Breaking the fast: Independent eateries are upping the weekend breakfast game
Weekends and lazy breakfasts go together like eggs and bacon, pancakes and syrup, home fries and ketchup … you get the picture.
If you’re looking for a little something special outside the confines of the many chains in the area (not that there’s anything wrong with that), we’ve rounded up a few select independent restaurants offering up tasty and unique weekend breakfast and brunch options.
Sun Dawg Cafe, 37 N. Main St., Greensburg
Rachel Flowers is co-owner with her husband and executive chef, Ray Flowers. The restaurant serves breakfast daily and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. It is closed on Sundays.
Breakfast menu items range from what Flowers calls “homestyle,” like the GBG Scramble, scrambled eggs and cheese with home fries and choice of bacon, sausage, chorizo or vegetarian chorizo for $7, to more edgy offerings like The Alaskan Cowboy, home fries topped with two over easy eggs, guacamole, smoked salmon and tomato wedges for $9.50.
Breakfast tacos, frittatas, pancakes — with options like peanut butter cup, chocolate chip pecan and nutty banana — along with beverages like cold press juices and coffee choices from espresso and latte to Turkish help round out the menu. The cafe also offers a variety of doughnuts made fresh daily, Flowers says.
“We put ourselves out there as Mexican, Caribbean fare, with some Thai flavors,” she says.
“We do some really healthy options, like a quinoa, egg and meat breakfast bowl,” Flowers says.
Details: 724-205-6939 or www.sundawgcafe.com.
Bean and Baguette, 250 W. Otterman St., Greensburg
Described on its website as cafe cuisine with a Mediterranean twist, the restaurant serves breakfast daily and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays.
Available daily are breakfast sandwiches of egg and cheese with bacon, sausage or ham, served on diners’ choice of a bagel, croissant or muffin; a bagel with cream cheese; biscotti, various daily pastries and zatar bread, which co-owner Eric Bevan describes as a Mediterranean spice bread.
“Everything is made here in-house,” he says.
Saturdays feature a special Syrian breakfast with two eggs, cheese, Mediterranean olives, cucumber and tomato served with pita bread.
Price range is $6-$10, Bevan says.
Details: 724-219-3531 or beanandbaguette.com.
South Greensburg Restaurant, 1309 Broad St., South Greensburg
Owner Anita Copelli’s neighborhood restaurant serves breakfast and brunch every day, she says, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Everything we have is homemade,” she says.
More traditional breakfast items can include pancakes, French toast and omelets. Rotating features might include Candy Cane Pancakes, available into February.
Brunch items include weekly specials like country fried steak, combination sandwich or cheese ravioli. Regular breakfast items include the Huff Avenue (a nearby street) Omelet, with three eggs, cheese, two meats, veggies and hash browns or home fries and a muffin, bagel or toast. The Broad Street Special offers patrons two eggs with choice of meat, home fries or hash browns and toast. “And our Mexican omelet goes really well,” Copelli says.
Price range is $5-$8, she says.
Sweet Buzz Bean and Bistro, 3353 Route 130, Harrison City
This Penn Township eatery’s weekend hours are 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, with breakfast served all day, says manager Chey Wright.
Eye openers from the espresso bar include cappuccino, lattes, chai tea, hot chocolate and regular joe.
The Buzz Starters menu includes a hearty rib-sticking steel cut oatmeal, with toppings ranging from berries and raisins to bacon.
Asked to name a best seller on the menu of housemade items, Wright picks The Breakfast Buzzer.
It’s a flavor explosion featuring turkey, fried egg, spinach, cheddar, applewood bacon and Buzz Sauce on an everything bagel, $7.50.
Want something sweet to go with your caffeine? Try a waffle with honey butter and syrup, and maybe add bacon, chocolate chips, strawberries, blueberries, bananas or walnuts.
Or something a little different, sample a Dutch Baby, a sweet popover with lemon zest and powder sugar with a choice of berries, chocolate chips, bananas, cinnamon, syrup and whipped cream.
Price range: $4.95-$7.95.
Details: 724-392-4800 or sweetbuzzbeanandbistro.com.
Carol and Dave’s Roadhouse, 122 N. Market St., Ligonier
Brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.
The chicken and waffles craze has made it to Ligonier, and you can get them for $8 on Sunday at Carol and Dave’s. The Sunday brunch menu also features a quiche of the day ($8) and omelets with various add-ins. For eggs Benedict lovers, the crab cake Benedict ($12) is a popular choice.
Pancakes and French toast come plain or fancy. Forget the calories and load up on French toast stuffed with cream cheese and a choice of berries.
For a no-frills, no-fuss breakfast, there’s the two-eggs-your-way option, with choices of meat, potatoes and toast for $7.
