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