URBANIST’S BEST OPENINGS OF 2019

From swank hotels prompting dreams of a staycation to pocket-sized indie bagel shops and re-introductions to old date night favorites, 2019 was full of Pittsburgh restaurant, hotel and shop openings. When we reflect back on this past year, it seems that the city’s new businesses were a bit more fun than in recent years, and we think that’s why they all felt so fresh and exciting.

In honor of the new year, we invite you to re-visit our favorite openings from 2019 — and hopefully check a few off your bucket list before heading back to work next week.

Synthesis. This petite plant shop is hidden away on a side street in Shadyside, and this perfect locale will have you charmed even before you set foot inside the shop. With Southwestern-inspired signage, 6-foot-tall cacti climbing the walls and colorful pots ideal for gifting, Synthesis filled a modern plant shop void that we didn’t even know existed.

Dish. Many Pittsburghers get a little sentimental when talking about Dish’s 2019 reopening, so we won’t even try to do it justice with a long, fluffy homage. Instead, we’ll simply recount the re-opening of this Italian favorite in the Southside as one of the most news-worthy restaurant openings of 2019 — and advise you to snag a reservation ASAP.

Tryp Hotel. The much-talked-about first hotel in Lawrenceville made its debut in 2019, and it brought with it perhaps one of the best (and certainly most unique) city views in all of Pittsburgh. From the chic rooms filled with local art to the rooftop bar and restaurant Over Eden, the Trip covered all the bases that an urban hotel should.

Commerce Bar. Lots of places boast “speakeasy vibes”, but few execute them as truly as Commerce Bar. This East Liberty lounge snuck in right at the tail end of 2019 — and that’s if you could even find it at all. Now that it’s a bit more out in the open, we’re here to recommend that you sneak down the alleyway behind Bird on the Run, knock on the unmarked door to your left and allow the doorman to escort you inside for some of the most creative cocktails you’ll find in Pittsburgh.

Pizzeria Davide. If DiAnoia’s is known for its buzzy lunch and dinner service (and, in turn, it’s long lines), its new sister eatery Pizzeria Davide has become quite the opposite. After opening in early-ish 2019, the grab-and-go pizza and sandwich spot from the same owners made it possible to enjoy DiAnoia’s modern take on old-world Italian food from the comfort of your own couch (or their cute patio). And don’t miss the cheesesteak which is hands down the best in the city.

Cinderlands Warehouse. The tiny brewery in lower Lawrenceville grew leaps and bounds in 2019 when it debuted a second location spanning two stories in the Strip District. Cinderlands Warehouse is packed full of bar games, a rooftop patio and a full brewery operation, as well as reliably tasty food from the on-site scratch kitchen.

Night Market Gourmet. In the style of a traditional Taiwanese night market, this Oakland eatery serves up lo mein noodle dishes, Hakka-style salted pork, hot pot and other shareable Taiwanese favorites. The team behind Everyday Noodles in Squirrel Hill are the brains behind this operation as well, so you know it was one of our favorites of 2019.

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🆕! Spicy Pickled Carrots! 🥕🌈✨

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Pigeon Bagel. When this former farmers market favorite opened up shop on a residential street in Squirrel Hill, it made all of our weekend breakfast dreams come true. The bagels are served hot and fresh each morning, there are vegan toppings and shmears that you won’t find at most other bagel spots and the coffee service is worlds away from your typical grab-and-go eatery. We’ve spent many a Saturday enjoying their bagel sandwiches in the park across the street, and we plan on starting up the tradition again once spring rolls around.

ChiKn. This Forbes Avenue lunch spot added to the growing list of new fast-casual dining options in Oakland, and based on the crowds around noon, it’s been much appreciated. Think Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, sides like crispy seasoned fries and macaroni and cheese, and even a selection of beers on tap for your more leisurely lunch breaks.

Liberty Magic. The newest addition to the Cultural Trust brings a boutique venue with solely dedicated to elevating the art of magic. With under 50 seats the intimate setting and their traveling showcases will win over even the most skeptical of attendees. Our suggestion: pick a show and buy tickets as their shows all regularly sell out.

ChiKn. This Forbes Avenue lunch spot added to the growing list of new fast-casual dining options in Oakland, and based on the crowds around noon, it’s been much appreciated. Think Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, sides like crispy seasoned fries and macaroni and cheese, and even a selection of beers on tap for your more leisurely lunch breaks.

Honorable Mentions:  Larder, Bar Botanico, KIIN Lao, Spirits & Tales/ The Oaklander Hotel