Yinz know we take our food seriously around here. It’s been a while since we’ve covered the local breakfast scene, so it seemed like the perfect time for a “Beaver County Breakfast Throw Down.” Thing is… I may have bitten off more than I chew on this assignment… literally! You can’t possibly cram all the fantastic breakfast spots BC has to offer in one write-up, so we’ll treat this as Round 1:

I picked 4 stops that were among the top suggested when we put out the call to hear your favorite places. Turns out you’ve got good taste, YBC readers!

Freedom Square Diner, 101 Wagner Rd. in Monaca (Shopping Plaza); Open Mon-Sat 7 am-3 pm, Sun 7 am-2 pm

Freedom Square Diner Kitchen

The classic diner. I got there about an hour before closing time and the place was packed with a line out the door. Truth be told, I was too full from my first stop to even look at anything (rookie mistake), but I’ll be back and ready to conquer the pecan-stuffed french toast in due time. It’s 3 slices of Mancini’s french toast with chopped pecans and bananas topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream and caramel drizzle.

Freedom Square Diner Monaca

The Pit Stop, 701 Riverside Dr. in Bridgewater; Open Tue-Fri 6:30 am-7 pm, Sat-Sun 6:30 am-1 pm

Pit Stop Bridgewater

Views and value. This place has a such a great feel! It’s a small dining room, cozy, with an incredible view of the river. The staff (Diane, Beth and Kristen) were super friendly, and good sports about stopping for a quick pic. The room was full of people happily chowing down on everything from fish sandwiches to pancakes. YBC readers said there’s nothing bad on the menu here — portions are generous and everything with a home-cooked quality. I’ll be back to try something from the special Lenten menu. You should, too!

Waffles, Inc., 453 3rd St. in Beaver; Open Tues-Sat 8 am-2 pm and 5 pm-9 pm; Sun 8 am-3 pm; Mon 8 am-2 pm

Waffles Inc

The trend-setter. This is the definitive spot where cool kids (of all ages) in BC get their waffles. The dishes were works of art, quickly devoured. They’ve got every waffle combination you can imagine — from the “Benny,” with poached eggs, ham, hollandaise and crab meat to the “Funky Monkey,” with chocolate chips, bananas, their homemade peanut butter chiffon and fudge sauce. YBC readers gave a shout-out to their non-waffle offerings, too: the “Country Mile” breakfast sandwich, with sausage, egg, wild mushroom, american cheese and spicy mayo.

Waffles Inc. Kid Testimonial

Rainaldi’s Restaurant, 201 Fairview Dr. in Center Township; Open Mon-Thurs 8 am-9 pm; Fri 8 am-10 pm; Sat 7 am-1 pm; Sun 7 am-9 pm 

Rainaldi's Restaurant Outside

The home-away-from-home. This was my first stop, and my personal favorite. The food is delicious, the staff couldn’t be nicer, the music (oldies) was perfect, and there were Trivial Pursuit cards at every table! Old photos and memorabilia peppered the walls of the restaurant, which is split up into four smaller dining rooms, giving it a warm, welcoming feel.Overheard at a table nearby: “I wanna go here every day for dinner or lunch. Mom!”

Rainaldi's Restaurant Enjoying Breakfast

Rainaldi’s has a loyal fanbase, and it’s not hard to see why. The menu is extensive and distinct, offering everything from Italian pancakes, made with a sweet ricotta cheese batter, to a Chicken Florentine Omelette, made with grilled chicken, baby spinach, roasted red peppers & feta cheese. And that’s just breakfast — they also serve lunch and dinner (and it’s BYOB, no corking fee).

On the recommendation of YBC readers, we got the Italian Eggs, which is a spicy and scrumptious scramble of peppers, onions, eggs, home fries, cheese, and your choice of either hot sausage, bacon or mild sausage. I’m not a meat-eater, but my husband can be persuaded — if, as he jokes, “it can’t be revived.” So we ordered the spicy sausage version of their signature Italian Eggs dish, and it did not disappoint!

Rainaldi's Restaurant Italian Eggs

I also struck up a conversation with Jan and Arnie, who said they come to Rainaldi’s 3 or 4 times a week! They usually share a veggie omelet (big enough for 2, they say), but also swear by the fish and the lasagna. They even cater from the restaurant, getting the eggplant parmesan for their granddaughter’s graduation. “Not to knock anywhere else, you know, but you can just tell the difference here! It’s a quality breakfast — and you can’t beat the price.”

Rainaldi's Restaurant 4 Times a Week

For me though, it was the mood as much as the food. Nostalgia-covered walls instead of noisy TVs, cozy rooms, AND Trivial Pursuit? Can’t beat it. Winner of Round 1 in the Beaver County Breakfast Throwdown: Rainaldi’s.  

Who should the contenders be in Round 2? Let me know your favorite breakfast spots in the comments!

Erin Ninehouser loves photography for its ability to reveal truths and insights that are often too difficult to capture with words. She believes, as Garrison Keillor says through his troubled yet triumphant character Barbara in Pontoon, that “the only sermon that counts is the one formed by our actions.” A native of New Castle, Erin has made her home in Ambridge where she lives happily with her wonderful husband Dave, their three adorable and hilarious cats, and their “old gentleman” dog, Max. Erin is excited to help tell the stories of the people of Beaver County. You can see more of her work on Facebook and connect on Instagram or Twitter.