At the Easter dinner table, two traditional meats vie for the top spot, and restaurants and families often take a hard line on which one to prepare or consume.
So, are you part of Team Ham or Team Lamb?
We asked restaurants to tell us which they prefer to serve, and other specialties they will feature for Easter brunch.
Here’s a sampling of what to expect if you are dining out.
Feel like pigging out this Easter? Check out these venues for, among other delicacies, ham.
National Aviary, 700 Arch St., North Side: The local Atria’s chain prepares the food, which will be served in the Aviary’s Rose Garden and accompanied by visits from some of the birds.
The menu includes antipasti, quiche Florentine, Atlantic salmon with lemon caper beurre blanc over crisp potato pancakes and chicken tinga enchiladas, bloody marys, mimosas and nonalcoholic drinks.
Oh yeah, and also ham. Bourbon-glazed ham with mango chutney, to be precise.
In keeping with the Aviary’s concern for conservation, brunch is served on china rather than on paper plates.
Seatings will be at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Cost is $37 for adults, $19.50 for ages 4 to 10, and free for ages 3 and under, including Aviary admission. Reservations are required; call 412-258-9445. Info: aviary.org/special-events/brunch2017.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, 1001 Lafayette Drive, Farmington: Brunch will be served in the Marquis Ballroom between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
The carving station boasts local ham from Footprints Farm in Gibbon Glade, near the state’s southern border. But you can get a bit of Footprints Farm lamb here, too, in the form of mini shepherd’s pies.
The other major meat is a prime rib that takes 12 to 16 hours to prepare overnight. Otherwise, executive chef Matt Moore calls the selection largely traditional, with breakfast items, an omelet station, crudités and charcuterie sourced from local farms, salads, sides, and desserts arranged in impressive displays.
There will be a life-size ice bunny in the foyer for guests to take photos.
Cost is $72; ages 4 to 12 pay $36, and ages 3 and under eat free. Reservations are required; call 1-866-344-6957. Info: nemacolin.com.
Harris Grill, 5747 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside: When the restaurant’s Facebook cover photo is a painting of a pig, you have to figure they’re going to be on Team Ham.
Harris Grill plans ham for the carving station. Most of the buffet will feature breakfast-style items such as home fries, eggs Benedict and bacon, along with an omelet station.
The restaurant is not taking reservations, but general manager Scott Ressler does expect to be busy. He suggests using the “Nowait” mobile app to sign in before you leave home.
Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $21 for adults, including a frozen mimosa or bloody mary, and $5 for children. Details: harrisgrill.com.
Move over, bacon, it’s time to indulge the lamb crowd.
Braddock’s Pittsburgh Brasserie, 107 Sixth St., Downtown: Braddock’s will serve nearly every meat except ham. So that means there will be bacon, sausage, salmon, pork loin with mushroom sauce, short ribs (in pierogi form), top sirloin with whiskey mustard sauce, and chicken breast with Madeira wine sauce.
And, yes, lamb: locally raised paprika-roasted leg of lamb with mint sauce.
Braddock’s is known for its pierogies, and will feature braised short rib pierogies with creamed leeks and spring pea pierogies with heirloom tomato confit, along with the standard three-cheese potato pierogies. Other choices will include stations for waffles, omelets and eggs Benedict, plus cold seafood, salads and desserts.
There will be a separate kids’ buffet with chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, tater tots, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, French toast sticks and fruit.
Executive chef Chuck Ney says Easter is the restaurant’s third or fourth busiest day of the year.
Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $44.95 for adults. The kids’ buffet costs $24.95, but ages 4 and under can eat free. Reservations: 412-992-2005.
Habitat, Fairmont Pittsburgh hotel, 510 Market St., Downtown: Leg of lamb with a mustard rub, served with rosemary pan juices, takes center stage on the carving station.
But that’s just one of many offerings on Habitat’s buffet table from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are breakfast items (eggs, bacon, sausage, pastries), salads (tossed, Caesar, pear tomato, beet, chickpea, new potato), charcuterie, fruit, smoothies, smoked salmon and more. Tapas-style entrees include roasted pork tenderloin with white beans, crab and corn fritters with creamed spinach, salmon with soy-roasted shiitake mushrooms, and fried chicken with dill chips and green chili jam. Plus there’s an assortment of pies, cupcakes, mousse and cheesecakes.
