgh

We’ll be the first to admit that we hate the moment the check comes at a group dinner and things get awkward, so we couldn’t be more excited about the explosion of family-style dining across the city this past year. Acorn, Morcilla, Fl. 2, Whitfield and Meat & Potatoes all unrolled or expanded upon their family-style offerings, from Acorn’s incredible Tuesday Night chicken for two to Fl. 2’s whole laurel hill trout. Order one thing, share it all and then split the check evenly — much more our style.

Shopping Small for the Home…

via The Farmer’s Daughter

2018 may have been the most successful year yet for small businesses in Pittsburgh. Local maker foundry PG&H opened downtown and offered home goods and more from the city’s finest makers; Schoolhouse Electric turned on Pittsburgh’s lighting game; Weisshouse & hot haute hot continued to tease us with their on trend showrooms; and we loved spending our weekends picking up fresh flowers from The Farmers Daughter instead of grabbing them from the grocery store.

…and for Our Closets.

via Ruhling Woven

There was just as much great local flavor in the world of clothing and accessories as there was for the home. Steel City and Shop 412 continued their success with hyper-local T-shirts, baby onesies, hats and more; Make + Matter opened its doors in Lawrenceville, helmed by area designers Flux Bene, Otto Finn and Kelly Lane; small-batch bag brand Moop expanded its downtown shop, offering more accessories by favorite national brands alongside its waxed canvas bags; Upper Lawrenceville saw even more growth with Ruhling Woven’s minimal, pastel color stories and Three Pigs Vintage’s re-worked and one-of-a-kind pieces; and made-in-America menswear continued its reign with impeccably curated lines at Vestis, Kinsman and the newly opened Franklin & Mercer.

And next week, look for our annual wish list for 2019.