After 42 years in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pamela’s Diner is closing its doors.
The restaurant closure was announced in a press release Tuesday by co-owners Gail Klingensmith and Pam Cohen who own several Pamela branches in the Pittsburgh area. All other Pamela locations will remain open.
The move has been largely attributed to the covid-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on local businesses and restaurants. The loss of several long-time employees, two of whom are deceased, and others who have retired, also played into their decision to close.
“It’s been a good 42 years, but now the Squirrel Hill location of Pittsburgh’s iconic Pamela’s Diner – their first location – will close at the end of 2021,” the press release said.
Klingensmith and Cohen opened Pamela’s along Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill in 1980, bringing an old-fashioned dining atmosphere. The restaurant was successful and in the following years it expanded to Shadyside, Oakland, the Strip District and Mount Lebanon. In 2011, the Squirrel Hill location expanded to become a larger space on Murray Avenue.
“Squirrel Hill was our number one; this is my neighborhood I grew up in, ”Cohen said.
After opening, Pamela’s quickly became a staple, making a name for itself through crepe-style crêpes and Lyon potatoes.
In 2008, Barack Obama visited Pamela in the Strip District while he was on the presidential campaign. Klingensmith and Cohen were then invited to cook at the White House.
“We’ve always run it like family,” Klingensmith said. “We had advantages before anyone else. We had 401k health insurance before it got “cool”. When we make enough money, we always reinvest in our people.
A customer appreciation day is scheduled for Jan. 8-9 where “great things are planned,” the statement said. More details were not immediately available.
The duo also hinted in the statement that they are “still looking for a place to open a new, smaller location – even, maybe one day, in Squirrel Hill again.”
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