Eating Local in Oakland | Restaurant Reviews | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Eating Local in Oakland 

For the intellectually curious, there's a chance to reconnect with some local history this weekend. For everyone else, FREE OMELETS!

Oakland's Community Human Services Corporation is celebrating 40 years of service with a free breakfast/brunch on Sat., March 7.

"It's going to be omelets and Danish, sausage. It's your traditional home-style breakfast/brunch," says Diane McMahon, development director for CHS. "Bacon, juice, coffee."

As Community Human Services gears up for its fourth decade, McMahon says they're taking this opportunity to reflect on where they've been.

"During the brunch we're going to have people talk about their memories of CHS," she says. "We have tons of old pictures of Oakland. ... We're going to be filming some of the folks that come so that we can create a video for our 40th anniversary."

Community Human Services provides social aid to residents of the greater Pittsburgh area -- through health, homeless, family and youth programs.

It was started by Oaklanders who "were trying to get some services [for the locals] as the students were moving in more and the universities and hospitals were occupying Oakland," McMahon says. "They felt that they were losing some of the neighborhood feeling. ... Since that time it's grown a lot."

The focus has become less Oakland-centric, but McMahon says that CHS -- which still has its office in the neighborhood -- is like a bridge to the way things used to be.

"Oakland is a most amazing community because compared to all the other neighborhoods, it really has transitioned a lot," she says. "We're trying to keep the hometown feel of Oakland and how people care for each other, even in this metropolis new city that is to come."

And what is more welcoming than food? Saturday's brunch is in the Smile 'N' Dine Café, a cafeteria in CHS's headquarters (374 Lawn St., South Oakland). If the prospect of a free meal with some living local history isn't enough to get you out of bed before noon, the Café's back windows are on a scenic perch that lets you gaze over the river.

"It has a really great view of the South Side," McMahon says. "Nobody knows about us, we're in the back of Oakland here."


Reservations for the brunch are required and can be made by calling Diane McMahon before Saturday at 412-246-1608. For more information on CHS, visit



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