Published by Angie. Last Updated on November 28, 2023.
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When it comes to great breakfasts in Pittsburgh, there is one restaurant that everyone talks about: Pamela's Diner. This restaurant chain is a Pittsburgh institution and has been feeding locals and visitors alike for well over thirty years.
Before getting into our review, we have to make a bit of a confession. We'd be lying if we didn't admit that Pamela's is our go-to breakfast spot anytime we have friends and family visiting. We'd also be lying if we didn't admit that we order the same thing every single time we go.
We suspect that you will, too.
All About Those Hotcakes at Pamela's Diner
The problem with Pamela's is that if you didn't know any better you may not give this unassuming diner a second thought.
The decor is straight out of the 1950s, the menu is standard diner fare, and if you're not there on a weekend to see the huge crowds you may never know that it is one of the most popular places in the city. But the second you try their hotcakes your world will change.
Pamela's crepe-style hotcakes are among the best we've ever had: the light and fluffy center is complimented by an insanely crispy edge for a textural pop you don't get in a traditional pancake.
Once you become addicted to these hotcakes, the only decision you'll have to make is not what you want to have for your meal, but rather what filling you would like. The filling options include strawberries/blueberries, brown sugar, and sour cream; bananas and walnuts; or bananas and chocolate chips- all are equally delicious.
Don't Forget the Lyonnaise Potatoes
In addition to your hotcakes, you would do well ordering a side of Pamela's Lyonnaise potatoes- an item that is almost as popular as the hotcakes themselves!
While the basic potatoes are always a solid choice, we like getting one of the loaded offerings with the chorizo Lyonnaise potatoes being one of our favorites. This one comes full of cheese, chorizo, and topped with a dollop of sour cream and has the perfect mix of ingredients in every bite (and is really a great compliment to a fruit-filled hotcake).
One thing is for certain for all visitors who wish to take in this famous eatery: if you want to visit during standard breakfast hours, especially on weekends, expect a wait as lines are nearly always out the door.
Pamela's currently has four locations throughout Pittsburgh and is cash only. Note that Pamela's closed their Squirrel Hill location at the end of 2021.
Which Pamela's location is the best?
We are frequent customers of the Strip District location; however, we hear all locations are generally well regarded.
Does Pamela's accept credit cards?
As of our last visit, Pamela's is cash only.
What is parking like at Pamela's?
Most Pamela's locations are in bustling business districts which are metered street parking. Some places, like the Strip District, also have parking garages available a short walk away (The Hub at 3 Crossings is our favorite).
Does Pamela's accept reservations?
No. Pamela's is first come, first served. During peak breakfast hours expect a wait- especially at popular locations like the Strip District.