Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Maya Henry

Thanks to Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh is the first city to be featured in Jaunt, the free mobile app that allows users to navigate a curated collection of our city’s historic and modern architecture. More than 105 entries are featured, from buildings to bridges to industrial sites, including the Emerald Art Glass House, David McCullough Bridge, Carrie Furnaces and Fallingwater.

The app features a map view based on the GPS of the user’s phone and a grid view to see an overview of everything offered. Content can be sorted by architect, date, location, status, style or use.

Each entry contains a detailed architectural description and, in some cases, photographs and design drawings. There is also a limited number of unbuilt projects—such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision for the Point—as well as demolished buildings such as the Civic Arena.

Jaunt_Grid“Sometimes things that don’t get built trigger discussion,” says Rami el Samahy, principal of the design firm over,under which created the app. “And with something like the Civic Arena, love it or hate it, if you weren’t here prior to 2012, you may know nothing about that building, so you can imagine that in less than a generation that will be gone. Yet it was a key piece of the Pittsburgh skyline and a true Pittsburgh story constructed of Pittsburgh steel and designed by a Pittsburgh firm.”

While the design firm over,under, is located in Boston, the Pittsburgh connection comes through Rami el Samahy, who until recently was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture.

Pittsburgh is the first official Jaunt city, with Boston and Doha, Qatar to follow. Students from CMU’s Doha campus provided the information systems and designed the technology for the app but the designers wanted to start in Pittsburgh because of the amazing resources at the CMU Architecture Archives.

“It’s an exciting city to do, not an obvious choice,” says el Samahy. “Pittsburgh is a great city and has amazing examples of some of America’s finest architecture from all eras.”

Martin Aurand, architecture librarian and archivist at the CMU Architecture Archives, provided resources through the library to digitize original drawings and photographs that the public would not necessarily be able to easily access. He also provided “energy and knowledge” according to el Samahy, and much of the descriptive writing for the app.

Each description includes an “additional reading” section with recommended books and articles.

The team behind the app includes students from the CMU School of Architecture and from the CMU Qatar campus. Support for the project came from the Carnegie Mellon University Architecture Archives and the Berkman Faculty Development Fund.

Download the Jaunt Pittsburgh guide here.


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Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Jennifer Baron

After the last verse of Auld Lang Syne fades, it’s time to don an Elizabethan cape and learn to play Mölkky. A new year beckons, packed with everything from an urban recreational lodge to a silent disco.

Comedian Todd Glass
Comedian Todd Glass

1. Todd Glass at Arcade Comedy Theater: January 7 — 9

You might already know that Pittsburgh’s comedy scene is generating national buzz (see our recent feature to find out why). Whether you missed his sold-out appearance at last year’s Pittsburgh Comedy Festival—or you love his new book hilariously subtitled, A Bunch of Lies about My Personal Life and a Bunch of True Stories about My 30-Year Career in Stand-Up Comedy—you’ll want to grab tickets now to see Todd Glass. The Philly native—who got his start doing stand-up on Comedy Central—has attracted an international fan base via his popular podcast, The Nerdist Network, and stints on Tosh.0, Louie, Conan and Last Comic Standing.

Every Glass show is different, blending elements of improv, personal anecdotes and signature Glass witticisms. Packed with irreverent satire, explosive routines and plenty of squirm-in-your-seat audience interaction, Glass’s Arcade Comedy shows will be accompanied by Pittsburgh musicians James Rushin (piano) and Ross Antonich (drums). Make sure you’re in the audience for the hilarity, because Glass is working on new material for an upcoming comedy special to air in 2016.

Courtesy of Chatham Baroque
Photo Courtesy Chatham Barque

2. Chatham Baroque’s Twelfth Night Gala at The Ace Hotel: January 9

Can you say happy quadricentennial? Mark the end of 2015, the death of the Bard and Chatham Baroque’s 25th anniversary at one very chic and musical soirée. Don that “funereal cocktail attire” (think black netted chapeaus, sleek cloaks and wild wigs) and party like it’s 1599 at the group’s grand Twelfth Night Gala. For its 17th annual edition, the benefit bash adds a festive literary flair, paying tribute to the influence that William Shakespeare continues to have on the arts and culture since his death 400 years ago.

Kick off the winter night from 6 to 8 p.m. with a nod to Midsummer Night’s Dream during the VIP Oberon’s Feast catered by The Whitfield, followed by main event festivities from 8 to 11 p.m. Revelers will be treated to performances by Chatham Baroque and can bid on artwork in a silent auction curated by Jessica Beck of The Warhol Museum—all set against the backdrop of Pittsburgh’s newest boutique hotel. Performing locally and around the globe, Chatham Baroque features Andrew Fouts (baroque violin), Patricia Halverson (viola da gamba) and Scott Pauley (theorbo and baroque guitar) who bring technical prowess, period instruments and vibrant interpretations to 17th- and 18th-century music. Purchase tickets.

3. Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: January 11 – 17

Courtesy Pittsburgh Restaurant Week
Courtesy Pittsburgh Restaurant Week

Zagat just named Pittsburgh a #1 food city and this is your chance to see why. For its winter installment, Pittsburgh Restaurant Week celebrates “New Dishes for the New Year” with a kickoff party on January 7th, preview weekend January 8-10 and 50-plus dining destinations spanning seven days and the entire city—from Paris 66 to Avenue B. Helping to boost the local restaurant economy during a slower time of year, diners will enjoy special multi-course menus, cleverly priced $20.16 specialty items and prix fixe meals from area eateries—all while experiencing Pittsburgh’s eclectic neighborhoods and taking in the city’s dining landscape without breaking the bank.

Highlighting Pittsburgh’s numerous and diverse dining options, PRW also brings residents from the city and surrounding ‘burbs together to stroll the streets and see what delicious new dishes are on our gastronomical horizon. Get a first taste at Pittsburgh Glass Center during the PRW kickoff bash featuring festive cocktails conjured by Prairie, free samples from participating restaurants, charity raffles and tunes by DJ Digital Dave. View a complete schedule and a restaurant map.

Photo by Bryan Conley.
Photo by Bryan Conley.

4. Third Thursdays: BOOM! at Carnegie Museum of Art: January 21

Have you ever wanted to curate your own private disco inside a Parthenon-like hall surrounded by historic sculpture, giant plastic casts and installation art? This month, thanks to Carnegie Museum of Art’s (CMOA) creative new Third Thursdays series, you can do all of this and much more. Teaming up with artists from Garfield-based BOOM Concepts, the Oakland destination will dim the lights, turn up the volume and keep the galleries open late for a night of music and merriment amidst the museum’s world-class spaces. And NEXTpittsburgh is a proud media sponsor.

A huge hit in Korea, Brazil and Japan, the wireless headphone clubbing phenomenon dubbed “Silent Disco” is making its way to the Burgh. Don a set of headphones, tune into a channel, choose beats by DJs Christo (of Wiz Khalifa production fame) and EyeJay and dance the night way throughout the museum’s ornate Hall of Sculpture. Be among the first to see the new Teenie Harris exhibition, Great Performances Off-Stage, and take an “unconventional gallery tour” led by Sean Beauford, Joi Rogers, D.S. Kinsel and Julie Mallis. In between grooving and gallery roaming, check out the museum café’s new late-night menu. Register now.

Elizabeth Rudnick, You’re Not Real, I’m Real.
Elizabeth Rudnick, You’re Not Real, I’m Real.

5. Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District: January 22

For its first Gallery Crawl of 2016, The Cultural Trust’s quarterly showcase features a fun, free and jam-packed night of immersive art, music, performance, film and hands-on activities at 30 venues between 5:30 and 9 p.m. There are slew of art openings to hit, so we’ve got some not-to-miss highlights.

At Wood Street Galleries, Pastoral Noir features British artists whose immersive installations explore nature, haunted science and rural myths. Pop into SPACE to check out The Mountain and the Bumblebee, a group exhibit of contemporary art and poetry focused on the theme of landscape. At 707 Gallery, curator Sean Beauford presents Poison, a powerful look at relationships between drugs and urban communities, while Elizabeth Rudnick’s You’re Not Real, I’m Real uses cutting-edge and conventional media to explore anxiety and desire in the digital age. 709 Penn hosts Fran Flaherty’s Post-Erotica, which explores motherhood, along with Red & Green and Other Colors, an audio-video exhibit by Herman Pearl and Isabelle Strollo that dissects and distorts commercial images to reveal hidden mysteries. View a complete schedule.

Courtesy of The Rec Room
Courtesy of The Rec Room

6. The Rec Room: Winter Games at Spirit Hall: January 24

Winter Games

Move over Pyeongchang, there’s a new winter games in town. The perfect way to escape the cold, cure cabin fever and rethink Sundays (without having to trek out to Hidden Valley) is at this new bi-weekly, indoor game series cooked up by Weather Permitting, Pandemic, City of Play, Sweetwater Beer and Schell Games. For its inaugural edition at Lawrenceville hangout SpiritThe Rec Room features live music by Andre Costello and the Cool Minors and DJ Miss Mungo.

Games rotate each week, and will include unique parlor sports such as Bally, GaGa, Mölkky and Bucket Pong, plus new hybrid physical-digital games. Joust to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, steal blocks without getting caught in the light, scale the highest mountain around—which happens to resemble a sidewalk—and more. Enjoy music, beer, pizza and good-natured fun. You might even nab a cool award badge. While games are intended for adults, parents and children are welcome to attend together. Cost: $10.

FUSE@PSO. Photo by Wade Massie.
FUSE@PSO. Photo by Wade Massi

7. FUSE@PSO at Heinz Hall: January 27

Been hearing the buzz about FUSE but have yet to catch one of the hip hybrids at Heinz Hall? The fresh new can’t-miss series returns to kick off 2016 with a mash-up concert exploring American identity through music. The “Dean of American Composers” meets introspective indie folk when FUSE merges the sounds of Aaron Copland and Bon Iver. For its latest installment, series creator and PSO conductor Steve Hackman will reinvent Copland’s renowned 1944 orchestral suite, Appalachian Spring, alongside the contemporary music of Justin Vernon’s Grammy Award-winning indie folk group, Bon Iver. The unique sonic landscape of pastoral, textured and contemplative music will also feature the PSO and guest vocalists Avery Leigh Draut, Will Post and Keren Tayar.

Ramping up the energy will be a special guest appearance by Pittsburgh’s own Beauty Slap, who will perform special arrangements of their songs with the symphony and wrap up the night with their beat-and-brass heavy electronic dance music. The PSO is also debuting its new FUSE+ package offering select classical concerts and post-show experiences. Arrive at 5 for a happy hour in the tranquil garden, with pre-concert beats from local DJs, discounted drinks, snack fare and mingling with musicians and fellow music-lovers. The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. and is open seating with drinks permitted inside Heinz Hall. Check out Hackman’s blog to get a behind-the-scenes look at the conductor’s innovative artistic process and follow along as he develops upcoming concerts. NEXTpittsburgh is happy to be a media sponsor.  Purchase tickets.

8. Dada Masilo’s Swan Lake at The Byham Theater: January 30

Dada Masilo. Photo by John Hogg.
Dada Masilo. Photo by John Hogg.

Tchaikovsky’s 19th-century masterwork—one of the most popular ballets of all time—has been adapted by George Balanchine, inspired a Japanese anime flick and is the focal point of Darren Aronofsky’s chilling 2010 movie Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman. But on January 30th, ballet lovers will experience Swan Lake as they never have before. Reimagining the iconic ballet through a focused South African lens, the electrifying work showcases Masilo’s unconventional choreography and raw physicality, while frankly exploring intense emotions, scathing humor and issues of gender, sex, homophobia, apartheid and AIDS.

In Masilo’s world, the traditional and the contemporary collide, bursts of Tchaikovsky merge with African rhythms, a gay prince and barefoot male dancers in tutus populate the story and stereotypes are smashed. An explosive fusion of classical and African dance, the work showcases Masilo’s unique high-speed style while offering a refreshing new take on the venerated dance form of ballet. A star on the international dance scene, Dada Masilo grew up in the impoverished Johannesburg township of Soweto, studied dance in South Africa and Brussels and founded her own company in 2008. Contains nudity. Purchase tickets.

Courtesy of The Great Pittsburgh Spelling Bee.
Courtesy of The Great Pittsburgh Spelling Bee.x

9. The Great Pittsburgh Spelling Bee at The Irma Freeman Center: January 30

Quick, can you spell antediluvian? Dust off your dictionaries, brush up on those affixes and channel your inner Akeelah Anderson because The Great Pittsburgh Spelling Bee is back. A celebration of the age-old art of spelling words—before the days of Autocorrect and Siri—the homegrown bee is calling all wordsmiths and budding etymologists to join fellow language lovers for an evening of good-natured competition and community spirit. You’ll be spelling for a great local cause since all proceeds benefit the Gay and Lesbian Community Center and Irma Freeman Center for Imagination. Reviving the beloved pastime are organizers Mark Sepe and Erin Oldynski, who are also judging the bee along with Peter Kosloski.

Spellers will vie for a top prize of $50 while second and third place winners will receive special awards. With a sliding scale entry fee of $5-$10 for participants, this bee is accessible to all budgets. Have the chops to compete? Register as a speller today (note: the bee is primarily for adults, but all are welcome to participate). Not the best speller, but want to watch the fun? The event is free for audience members and refreshments will be served.

Courtesy of the Heinz History Center.
Courtesy of the Heinz History Center.

10. Yoi! Remembering Myron Cope at the Heinz History Center: January 31

Practice your best yoi!, double yoi!—and even a resounding triple yoi!—grab that Terrible Towel and head to the History Center to celebrate the life and legacy of the one-and-only Myron Cope. The Strip District destination is calling all Cope devotees to an afternoon of all things Myron. Learn all about this true Pittsburgh original during a multimedia presentation featuring rare archival material donated by Cope’s family and hear a talk by legendary New York Times sportswriter and Squirrel Hill native Murray Chass. Count down to Super Bowl 50 and honor the “voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers” on the heels of what would have been Cope’s 87th birthday. Event emcee is famed sports broadcaster Bill Hillgrove, who will share his favorite Myron Cope stories.

If you were a child in Pittsburgh during the 1970s and 1980s, you likely have the four short words “Myron Cope on sports” etched in your brain. Cope’s distinctive, inimitable Pittsburgh accent—heard ’round the world—was paired with a level of enthusiasm rarely seen in the broadcast booth. Along with names like Heinz, Strayhorn and Warhol, Cope is a larger-than-life figure beloved by locals and the Pittsburgh diaspora alike. Née Myron Sidney Kopelman in 1929, Cope attended Taylor Allderdice and Pitt and became the first football announcer inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. The event runs from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and is included with museum admission (free for members).

Because all good lists must come to an end, we give you our not-to-miss honorable mentions for January: 

Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art.
Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art.

The Galaxy Ball at the August Wilson Center presented by True T Entertainment and The Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force: January 16

Pittsburgh Speaker Series featuring Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Heinz Hall: January 20

Some Brighter Distance at City Theatre Company: January 23 – February 14

Architecture lecture by Kai-Uwe Bergmann of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group at Carnegie Museum of Art: January 28

Cesar Millan at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts: January 28

Looking for live music? Check out NEXTpittsburgh’s 10 can’t-miss Pittsburgh concerts in January feature.

Looking for family activities? Read its Top Family Adventures this January in Pittsburgh feature.


Powered by NEXTpittsburgh  /  Written by Brian Conway

Before you even step foot into one of these places you know what to expect. You’ll order some eggs, toast and grilled breakfast meats from a sweet, no-nonsense woman who will probably call you “hun.” The local news might be on the TV somewhere, hopefully muted, to allow for polite conversation with the person seated at the stool beside you. Something like, “Can you believe that guy stole that kid’s puck?”  The food will come out steaming hot but you’ll still eat it right away, because who can resist?

In some ways, each of these places is like a good dive bar: cheap, clean, and convivial. (Or in Nadine’s case, it actually is a dive bar.) Each diner has been around for at least ten years, yet they’re still off the beaten path. We wanted to include lesser-known locales, which is why we didn’t include Pamela’s, Ritter’s, Dor-Stop, Kelly O’s, Deluca’s, or similarly popular establishments, no matter how deliciously crepe-like their pancakes may be.

Gab & Eat

1073 Washington Ave., Carnegie

Mon-Fri, 6-2:30; Sat, 6-12:45; Sun, 7-12:45. Cash Only

gab and eatTucked between a barber and a laundromat in a nondescript shopping plaza in Carnegie sits the 33 year-old Gab & Eat, helmed for the past 16 years by proprietors Susan Smith and Karie Goedert, who also expanded the business into catering. Today, Goedert has her hands full with her egg cook, Harry Briggs. The 72 year-old Briggs can’t help but needle the attentive waitstaff: “It’s a great place to eat so long as you bring your own waitress,” he says. “I should charge admission for the show,” laughs Goedert. She says that regulars go for the stools closest to the egg station, just to hear Briggs hold court.

The menu boasts fifteen different omelets, and the burgers come on buns from Mike & Dave’s Italian Bread Place in nearby Crafton, though I prefer the burger on Texas Toast. The sausage is made fresh in-house, the patties formed and cooked to order under a grill press. Just don’t eat too many of the fresh-cut fries. “When they eat those up I gotta go make more,” says Briggs. “It’s elder abuse! They abuse senior citizens here. Make sure you put that in your article.” (Goedert was quick to add that Gab & Eat does not abuse any of their employees, old or young.)



19 S 27th St., South Side

Mon-Fri, 6-11; Sat, 9-1; Sun, 10-1. (Lunch served until 4 pm. Bar/kitchen open late.)

“We’re the number one dive,” says Nadine Voelker, namesake of Nadine’s Bar and Restaurant, now in its 14th year. And honestly, what could be more quintessentially South Side than a hybrid dive bar and diner? My companion and I sat at the bar/countertop, our food cooking on the flat top on the other side. Before long the place was packed, regulars sipping coffee and reading the paper next to nurses in scrubs drinking Bloody Marys and mimosas. (“They just got off work,” says Nadine. “They’re not alcoholics.”)

A signed poster of Guy Fieri beams down from the wall – “Killa roast beef and gravy,” says Guy – evidence of Nadine’s turn on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, in 2008. There’s about a dozen breakfast options on the menu and another dozen lunch entrees. Nadine says to come later in the day for her homemade dinner specials, like meatloaf, casseroles and stuffed peppers. And perhaps best of all in the crowded South Side: Nadine’s has a parking lot.

Cheeseburger and homemade potato salad at O'Leary's. BC Photo.
Cheeseburger and homemade potato salad at O’Leary’s. Photo by Brian Conway.



1412 E. Carson St., South Side

Open every day 7-1:30. Cash only.

Next to Mike and Tony’s Gyros in the heart of East Carson Street is an unassuming, 26-year-old diner run by Cheryl O’Leary and staffed entirely by family. “Make sure you say I’m the younger sister,” says younger sister Kathy O’Leary, who runs the grill and makes the homemade soups and stews. “I’ve quit like 35 times by now but I keep coming back,” jokes Cheryl, whose son buses tables.

“They’re like aunt figures to me,” says regular customer Jared Littler. “I don’t need a menu; they already know my order. They take care of me here.” One of the ways the O’Leary’s takes care of customers is with enormous portions. Ham comes sliced off the bone, and all the ingredients come fresh and local from the Strip District. Cheryl says that the omelets and french toast are among the most popular items. There’s also a Li’l Yinzers menu for kids under 10. “We have awesome customers,” says Cheryl, beaming with pride.

Mullin’s Diner. BC Photo.

Mullin’s Diner

876 Progress St., North Side

Mon-Sat, 6-2; Sun, 7-2.

I’m still not sure if Mullin’s is a bar or not. The green, shamrock-dazzled awning and neon beer signs should be a dead giveaway, but as Nadine’s taught me designations can be fluid. Regardless, you can definitely still order a beer with your breakfast at Mullin’s. I was seated at the counter when one patron came in and ordered an Iron City. After a minute, he asked the waitress if Patsy had been in yet. “He just left,” she said, and another waitress told the man he looked familiar. “You know him”, said the first waitress to the second, “that’s Ray-Ray’s brother.”

“Anyone who is from the North Side has eaten here at some point in their lives,” the waitress told me. Funny enough, Mullin’s actually was a bar until the mid-80s, when a flood destroyed the business and owners Jimmy and Kim Mullin transformed the place into a diner. Jimmy was a Teamster and a truck driver at the nearby Heinz plant, and the rest of the Teamsters would come by on their lunch break. All the standard breakfast fare is available, as well as sandwiches, hoagies, and homemade soup. A 1/3-pound burger costs less than $5, and the ground chuck comes from Tom Friday’s Market in Brighton Heights.


2350 Noblestown Rd #13, Westwood/Crafton

Open every day 6-3

Eggs-R-Us goes through approximately 200,000 eggs a year, which averages to about 550 eggs a day. Even for a busy diner that sounds like a lot, until you consider that portions at Eggs-R-Us are enormous. My companion ordered the mixed grill – four eggs, ham, potatoes, peppers, onions, and toast for just over $7 — while I got the french toast breakfast sandwich for about $5.50. Both of us ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day. “Everybody is a regular,” says Lisa Pasqualino, who runs the 10-year-old diner with husband John. “Some people I don’t even ask them their order.” The interior is homey and the menu expansive, with burgers, wraps and salads accompanying breakfast staples that include omelets, country fried steak and homemade hash.

Johnny’s Diner. Photo by Brian Conway.

Johnny’s Diner. BC photo.

Johnny’s Diner (formerly Pip’s)

1900 Woodville Ave., West End

Mon-Fri, 6-3. Sat-Sun, 7-1.

No one at Johnny’s was quite sure when it first opened. “Since at least 1962,” the waitress told me. [Update: a reader informs us that Johnny’s opened in 1945, in a retired trolley car from West Liberty Avenue.] Johnny’s has been Johnny’s since 2010. Before that it was Pip’s, and before that Irene’s. The man next to me at the counter, George Datz, told me he used to come to Pip’s in the early ’90s, when he worked for US Air, and that the food at Johnny’s is just as good as it was back then. The wait staff could tell me everything I wanted to know about the provenance of my food, that the sausage in my breakfast sandwich came from Ricci’s in McKees Rocks, and that their bacon and ground beef comes from Tom Friday’s Market in Brighton Heights. “We like to keep it local,” they said.

Some customers lingered to chat and read the paper while others were in and out in 15 minutes. Back when it was Pip’s, the diner was featured in Rick Sebak’s Pennsylvania Diners & Other Roadside Restaurants. Occasionally the show will re-air and the staff will only find out next weekend when they’re slammed with customers. And yes, they still make the same mushroom soup that was featured in the documentary.

Markie Maraugha slices into her homemade sweet potato pie. BC Photo.

Nancy’s East End Diner

616 South Ave, Wilkinsburg

Tue-Fri, 7:30-3. Sat, 8-3; Sun, 9-3.

Nancy’s reopened its doors under new ownership in February of this year, keeping the name of its original owner, Nancy Bielicki, who passed away from cancer in early 2015. The menu has changed but the decor has not, maintaining the retro vibe that’s been untouched since Nancy’s first moved to its current location in Wilkinsburg in 1980. Co-owner Greg Stocke said that the community has been “very welcoming,” and that regulars of the original haven’t been afraid to provide feedback. For example, a local police detective said he’d only come back when he could get grits on the menu. (A bowl goes for $2.50.)

In addition to diner classics like burgers (meat from DeeJay’s in Bloomfield), eggs (from Seibel’s Family Farm in Clinton), and french toast (challah bread from Wood Street Bread Company around the corner), there are also a few non-traditional diner items, like hummus, and a grilled Havarti and apple sandwich that was Stocke’s favorite at Quiet Storm (RIP).  In my estimation, the coffee (from Fortunes in the Strip) is best enjoyed with a slice of sweet potato pie, homemade by co-owner Markie Maraugha. There are even Leona’s ice cream sandwiches available for takeout. While you’re at it, check out this music video shot on site by local musician MaVe Sami.

Don’s Diner

1729 Eckert St, North Side

Tues-Fri, 5:30-1; Sat, 7-11:30.

The shirts worn by the staff at Don’s Diner say “best-kept secret in the Burgh,” and you won’t hear me argue against them. Opened in 1995, Don’s is tucked back in a hollow in Woods Run, literally underneath Route 65, a few blocks away from Western Penitentiary. The walls are lined with seasonal decorations and black and white historic photos of Pittsburgh. If upon your first visit it seems familiar inside Don’s, it might be because the movie Warrior filmed scenes there. Or maybe it’s because Marcie, Don’s daughter, treats everyone like family, greeting every customer with a “hun” or “darling” as soon as they enter.

Aside from a few salads, the menu consists of grilled burgers, sandwiches, and omelets. I went for the “Wet Judy,” a breakfast sandwich of Sebak-ian proportions comprised of sausage or bacon, hash browns, two dippy eggs, and American cheese stacked precariously between two huge pieces of toast. Unless you can unhinge your jaw and eat it in one bite, you will need extra napkins. It should come with a bib with a little picture of a Wet Judy on it.

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From Maker Faire Pittsburgh organizers, Monday Oct. 12: Makers from around the region shared their projects with curious and engaged attendees of all ages for Maker Faire Pittsburgh 2015.  Drones flew, robots activated, dances were improvised, food was cooked by the sun, books bound, electric cars zoomed about, dinosaurs walked and chocolate robots were molded.  Glass, iron, concrete and aluminum was cast and molded – and that’s just a short list of the unique and fun experiences had at the Faire.  Not to mention, a wedding proposal made (and accepted!) and a kitten adopted. Thank you to all of the makers, attendees, partners, collaborators, volunteers, staff, crew and sponsors for being a part of the Faire!

Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Deb Smit

When Maker Faire Pittsburgh unfurls its colorful banners and unpacks the bots and balloons on the North Side this Saturday and Sunday,  Oct 10-11, it will be official (as if it wasn’t already): Pittsburgh will be a fully-fledged American Maker City.

Never mind that our love affair with making predates the rest of the country as forgers of glass, steel and industrial products. Advances in technology are creating new opportunities in places like Pittsburgh, President Obama said during his visit to TechShop in Bakery Square last year, and putting manufacturing power “in the hands of anybody who’s got a good idea.”

Maker Faire Pittsburgh will be a celebration of good ideas, a high-energy carnival packed with entrepreneurial, can-do spirit. More than 200 tech tinkerers, craftspeople, designers and inventors of all ages will come together for a two-day, family-friendly festival of making. Exhibitions, hands-on workshops and performances will spread out on the grounds of the Buhl Community Park and Nova Place, an urban redevelopment project in the midst of its own remaking.

“It will be one big celebration,” says Chad Elish of Hack Pittsburgh. Elish was the force behind the first three three mini-maker faires that were held in Pittsburgh over the last five years. Those venues were smaller and quieter by comparison, he says.


“We never thought in our wildest dreams that this would grow to this size when we created it five years ago,” he says. “This is a game-changer. Pittsburgh is becoming a tech hub, a Silicon Valley of the east coast.”

Maker Faire began in the Bay Area in 2006 as a showcase of makers exploring new forms and technologies on the cutting-edge; it attracted a crowd of more than 22,000. Since then, the movement has spread across the country and around the world with events in New York City, Detroit, Rome and Paris.

This will be the first large-scale, national maker Faire to be held in Pennsylvania, says Donna Goyak who is organizing the event on behalf of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. (The Children’s Museum is producing the event under a license agreement with Maker Media, Inc., in partnership with Faros Properties, Innovation Works, the City of Pittsburgh and other partners.)

Billed as the “greatest show (and tell) on Earth,” the weekend promises an interactive mix of exhibits, workshops and performances. “We expect the audience will be a highly curious lot,” says Goyak. “The making will be highly participatory, fun and informative.”

On a late summer day in September, Goyak was out surveying the event space with Jeremy Leventhal, managing partner of Faros. “Imagine this area completely filled with makers,” she said gesturing wildly to the area around her the size of two football fields. “It will be the largest showcase of making, building and creating that Pittsburgh has ever seen.”

The faire will take place between Buhl Community Park and Nova Place, an urban redevelopment project by Faros Properties adjacent to the former Allegheny Mall. Faros is infusing new life into the vacant office building, an eyesore for 10 years, and turning it into a 33-acre global campus for high tech companies.

Over the next year, Faros plans to turn the ugly sea of asphalt into a public green space with landscaping and benches. The two office buildings will provide space for companies, a workspace for entrepreneurs, called Alloy 26 and a wellness and fitness center. Radiant Hall has opened a 7,000-square-foot art studio and exhibition space, which will be open on Maker Faire day.

This is the first of many large events at the innovation complex, says Leventhal. “We’re trying to build our own microcosm of a community into an existing community and have it become a resource for the whole area.”

The Pittsburgh Maker Faire will have a distinctly different flavor than other faires in the country, says Goyak. It will reflect the people and initiatives underway in the region. Robotics, naturally, will take center stage. There will be opportunities to try driverless vehicle technologies and STEAM learning activities.

Expect lots of university research, activities that feature educational initiatives and groundbreaking local startups.

Want to operate a Ferrari Italia toy car using hand gestures and voice control? Meet pet creatures at a robot petting zoo? Learn about drones and make and buy 3D jewelry? Join tech shop teachers and build dinosaur puppets or design a giant Spirograph? Opportunities abound through make-and-take activities that use recycled materials, vinyl cutters, electronics and more.

ore than 60 indie crafters and makers will sell their wares in an open air market located near the misting fountain in Buhl Plaza. Assemble director Nina Barbuto is organizing the market and operating an exhibit that will teach youngsters how to make LED pins in the education area, she says.

“Maker Faire Pittsburgh is about making the difference, not just about making things,” says Barbuto. “People here are empowered to change the existing, create the new and showcase and share it.”

Les Gies of TechShop has watched the maker movement gain momentum and take off through the last decade. “Our history goes hand-in-hand with the technology revolution we’re seeing in the maker movement,” he says. “The pulse of the city is powerful.”

The inaugural Maker Faire Pittsburgh happens Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10-11 from 10 am to 5 pm. on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The event is sponsored by Chevron and Make with major support from The Grable Foundation. The event is produced by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in partnership with Faros Properties, the City of Pittsburgh, Innovation Works, Hack Pittsburgh, Assemble, Tech Shop Pittsburgh and Urban Innovation 21. To buy tickets or volunteer, click here.

This article is part of the Remake Learning initiative, a multimedia partnership between NEXTpittsburgh and WQED Multimedia, Pittsburgh Magazine and WESA.  Check out their stories on Learning Innovation in Pittsburgh.

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Written by Janna Leyde

Pups wanna get out and about. Take our four-month-old Golden Retriever puppy, for example. She will tear up and down stairs. She will run circles after her tail. She would do Parkour in our living room if we let her. When we take her off her leash outside she goes crazy. Good crazy. But we live in the city of Pittsburgh and unlike my parents’ Golden Retriever who has nearly 40 acres to romp in, Mae Belle has a tightly controlled reign of the sidewalks.

So we went in search of off-leash places to play and we happily discovered that Pittsburgh is a pooch-friendly place. From green spaces to PNC Park, there are lots of things for dogs to do on or off leash.

Author Janna Leyde with Mae at Point State Park. Oops!

Although dogs are welcome in most city parks and green spaces on a leash, there are several designated dog areas in city parks where you can take your pup for some fun off-leash playtime:

Frick Park was the first park in the city to have an off-leash exercise area (OLEA). Dogs run free in two fenced-in areas near Blue Slide Playground and pup and owner can meander the trails for a nature experience. Take Tranquil Trail, which winds through the valley and along the creek, crossing at a place where your dog can splash around. If a cool down in the shallow water isn’t enough, go for a dip at Hot Dog Damn—the swimming hole just for dogs—located near Lower Tranquil Trail.

Riverview Park has a fenced in OLEA that sits on the hill just below the Allegheny Observatory. Not only can your canine friend run free here, but there are hills for running up and down and trees for circling. It’s a great workout for both of you. You can also head off down one of the trails and follow it deep into the woods where the many birds, deer and squirrels will provide entertainment for your four-legged friend. You might even run into a horse and rider.

Located on 25 rolling acres of Franklin Park is Misty Pines Dog Park, and it’s well worth the $6 per dog to play for an hour or two. Playground areas abound—specific for big dogs, small dogs and even one for puppies. And for those canines itching to get wet, let them run off the dock and jump into the dog pond. Along with dog training, pet boarding, doggie daycare and grooming services, Misty Pines will rent out spaces if you want to throw your dog a party.

Venture up to Olympia Park on Mount Washington for some higher elevation exercise. Following a controversial decision on where to relocate the dog park, there is a newly re-opened and fenced-in dog run. If your dog has excess energy to burn, choose one of the trails nearby.

The Carnegie Dog Park recently underwent improvements thanks to an Eagle Scout project. This long, grassy fenced-in area is ideal for throwing and retrieving and you’ll find plenty of balls left behind for that purpose. Trees provide shade for owners who often congregate as they watch their dogs run around and the park beyond is good for walking your dog. Check out the very cool Pitcher Park, one of the best skateboarding parks around.

Readers weighed in to offer more suggestions: Bellevue DogsWoods Park in Bellevue Memorial Park is much loved by residents and others and they offer Small Dog Social on Sunday afternoons. According to their Facebook page, the park features open areas for dogs to run and play, as well as naturally wooded areas, a separate area for small dogs (under 25 lbs.), a small pond and a small agility course.

There’s an off leash, unfenced area in Allegheny Commons near the Aviary. In Monroeville there’s Heritage Dog Park, a “very large fully fenced area with shaded areas” located at 2364 Saunders Station Road, Monroeville. The park offers water, benches, chairs and picnic tables. In Bridgeville, check out Fairview Park for off-leash frolicking.

It should be noted that you cannot let your pup run free at Point State Park but for any creature who likes to people watch, there’s plenty to see such as boats, runners, boot-campers, Segway tours, and, of course, other dogs. On a hot day, sit near the fabulous fountain and catch a misty breeze to cool off. Dogs love it!

Ponds and hikes aside, if your pup needs some grass and all you need is a bench, there are plenty of places to go. Hartwood Acres is another county dog park, like South Park, that has a large area, pick-up bags, and in the warmer months, a water pump. The Bernard Dog Run in Lawrenceville, the result of a four-year community effort to open an off-leash area, has separate large and small dog spaces and can be accessed off the riverfront trail under the 40th Street Bridge.

South Park Dog Park is a popular spot with drinking water, pick up bags and benches. And you’ve got 200 acres throughout the park to roam with your dog on leash. If—ok, when—your dog gets dirty, stop in at nearby Woody’s Dog Wash & Boutique for a self-service dog bath.

Get to the doggie amusement park. The dog stop in the East End Dog Stop is the one with the water park. The 17,000-square-foot facility has a dog day care, a kennel, grooming services, a retail store and an outdoor space with a pond, water wall and special anti-microbial turf, or what we call grass. There are now six Dog Stops in the city. “We also pride ourselves on the sizes of our inside doggie daycare play yards,” says Jennifer Ferris-Glick, owner of one Pittsburgh location. “They are like a supervised, indoor, off-leash park.”

stephan bontrager with ginger
Stephan Bontrager of Riverlife with Ginger at the Hotel Monaco. Photo: Tracy Certo/NEXTpittsburgh

Stay at a swanky hotel. Yep, the new Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh is pet friendly. You and your four-legged companion can enjoy the luxury of this cool and chic hotel, from the funky furnishings in the upper lounge to the rooms with dog bowls (we want one!) and dog beds. There’s no restriction on pet size so your Bernese Mountain Dog is just as welcome as that tiny Yorkie. Fill out the required pet registration when you check in to help the hotel staff provide the proper accommodations for you and your dog. (Note: NEXTpittsburgh has tested it and they’re great with dogs. Ours can’t wait to return.)

Root for the home team. Every Tuesday night the Pirates play at home is Pup Night at PNC Park when dog lovers and Buccos fans take over a portion of the upper deck. A $30 Pup Night ticket (a portion of the proceeds go toward local animal shelters) gets you a seat and one for your pup, too, plus endless treats, bottomless water bowls, a clean-up crew and a paw-friendly kiddie pool. Dogs are actually permitted to sit next to their owner in the seats. Hey, some dogs really get into Pirate baseball.

Cool Off. Summer gets hot around here, so it’s no wonder that kids and dogs alike seek out ways to get wet. The verdict is out on whether kids and dogs are allowed to play in the Water Steps on the North Shore; however, pass by on a hot day and you’ll some splashing around. Another hot cool down spot is the South Shore Riverfront Park at SouthSide Works where you’ll find lots of smiling folks watching their dogs enjoy the misters embedded in the trails on the river side of Hofbrauhaus.


There are quite a few restaurants with outdoor seating that happily welcome dogs, sometimes with treats. So sit down and have a meal or a drink or with your BFF (Best Furry Friend).

Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle — The Strip District
Grist House Brewing — Millvale
Redfin Blues — Washington’s Landing
Legends of the North Shore — North Side
Double Wide Grill — South Side
Diamond Market Bar & Grill — Downtown
Cappy’s Cafe — Shadyside

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Written by  Lauri Grotstein

At last month’s 2015 kickoff OpenStreetPGH event, 15,000 Pittsburghers came ready to play on the 3.5-mile stretch of Penn Avenue and Butler Street that was closed to cars and open for fun. The city was jumping with people cycling, dancing, running, hula hooping and unicycling.

And this Sunday, June 28, OpenStreetsPGH returns from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.Time to play! Time to play in the streets! Photo by Tracy Certo.“What separates Open Streets from other events is the choose-your-own- adventure aspect of it,” says Mike Carroll, event manager of BikePGH and co-chair of Open Streets.”You can go for a run, go to brunch, learn to salsa dance,” he says. “But we encourage people to try something new. If you do a lot of yoga, perhaps try a BootCamp class.”

At last month’s 2015 OpenStreetPGH kickoff, an estimated 15,000 people came out to play on the 3.5-mile stretch of Penn Avenue and Butler Street that was closed to cars and open for fun. The city was jumping with people cycling, dancing, running, hula-hooping and unicycling.

And this Sunday, June 28, OpenStreetsPGH returns from 8 a.m. until noon.

“What separates Open Streets from other events is the choose-your-own- adventure aspect of it,” says Mike Carroll, event manager of BikePGH and co-chair of Open Streets.”You can go for a run, go to brunch, learn to salsa dance,” he says. “But we encourage people to try something new. If you do a lot of yoga, perhaps try a BootCamp class.”

Check the program schedule for times on a walking tour with the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks, a Bike the Burgh Cycling Tour, a Hike it Baby walk for parents and young kids and training runs with Steel City Road Runners. Four event hubs host ballroom dance, BootCamp, kung fu, yoga and Zumba classes. You can play tennis or soccer. There’s even snowboarding for kids and roller disco led by the Steel City Roller Derby.This month, the businesses along the route are getting in on the gig. Just a few of the offerings: Franktuary serves up an early brunch, Pittsburgh Winery gives away free samples, LUXE Creative hosts an open house with a DJ, plus there’s a food truck roundup and lots of sidewalk sales.“We encourage everyone to bring a bag with them,” says Carroll. “We don’t want people to forget to check out these local, independent businesses.”Rollerskating, downtownSteel City Roller Derby will lead a roller disco session. Photo courtesy OpenStreetsPGH.And if you ever wanted to wear a badge—or at least be deputized to ring a cowbell and wear a silly hat—organizers are looking for 35 volunteers to be Intersection Sheriffs. Along the route, 12 intersections remain open for cars to cross.

“We’ll have a policeman at every intersection, but volunteers are key to ensuring that all of our happy participants remain safe,” says Eve Picker, one of the co-chairs of OpenStreetsPGH.

“Each volunteer will need to report at 7 a.m. and stay until noon,” she says. “And each will receive two free tickets to a ball game for their help, a free OpenStreetsPGH t-shirt, snacks, water—and the promise of a great time.” To volunteer, sign up here.

Besides Carroll and Picker, other folks and organizations who helped make this possible are the City of Pittsburgh, BikePGH, Red House Communications, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and Kim O’Dell.

The final OpenStreetsPGH event off the summer will be Sunday, July 26.

Open streets map

OpenSreetsPGH map.

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