Exploring 8 of our favorite Downtown Pittsburgh independent breakfast spots

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Alihan's Coffee & Breakfast. Photo by Abby Yoder.

If you’re looking for delicious and budget-friendly breakfast spots in Downtown Pittsburgh, look no further. From classic diners to unique shops, there are plenty of affordable options to choose from. Whether you’re craving a stack of pancakes or an egg sandwich, you’ll find something that satisfies your taste buds without breaking the bank. Even vegan options, too.

For early risers without the luxury of sleeping in and enjoying a leisurely late afternoon brunch, here are the top breakfast spots that you can enjoy at your convenience during an early Pittsburgh morning.

1. Alihan’s Coffee and Breakfast

129 Sixth St.

Monday – Friday: 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

Saturday – Sunday: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

*Offers a vegan menu*

Alihan’s Cuisine is the perfect spot for an affordable and delicious breakfast. Open bright and early, the breakfast menu offers a flavorful start to the day that you won’t find anywhere else in Pittsburgh. The atmosphere of this halal Turkish restaurant is warm and inviting with plants all around, unique decor and outside seating to enjoy the sun during warmer weather. 

For those who want to try something new and different, there are plenty of options to explore here. With most of the menu ranging from $7-$12, you can enjoy a filling meal without breaking the bank. It offers traditional breakfast dishes with a Mediterranean twist, like crepes and waffles drizzled with chocolate and fresh fruit, topped with curry powder. Breakfast meals come with a side of potatoes, salad and a cup of Turkish coffee. 

Alihan’s Coffee and Breakfast is owned by the same family as Alihan’s Cuisine across the street, which opens after Coffee and Breakfast closes.

2. La Gourmandine

308 Forbes Ave.

Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Sunday: Closed

One of four locations in Pittsburgh, head to La Gourmandine Downtown for the perfect on-the-go breakfast. “A little taste of France in Pittsburgh,” this bakery offers a variety of fresh baked goods. From croissants to quiches to muffins, you can find something to satisfy your morning craving. Plus, you can pair your pastry with specialty coffee drinks, tea, hot chocolate and other hot beverages.

Sometimes dessert makes the best breakfast. Some popular bakery items are cream puffs, macaroons, lemon tarts and mousse. There is also an assortment of buttery pastries and doughs for those with savory morning cravings. Box up your pastries to go, or sit and enjoy the calming atmosphere and friendly staff. 

3. Nicky’s Grant Street

310 Grant St.  #100 

7 a.m. – 3 p.m. (3:30 p.m. on Monday)

If you’re looking for a solid diner with traditional and affordable breakfast options, Nicky’s Grant Street is the place to go. Nicky’s offers a classic diner vibe and has been serving Pittsburgh locals since 1985. Located in the center of the business district, it’s a perfect place to grab a bite to eat on your way to work or studying for an exam. Enjoy a classic breakfast meal of omelettes, eggs, bacon and pancakes. All breakfast items are under $15 and made fresh.

Found inside the Grant Building lobby, the classic diner with neon lights and barstool seating is often hard to find in the center of a city at first. But when you do, the warm smell of coffee and friendly staff will start your morning right. 

4. The Apollo Cafe

429 Forbes Ave

Monday – Friday: 7a.m. – 3p.m.

Saturday-Sunday: Closed​​

With menu items featuring vegetarian, Mediterranean and American cuisines, this weekday breakfast spot really does have something for everyone. Another affordable option, the breakfast menu items are all under $11. The Apollo Cafe has a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu and it is up to you which menu to eat from at any time of day. 

You can choose from traditional breakfast items such as eggs and toast, or you can explore the Apollo twist on traditional items such as steak with your eggs or a gyro and feta omelet. The cafe offers daily specials, which include $5 sandwiches and combination meals. 

The cafe offers a fresh, bright environment with open windows to view the city while you eat. A family-owned business since 1988, the friendly staff and environment will start your day off right.

5. Bluebird Kitchen

221 Forbes Ave. (second location: 11 Stanwix, Fl. 1)

7 a.m – 3 p.m (breakfast 7 a.m.-10:30 a.m.)

A cozy, casual spot tucked into Market Square, Bluebird Kitchen was made for early risers. The menu offers a variety of filling breakfast sandwiches you won’t find at other breakfast spots. Whether you choose an egg sandwich or a pastrami cured salmon bagel, you’re guaranteed to walk out satisfied. 

Bluebird Kitchen keeps its menu refreshed, offering a weekly quiche, a monthly smoothie, holiday meals and assorted daily housemade breakfast pastries. You can fill up with gravy and biscuits and a hearty breakfast sandwich, or you can choose a lighter option like oatmeal, a yogurt parfait or a fruit bowl. 

Bluebird Kitchen is small and cozy with open windows to view the city while you enjoy breakfast. This spot is only for the early birds, as the breakfast menu ends at 10:30 a.m. and is replaced with the lunch menu. 

6. Corner Mercantile 

472 Wood St.

Monday – Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Breakfast until 10 a.m.)

Saturday – Sunday: Closed

*Offers vegan and gluten free options*

Need a place to quickly scarf down a breakfast sandwich before class or work? Look no further. Corner Mercantile is a sandwich shop located in the PNC Building in Market Square that offers a variety of breakfast options from sandwiches to breakfast potatoes.

In addition to food, there are a variety of teas and coffees, as well as ready-to-go pastries, scones, muffins, brownies and more. Some popular breakfast items include broccoli and cheddar quiches, spinach, egg, and cheese burritos and fruit salad. 

If you enjoy a hearty breakfast with meat, cheese and breads, this is the spot. Whatever you choose, you’ll leave feeling energized and ready for your day.

7. Cherries Diner

115 Forbes Ave

Monday – Saturday: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Sunday : Closed

Cherries Diner, located in the heart of Market Square, is a small and cozy spot that offers classic diner fare to its customers. The decor is simple, with comfy booths and stools lining the walls. The menu features breakfast all day, burgers, sandwiches and salads.

Despite its basic appearance, Cherries Diner has a loyal following of regulars who appreciate the friendly service and delicious comfort food. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite on your lunch break or enjoying a leisurely breakfast with friends, Cherries Diner is the perfect spot to satisfy your cravings for classic American diner cuisine.

8. Waffles INCaffeinated

456 Fifth Ave

Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Saturday – Sunday : 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Waffles INCaffenatied in Downtown Pittsburgh is a gem for breakfast lovers. This cozy cafe serves up delicious waffles that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The menu offers a variety of sweet and savory toppings to satisfy any craving.

One standout item at Waffles INCaffeinated is their Red Velvet Waffle, which comes topped with cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries. It’s a decadent treat that’s perfect for those who love all things sweet. For those who prefer savory, the Chicken & Waffles is a must-try. The fried chicken is perfectly seasoned and pairs well with the crispy waffle. If you’re not feeling waffles try their crepes with fresh fruit, omelets, or other classic breakfast options.

Despite its popularity, Waffles INCaffenatied maintains a relaxed atmosphere. The staff is friendly and accommodating, making it a great spot for a casual breakfast or brunch with friends. With its delicious food and welcoming ambiance, it’s no wonder why locals have been coming back to their five area locations for over ten years.