Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In Defense of The Burgh

TV Food Fan pointed me to this article about the lack of quality diner food in the Western PA/Pittsburgh area. Now, I'm not looking to argue with columnist Mike Seate as: a) he looks like he knows his way around a plate; and, b) he looks like he could kick my ass.

But I have a problem with columns like this that take umbrage with area eateries (or even admit that there are some good ones) but don't single out these heroes or villains. Granted, it looks like Seate is a TV columnist/reviewer, but throw a hungry guy a bone here.

In Pittsburgh's defense I think that all diners are overrated. Yes, the food is generally cheap and in abundance. But how many times do you find yourself longing for a particular diner's take on a dish? How often do you go out of your way to visit a particular diner when you're driving through someplace you used to live?

Frankly, the only diner I'd go out of my way to visit would be the New Englander, which sat in downtown Danbury, CT. I don't even know if it's there anymore but I used to visit it about once a month when my brother lived up there. Their Farmhouse Omelettes were a thing of beauty and a site to behold. (It looks like, from this website at least, that the New Englander might still be in operation! I may have to make a stop there on my next trip to Boston.)

While Pittsburgh may not have any great diners, I know of four that were there during my stay in the mid-to-late 90s that were as good as any diners I've frequented over my forty years: Ritter's, Mary Anne's, DeLuca's and JoJo's. Plus, I have fond memories of many other Pittsburgh eateries, like Tessaro's (still the best burger I've ever had), the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern (excellent Polish food including great pierogies), and Original Oyster House (loved their fish sandwiches).

Don't worry Pittsburgh, I got your back.

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