I was recently in Pittsburgh for a few days for a conference and figured I should try to make the most of it by checking out some food establishments that are quintessential to the city. Based on the suggestions I received from friends as well as from the exposure from Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel, I knew the one place I had to check out was Primanti Brothers. It wound up being my last stop before the airport and definitely the most memorable.
There are several Primanti Brothers locations throughout the metropolitan area, with the original being in the Strip District. I went inside and sat myself after a friendly employee asked if I was expecting anyone else. Staring right at me was the famous menu. Each sandwich comes with lettuce, tomato, coleslaw, and French fries. That’s right, what you would normally find as sides on your plate are actually on the sandwich. I guess the thinking is that it saves time for a quick lunch break as well as not having to use a fork.
All items are cash only, with no sandwich costing more than $6.49. I opted for what I thought was the “healthiest” option and got the turkey and cheese sandwich. When it came, I was blown away by how quickly it arrived as well as the sheer size of it. It’s a shame my DMV Dining partner in crime wasn’t with me because he certainly would have enjoyed this experience.
The thick white bread held the ingredients together without getting soggy. The turkey was smoked and had a nice char to it. I thought the fries would be too much but it actually wasn’t. Combining the melted cheese, turkey, fries, and vinegar-based coleslaw with lettuce and tomato led to one perfect bite. And then another. And another. I had to literally step away from the sandwich to avoid eating the whole thing.
I have to admit, I was a little skeptical if Primanti Brothers would live up to the hype. After trying one of their countless varieties of sandwiches I can say that it is definitely a must-visit in Pittsburgh, like Ben’s in DC or Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City. I don’t know when I’ll be back there, but when I do, it’ll definitely be on the list so I can revisit that delicious sandwich.