What the South has that Pittsburgh should! / by EpicDevelopments


After a week traveling through cities in the south (Roanoke,VA; Greenville, SC; Asheville, NC; Atlanta, GA; Johnson City, TN) I found myself saying two things.  'Dang Pittsburgh has it right' and 'how does Pittsburgh not have that.'   While much of what I blog about are things that are great about Pittsburgh, it can be equally valuable to note what is interesting about other places that Pittsburgh lacks.  Here are a few that jumped out at me on this trip.

Outdoor Seating.  It seemed like every restaurant or bar I ate at had a great outdoor space.  Roof decks, courtyards, street side bars, an alley converted to patio, windows seats opening directly to the sidewalk.  It seemed like if you didn't have some sort of outdoor space you were out of the club.  Downtown Greenville did an especially excellent job of this with Main St dominated by huge shading trees along side sidewalk bump outs for restaurant patios.  

Outdoor Activities/Parks: We have our city parks but unlike us, Southerns use theirs!  Concerts, picnics, a charity walk; it seemed like the parks I saw were all buzzing with activity.  I know the South has more warmer months than us Yankee Pittsburghers so all the more reason for us to take advantage of them!  Then there is the outdoor climbing wall that was on the outside of a parking garage in downtown Asheville.  Very Cool. Atlanta's rooftop pool clubs.  Jealous.

Live Music.  While we have the concert venues, us Pittsburghers haven't embraced listening to some emerging young artist over a beer. While I don't expect Pittsburgh to become the next Nashville or Austin, it would be fun to listen to music beyond hearing Donny Iris sing the national anthem at a Pirates game.  Lucky for Pittsburgh, groups like Touchfaster and VIA are shaking it up, bringing some music based events to town so look for their events popping around town! And next time you hear a guy doing a decent job strumming his guitar on the corner, throw him a buck and hopefully he tells his friends to join him next time.
W Hotel.  They are cool, undeniably cool.  From the lobby to the rooms to their restaurants/bars, no one has done the job of rolling out cool across the globe like W.  While the proposed Ace Hotel in East Liberty will certainly elevate Pittsburgh's hotel game, a less hipster option would attract both corporate travelers and visitors alike for a dose of cool in Pittsburgh .  Putting a W Hotel centered development in the Strip or Downtown would no doubt be a hit, so lets find someone to do it!

Right Priced Restaurant (and more Mexican!).  It seems like restaurants and bars were packed with young people everywhere I went.  And as a result, much of the restaurant and bar scene seemed to catered to a younger demographic rather than the areas older citizens (though they certainly do not exclude them).  Restaurant entrees seemed to be under $15 making a night out very reasonable and they still were serving fun, innovative food (and for the most part in a cool/hip setting).  While some Pittsburgh establishments are moving in this direction, I'd love for it to be the prevailing element in our local watering holes and restaurants.    The other thing I noticed was the abundance of mexican food compared to Pittsburgh's void.  Yeah we have tex-mex and high brow (fancy) mexican, but I want just plain jane, authentic mexican food.  Its delicious and its cheap, so jump on it Pittsburgh!