Pamela’s Diner is closing in Squirrel Hill, but its other locations will remain

After 42 years in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pamela’s Diner is closing its doors.

The restaurant’s closure was announced Tuesday in a press release by co-owners Gail Klingensmith and Pam Cohen who have multiple Pamela locations in the Pittsburgh area. All other Pamela locations will remain open.

The decision was widely attributed to the covid-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on local businesses and restaurants. The loss of several longtime employees, two of whom died and others retired, also played into their decision to close.

“It’s been a great 42 years, but now the Squirrel Hill location of Pittsburgh’s iconic Pamela’s Diner – their first location – will be closing at the end of 2021,” the press release read.

Klingensmith and Cohen opened Pamela’s along Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill in 1980, bringing an old-school restaurant vibe. The restaurant was successful and over the next few years expanded to Shadyside, Oakland, the Strip District and Mount Lebanon. In 2011, the Squirrel Hill location expanded into a larger space on Murray Avenue.

“Squirrel Hill was our number one; it’s my neighborhood that I grew up in,” Cohen said.

After its opening, Pamela’s quickly became a must, establishing itself through pancake-style crêpes and Lyonnaise potatoes.

In 2008, Barack Obama visited Pamela’s in the Strip District during the presidential campaign. Klingensmith and Cohen were later invited to cook at the White House.

“We’ve always run it like a family,” Klingensmith said. “We had advantages before everyone else. We had a 401k, health insurance before it got “cool”. When we made enough money, we always reinvested in our employees.

A Customer Appreciation Day is scheduled for Jan. 8-9 where “great things are planned,” the statement said. Further details were not immediately available.

The duo also hinted in the statement that they are “always looking for a place to open a new, smaller location – even, maybe one day, Squirrel Hill again.”

Megan Tomasic is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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