Its been a while since I made a Breakfast in the 'Burgh post. I just figured out how to turn on photo-backup on my phone, and shazam - I've got a bunch of pictures in my photo account that I forgot I had taken. This is Reichhold's Cafe, on Route 8 near the Allegheny-Butler county line - about 15 miles north of downtown Pittsburgh (map).
Reichhold's is a breakfast and lunch only place; it opens ungodly early and closes at 2PM on weekends and 4PM on weekdays. Some folks might characterize Reichhold's as a "dive", but that just means they have never been to a real dive. Reichhold's is a little dim inside and the furnishings are a little worn, but the floors aren't sticky and the silverware is clean.
The menu is basic diner fare: eggs and pancakes and bacon and sausage and potatoes in all the usual combinations. This is basic home cooking - there is no cilantro or other foodie ingredients in sight - but everything seems fresh and the coffee is strong and tastes unabashedly like - coffee! My favorite is the sausage-mushroom-cheddar omelette (you can pick your favorite meat, veggies and cheese), most items come with home-fries that are obviously potatoes and actually fried (and a little burned on the edges) just like the ones that came out of Mom's cast iron skillet. I know it sounds a lot like that chain with the smiling cookies, except the food seems a lot more real in both appearance and taste.
Reichhold's portions are big. If you remember when your basic bacon-and-eggs breakfast went for $1.99 the prices might seem a little steep, but as long as you stick with the combinations on the menu the prices are in line with other breakfast places (including that one with the cookies). My favorite omelette and potatoes plus coffee costs about $10+tip. They don't do substitutions, and if you start adding on side orders like extra bacon you can crank the tab up pretty quick.
They do have burgers and sandwiches on the lunch menu, but I usually get breakfast no matter what time I go - and so do most of the regulars there - so I can't comment.
I'm not exactly on a first name basis with the waitresses, but I've always had friendly service, and its usually pretty quick unless you hit a rush; late Sunday mornings can get pretty busy. I've seen a few snarky online reviews complaining about screwed-up orders, but I have to wonder if they were in the same place (I suspect waitresses recognize I'm from a generation that tips well for good service - and not at all for bad - and maybe that makes a difference).
If you're in the neighborhood, a short mile north on Route 8 is Freedom Farm Donuts, which are not the best donuts in the Pittsburgh area but they are pretty good compared to the chain stores and a nice follow-up to breakfast; if you're like me by the time you get home you should have enough room for a creme-filled or old-fashioned. If you're a car modeler who dabbles in diecasts (this is supposed to be a scale modeling blog), 5 miles south of Reichhold's is Diecast Country; I've never been there but have heard they have a pretty good selection of high end die-cast cars. Its not exactly close, but two of the Pittsburgh area's few remaining hobby shops, Hobby Express and Grand Central Hobby, are about 12 miles away in Cranberry - if you don't make it to the northern 'burbs very often its worth hitting them all in one trip.
If you can't tell, I love breakfast and breakfast joints. If you've got a Pittsburgh area favorite please let me know so I can add it to my rotation! Thanks!