Not to slight or undermine anyone else that I’m featuring in this series, but my interview at Sienna Mercato with the girls from eatPGH was the only one that I went into where I was feeling some nerves. Which… is stupid. I know the girls and I know they’re great and fun and all those things, but yeah I was a little nervous. Simply put, in my opinion eatPGH is the model for how to brand and develop a lifestyle design business in Pittsburgh, and that’s something that I respect and appreciate a whole hell of a lot. It’s not as easy as they’ve made it look. So, to bring them into a side project of my own was a little bit unnerving, but definitely fun and totally cool of them to do. The fact that I have access to them is flattering, and I appreciate all the support they’ve given to me as I’ve started out my own pursuits. Sarah, Julia, Mandy and Laura – you’re the best.
But why choose food bloggers to be among my favorite Instagram accounts to follow in Pittsburgh, aside from the fact that I knew they’d pick a good restaurant where we could meet for the interview? Well, for starters, on a very basic level I can venture to guess that your Instagram account from time-to-time features pictures of food – and I bet cats too – but definitely food. Food is just part of IG culture (…like cats), so I wanted to pick a profile that I felt did the best job of capturing pictures of food regularly and actually made it look artistic and flattering to the restaurateurs that prepared it. These girls go to noteworthy lengths to do that – while we were out, if one saw another taking a picture, she’d instinctively hit the flashlight app on her phone and hold it above in support of the cause (this happened several times). The real differentiator for them on social media in general though is the fact that if you follow them, you will always be led to the best places to eat or drink in town. They are everywhere, and they are everywhere before you’ve heard of it half the time. Since there’s four of them, they can cover a lot of ground in short bursts which is cool because as a follower you can learn from them a lot faster and can also see their unique quirks. Each of them, with full confidence, were sure they could identify which food picture was taken by which member (now that’s friendship). Each of them is leaned on for a particular niche: for some ‘za you go with Mandy, for burgers you go with Julia, for dessert you go with Laura and for …rap music… you go with Sarah. Julia is not going to help you out with condiments or gourmet hot dogs, and Sarah is not going to help you with pasta.
In terms of what to expect from eatPGH, you can be sure that you’ll see appetizing meals, but they come from all over the place – food, drink, dive bars, Styrofoam containers, swanky new restaurants… Their feed will inspire you, as it does me, to get out and try new places all over the city. And that’s a beautiful thing. But, they’re also constantly evolving. What started as a blog has now naturally transitioned into social media and two cook books. They attended SXSW as speakers on technology. They threw one of the biggest, most unique parties of the year last summer in an outdoor parking lot at Urban Supper. At this point, I follow them less for the original reason of finding new places and checking out good food than I do just because I’m excited to see what they’ll do next and how they’ll continue to reinvent themselves and grow.