Details: 724-238-2296 or carolanddavesroadhouse.com
Connections Café, 109 S. Market St., Ligonier
Frittatas and waffles make up the breakfast menu, but that is plenty to satisfy customers at this cozy Ligonier eatery where breakfast is served from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
The sourdough waffle batter is made from scratch and the finished product can be topped with fresh fruit and/or real maple syrup. The frittata will be one of several versions created by owner/chef Sharon Detar – the usual (but unusual) fillings include mixed veggies and feta; asiago, asparagus and almond; roasted red pepper and sausage; smoked Gouda, mushroom andspinach; or sweet potato, corn and kale. Either breakfast is $6.
There also are scones ($2), with French press coffee, assorted hot teas, fresh juices and creamy fruit smoothies to wash it all down.
Details: 724-238-9611 or Facebook
Kitchen on Main, 136 E. Main St., Ligonier
At the Kitchen, you can make breakfast as simple or as fancy as you like. For simple tastes, there are eggs any style and sides to go with.
To get fancy, try the hash made with house-smoked salmon and fingerling potatoes, or eggs Benedict with pan-seared crab cakes.
You can add various sides to your eggs, have your buttermilk pancakes plain or with a variety of sweet toppings, or pick from several three-egg omelet options.
There’s also a breakfast bowl, sandwich, taco and pizza.
The popular, upscale eatery has 13 tables and counter space, so it’s not a bad idea to call about a half-hour ahead to get on the wait list (they don’t take reservations).
Brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
Details: 724-238-4199 or thekitchenonmain.com
Myriam’s Table, 221 W. Main St., Ligonier
Sweet and savory crepes ($9.50) are the star of the show at Myriam’s, a small café in the Thistledown at Seger House, a boutique hotel near the Ligonier Diamond. Anyone for lemon mascarpone with blueberries or Havarti cheese with smoked salmon?
There’s also Hash-It-Out ($11.50), a made-to-order hash with your choice of meat, served with two eggs. Both crepes and hash are served all day.
Weekend hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays. Breakfast sandwiches ($9.50) are made until 11 a.m., and a rotating selection of pastries are available while they last.
Details: 724-238-4584 or myriamstable.net
Ruthie’s Diner, 1848 Route 30, Ligonier Township
In true diner style, breakfast is available at Ruthie’s at any time of the day. It’s simple fare, simply prepared, but it’s kept customers coming back for more than 30 years now.
The customer favorite is the breakfast special ($5.49), two eggs with choice of meat, home fries and toast. The priciest item is the steak special – eggs, home fries and toast with an 8-ounce New York strip or country-fried steak ($9.99).
Other staples include egg combos and omelets, hot cakes, buckwheat cakes, French toast, corned beef hash, sausage and gravy or even just cereal and milk.
Ruthie’s also has one thing you don’t find very often any more: creamed chipped beef over toast or biscuits ($4.99 large, $4.29 small).
The diner is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Details: 724-238-9930 or Facebook
The Pier at Sharky’s, 3960 Route 30, Latrobe
If you need an eye-opener with your eggs, this is the place to go. The brunch menu at the Pier at Sharky’s offers a bottomless mimosa, along with other specialty cocktails and a seasonal sangria.
That’s not to say the food takes second place to the drinks. Many items are served in individual cast iron skillets, including omelets, sunny side-up eggs, fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and the eponymous breakfast skillet, with eggs, meat, potatoes and other veggies topped with cheese.
You also can fill up on stuffed French toast or keep it light with a parfait of vanilla yogurt, granola and seasonal fruits.
The Pier opens at 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Details: 724-532-1029 or sharkyspier.com
Youngstown Grille, 320 Main St., Youngstown
Owner Scott Levin says his usual morning crowd wants to get in and out quickly, so they go for the $5 breakfast, with two eggs, toast, home fries and choice of meat.
On the weekends, there’s more time to linger over sweet treats like pecan-crusted or apple pie-stuffed French toast with ice cream, or cinnamon roll pancakes. Both also come plain ($6 with one side) or with other add-ins. There’s also a selection of breakfast sandwiches and frittatas ($7 each with one side).
Breakfast is served all day. Hours are 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays.
Details: 724-493-3607 or Facebook
Dean’s Diner, 2175 Route 22, Blairsville
Don’t worry about getting up early – breakfast is served 24/7 at Dean’s. The menu isn’t fancy, but portions are generous and prices are low in this original 1950s dining car, a popular waypoint for truckers and regular folks traveling along Route 22.
Some customer favorites are eggs with corned beef hash and home fries ($6.40), eggs with biscuits and gravy ($5) and pancakes and sausage ($5.20). Two slices of cinnamon French toast comes to a whopping $3.20.
