Trip to Pittsburgh: Primanti Brothers

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So, after a long morning of shopping in the Strip District where do you go at lunch for a true taste of Pittsburgh? If you’ve seen any Primanti Brothers. The famous sandwich shop that started the Pittsburgh tradition of putting the coleslaw and the french fries right on top of the sandwich. This was my first trip to Primanti’s; though not my first p-burgh style sandwich.

Atmosphere:
The restaurant appears to be your standard bar/grill. It’s tucked into one of the older buildings in the Strip where it’s been for something like 90 years. It’s cramped, there are long wooden booths tucked against the walls and battered and scarred wooden tables scattered throughout the restaurant. It gives the whole place an ambient friendliness. There are actually two sides to the restaurant; on one is the grill behind the bar so folks can watch their food being made and on the houses a bar and several TVs (during our Monday daytime visit they were tuned to the Ryder cup and ESPN).
The restaurant oozes casualness. The menus were large print signs on the walls throughout the restaurant and I’m 98% certain I only saw people get silverware with soup. Overall it was a nice relaxed place to grab lunch. My one issue with the atmosphere was that it was self seating (which is not a problem by itself), but someone in the front room was shouting/being generally unpleasant at folks to just take a seat in the back where the were no open tables. If you’re going to tell people to go sit in the back someone should sort of be paying attention to whether tables are available.

The Eats:

Ok so the famous sandwiches.
The cross section of this gigantic sandwich

After some serious debate I decided on the corned beef. Usually when I’m having a Pittsburgh style sandwiches I’m having fried fish, but I was worried that the bread wouldn’t be able to stand up to fish. So corned beef. I love that the sandwiches came out on wax paper; it was totally laid back and I’m sure it makes cleaning up a breeze.
First, the things I loved. The bread itself was very good; it was soft, squishy, and everything good Italian bread should be. The corned beef was tasty, well seasoned, and warm. And the french fries had a good flavor. And in general the corned, beef, tomatoes, and vinegary coleslaw were all good together.
Second, the things I wasn’t a fan of. The fries had good flavor, but mine were cold and sort of mushy. I wasn’t expecting super crisp. but hot with a little texture would’ve been good. The other thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the coleslaw; let me preface this by saying that most of the time I love Pittsburgh style coleslaw, but the slaw at Primanti’s was way overpowering. The coleslaw had a great crunch and added good texture, but it tasted like the flavor or the cabbage overpowered the vinegar and other spices.
It was a good experience for the most part, but I’m not sure I’d do it again. In the future I’d rather go to the Back Door Tavern in New Brighton. The have great food and an extensive beer list.

=)

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