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Dormont's Dor-Stop Restaurant is worth the wait

| Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, 9:38 p.m.
Ashli Murphy brings out plates of breakfast foods to hungry customers at the Dor-Stop restaurant in Dormont on Sunday October 7, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Customers wait on Potomac Avenue for the opportunity to eat breakfast at the Dor-Stop restaurant in Dormont on Sunday October 7, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review

People wait in the entryway. They gather on the sidewalk outside. Every table and counter seat is taken.

This is a typical Sunday morning at the Dor-Stop Restaurant in Dormont.

But, diners agree, the wait of 15, 20, 25, 40 minutes and sometimes more is worth it.

“The food is great,” says Jessie Jones of Upper St. Clair. “The service is great. The wait doesn't ever seem that long. Things move pretty fast in here. It is so much fun to come here because they treat you like family.”

Jones and her grandmother, Betty Jones of Baldwin Township, stop after Sunday Mass. As they are being seated after about a 20-minute wait, waitress Kelly Dalton gives Betty Jones a hug and says, “Hi, Grandma.”

“See what we mean?” Betty Jones says. “We are treated like family here. I like to joke around, and I can with the people who work here because they know me, and they like to joke around with me, too. You don't find that kind of atmosphere everywhere, but you always find it here.”

That and the food is what keeps Brian Finn and Christina Stoltz driving from Robinson nearly every weekend to have breakfast.

“They have the best coffee in town,” Stoltz says.

“And the best breakfast,” Finn says.

The two found out about the Dor-Stop from researching on the Internet. The name is a combination of Dormont and the nearby T-stop. It's open for breakfast and lunch and offers daily and seasonal specials.

Popular breakfast items include Vicki's Italian Jumbot for $7.69. It's ham, onions, green peppers, eggs, potatoes, tomatoes and American cheese served with Italian toast.

Bob's Specialty consists of two eggs, fresh German potato pancakes, applesauce, sour cream and toast for $5.25. Omelets include hot sausage and jalapenos, spinach, feta, onion, meat lovers and south of the border with sausage, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, cheddar cheese with salsa on top served with homefries and toast for $7.79.

Eggs are made in a skillet, not on a grill, because they taste better, says Vicki Lawhorne, who owns the restaurant with her husband Bob. They go through 22 to 24 cases of eggs per week.

If you go to the Dor-Stop you need to try the hotcakes — the secret recipe is only known by the owners and their daughter Lori Raab, who is the manager. Choose from chocolate chip, Oatmeal, pumpkin, banana and walnut for $5.59 or combine flavors for $5.99. If you choose chocolate chip, the candies are mixed into the hotcake, not just tossed on top. They started with a home-use Kitchen Aid mixer and now have a 60-quart commercial mixer.

“I say it is like the Bush's baked beans where only the dog knows the recipe,” Vicki Lawhorne says.

Lunch includes nine burgers made from angus beef starting at $4.15. Or try a hoagie, club sandwich or wrap. Old-time favorites are hot roast beef, turkey or meatloaf.

Finish the meal with a piece of pie or cake.

The Dor-Stop was featured on the Food Network's “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” The show has brought guests from all over the world. Vicki Lawhorne invites customers to write their thoughts in a book.

“Customers tell us this place is really well-run, like a well-oiled machine,” Raab says. Sister Pam and brother Rob also work there. So does sister-in-law Diane.

“I tried other work, but I kept coming back to this,” says Vicki Lawhorne, inside the place they've owned for 26 years. “I love the people. I love when it is busy. This is about being like the old-time diners where you never leave hungry and where you are always welcomed back.”

The Dor-Stop Restaurant is at 1430 Potomac Ave., Dormont. Hours are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. Details: 412-561-9320 or www.dorstoprestaurant.com

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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