Pittsburgh may be known for its steel mills and sports teams, but it’s also home to some of the best pancakes in the country. Whether you’re craving a classic stack with butter and syrup or something a bit more indulgent, the Steel City has got you covered.
From trendy brunch spots to cozy diners, this town has no shortage of delicious flapjacks. But with so many options to choose from, where do you even start? That’s where we come in. In this guide, we’ll take you on a fluffy and delicious journey through the best pancake joints in Pittsburgh.
Get ready to drool over stacks of buttermilk pancakes, banana and chocolate chip pancakes, and even red velvet pancakes. So, grab your fork and get ready to dig in!
The History of Pancakes
Pancakes are one of the oldest forms of food known to man, dating back to ancient civilizations in Greece and Rome. In fact, the word “pancake” itself comes from the Greek word “tagenias,” which means “frying pan.” The early versions of pancakes were made with simple ingredients like flour, eggs, and milk. However, as the popularity of pancakes grew, people began experimenting with flavors and toppings.
In America, pancakes have been a breakfast staple for centuries. During the 19th century, pancakes were often made with buckwheat flour and served with molasses or maple syrup. Today, pancakes are enjoyed in a variety of styles and flavors, from classic buttermilk to specialty options like pumpkin spice and blueberry.
What Makes the Perfect Pancake?
So, what makes a perfect pancake? First and foremost, it’s all about the texture. A great pancake should be light and fluffy, with a slightly crispy exterior. This is achieved by using the right ratio of ingredients and mixing the batter just enough to combine everything. Over-mixing can lead to tough, dense pancakes, while under-mixing can result in lumpy batter.
In addition to texture, flavor is also key. A good pancake should be slightly sweet, with a hint of salt to balance out the flavors. Some people prefer plain pancakes, while others like adding extras like chocolate chips, fruit, or nuts. Whatever your preference, the best pancakes are made with high-quality ingredients and perfectly cooked.
The Best Pancake Places in Pittsburgh
Now that you know what makes a perfect pancake, let’s dive into the best pancake places in Pittsburgh. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, these spots will satisfy your pancake cravings.
The Original Hotcake House
The Original Hotcake House is a Pittsburgh institution located on the South Side. This family-owned diner has been serving delicious breakfast classics since 1953, including some of the best pancakes in town. The buttermilk pancakes are a must-try, with a light and fluffy texture perfectly complemented by butter and syrup. For something more indulgent, try the Hotcake Special, which comes with two pancakes, two eggs, and your choice of bacon, ham, or sausage.
DeLuca’s Diner in the Strip District is another local favorite for breakfast and brunch. Their pancakes are made with a secret family recipe passed down for generations, resulting in a perfect stack every time. The buttermilk pancakes are a classic option, but the blueberry pancakes are a standout. Bursting with fresh blueberries and topped with whipped cream, these pancakes are a sweet and satisfying treat.
P&G’s Pamela’s Diner
For a truly Pittsburgh experience, head to P&G’s Pamela’s Diner in the Strip District. This diner has been a local favorite since it opened in 1980, serving classic breakfast dishes with a twist. The pancakes at Pamela’s are famous for their crispy edges and fluffy interior, thanks to a secret recipe that includes a touch of sour cream. The banana and walnut pancakes are a must-try, with chunks of ripe banana and crunchy walnuts in every bite.
The Dor-Stop Restaurant
Located in Dormont, The Dor-Stop Restaurant is a cozy diner that has been serving homemade breakfast dishes since 1982. Their pancakes are made from scratch daily, using a recipe that’s been perfected over the years. The buttermilk pancakes are a classic choice, but the red velvet pancakes are a unique twist on the traditional pancake. Topped with cream cheese icing and powdered sugar, these pancakes are a decadent treat sure to satisfy.
The Waffles Incaffeinated Cafe
While the name may imply a focus on waffles, The Waffles Incaffeinated Cafe in South Side also serves up some of the best pancakes in Pittsburgh. Their menu includes classic options like buttermilk and blueberry pancakes and specialty options like chocolate chip and pumpkin spice. The pumpkin spice pancakes stand out, with warm spices and a hint of sweetness that’s perfect for a fall morning.
Tips for Making the Perfect Pancake at Home
If you’re feeling inspired to make your pancakes at home, here are a few tips to ensure they turn out perfectly:
– Use high-quality ingredients, including fresh eggs, milk, and flour.
– Don’t over-mix the batter. A few lumps are okay!
– Let the batter rest for a few minutes before cooking to allow the gluten to relax.
– Use a non-stick pan or griddle to prevent sticking.
– Cook the pancakes over medium heat, flipping once, until golden brown.
Whether you’re a Pittsburgh local or just passing through, there’s no shortage of delicious pancakes. From classic buttermilk to unique flavors like red velvet and pumpkin spice, these pancakes will satisfy your sweet tooth. And if you’re feeling inspired to make your own, just remember to use high-quality ingredients and follow a few simple tips for the perfect pancake every time. Happy eating!