You can get your eggs any way, including omelets with assorted fillings.
Details: 724-459-9600 or Facebook
Keystone Kitchen, 8279 Route 22, New Alexandria
Owner Bryan Crouse says his New Alexandria eatery has the best weekend breakfast in the area, and there are several reasons for that.
First is the crepes, since he says not many area restaurants serve them. They come with a sweet cream cheese filling and choice of strawberry, blueberry or banana split topping. One is $2.50, two are $4.50, three are $6.50.
Second, you can get your early bird combo (eggs, meat, potatoes and toast – $3.50-$8) with a hand-cut steak, or with the popular Mama’s cheesy hash browns (made from his mother-in-law’s recipe).
Third, there are scratch-made biscuits with sausage gravy ($3.50).
Add an array of omelets and specialty pancakes, Crouse says, and that should be reason enough to stop in.
Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. until noon Saturdays and from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. Sundays.
Details:724-668-2770 or Facebook
Freedom Square Diner, 18 Highlands Mall Drive, Harrison
The diner, which also has locations in Cranberry, Monaca and Verona, opened last fall at the Harrison location.
It is heavy on breakfast items, and opens at 7 a.m. each day. One highlighted item is the Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast ($8.69), which has peanut butter and bananas inside two slices of French toast, and topped with bananas, chocolate syrup and powdered sugar. Other French toast offerings include Nutella, pecan, banana walnut and cinnamon swirl.
There’s also eggs, steak, spinach ‘n tomato and crab benedicts for $8.99 to $10.99. And more traditional offerings like corned beef hash and a variety of pancakes.
The restaurant closes at 3 p.m. Mondays-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sundays, and breakfast is served all day.
Details: 724-224-4500 or freedomsquarediner.com
Massart’s Restaurant, 310 E. Sixth Ave., Tarentum
At Massart’s Restaurant, the made-from-scratch hot cakes are a mus. They are light and fluffy and take up the entire plate. Add a side of sausage or bacon or ham or a plate of the restaurant’s potato cakes — made by owner and chef Kirk Massart from mashed potatoes, eggs, onions and flour. Arrive early before they are sold out for the day. They use 300-400 pounds of potatoes a week and 60-90 dozen eggs.
For those who prefer eggs, there are seven omelet choices – plain, cheese, bacon, bacon and cheese, ham, ham and cheese and sausage and cheese.
The meats come fresh from the butcher – the freshest ingredients are a must for all three generations who have worked there — owner Kirk Massart, his grandfather Jake and Kirk Massart’s father Harold “Stubby” Massart and uncle Joseph “Gail” Massart.
Most breakfasts are between $3 and $5.40.
Breakfast served 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays, closed Sundays
Hometown Restaurant, 309 East Fourth Ave., Tarentum
At Hometown Restaurant, the theme is patriotic. Special choices which include a white, red or blue ribbon breakfast, as well as the old glory.
The white ribbon consists of a four-egg omelet with ham, sausage, bacon, onion, green pepper, mushroom, tomato and three cheeses while the red ribbon has three eggs, ham, sausage, bacon and cheese. The blue ribbon is two eggs, bacon or sausage. All come with home fries and toast.
The old glory breakfast is two eggs, ham, home fries and toast.
A Wwestern mess is a combined mixture of two eggs, home fries, onion, green peppers, home fries and toast. The meaty western mess has is the western mess with ham, bacon or sausage and toast.
The stars and stripes selection is two pancakes, bacon or sausage and the star-spangled banner has two slices of French toast with bacon or sausage.
Hot off the griddle are pancakes, French toast and potato cakes.
Most breakfasts are between $4.50 and $9.25.
Breakfast served 6 a.m. to 11 Saturday, closed Sundays
The Cycle Diner, 139 E. Sixth Ave., Tarentum
The Cycle Diner is a 1949 O’Mahoney Co. Diner. The 85,000-pound diner was trucked into its present location and lovingly restored by the Gatto family.
The general manager is Tom Scanga and the menu is supported and supplied by local businesses and always fresh. The sausage is ground in-house daily and the bacon is a pork belly, brined and smoke in-house. The diner uses jumbo eggs in everything – from the three-egg omelet to the two eggs paired with homemade corned beef hash and toast. The meat-lovers omelet has bacon, sweet sausage, country ham and American cheese. The Italian selection consists of roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, mild peppers rings, garlic, basil and provolone cheese.
Other choices include grilled home fries, homemade biscuits with sausage gravy, chocolate chip pancakes, bananas foster, breakfast sandwiches and chicken and waffles.
Most breakfasts are between $3.99 and $7.99.
Breakfast served 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, closed Sundays
Details: 724-671-7506 or cylediner.com