Many people have a favorite diner. I’m one of them. It’s not in my home region, but it is along the route my wife and I have taken on many of our road trips over the years. In fact, I believe every time we’ve driven to either Pittsburgh or the Midwest, something that happened at least once a year throughout our marriage up until Covid hit, we have stopped at least once – and sometimes both going and coming – at the Summit Diner.
It’s right off the Somerset exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which is close to an hour east of Pittsburgh. This happens to be the same exit you would take to get to both the Flight 93 Memorial and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. Once, we booked a night at the Somerset Hampton Inn and hit both of these sites during the course of a weekend. It’s a very nice little driving trip if you’re within a reasonable distance.
The Summit is about as classic looking as a diner gets, both inside and out.
I have favorite menu items that I’ve been ordering for years at this place. They make their own sausage patties and great hash browns, so a basic breakfast plate with eggs and toast is one of them, as is a breakfast sandwich on an English muffin with one of those sausage patties.. A double cheeseburger is another.
Pie is a much bigger thing in much of the rest of the country than it is in the Philly region, where I live. That includes western and northern PA.
Regardless of what I have for a meal at the Summit, I always finish with a slice of pie. You can see the pie case in one of the above photos. There is also a board on the wall that lets customers know what flavors are available.
Graham Cracker pie is one of their specialties that is peculiar to this particular region. It’s vanilla custard and meringue on a graham cracker crust sprinkled with crushed graham crackers over the top. Blackberry is another favorite flavor that I get on occasion.
The Summit Diner was a 24/7 establishment for years. Unfortunately, it’s fallen on some hard times and is now only serving breakfast and lunch. Here’s to hoping they hang in there and I have many more meals at the Summit in the years to come.
LATE UPDATE: I’m pleased to report that my wife and I stopped at the Summit Diner for lunch today – Oct. 18, 2021 – and there was a line of customers out the door during the lunch hour.