Searching for the best breakfast in the ’Burgh
Breakfast has always been the most important meal of the day. After all, depending on what you eat, breakfast often tends to thin the line between a dessert and a nutritious morning start. While oatmeal, cold cereal, and breakfast bars are convenient options for busy weekday mornings when you have less than 10 minutes to make it to your class on time, a delicious and well-priced breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday morning can be a glorious treat. Luckily, by living in a culturally rich urban area like Pittsburgh, there are plenty of restaurants and cafés all over the city to experiment with.
Pamela’s Diner is a popular choice for a morning meal out in Pittsburgh, but there are many lesser-known breakfast spots in the city that are worth a try. Pittsburgh has so much to offer in terms of food that it would be a pity to just find one place and stick with it. Here are a couple of equally delicious breakfast places that are kind to both your stomach and your wallet:
Conveniently located at 5431 Walnut St. in Shadyside just a short walk away from campus, Cappy’s Café offers several delicious and extremely well-priced breakfast options. Cappy’s is an extremely popular drinking place in the evening, with an active bar and a big-screen television. On Saturday and Sunday, the restaurant also opens at 10 a.m. to serve breakfast.
Having opened in 1981, Cappy’s has developed into the typical neighborhood bar and a popular place for local residents to grab a beer and watch the Steelers game. When you eat at Cappy’s, you really feel like a member of the family. With an attentive and friendly waitstaff and breezy outdoor seating right on Walnut Street, Cappy’s is the perfect place to relax on the weekend.
That being said, Cappy’s is also extremely affordable. For a mere $6, you can get “The Viking,” a humongous combination plate of French toast, eggs, sausage, bacon, and home fries. Pancakes at Cappy’s are just $3.25, French toast is only $3.50, and you can get an omelet any way you want it for around $5. Cappy’s prices are a refreshing change from the usual Shadyside restaurants. As one of the most affordable and friendly restaurants in Pittsburgh, it’s certainly worth a visit.
Breakfast can be the most delicious meal of the day, so why not eat it for lunch and dinner, too? Tom’s Diner, at 1719 E. Carson St. in the South Side, serves breakfast 24/7, so you can eat breakfast whenever your heart desires. The restaurant is designed to look like a ’50s diner, complete with red vinyl booths and a front counter with stools. The cheesy jukebox music playing in the background competes for attention with the TV hanging above the front counter.
The breakfast menu at Tom’s is extensive and has reasonable prices: Almost every item is under $10. It has everything from plates of toast, eggs, and bacon, to made-to-order frittatas, as well as omelets (which can be made by request with an egg substitute), pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, waffles, and French toast. One of the most popular options is the Farmer’s Special, which includes three eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, fresh home fries or hash browns, two buttermilk pancakes, and toast. Two of the other popular options are pretty unique to Tom’s Diner: Tom’s Breakfast Special consists of three eggs, gyro meat, home fries or hash browns, and toast, while Penny’s Famous Stuffed Croissant French Toast is a croissant prepared like French toast and stuffed with cream cheese and strawberry or apple filling. So whether you’re in the mood for a breakfast classic or for something brand new, Tom’s Diner has a meal for you.
Stop in early in the morning for the early-bird special, or late at night when nothing else is open and you’re really craving some great breakfast food. The restaurant is rarely over-crowded, so you know you can get in, get fed, and get out. The service is great, too; the servers are friendly and attentive and the food comes promptly. All in all, it’s a great alternative to more popular breakfast places when you don’t feel like dealing with crowds and lines but still don’t wish to sacrifice quality and taste.
Big Dog Coffee
If you are looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, give Big Dog Coffee a try. Big Dog Coffee is also in the South Side, at 2717 Sarah St. It is a coffeehouse in a former bakery with a really homey feel — it has little nooks, comfy armchairs, cute decorations, bright walls, and an actual wood-burning fireplace.
Big Dog is known for its delicious coffee that is bought at direct trade prices, its organic oatmeal with fresh fruit that you can get between 6 and 11 a.m., and its mouth-watering pastries.
Looking for something fun? Are you a breakfast rebel? Do you believe that ice cream belongs on waffles? Then Oh Yeah! is the place for you.
Oh Yeah!, located in Shadyside at 232 S. Highland Ave., is vegan-friendly and is known for its coffee, ice cream, and waffles — the latter two coming in an overwhelming number of combinations. Ambivalent customers will just have to take a deep breath and make a choice.
Oh Yeah!’s coffee is fair trade, and the entrees are all about $10 or less. The ambiance is great, and the restaurant offers free Wi-Fi for customers.
Nearly always recognized as the “Best Breakfast in the ’Burgh” by the Pittsburgh Dining Poll, it’s surprising that more students don’t know about this tasty place. Located at 2015 Penn Ave. in the Strip District, DeLuca’s is a bit more of a trip away than Pamela’s, but the two restaurants have often been compared for quality. As Peggy Lees, a sophomore chemical engineering major and breakfast enthusiast, put it, “You’re either a Pamela’s person or a DeLuca’s person. I personally like DeLuca’s because the Bionic Omelette is simply the largest and most delicious omelet I have ever had.”
DeLuca’s offers a plethora of traditional breakfast items, as well as a selection of more exotic options like breakfast cheesesteaks and several interesting plays on the traditional eggs Benedict. DeLuca’s also offers a menu of fancy toppings that one can add to pancakes and French toast, as well as several crêpes, hotcake dishes, and waffle sundaes. DeLuca’s is also renowned for its incredible portions. If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast, try the Steel City Breakfast of Champions — a short stack of pancakes served with two of the following sides: eggs, sausage, bacon, home fries, or toast.
If you’re planning on giving DeLuca’s a try, keep in mind that it is cash only. Similarly, you are almost always guaranteed a wait time for a table, so leave yourself an appropriate amount of time.
If you’re looking to try something different for breakfast, why not do as the Parisians do? With two convenient locations, one at 207 S. Craig St. and the other at 732 Filbert St. in Shadyside, there is no reason not to try breakfast at Crêpes Parisiennes. Chances are that when walking down Craig Street, you’ve spotted this restaurant with its large green windows and brick detailing. If you haven’t gotten the chance to go inside, now is a great chance. Whether you’re looking for a simple, non-corporate alternative to Starbucks or a delicious panini or crepe, Crêpes Parisiennes is a tasty alternative to the usual bowl of cereal.
Regain your energy after a walk to Shadyside with the tasty brunch menu at the Walnut Grill (5550 Walnut St.).
The Walnut Grill opens at 11 a.m. Tuesdays through Sundays for brunch, and the restaurant offers a sophisticated menu of many tasty entrées that are all under $10. The brunch menu includes Belgian waffles, gourmet French toast, eggs Benedict made with Canadian bacon or crab meat, omelets, frittatas, and cheese-stuffed crepes. It even has a sandwich called the Monte Cristo that is made on French toast and contains turkey, ham, Swiss cheese, and American cheese.
The Walnut Grill offers great food made with great ingredients and served in a lovely atmosphere, making a meal there worth the trip.