Pamela’s Diner

Review by: Michael Stern

There are five Pamela’s around Pittsburgh with similar (but not identical) menus, each with its own personality. I enjoy the one on the Strip (60 21st St.) with its self-consciously retro decor of mid 20th-century photo portraits on the walls, but my heart belongs to the Pamela’s in Millvale.

To some degree, my affection owes to waitress Flo, who’s worked here 48 years and before that used to come to the place to loaf with friends on Friday nights after football. (In Pittsburghese, to loaf is to hang out.) Flo steered me to the strawberry hotcakes and freshly squeezed lemonade. When she was a teenager and came around on Friday nights after football, the place was what it continues to be: the soda fountain / diner half of a pharmacy. It is a very large space with pharmaceuticals on one side, booths and counter on the other.

Beyond the charm of the well-burnished room in general and of Flo in particular, Pamela’s (aka Lincoln’s P&G Diner) is notable for the high quality of its food, hotcakes in particular. They are dime-thin and lace-edged like crepes, and while they are exquisite served flat like pancakes (hardly needing butter or syrup), most customers have them rolled around other ingredients. The signature stuffing is strawberries, brown sugar, and sour cream — with the eggy, buttery hotcakes, a magic combo — but they also can be ordered with blueberries, bananas and walnuts, or bananas and chocolate chips.

From-scratch corned beef hash is a nice balance of soft potato, briny beef, and griddle-caramelized onion. French toast is made from croissants. A full soda fountain offers milk shakes, malts, phosphates, egg creams, sundaes, and banana splits.

Note that business is cash only.

Directions & Hours

8am - 2pm
  • Monday: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Thursday: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Friday: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Saturday: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Sunday: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM

What To Eat

Chocolate Chip Banana Hotcakes



Strawberry Hotcakes


Corned Beef Hash


Pamela’s Diner Recipes


What do you think of Pamela’s Diner?

One Response to “Pamela’s Diner”

Patricia Beninato

December 1st, 2015

If you’re in Pittsburgh and like to eat, it’s a given that sooner or later you’re going to end up in the Strip District. Several establishments there are already in the Roadfood pantheon and for good reason. However, ask any ‘Burgher where to find the best breakfast in the city and they will invariably point you in the direction of a spot on the northeast side of the Strip, with pink and teal decor and a consistently large crowd in front of it.

Its official name is P & G’s Pamela’s Diner, P being Pam Cohen and G being Gail Klingensmith, the owners, but everyone just calls it Pamela’s. It’s reminiscent of a kitschy fifties diner, with Formica tables and vinyl chairs and brightly colored plates. It is always packed and always loud, and you WILL wait for a table. But, it’s fun to look at the retro ads and random family photographs and pictures of President Obama posing with the owners while you wait.

You will see pancakes, or as Pamela’s calls them, hotcakes. These cakes are closer to crepes than traditional flapjacks. Thin with crisp lacy edges, they completely cover the plate. Get them with butter and syrup, or fresh fruit and whipped cream, or chocolate chips and bananas. Actually, they’re not bad plain, either. To complete the carb overload, get a side of Lyonnaise potatoes, a mass of buttery spuds and caramelized onions.

Although I have nothing against the hotcakes and Lyonnaise, I happen to really like Pamela’s egg dishes and hashes. Yes, that’s kielbasa and sauerkraut mixed with the Lyonnaise and topped with Swiss cheese to form Pittsburgh Hash. The chorizo hash is good too, as is the Tex-Mex omelet. My favorite Pamela’s meal, though, is pretty simple–a sausage and cheese omelet with some of the best fries I’ve ever had (fries with breakfast is a Northeast thing). The Lyonnaise gets the raves, but the fries keep me coming back. Service is efficient, and even though your check will be dropped off with your food, you’ll never feel rushed.

Pamela’s has five other locations in and around Pittsburgh, but if someone is talking about going there, they usually mean the Strip District. Note–no lunch food is served on Sundays, and like most Strip establishments, it’s strictly cash.


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