When I woke up on Thursday morning, I felt a little stressed. Burdened by homework I hadn’t finished yet, and with a long tape exercise ahead of me that evening, I knew I needed good food to get through the day. I realized that the only logical option was to eat at the favorite restaurants of The Pitt News readers all day. My diet is going very well and one fraudulent day won’t kill me.
Best breakfast – Pamela’s Diner
First up is Pamela’s Diner, winner of the best breakfast. Pam’s is a well known chain of diners in the Pittsburgh area. For now in possession By Dail Klingensmith and Pam Cohen, the diner chain has been an integral part of the Pittsburgh culinary experience since its inception opening in 1980.
Pamela’s Diner, which now has six locations, is also a national treat – it was a campaign stop for President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and the Wall Street Journal included it in a 2013 article of “What to do in Pittsburgh.”
I arrived a little earlier this morning than my normal morning commute, got off the 61D bus at 8:55 a.m., crossed the street, entered the restaurant and was immediately allowed to choose my table from the fairly large seating area.
The mostly green colored seating area inside is covered from wall to wall with board games and old album covers as decoration. Examples include games like Tension, The Magnificent Race, and Concentration.
I’d ordered my meal at 9:00 a.m. and barely skimmed the menu because I was planning on getting my regulars – I’ve been here before, like so many Pitt students. Ten minutes later my two plates of food were in front of me.
I ordered the Morning After Breakfast Special, which has hotcakes – which I’ve added chocolate chips to – two eggs and bacon, ham or sausage of your choice.
Their specialty hotcakes are great. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, they can easily soak up maple syrup. The sausage was crispy and tender, and my scrambled eggs worked perfectly between sweet pancakes and juicy meat.
For the price of around $ 10 plus tip – and they only accept cash or panther funds – you don’t have to bring too much for a hearty meal.
Pamela’s Diner is in Oakland to open every day from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Best Sandwich – Primantis Bros.
When you think of lunch you usually think of sandwiches so Primanti Brothers was my next stop. Founded In 1933 in the Strip District, this chain of sandwich shops now has 16 locations on the east coast.
Joe Primanti – later with brothers Dick and Stanley and nephew John DiPriter – started the restaurant in the 1930s during the Great Depression. It became a tradition to go to Primanti after sporting events and after bars had closed as it was one of the few restaurants that opened after 2am
Now owned by Jim Patrinos, it still thrives in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, West Virginia, Maryland, and Indiana. It was even given “American Classic” Nicknamed in 2007 by the James Beard Foundation.
The chain is best known for their sandwiches, each of which contains vinegar-based coleslaw, thinly sliced tomatoes, french fries, and Mancini’s Italian bread. My personal recommendations are the Pittsburgher with cheese, colossal fish and cheese, Kielbasa and cheese, and the Deluxe Double Egg and cheese.
In Oakland, the mostly dark brown seating area offers plenty of space. The restaurant has pictures, paintings, and memorabilia from Pittsburgh on the walls. There’s also a steady sound of rock music, which is replaced by sports announcers when the Steelers, Penguins, or Pirates play.
I had their Pittsburgher with cheese that day, the # 2 best seller, which took about 15 minutes to make. If you ever ask what their # 1 best seller is, every server says the same thing – beer.
The thick Italian break is amazing and keeps the meat patties, coleslaw, tomatoes and fries tidy. These filling sandwiches are not for everyone, as I found out when some friends from the east side of the state had them. However, as a native of Pittsburgh, these sandwiches are part of my childhood and got me through thick and thin.
The staff at the Oakland site are friendly and love their loyal customers. Most of them even know my normal order by heart.
Primanti Bros. in Oakland opens every day at 10:00 a.m. It closes at midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 3:00 am Thursday through Saturday. Also, check out the half price happy hour Monday through Friday from 5pm to 7pm and Friday and Saturday from 10pm to 12pm for some great deals.
Best dinner – Szechuan Express
The last time I visited Szechuan Express. Located on Oakland Avenue between Fifth Avenue and Forbes Avenue, Szechuan serves great Chinese food on-site, take-away or delivery.
It’s difficult to have a busy schedule and I always have the option to eat at 3pm or 9pm on Thursdays. So it is difficult to choose a good restaurant. It took Szechuan about five minutes to prepare my food, however, and it comes with a bag and container if you order the right food.
I chose the Shrimp Fried Rice. It was by far my cheapest meal of the day, costing about $ 7. The shrimp and rice, which contained peas and carrots, were mixed together pretty evenly and it tasted delicious. It’s the perfect meal to eat in increments throughout the evening.
The walls of the ordering area are covered with pictures of the food and the seating area has a kind of dark feel in low light that allows people to focus on intimate meals. Regardless of whether you are alone, on a date or just with friends, you can concentrate entirely on your table mates or on their absence.
While seating can get a little tight, most people eat quickly so it doesn’t get crowded. The staff is very friendly and don’t waste time serving delicious, cheap meals.
Szechuan Express is to open Weekdays from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on weekends from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.