Executive chef Jason Dalling calls this brunch a “celebration of spring with a refreshing menu that’s a little on the lighter side.”
Cost is $79; ages 6 to 12 pay $39, and ages 5 and under eat free. Reservations: 412-773-8848. Details: habitatrestaurant.com.
If you truly can’t make up your mind, go with both ham and lamb:
Blue North, 1701 Duncan Ave., McCandless: The carving station will feature the traditional glazed ham and leg of lamb with Irish mint sauce, along with Southern fried turkey with homemade gravy, owner Grainne Trainor said.
They’ll also have an omelet station, bagels and lox, and other breakfast items. But the restaurant’s cuisine will be best reflected in the lunch items and salads on the buffet table, Ms. Trainor said. The specific menu had not yet been decided at press time, but she said salads would likely include lentil, couscous and Caesar.
“We try to be a scratch kitchen as much as possible,” Ms. Trainor said, noting the desserts, breads and salad dressings are all made in house.
For an extra charge, the restaurant also is offering champagne, cocktails and Cadbury Crème Egg Martinis, garnished with actual crème eggs.
Children will get a special Easter gift.
The restaurant usually is not open on Sundays, but Easter and Mother’s Day are exceptions.
Easter brunch will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Cost is $24.95 for adults, $12.95 for ages 5 to 12, and free for ages 4 and under. Reservations are suggested; call 412-369-9050. Details: bluenorth1701.com.
DeNunzio’s (locations in Latrobe, Jeannette and Monroeville): Joanne Beres, a waitress at the Monroeville restaurant, describes the three DeNunzio’s locations as “similar, but there’s a different vibe at each one.” All three specialize in Italian food, but they’ll have traditional Easter food also.
Easter looks a bit different at each. The Monroeville and Jeannette restaurants are running a buffet from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Before 2:30 p.m., a full breakfast station will serve eggs, pastries, waffles, French toast, eggs Benedict and breakfast meats. The carving station will feature honey-glazed ham and roast beef in Monroeville and baked Virginia ham with orange-raisin sauce and slow-roasted prime rib in Latrobe. You can get herb-roasted leg of lamb from the buffet at both locations. In Monroeville, other features include chicken scallopini, veal cannelloni, shrimp scampi, stuffed shells and desserts. Latrobe’s buffet also has chicken marsala, grouper piccata, roasted vegetable lasagna and spring pea risotto. Both buffets cost $27.95 for adults or $12.95 for ages 6 to 10. Ages 5 and under eat free.
The Jeannette location is preparing an Easter dinner menu from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with choices of homemade gnocchi, lobster ravioli, grilled lamb chops, baked Virginia ham, chicken parmesan, filet mignon and more, all individually priced and including soup, salad, pasta or potato, vegetable and bread.
Reservations are required. DeNunzio’s Jeannette, 700 Lowry Ave., 724-527-5552; DeNunzio’s Monroeville, 2644 Mosside Blvd., 412-374-7120; DeNunzio’s Latrobe, Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, 148 Aviation Lane, 724-539-3980. Details: denunziosrestaurant.com.
Middle Road Inn, 1822 Middle Road, Indiana Township: An Easter buffet brunch will be served at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The outdoor deck will be opened in the event of nice weather.
The buffet includes waffle and omelet stations, plus extras such as corned beef hash, pierogies, chicken marsala, baked ziti and lemon pepper cod. The carving station will feature both honey ham and roasted rosemary lamb.
Brunch is $20 for adults, $9 for ages 6 to 10, and $6 for ages 5 and under. Reservations are required; call 412-486-7159. Details: middleroadinn.com.
Runner Stone Mill House, Pittsburgh Airport Marriott, Coraopolis: The Easter dining package includes choice of entree, soup, and family-style salad and sides. Ham and lamb both show up in the entree choices — smoked ham with pineapple sauce or leg of lamb chops with horseradish mint sauce. Other choices include mushroom ravioli, mahi-mahi with mint chimichurri and roasted half chicken with apple cider jus.
Cost is $23 per person, and the meal will be served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations: 412-788-8800.
Rebecca Sodergren: firstname.lastname@example.org; @pgfoodevents.