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 highlighting 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 have arrived in local businesses and some area hotels. 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. 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 concentrated in the city or suburbs close by, such as in 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 West Virginia University 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 in the publication.
He said he doesn't see Urbanist competing with other city guides, but as a complement to get the word out on Pittsburgh venues. More information: www.urbanistguide.com.