Sylvia and I were in Wexford, PA, half an hour north of Pittsburgh, for a wedding this past weekend. We had some time to kill before we could start getting fancy, so I took her to lunch at Perkins’ Family Style Restaurant. It was her first time eating at a family-style restaurant that didn’t also feature a prominent bar, so she was a little out of place. “It’s like someone’s grandmother was given free reign over the design choices,” she said.
Conscious of the Five Guys burgers we had swallowed last night, our bellies still disgorged like sluggish anacondas, we both got side salads with our entrees. They arrived drenched in salad dressing, at least two ladles’ worth. We crunched through them while the dad next to us explained baseball signals to his wife and stepson.
Wexford is familiar turf: the same rolling suburban hills I grew up in. Sprawling development tracts ringed with trees, linked by four-lane blacktops and strip malls. It could pass for Hunt Valley, MD to a casual viewer. But despite being “mid Atlantic” it really is a whole different slice of country. Even though it shares a governor with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh is actually closer, in geography and culture, to Cleveland and the American Midwest. The food’s all starches and red protein, the people are friendly to strangers and you drive everywhere.