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Primanti Brothers

14 Jul
Primanti Bros.
All Over Pittsburgh
Original Location:
46 18th Street (Strip District)
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

So I am sitting around the other day and I get a text message that simply read “Primanti Bros.” My brother, who is an avid Men’s Health reader, is always looking for an opportunity to share his “manly” knowledge with anyone who will listen. Recently he stumbled upon Men’s Health’s list of America’s Manliest Resturants listing Primanti Bros. on top of the list. So as any good brother would do, he wanted to make sure that I am being true to my manly form and making visits to this restaurant. Now, we have now been in Pittsburgh for 2 months. Interestingly, I have eaten at Primanti Bros. twice. The first time we ate here I had no idea that Primanti Bros. is almost synonymous with Steelers when it comes to things that are Pittsburgh.

When we moved to Pittsburgh we drove our big, yellow, rented moving truck the 800 miles from Alabama to Pennsylvania. Yes, it was a really long drive in a truck! We did it over the course of 2.5 days. Though we love to spend time with our son, it was not a hard decision for my wife and I to allow my mother-in-law to fly our, then, 15 month old son from Atlanta to Pittsburgh. There is something about his car seat that breeds discomfort and whininess. And there was no way we were going to put him in the truck with us. We were towing our only car (I guess we could have put him in tow). Gray is, overall, an adorable, easy-going, happy baby except when he is in the car for more that 30 minutes. After that time he begins to release a gurgling, scream that would be perfect as a non-lethal torture tactic for anti-terroism units. So instead of a 2.5 day drive with us, he got to take a 1 hour flight with gran-gran. The day we picked up my mother-in-law, Susan, and Gray from the airport we drove back to the city to find a place to eat. Having been here only a few days we were lured in by the large, neon sign of a gigantic sandwich that seemed to be overflowing with toppings. ¬†We pull into the parking lot expecting to have a decent sandwich for lunch-we had no idea we were about to be inoculated with Pittsburgh culture. Once we were seated I knew we were in for a treat when the waitress told us that she assumed we were there because they were featured on the television show Man vs. Food. Now for those who are not up-to-date with their culinary television, Man vs. Food is a show where the host Adam Richman travels the country conquering food challenges–usually this consists of him eating something considered so freakin’ hot that you have to sign a waiver and wear latex gloves or eating food that is portioned large enough to feed a small country. He usually identifies and features other unique restaurants in the city where the restaurant at which he is attempting the food challenge is located. In the Pittsburgh episode Primanti Bros is not the challenge but the build-up. I believe the food challenge was at Quaker Steak and Lube, which I have not yet visited (both restaurants have stands at PNC Park). So when our waitress told us that Adam Richman featured this restaurant, I knew I was in for a treat. As you can see in the picture, Primanit Bros. features sandwiches that are massive. They pile two slices of thick white bread with meat, a vinegar based slaw, cheese, and, what else….french fries. Now as I mentioned in my Pittsburgh Surprises post, this town loves its french fries they serve them everywhere and even put them on salads. However, this was my first experience with fries on the sandwich. Its not often when you eat a sandwich and you feel like the master of your domain; but when you wrap your mitts around this meal between two slices of bread you feel powerful! I ordered the pastrami with onions, its a manly meat. Morgan ordered the Pittsburger. Phenomenal! I like to eat and this was a satisfying sandwich. What is even more interesting is that you have the option to add a slice of pizza as a side item for a few bucks. Seriously masculine! A sandwich with tons of meat and french fries and a slice of pizza on the side. Wash that down with an ice cold beer and you feel like a man. There is nothing frilly or fru-fru about this place. So if you are looking to take your testosterone up a notch go to Primanti Bros. and experience food at its manliest.

Pittsburgh Food Surprises

2 Jul

Pittsburgh has its own unique culture when it comes to food. I have been living in the city for approximately one month now and I have begun to notice a few things. Some of which I still have no clue as to why they exists.

  1. Pierogies are everywhere! I will admit I have yet to try one of these delicious looking dumplings but they are very popular in this city. These boiled and then, I believe, fried dumplings seem to be usually stuffed with potato, onion, and cheese. They exists on many an appetizer menu and have even influenced pizzas (The Pierogi Pizza) at many local pizzerias.
  2. Pittsburgh makes a great french fry. I am not sure why so many restaurants feature a hand-cut, lightly salted french fry but they do. I have seen french fries as an appetizer at an Italian eatery. Yes, prepare your appetite for the veal parmesan by indulging in hand-cut, fried potatoes. There are restaurants that put them on sandwiches and even salads. I have yet to have a bad french fry in Pittsburgh.
  3. Beer and wine are extremely difficult to purchase. I thought the blue laws in the South were silly; however, the rules and regulations in Pittsburgh are simply confusing. So far, I know that you can’t buy any alcohol in the grocery store. I know that beer is sold in its own store (usually with some obvious title like “The Beer Cave” or “Beer and Lottery Store” separate from the liquor and wine (“The Wine Shop” or “Liquor”). So when I want to purchase anything I have to make multiple stops to the appropriate store. There may be exceptions out there but I haven’t found it. Finally, I know that if I want to have some Dog Fish 90 Minute IPA in my refrigerator I have to buy enough beer for a small army. I am used to buying beer by the 6-12 pack not the case or the keg. I don’t drink beer that fast or that often to work through a case of beer. Additionally, we are busting at the seams as it is in our “giant” two-bedroom apartment so I am not sure where I will store cases of beer. I guess under the bed in the suitcase.
  4. Red Lobster is more popular here than anywhere I have lived. So I drove by Red Lobster in Monroeville the other day and the line was out the door. Craving shrimp I pulled in to inquire about the wait. “50 Minutes”. When I left Alabama, one would be hard pressed to find 50 people who ate Red Lobster that entire week. I guess the cheese biscuits are very popular.
These are all the surprises I have for now, I will continue to let you know what I find interesting in this wonderful city’s food culture.
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