Type “Top Pot Doughnuts” into a search engine, and you’ll pull up a host of links to what I’ve been told is Seattle’s latest food phenomenon. Gourmet, “hand-forged” doughnuts.
I learned this yesterday from a friend here in Pittsburgh who is wondering about the relationship between “hot” (as in “hip”) food items and urban “buzz.” Seattle has “buzz”; Seattle has bandwagons for the next big food thing. Pittsburgh has little “buzz.” If I were to post on “what hip food thing should Pittsburgh get behind?,” I’d get drowned in a chorus of comments from Pittsburghers complaining that I’m not giving suitable props to the venerable Primanti’s , which puts french fries in your sandwich.
All of this comes to mind because I’ve been exploring the local high tech economic development landscape for the last six months, ever since I published a piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about entrepreneurship and the local business climate. Pittsburgh has a lot of inchoate energy aimed at high tech development, much of it inside the two largest universities. People here think and write and talk a fair amount about how to plug money into commercialization, about how to connect ideas with entrepreneurs, about how to build jobs and usable space. There’s less talk about some of the little intangibles that energize an entrepreneurial economy, things like “the hot restaurant,” or “the hot food,” or “the hot technology,” or “the hot X.”