Lots of coffee shops are bright spaces filled with potted plants and soft jazz. Not Black Forge Coffee House. The Allentown destination, which was opened by best friends Nick Miller and Ashley Corts last August, redefines coffee house cool, swapping Norah Jones for Black Sabbath. They offer coffee from Zeke’s along with a selection of sandwiches and pastries from nearby Sweet Peaches and other local producers.
Black Forge is more than another coffee shop. It’s an active event space, hosting concerts, open mics and pop-up brunches nearly every day of the week. It’s also a gallery, with walls covered by a rotating collection of local art. “The only way to understand what we do is to stop by, have a hot cup of Joe and take everything in,” explains Miller.
Black Forge is fast becoming a community cornerstone in the changing Allentown neighborhood. So it’s no surprise that co-owner Nick Miller got his favorite recent meal just down the street. A self-described “diner-aholic,” he told us about the (new) old school spot that quickly won him over.
The best meal I ate last week was a breakfast combo from Breakfast at Shelly’s. I got the “Special #2”: it offers two eggs, choice of meat, home fries with onion, and toast. My choices were scrambled eggs with American cheese, bacon, home fries with NO onions and white toast. Yes, I am from the Midwest.
Breakfast at Shelly’s is a brand new diner in the Allentown neighborhood, located at 740 E. Warrington. They have that old school diner feel with a focus on quality that only comes from years of experience of working at your family’s restaurant. The prices are pretty low for the quality they offer. They are currently in their soft opening phase and scheduled to host their grand opening on Saturday, March 26th. My only gripe is that they have such an old school diner mentality that they only accept cash.
The reason I chose this meal over any others that I had last week is because it was the first one I had from this establishment. I love diners and I especially love diner food, so this meal was going to help me decide how often I would eat there. It looks like it will be pretty often. Plus, who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?
I’m not sure what kind of ingredients went into making my meal, but the scrambled eggs were great. Perfect diner egg consistency. They used real bacon, which is very impressive. Most diners are heat-and-serve and tend to rely on the cheaper alternative of precooked frozen bacon that’s about as thick as the paper this review would be printed on. The most impressive (and important) part of the meal is the fact that they gave me the option to leave the onions out of my home fries. This might be a small detail, but as stated above, most diners are heat-and-serve, so they pre-make their potatoes and removing the onions just isn’t a possibility. Anyone that knows me knows that I despise onions in any form. So if your breakfast potato option automatically comes with onions then I don’t get potatoes with my breakfast-dinner. Might as well just throw the eggs away and order pizza if that’s the case!
If you’re in the Allentown area this weekend I highly recommend you venture into Breakfast at Shelly’s. You might just find your new favorite spot to get breakfast—or in my case, breakfast-dinner.
Looking for other Pittsburgh foodies’ best meals? Click here.