Primanti Bros. started in 1933 during the Great Depression. Joe Primanti had a sandwich cart that was successful enough to turn into a storefront feeding shift workers and truck drivers. Their signature is potato fries on the sandwich. The story is that someone came to the restaurant during the winter with a load of potatoes. He was concerned if they were frozen but when cooked on the grill they were fine. As other customers came in they wanted some so Joe put them on the sandwich and it was a hit. It allowed the drivers to eat with one hand while they drove. They now have 40 restaurants in over 6 states. We tried to hit the original location of this Pittsburgh icon. It is definitely worth trying and they are open daily 8 am – 10 pm and even later on Fri and Sat. The interesting thing was their menu had no prices and the drink menu on the table didn’t either. You can order extra meat or cheese on your sandwich but then I heard another patron asking how much and the server had to go to the register to check. On the website, most of the sandwiches are around $9 with $2 for extra meat/cheese. Service was super friendly and the place has murals you could study while you wait a short time for your order. They also had a full bar and several options for draft beer, which is what I tried.
The huge sandwich is made with two thick slices of Italian bread, grilled meat, melted Provolone cheese, hand-cut french fries, oil and vinegar coleslaw and 2 slices of tomato. Their best seller is with beef but the second best is what we tried, Capicola and cheese. The spicy Italian ham was the server’s favorite too but if I go again I’d spring for the extra meat and maybe cheese too. The wonderful fresh soft bread is delightful but I wanted a bit more filling to balance it. The slaw was perfect with the meat and fries and cheese and one sandwich was plenty for 2. The place is just filled with character so try to get to the one in the Strip District.