19 breakfast and brunch spots you really should know about
This article first appeared at NEXTpittsburgh.com. Sign up here for NEXTpittsburgh’s free newsletter. Photo above courtesy of Simone’s.
If the pandemic has made you pickier about public dining, opting for a breakfast spot can be a safer bet: Smaller crowds and people may not stay for long. Going out for breakfast — even at dinner time — is also a crowd-pleaser with many kids, and can be less expensive than getting other kinds of meals as a family. So, what are the best places for breakfast in Pittsburgh? Who serves the most delicious brunch?
You’ve probably visited one of Pittsburgh’s pancake institutions, such as Bob’s Diner, Pamela’s, Ritter’s, DeLuca’s and the Dor-Stop, or one of the city’s top spots for brunch.
Now, check out this list of super-delicious spots serving the most important meal of the day — some of them all day. (Bonus: We even let you in on the highlights of their expansive menus.)
Shortly after opening in February 2019, Simone’s established itself as Mt. Lebo’s go-to place for a hearty meal. In addition to serving all of the traditional breakfast staples, the owner puts a Greek spin on dishes such as Eggs Benedict: two poached eggs, gyro meat, tomato, onion, and feta cheese — all topped with tzatziki sauce on farm bread with fresh-cut home fries or grits.
Head to Lower Lawrenceville for takeout Mexican- and Filipino-inspired eats. While Lola’s is closed for on-site dining due to COVID, you can still grab a variety of breakfast delights, such as doughnuts, bagels and toast.
When the rooster crows, go to The Speckled Egg to start your day with the Hen’s Hash: two eggs, potatoes, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, broccolini, red onion and toast.
They serve breakfast all day at Café Raymond, so if the whole family wants to dive into stacks of their to-die-for Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes drizzled with local maple syrup and whipped cream for dinner, so be it.
It’s OK to talk with your mouth full at Gab & Eat, where the conversations are just as good as the food. Try a dizzying assortment of no-nonsense breakfast deals. Hungry, but not in the mood for a monster meal? Order one pancake at a time or even half of a waffle. Chances are you’ll want to eat (and gab) more.
Mel’s Petit Café is big on French flavor! There’s a variety of quiches and pies and other baked goods. The menu is also full of crepes that are both sweet (fresh sliced banana and chocolate sauce) or savory (buckwheat galette, smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill). Can’t decide? Just say “oui!” to a little bit of everything.
The griddle never gets a break at Totin’s, where breakfast is served all day. Folks pack the old-school diner for biscuits, gravy and eggs — and pancakes as big as your plate. There’s also French toast and a variety of breakfast sammies. Overwhelmed by the selection? Keep it simple by ordering the popular Totin’s Combo: two eggs, bacon or sausage with a choice of hash browns, pierogies or potato pancakes, and toast or an English muffin.
At this new restaurant, you can start your meal with a Griddle Carrot Bread and Amish butter or a Toad in the Hole (that’s whole wheat toast, a farm egg and pepper jam). Once you’ve set a nice base in your belly, add Huevos Rancheros with braised lamb, refried black beans, tortilla, ajika, cilantro, garlic yogurt and fried eggs, or the Smoked Trout on a toasted poppyseed bagel with labneh, sumac onion, tomato and arugula.
Order the Breakfast Magic and watch it disappear in a flash. Who could resist a waffle stuffed with crisp bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and green onion that’s then topped with the same ingredients plus a fried egg and a dollop of sour cream? It’s on special every Monday.
Chances are you’ll eat a lot if you dine at The Lot at Edgewater. The Oakmont restaurant has breakfast plates to suit every palate. Treating yourself? Enjoy pancakes or Belgian waffles and a side of house-cured bacon steak. Hungry but watching your waistline? Have an egg white omelet and an Impossible Sausage patty.
After 20 years in business, the folks behind Mediterra Bakehouse opened their European-inspired cafes to showcase their bread in breakfast and lunch items. Sip an espresso with your Breakfast Sammie, which features two fried eggs, aged cheddar, house-made zhoug and locally grown arugula on a fresh-baked English muffin.
Feel the love at Square Café’s new(ish) East Liberty spot from Feb. 10-16. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, the eatery is serving its famous Red Velvet Pancakes — vanilla and cocoa flapjacks crowned with sweet cream icing. If your sweetheart is partial to savory, there’s also Smoked Salmon Napoleon on potato pancakes with capers, tomato, onion and lemon crème fraiche.
Valliant’s has been keeping bellies full since 1968, so they know a thing or two about breakfast. Bask in the retro diner décor while feasting on triple-stacked buttermilk pancakes, French toast or the house specialty Everything Omelette, a combination of three eggs, cheese, onion, mushrooms, green pepper and tomato.
Carmi hosts brunch lovers every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Use these small windows of opportunity to satisfy a big appetite. Items typically seen on a dinner menu — such as fried chicken, blackened catfish, lobster mac, and shrimp and grits — make an appearance, along with omelets, sweet potato waffles, and steak and eggs.
Friendly faces and full plates await at Dominic’s. The tiny joint is already getting rave reviews for its big portions and homemade sausage whipped up by the diner’s namesake and Navy veteran.
Eggs & Moore specializes in breakfast favorites with a side of sass. The fun-loving bunch at this family-owned establishment serve everything from classics like two eggs and your choice of Mancini’s toast to scramblers, gluten-free pancakes and breakfast sandwiches.
Order a bottomless cup of joe and The John Goodman (four eggs your way, two breakfast meats, home fries and grits, toast, and your choice between three crepe-style pancakes, three slices of French toast or a waffle!) and you’ll be ready to bowl over the world.
There’s nothing common about the food here. The Breakfast Sandwich includes maple sausage patties, American cheese, a fried egg and honey Dijon, and the omelet is stuffed with prosciutto, fontina, soubise sauce and roasted fingerling potatoes. Add a side of house-made sausage and maple-glazed bacon to your out-of-the-ordinary order.
Pancakes dotted with blueberries and chocolate chips, croissant sandwiches, smoked salmon bagels with capers, breakfast burgers, bacon pierogi omelets, biscuits and gravy … there’s a lot on Chev and Rachel’s menu to please the entire family.