Sunday, May 15, 2011
Ritter's Diner: Serving Good Food and Good Times
Ritter's Diner is a landmark fixture located on Baum Boulevard and is famous for it's great food. I honestly can't remember the last time that I ate at Ritter's, maybe before or after a Pitt football game with my parents as a child. I had no recollection of anything, but after serving as the local Latin taxi service and being hungry at 3:00 AM Ritter's was the choice eatery to satisfy our hunger. Walking into any restaurant at 3:00 AM will naturally be a great place to engage in some people watching, and Ritter's served up some great dishes. It was a big change from the traditional drunken debauchery that one would find at "The Original", "Primanti's", or "Eat'n Park." The staff was friendly and provided some old fashioned hospitality for people beginning or ending their day. The patrons came from all walks of life: an extended family from grandma down to grandchild roughly age 2; art folk; truckers; couples; drunken students. Regardless of background everyone had one thing in common...the desire to eat good food.
I ordered a stack of banana pancakes with maple syrup. The portion was huge and the taste was even better. I really did not expect much in terms of portion size because the cost was only $4.60, but I could not finish those legendary hot cakes. Not only was the portion size great, but the taste was unforgettable. Other's enjoyed the Diner Burger, Gyro, and a Reuben. No one could finish their meals and had the same reaction to the food.
What made Ritter's even better was the nostalgic atmosphere inside. Booths were colored with a powder blue, metallic edging around chairs and tables, and servers clothed with paper boat hats and polka dot smocks. What really added to the atmosphere was that each booth has its own private mini juke box advertising "Now With Compact Discs!" from stars such as Mariah Carey, Billy Joel, and Boyz II Men just to name a few.
We were ready to pay our bill and even the old man at the cash register had the spirit of Ritter's as he rang up our bill with his Greek accent thanking us for our patronage. We thought the night was complete, but as I know now there will always be a surprise. As we walked out speaking Spanish there were two yinzers outside smoking. Attempting to impress the ladies in a thick yinzer accent one commented, "Como siete?” which means either "How is seven?" or "I eat seven". We continued by laughing and walked to the car.
Time stood still at Ritter's Diner where you are sure to be served great food, great prices, and great times.
Ritter's Diner is open 24 hours and is located at 5221 Baum Boulevard on the border of Oakland, Bloomfield, and Shadyside and is a must for any late night Pittsburgh eater.