Underrated Pittsburgh

We asked a half-dozen ’Burghers to name things that deserve a little more love.

Illustrations by Evette Gabriel


From waterfronts and views to stadiums and sammiches, Pittsburgh has it all. With so many beloved places, activities and flavors, we must ask: What is the most underrated local spot, activity or tradition? Our opinions are sure to differ, so we asked a half-dozen ’Burghers to name what deserves a little more love. 


Keith Fuller, chef/co-owner at Root 174
“Every Wednesday night at the North Side Elks Lodge is Banjo Night for both members and non-members. People young and old come to sing along and watch the club play [its] music. The libations are cheap, and the atmosphere is off-the-chart with plenty of laughter. I try to make it every week.” 

Ike Taylor, Pittsburgh Steelers starting cornerback
“Umi [in] Shadyside. It’s the best restaurant [with] the best chef, Mr. Shu. I go there once a week, sometimes twice a week. It’s unbelievable. It’s probably the most underrated restaurant and probably the best restaurant in Pittsburgh.”

Lora Woodward, program director at Venture Outdoors (and Steel City Roller Derby athlete)
“Steel City Roller Derby. Under the radar of many Pittsburgh sports fans, roller derby is an awesome sport making a comeback. For action-packed games with an eclectic crowd, family-friendly atmosphere and plenty of hard hits, it’s a great way to spend a Saturday night.”

Scott Blasey, singer/songwriter for The Clarks
“When the Syria Mosque came down in 1991, we were left without a consistent place for mid-level touring acts to perform. We went to shows at rock clubs or the arena. I’m not sure if Stage AE is underrated, but I hope we never take it for granted.”

Virginia Montanez, Pittsburgh Magazine columnist
“Living Treasures Animal Park in Donegal isn’t technically in Pittsburgh, but we didn’t get to be where we are as a city without embracing a sense of regionalism. Sure, it’s not the zoo, but it’s much less crowded — and you get up close and personal with bears and monkeys who will do anything to earn a carrot or a handful of feed.”

Sally Wiggin, host of “WTAE Chronicle”
“The University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning Nationality Rooms — they’re fabulous! It’s sort of like taking a trip around the world without actually going anywhere. People usually drive past and think about students and classrooms, but they’re classrooms with a message about the rich international composition of our region.”

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Community Feature, From the Magazine