Pamela's is a trademark in the city and has five locations. The diner has been around since 1980 and has a reputation for being busy and absolutely delicious. My Curly Sister and I were heading to Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood for some afternoon ceramics at Color Me Mine, but I suggested a late breakfast at Pamela's first. I arrived about 25 minutes early (my punctuality is a sickness) so after traipsing around Murray Avenue for awhile, the bitter cold pushed me toward Pamela's to request a table.
Standing room is non-existent in the diner, but the clanging of forks on plates, laughter from patrons, and kitchen commotion creates a care-free vibe. A wait time was obvious, but nobody seemed to be bothered. Pittsburgh is often referred to as a friendly place and that doesn't stop at a packed diner with hungry Pittsburghers on a frigid Saturday morning.
Shockingly enough, I only waited about 10 minutes for a table for two. The genuinely chipper server asked if he could bring me a drink while I waited for my sister and I requested hot chocolate to warm my chilled bones.
The mug was filled with warm chocolately goodness and heaped with freshly made whipped cream. I warmed my hands on the mug while I sipped the most awesomely delicious hot chocolate that I've had in ages. Swiss Miss has nothing on Pamela's.
Curly Sister arrived and it didn't take us long to make our final food decisions. I ordered the strawberry hot cakes and Curly Sister ordered the chocolate banana hotcakes. We shared an order of Pamela's "famous" lyonnaise potatoes. My hot cakes were rolled and filled with fresh strawberries and a creamy sauce made of brown sugar and sour cream, then topped with more of the whipped cream.
What makes Pamela's hotcakes so incredible is the width. They're quite thin, but crispy around the edges. I didn't feel overwhelmed by a too-fluffy pancake that seemed to expand in my stomach after two bites.
The lyonnaise potatoes were fantastic. I'm not an onion fan, but I didn't even notice them among the soft potatoes and buttery goodness.
The only downside that I can think of about Pamela's is that it is a cash-only establishment. As a chronic debit card user, this was a mild inconvenience, but sometimes, you just have to suck it up and visit an ATM.
For Pamela's hotcakes, I'd gladly suck it up and withdraw cash, because it means that I can suck up more pancakes and hot chocolate. If you're new in Pittsburgh, visiting Pittsburgh, or if you've lived here for 100 years, please make sure that you always have a pocket of cash to spend on a gem like Pamela's.