Thursday, August 20, 2009

Iron City Eats: Primanti Brothers, Pittsburgh, PA

Primanti Bros

I woke up feeling great on Thursday morning. The birds were chirping, sun was shining and far off in the distance, a lone jackhammer hummed into the concrete. I was in Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, more specifically on the front porch of a house, in an inflatable rubber raft.

It was surprisingly comfortable.

Several hours later myself and the boys from Battlefields (in my opinion the best doom/prog metal in the Midwest, hands down) arrived in Pittsburgh, sans inflatable raft.

I’d been in Pittsburgh once before, although my only food related experience was witnessing an argument in front of a place called “Tony’s Pizza” in which a man dressed in stereotypical pizza-cook garb (I’m assuming this was Tony, although I have no proof) berated a guy with a long ponytail, bedecked from head to toe in Pittsburgh Steelers paraphernalia.

This time, however, I arrived with my appetite in tact. We leisurely strolled down Penn Avenue past block upon block of empty warehouses until suddenly we came upon a big neon sign reading: “Primanti Brothers”.

We were completely unprepared for the sandwiches we were about to receive. An old, grumpy Pittsburgher in a paper hat appeared, inquiring lackadaisically if we wanted a “sammidge”* before sloughing off to bring us some bottles of Iron City lager. Though tempted by the “Colossal Fish” sandwich and their “#2 Seller” the cheese steak sandwich**, I ordered the capicola. I have never been more pleased with a decision not to order a sandwich with “colossal” in the name.

Stacked high with big slices of meat, a pile of coleslaw and an armload of homemade fries, my sandwich bore a closer resemblance to a freight car from Pittsburgh’s stockyards than to a sandwich. It was heavenly.

Primanti Brothers began serving up sandwiches for iron workers with powerful appetites during the Depression and have continued their tradition of quick and hearty meals ever since. If you’re ever in Pittsburgh, I recommend you get yez down to Primanti and get yez a sammidge an’at.

*I discovered, through my research, that “Pittsburghese” is an actual linguistic dialect with its very own wikipedia page.

**I wondered aloud what the #1 seller was at Primanti Bros., our waiter hollered from across the room, “Iron City Beer!”


  1. I ate here in April while on tour with the band that I manage. We were looking for somewhere to eat after our show and the band we were on tour with stopped her before the show and suggested it. We rolled in about 1:00am starving and it really hit the spot. There were even jokes a couple days later about driving two states back just to get another sandwhich.

  2. 要在憂患恥辱的環境裡,創造我們自力更生的新生活。..................................................