Pittsburgh 2020 recap

20 very Pittsburgh stories from 2020

From skateboards to strawberry pretzel salad, here is a look back at some of our favorite stories from the past year

by Lindsay Patross | December 31, 2020

Like everyone else, we are looking forward to 2021. Even though we spent most of the past year at home, we still had plenty of  very Pittsburgh things to share.

Here is a look back at 20 of our favorite stories from 2020:

  • 1. RIP The O. The Original Hot Dog Shop, an institution in Oakland closed for good in February. We took a look back at the history of the shop which first opened as Essie’s House of Beef. From Forbes Field to french fries, we took a look at the (foot) long history of “The Dirty O”
  • 2. Fun with fermentation. From kombucha to sauerkraut, Trevor Ring is a local Fermentation Expert who runs Community Cultures, a fermentation education business that “explores health, creativity, and our relationship with food.”
  • 3. A very Pittsburgh dessert. This look at a Pittsburgh picnic staple was one of our most popular videos of the year. If you’ve tried it, you know that the combination of Jell-O and pretzels is delicious.
  • 4. Rolling through the city and bringing back the fanny pack. Meet Connor Clyde aka @mrHeelyagirl on TikTok. This Pittsburgher beat quarantine boredom by rolling through Pittsburgh and sharing his adventures on TikTok in the most fantastic 80s fashions.
  • 5. “Ordinary Insanity.” Pittsburgh author Sarah Menkedick published a new book “Ordinary Insanity: Fear and the Silent Crisis of Motherhood in America.” We caught up with her to learn more about the book and her boomerang story.
  • 6. Lost and Found. Hidden in the attic of a New Kensington home for decades, this wedding dress and bow tie were still in beautiful condition and were reunited with the daughter of the bride and groom.
  • 7. The Anatomy of a Nightmare: How Garfield Came to Kennywood. We take a deep dive into the Old Mill ride at Kennywood.
  • 8. Fresh Fest Digi Fest. Pittsburgh is home to America’s first Black beer festival. Due to COVID-19, the festival moved online. We talked to Fresh Fest Digi Fest organizer Day Bracey about how to organize a virtual beer festival. [Check out our video from 2019 on increasing diversity in the brewing industry.]
  • 9. A significant centennial celebration. One hundred years ago, the women of Pittsburgh (finally) received the right to vote, thanks to the 19th Amendment. We talked to the Pittsburgh Suffrage Centennial Committee chairwoman, Eliza Smith Brown, about some of the ways that Pittsburgh’s suffragists influenced the larger, national suffrage movement, and draw distinct parallels to current affairs.
  • 10. A very Pittsburgh guest for our podcast. In honor of the one-year anniversary of our podcast, we interviewed a very special guest: documentary filmmaker Rick Sebak. We asked him for his pro tips, surprising history facts, and his favorite spots.
  • 11. Breakfast between bread. We take a look at 5 of the best breakfast sandwiches in Pittsburgh.
  • 12. Breakfast between bread vol. 2. Our search for the breakfast sandwich was so popular, we published a follow up with 5 more breakfast sandwiches.
  • 13. A uniquely Pittsburgh spirit. Super Punch has made a resurgence across the city of Pittsburgh after nearly going extinct. Pittsburgh is the only U.S. city that imports this unique Italian amaro, and over 80% of the product never leaves Western Pennsylvania.
  • 14. This is not our first rodeo. Rich Condon aka Civil War Pittsburgh tells us about the time the city shut down all of its businesses during the Civil War. [You can learn more about Rich and some other Civil War sites around town in Episode 03 of our podcast.]
  • 15. Dosas and vegetarian delights delicious hidden gem. Located off the Parkway East, this restaurant doesn’t even have a website. Those who know, make the trip to Monroeville for Udipi’s dosas and other vegetarian delights. We took a tour of the kitchen and tried everything on the menu. And yes, Udipi is open for takeout.
  • 16. Phil’s inner circle. Last February, before COVID-19, we took our podcast on the road to Punxsutawney to interview two members of Punxsutawney Phil’s inner circle who are responsible for the care, feeding and travel of the most famous groundhog.
  • 17. Jewelry as a vehicle for art. We talk to artist Selima Dawson about her handcrafted metal jewelry business, Blakird Jewelry. [We also hosted Maker Month over on our podcast – from woodwork to BBQ rubs, learn more about these local makers.]
  • 18. Tiny cabins and short trips. From tiny cabins to the beaches of Lake Erie, we’ve found several ways to get away without having to go very far.
  • 19. Old buildings, new breweries. From the obvious (Church Brew Works) to the more obscure (Grist House), here are 12 Pittsburgh breweries and what their buildings did before beer.
  • 20. Meet cutes. We’ve put together a list of all of the romantic-comedies (rom-coms) filmed in Pittsburgh. We also took a look at all of the Pittsburgh places in Hulu’s new holiday movie “Happiest Season.” [If rom-coms aren’t your idea of fun, here is a list of all of the horror movies filmed in Pittsburgh and meet the Pittsburgher who runs an annual horror movie challenge.]


Cheers to the new year!

Need to pick up a few beverages to celebrate? We’ve got a guide to made-in-Pittsburgh vodka and tips from a local cocktail expert on how to make better cocktails at home. Plus we revisit all of the breweries that opened in Pittsburgh in 2020.


📸  Header photo: Esther Merbt from Pixabay. The New Years pretzel is a German tradition that is said to bring good luck. Good Food has a roundup of where to buy a New Years Pretzel in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Magazine has a recipe if you want to make your own. And don’t miss our video on The Pretzel Shop.

Lindsay Patross

Lindsay Patross

Pittsburgh born and raised, Lindsay has been writing about the people who love Pittsburgh since 2008.

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