I think it was Thursday evening, October 8, at the Half-Price Books in North Fayette when I ran into Earl who used to tend bar at Cupka’s II on the South Side. Earl was a great bartender, and he’s in my “South Side” show, and he tells me he works at Nadine’s now, and he’s wondering what I’m working on, and I tell him a program for PBS about breakfast. He says I should definitely check out the Hot Metal Diner on Lebanon Road in West Mifflin. “You remember Stephanie,” he says, “my niece who used to wait tables at Cupka’s. She works at the Hot Metal, and it’s a great spot for breakfast.”
So I happen to be driving past there that next Sunday, and I stop in to check out this place.
The mood is good. Lots of talk and noise. I sit at the far end of the counter where you can see the Fiesta ware plates coming out of the kitchen loaded with food.
The waitresses are spunky, including Stephanie who gives me the royal treatment. She says the owner Wendy Bettan will be coming by to meet me, and I order two poached eggs with sausage. Lots of places don’t do poached eggs, but Stephanie says Not a problem.
When my food comes, I’m impressed. The eggs are done perfectly.
The Hot Metal isn’t exactly a traditional diner, but it feels like one in many ways. It has a counter with stools. And when Wendy comes and sits next to me to make my acquaintance, I ask if we could come and shoot here some day that next week. We agree on Tuesday morning.
So, October 13, before dawn, Bob Lubomski and Glenn Syska and I head back to the Hot Metal, we shoot, we watch, we do a few interviews. It’s not a crowded morning, but we get lots of pictures.
And when we think we have enough video, about noontime, we stop and eat some breakfast. I get my eggs sunnyside up. Also nicely prepared. A beautiful plate.