Showdown on Route 22: Dick’s v. Dean’s

Achievement: #7. Dick's v Dean's Diner-Off

I’m going to throw this out there: Route 22 out of Monroeville is not an especially scenic stretch of road. As my wife (who has to drive it almost weekly for work now) can attest, it’s primarily a dreary slog of stoplights, strip clubs, and car dealerships. Ugh, it’s not even alliterative in its grotesquery.

But there are a couple of bright spots on Rte. 22, places that have caught Fox’s eye and inspired some curiosity as she has driven past — namely, two diners named Dick’s and Dean’s. Being superfans of diner food, rolling way deeper than that HACK, Guy Fieri, we decided to make the drive to each diner on successive days and compare their strengths and weaknesses.

Dick's v. Dean's Diner Face-Off
Saturday brought us to Dick’s. This is a sort of “classy” diner about 25 minutes outside of Pittsburgh, in Murrysville.

Dick's v. Dean's Diner Face-Off
We were seated immediately in the dining room, had coffee within two minutes, and an order in within five.

Dick's v. Dean's Diner Face-Off
Fox got your standard diner breakfast plate with two eggs over easy and a side of sausage, with dry wheat toast. Her meal came with orange juice, and she got a side of home fries for us to share.

Dick's v. Dean's Diner Face-Off
I opted for the corned beef hash and eggs with dry rye toast. Normally I stick to over easy, but the menu recommended poached eggs, so I took the tip to heart and ordered that way. The dish also came with a slice of pickled apple.

We had our food within another five minutes, ate up, and then took a little time to peruse the highly-recommended pie menu for a to-go slice. We chose the bumble-berry pie, which is a mixture of blueberry, peach, and cherry.

Dick's v. Dean's Diner Face-Off
All told, we were in and back out the door of Dick’s in just under thirty minutes. It took us almost as long just to drive there!

Dick's v. Dean's Diner Face-Off
On Sunday we went out to Dean’s. Dean’s is a little further out, in Blairsville, which is about 55 minutes from Pittsburgh.

Dick's v. Dean's Diner Face-Off
Dean’s is a 24-hour spot that has more of an old-school diner feel.

Dick's v. Dean's Diner Face-Off
We ordered the exact same meals (though I stuck to my guns this time and went over easy for my eggs).

Dick's v. Dean's Diner Face-Off
The main differences this time around were that Fox’s sausages were discs instead of links, and the meals at Dean’s each came with home fries, rather than needing to make a side order.

Dick's v. Dean's Diner Face-Off
We were in and out in a bit under an hour, again leaving with a slice of pie to share later on. This time, we got straight blueberry pie with a sugary crust.

So how did the two stack up against one another? Well, overall sit-down time was faster at Dick’s, so if you’re in a rush that’s a big plus. The comparative closeness of Dick’s is another upvote for the place. However, Dick’s is only open 6:30am – 10pm, so the fact that Dean’s is open all hours of the night is an advantage; it’s nice to know you’ve got a spot where you can go grab some fried eggs and pancakes at 3am that isn’t a chain. Dick’s is a little nicer-looking, but we can’t unequivocally call that “better,” as sometimes, you want that old-timey Dean’s Diner feel with a drop-ceiling and well-trod carpet. The coffee was fresh in both locations, and frequently refilled, and both of our servers were great. Fox liked that her meal came with a juice at Dick’s, and the sausage at Dick’s was a winner. Meanwhile, the home fries at Dean’s were decisively better. The corned beef hash had a nice bit of crispiness at both places, and mixed very well with the egg yolk. At Dean’s, we got a nifty three-jar jelly server at the table for our toast, rather than packets, which was a nice touch.

As you can see, at this point we’re in something of a stalemate. So, as it is written by the Gospel of Chopped, it all comes down to the dessert round. And here…

Dick's v. Dean's Diner Face-Off
…I’ve got to give the edge to Dick’s. Their bumble-berry pie absolutely lives up to the hype, with transcendent freshness, texture, and flavor. (It did get a little mashed in transit, but hey, what’re you gonna do?)

Dicks v. Deans Diner Face-Off
The Dean’s blueberry pie tasted good, but was very heavy, with the filling being more the consistency of preserves; it was just too much.

And so here is our advice: if you’re looking for coffee and breakfast, Dick’s and Dean’s are a toss-up. If you’re looking for coffee and pie? No question; Dick’s it is!

Dick's v. Dean's Diner Face-Off
Either way, save a bite for your pup, who was ever-so-good while you were gone!

1 Comment

Filed under #7, #7-15, breakfast, dessert, diner, food, outside the city

One Response to Showdown on Route 22: Dick’s v. Dean’s

  1. Conte

    Love going to diners. Will have to give both of these a try.

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