By Christine Mouser
As the holidays get closer, our taste buds seem to automatically crave a great, hearty home-cooked meal. Lucky for us Pittsburghers, the city has some great restaurants that offer just that. So whether you're looking for somewhere to eat on Thanksgiving or just craving a home-cooked meal in the middle of the week, take a look at this delectable guide of good eats.
Braddock's American Brasserie
Braddock's is one of those neighborhood joints with that homey feeling you crave when you enter a restaurant, looking for a hearty meal. And Braddock's is just the place to go. They offer a fantastic menu, full of seafood, meats and pasta with a down-home style -- like the braised short rib pierogie starter, served with creamed leeks and pan juices; or the housemade potato gnocchi and lobster, served with three types of mushrooms, artichokes and parmesan cream sauce. Another home-cooked highlight? The Gerber Farms Amish Chicken dinner, which comes with half a chicken, herb butter basted, caponata and honey glazed carrots. Last year, Braddock's even served a four-course family style dinner, with turkey carved tableside. If you already have Thanksgiving plans, don't worry; they serve up home-cooked creations every day of the week that always hits the spot.
When your grandma or mom makes a great home-cooked meal, she doesn't use a ton of different ingredients or wild techniques—just simple, delicious food. Habitat's Executive Chef Andrew Morrison relishes that philosophy as well. With his focus on the freshest ingredients, you know you're in for a good meal like the whey fed pork chops, served with sweet gem romaine, baby turnips and mustard sabayon; or two great chicken dishes -- the braised organic chicken thighs (served with ricotta cannelloni) and the roast chicken breast (served with asparagus and bacon). As with any home-cooked meal, these dishes may be served with mashed potatoes, potato gratin or a delicious crab mac with a white cheddar and herb crust. Last Thanksgiving, Chef Morrison served up a delicious brunch buffet and a la carte dinner, which gave eaters that home-cooked meal they were waiting for. Check with the restaurant this year to make sure Thanksgiving dinner is still on.
Bistro To Go
Some families spend most of Thanksgiving day in the car, driving around from relative to relative, with little to no time at all to cook their own holiday dinner. Instead of rushing around to put something together, let Bistro To Go do all of the work. This bistro offers a great homestyle menu that hits the soul. The menu changes weekly, but there are still some favorite main dishes that stand out: the crispy chicken, BBQ beef brisket, stuffed chicken with gravy, buffalo chicken mac & cheese, maple glazed turkey and stuffing, pot roast with carrots and crispy baked cod; soups: chicken dumpling, stuffed pepper; sides: home fried potatoes, Yukon mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese. You can get these dishes catered for Thanksgiving, or you can simply stop by here for some takeout when you're in the mood for a hearty meal.
S&D Polish Deli
2204 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Hours: Mon-Sat, 4 p.m. – 7p.m.
Located in the Strip District, the S&D Polish Deli serves up some great home-cooked Polish meals every week. Stop by for lunch or dinner to try some of their home-cooked, traditional Polish delicacies. The pierogies are an absolute must -- they have the traditional potato & cheese, fruit filled (cherry, plum, blueberry and strawberry), mushroom and more. Some other home-cooked favorites? Pork or veal meatballs (served with gravy, breaded and fried pork chops, Neapolitan chicken (seasoned with herbs and rolled in bacon), hunter stew (cabbage and kraut cooked with smoked meats and mushroom), white borsch with kielbasa, potato pancakes and even more. You can't get more home-style cooking than this gem. They provide catering as well, so if you're looking for a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal, this could be your place.
Kelly's Bar & Lounge
6012 Penn Circle South
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
If you're looking for a comfort-style, home-cooked meal, then Kelly's Bar & Lounge is a great option. Take a look at these menu options, and you'll see why: crab dumplings, pot stickers, steak cut sweet potato fries, tuna melt, Cajun meatloaf, pierogies and kielbasa, grilled cheese, and the real kicker…the mac & cheese. Everyone knows Kelly's mac & cheese is some of the best in town, and it's got the awards to prove it! Pittsburgh Magazine voted Kelly's mac & cheese the best in the city in their Best of the 'Burg 2011 issue. It's a great neighborhood joint, with a mix of folks who love the simple goodness that comes out of Kelly's kitchen doors.
Point Brugge Café
Point Brugge Café has a great lunch and dinner menu, but their Sunday Brunch menu is one of the best in town and the offerings are everything you'd want and expect in a Belgian home-cooked meal. Some favorites? The Liege Waffles, Ham & Gruyere Croque Madam (served with fried eggs and a warm béchamel sauce), Gran Marnier French Toast (served with seasonal fruit), Rosemary Pork Scrambler (served with bacon, roasted tomatoes, potatoes and piave cheese), potato strudel (shredded Yukon gold potatoes, baked in a creamy herb parmesan sauce)and plenty more. The menu is huge and decadent but worth every calorie you consume.
Christine Mouser is currently living in the Pittsburgh area, where she is an editorial intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. She is set to graduate from Penn State University this summer, with a degree in print journalism. She has written for HappyValley.com, Town&Gown magazine and Penn State's Valley magazine.
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