Overrated, Underrated in Pittsburgh

Cleveland transplant-turned-local-blogger gives a fresh take on her new home: Pittsburgh.

Being a new resident of Pittsburgh from (gasp!) Cleveland, my friendly neighbors give me lots of recommendations—from greasy spoons to gastro pubs to their favorite pastimes (many of which seem to be followed by a 40-minute fireworks display). Often, these “must dos” are overrated—and even disturbing. But as I discover what makes this region go ’round (and its people full), I’ve come to enjoy many underrated favorites, too. Just, please, hold the french fries, will you?

Happy Hour

overratedOverrated: Many restaurants in town stake claim to having the “best happy hour,” which typically includes a buck or so off a watered-down beverage and an insulting special on an appetizer. Complete with your barely tolerable after-work crowd. Didn’t you just spend the last eight hours with those people?

: South Side’s Milk Shake Factory has its own blend of a malted happy hour with half-off its delicious milkshakes on Wednesdays between 4 and 6 p.m. I’d rather waste points on chocolatey ice cream than sour apple Schnapps.

Gastro Pub

overratedOverrated: Initially impressed with downtown’s Sharp Edge Bistro, I’m now bored with the limited beer selection (of Lambics, Dubbels and Trappists) as well as the heaping side of pommes frites. The Belgian bistro’s continued appeal is like a repetitive hangover. Pronounced loudly in the morning with garbled vowels and umlauts.

underratedUnderrated: I despise driving to Robinson Township. And upon hearing “The Parkway,” I twitch a bit. But the trip is saved by the strip-mall-esque happy place called Bocktown Beer and Grill and its amazing selection of craft beers and sandwiches. I would consider giving up my Vertical Epic collection in exchange for a downtown location.


overratedOverrated: I might’ve loved the South Side if I lived there in my 20s. While a few gems remain, the neighborhood itself is … well, agitating. Stuck somewhere in between an urban lifestyle center geared toward the suburban mall crowd and a college town, Carson Street has a major identity crisis.

underratedUnderrated: The recent transformation of Market Square and several restaurant openings have confirmed downtown’s revival. With a variety of entertainment, culture and outdoor activities, the city center is definitely the place to work, live and play. Just stop with the parking complaints already.


overratedOverrated: Heinz’s tomato-rich history is intriguing. But worthy of a dedicated condiments room at its namesake, the Heinz History Center (which I know is named after Sen. John Heinz and not the corporation … to-may-to, to-mah-to)? Ketchup is about as interesting as those chocolate-covered pickles they sell in the gift shop.

underratedUnderrated: For all the happiness that Mister Fred Rogers spread to children, all he gets is pooped on (quite literally by the looks of his bronze likeness). A statue does not a tribute make (and don’t you dare suggest the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh). Get that man his own shrine of cardigans. They’re important enough for the Smithsonian.

For more of Urick’s adventures as an adopted Pittsburgher, visit her blog at pursuitofyourboyfriend.com.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment