Vibrant and rich in history, it’s no secret that this city has held a special place in our hearts since the opening of our new retail location in the Detective Building last Fall. For Schoolhouse founder and CEO, Brian Faherty, opening in Pittsburgh provided an opportunity to serve a community that was rooted in a strong commitment to traditional American manufacturing. Seeing parallels between Portland and Pittsburgh's makers mindset, the culture and energy of the city appealed to him from the start, “In Pittsburgh, there’s this wonderful feel of Americana that I really enjoy." says Brian, "The food, the sports, the church steeples, hills, rivers, and bridges – it just doesn’t stop."
From grabbing brunch at The Vandal to exploring Market Square, we've come to feel right at home in the Steel City. And it's all thanks to the local partners, makers, and friends that have introduced us to their favorite spots and shared the culture. So, to celebrate our one-year of being here, we pooled our collective knowledge to create a guide to our favorite places to explore in Pittsburgh. Whether you’re a long-time resident, a brand-new arrival, or a visitor, we hope you’ll find something new that inspires below.
Restaurateurs Joey Hilty and Emily Slagel opened their restaurant in 2015, and in doing so helped introduce a city long known for meat-and-potatoes culinary ethos to a thoughtful, contemporary take on American fine dining. From harissa aioli lamb burgers to mussel frites, seasonal salads, and a balsamic vanilla gelato, there’s sure to be something for everyone at The Vandal.
"The Vandal is the perfect brunch spot, or for any meal really! The space is so bright and the staff is equally as lovely. I highly recommend their soft scramble. The ricotta makes the eggs extra fluffy while the petit salad adds an overall freshness to the dish."
- Emily, Project Manager
Whitfield at Ace Hotel
Located in East Liberty, the Ace Hotel and restaurant Whitfield makes it home in a century-old former YMCA building. Its rich history makes this space a perfect place for any public gathering. Led by James Beard Award-Nominated Chef, Bethany Zozula, the Whitfield serves time-honored fare inspired by the rich cultural heritage of Pennsylvania. From craft cocktails to locally-sourced dry-aged steaks, their take on food is one that shouldn't be missed.
"The historic YMCA building in East Liberty has become one of the city’s most hip nighttime gathering spots. Enjoy a gorgeous handmade cocktail and partake in a bevy of party games in the gymnasium, while sitting on locally made woodwork."
-Kerf Case, Pittsburgh-based Woodworking Studio
Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream
Founded by husband and wife duo Lauren and Chad Townsend, Millie’s produces small batch ice cream made from farm-fresh ingredients. With dairy-free flavors, vegan shakes, and gluten-free cones, there’s a reason why Millie’s is a Steel City staple.
"Millie’s is my go to when I’m craving a sweet treat. Between the smell of the homemade cones when you walk in the door and the variety of unique flavors, it's easily one of my favorite spots to end up in."
- Dannie, Schoolhouse Pittsburgh Retail Associate
via Denino Interiors
Primati’s is the signature Pittsburgh sandwich joint with fries and slaw on the sandwich. If you want to eat like a local, don’t ask for a menu—Just order a cap-n-cheese (capicola and cheese) and a beer. It's a combo that makes a perfect breakfast and post-game dinner.
"We Yinzers love God, Primanti’s, and 'Stillers'—though not necessarily in that order."
-Francis Defabo, Pittsburgh Potter & Physician
via Google Images
The Farmer’s Daughter Flowers
Self-declared “lover of flowers, coffee, and dirt,” Lauren Work’s brick and mortar carries products from local makers and fresh florals from her farm. The shop also hosts seasonal workshops where you can learn to make your own centerpieces, wreaths, and more.
"Visiting the Farmers Daughter is always a treat – a quick bouquet for a friend (or me...) and so many treasures to discover while waiting for your blooms. You can find anything from a new, fancy pot for your favorite plant to a whole pile of self-care products. I never know what fun 'extra' I’ll take home when I visit."
-Chrissy, Retail Manager of Schoolhouse Pittsburgh
via Design Sponge
Founded by Kira Hoeg and Thommy Conroy, 4121 Main is a unique hybrid cafe and florist shop in central Pittsburgh. Filled with fresh florals and delicious espresso, this aromatic and colorful shop has proven to be one of our favorite local discoveries.
"A small space filled to the brim with inspiration. The hand-painted wallpaper and yummy cappuccino made me want to never leave. Tommy is insanely talented. His work is vibrant, elevated, and outside the box in the best of ways."
-Alex, Photographer & Merchandising Manager
Founded by Casey Droege Cultural Productions, Small Mall is a concept store run by local artists. Part gallery, part shop, this experimental retail space focuses on bringing designs and creations in a curated setting to make the art experience accessible for everyone.
"A great little shop that focuses on local artist's work."
-Reiko Yamamoto, Pittsburgh Potter & Maker
via Casey Droege
Naturally, a perfect Pittsburgh day to us involves stepping inside our very own East Coast outpost. Located in East Liberty, a neighborhood known for its vibrant cultural heritage, the Detective Building is so-called because it once served as the home of the Pittsburgh Police Department Detective Bureau. Filled with interior inspiration and light that abounds, Schoolhouse Pittsburgh is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
via MJ Kroeger
Filled with an active community of artists, makers, and entrepreneurs, Pittsburgh offers a limitless selection of creative energy and inspiration. From restaurants to museums, cafes, bars, and parks, there are so many hidden gems that make the Steel City so special. Pittsburgh offers an unending list of places to discover, and the list above is only a small fraction of what the city has to offer. We encourage you to get out, explore, and experience the many places that inspire.