Eggs N'at, in Moon Township, serves meals tasty side up

| Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kelly Engel, who has a culinary degree, tells her kitchen staff at Eggs N'at not to think of themselves as merely line cooks.

"I call them 'egg chefs,' " says Engel, who manages the family-owned breakfast and lunch eatery in Moon.

Eggs N'at, which has been open three and a half years, serves numerous egg-based dishes, along with many foods in the "N'at" category. The clientele is broad and includes military members, local and state police, students and staff from neighboring Robert Morris University, and numerous travelers coming from nearby Pittsburgh International Airport.

"They come here for homemade recipes, good food and the good atmosphere," Engel says. Her uncle, Terry Engel, owns the restaurant. "We get excited about eggs."

About half of her business comes from repeat customers, says Kelly Engel, who graduated in 2001 from the Le Cordon Bleu program at what is now the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute.

"We know so many people by name," says the Dormont native.

Eggs N'at has a distinctively Pittsburgh feel to it, even in its title. The wall, and the T-shirts the restaurant sells, show famous Pittsburghese phrases and words. Vintage album covers -- like the Police and Bruce Springsteen -- hang on the mustard-yellow and burnt-orange walls.

On customer favorite is the Eggs Benedict ($7.50), featuring Engel's homemade Hollandaise sauce.

"I've been told it's the best in the city," she says.

The sausage gravy also has received rave customer reviews, and is served with a whole order of biscuits for $6.95 and a half order for $3.95. Another Eggs N'at hit is the Arizona omelet ($8.50), featuring chorizo sausage, tomato, onion, salsa and sour cream. This omelet comes with Engel's homefries. She worked for eight months on her homefries recipe, she says.

Another popular item is the Greek omelet ($8.50) with fresh spinach, kalamata olives, and feta cheese. Customers also love the omelet-sized breakfast burritos, which come with a variety of ingredients for $4.25 to $5.45. The popular breakfast pizzas ($8) come with many meat and vegetable toppings, for an extra 50 cents to $2.

Some Eggs N'at menu items are named after people: Mama Evans pancakes ($7), for instance, are named after a family friend. The gourmet hotcakes have blueberries and bacon bits baked into them. Kelly Engel uses some recipes from her late grandmother, Esther Engel, including one for coleslaw.

For lunch, the buffalo chicken wrap -- featuring breaded buffalo chicken, lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing in a tortilla shell for $8.50 -- has many fans. Plenty of customers appreciate the fry-covered 'Burgh salads, too, with chicken for $8.95 and steak for $10.95.

During Lent, Eggs N'at offers Fish N'at on Friday evenings, with beer-battered fried haddock, popcorn shrimp, macaroni and cheese, and more.

During one week, the restaurant goes through about 2,100 eggs, and 18 gallons of pancakes, Kelly Engel says. They always offer standard buttermilk pancakes, but each month, the restaurant also features a different special pancake. This month, it's Johnny cakes with cornmeal, and in April, it will be oatmeal raisin pancakes.

With so many corporate chain restaurants in the vicinity, diners get a special, personal treat at Eggs N'at, Kelly Engel says.

"I offer fresh ingredients, and recipes that you don't see every day," she says.

Additional Information:

Eggs N'at

Location: 8556 University Blvd., Moon

Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. During Lent. The restaurant also is open for Fish N'at 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays.

Details: 412-262-2920 or Web site

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