Judging Java: Simone’s

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Coffee Columnist

4 Globes

This year, I had a whole plan for this week’s column: I was planning on reviewing the coffee served at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, immediately after eating, I fell asleep sitting on the couch (not even laying down, just sitting there), and I ended up sleeping through coffee being served. So instead, I’m just going to review the coffee at a place I went for breakfast with two of my friends over break.

Simone’s is a restaurant that specializes in brunch, breakfast and lunch and is located in Mount Lebanon, right next to the one really big garage (not the one that you start on the top floor because it’s built on a hill, the one that’s near the fire department and T stop). It’s on the main stretch of Route 19, so it’s hard to miss.

The breakfast was absolutely spectacular. They have a really good deal where you get pancakes and eggs with a side of bacon (or whatever breakfast meat you prefer). The only qualm that I had with my meal is that I ordered a side of avocado to eat with my eggs; and while the avocado was fantastic, I felt as though the amount of avocado I was given was disproportionate to the cost. But I digress, I’m not here to talk about avocado. I’m here to talk about coffee.

There’s something that must be noted about diner coffee: diner coffee is fundamentally different from coffee shop coffee. Coffee shop coffee is usually served to be drunk straight black, and, if you prefer a creamier or sugary drink, you have a wide variety of options. On the opposite end, if you’re ordering a coffee from a diner, you’re more likely going to end up sweetening it or adding cream. Diner coffee tends to be cheaper; and because it is usually brewed to be served out of the pot, you end up risking how fresh your coffee is.

Recently I was in Columbus, Ohio, eating at a breakfast diner that I won’t name here because they aren’t the place being reviewed and I am simply using them to make a point. (Fun fact about this breakfast, I was traveling to see the band Glass Beach, and the opening band, Home Is Where, happened to sit down next to us, which was pretty crazy. Anyways, back to the coffee review). The breakfast at this place was one of the best breakfasts of my entire life, but the coffee was not particularly good. There’s a phrase people use on TikTok where when something is done very well they say “you understood the assignment.” This coffee didn’t understand the assignment.

This coffee ended up being fine, but I had to absolutely bomb it with french vanilla cream and sugar to make it acceptable. Why am I going on this tirade about a place other than Simone’s? Because Simone’s coffee did not require cream and sugar. It was delicious both plain black, and when I added cream and sugar on the second cup it was still fantastic.

If you’re looking for breakfast on the T line with a quaint but bustling atmosphere accompanied with delicious pancakes and great coffee, look no further than Simone’s in Mount Lebanon.