When Michael McAllister visited San Diego a while back, a free guide in his hotel caught his eye — Urbanist, which aimed to promote “urban adventure and discovery” by including highlights of the city’s dining, shopping, nightlife and art scene.
“I was excited by the product,” Mr. McAllister said of the slick fold-out, full-color publication that started in San Diego in June 2009.
Now Pittsburgh has one, too.
Hundreds of Pittsburgh Urbanist guides began arriving in local businesses late last week. Mr. McAllister, 27, founder of Epic Development, a local economic development and strategy firm, has signed a five-year contract with Urbanist to publish annual guides here in a format similar to San Diego’s. Urbanist was founded by Nate Benedetto, who is active in San Diego’s commercial real estate market. A similar guide kicks off in St. Louis early this summer.
Pittsburgh’s version includes 152 mostly independent restaurants, cafes, bakeries, craft beer and pubs, craft cocktails and wine bars, galleries, yoga and beauty salons and stores that sell shoes, vintage apparel, furniture and other items. The businesses are mostly concentrated in the city or in suburbs close by, such as Millvale or Homestead.
“It’s focused on Pittsburgh and locally owned businesses that are doing something to commit to the market,” said Mr. McAllister, who grew up in Mt. Lebanon and received his bachelor’s degree from University of West Virginia and master’s from University of Maryland.
Mr. McAllister and his staff curated the list and then approached the businesses to see if they’d contribute to the guide. Some also paid for larger ads or visibility.
He said he doesn’t see Urbanist competing with other city guides, but as a complement to get the word out on the exciting venues that Pittsburgh has to offer.
The launch party is from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Downtown's Space gallery, but the $25 tickets sold out. For more info: http://urbanistguide.com/.