Every time I've been in Pittsburgh, my foodie friends have asked whether or not I've been by Primanti Brothers yet. For those who don't watch the Food Network or the Travel Channel, Primanti Brothers is a famous restaurant here in Pittsburgh. They are known for their sandwiches, which are huge concoctions with everything on them, completed by a handful of french fries.
Heading up to the door, you can hear music playing. They had the radio tuned to a classic rock station, which is always a plus in my book. Heading inside, you see a sandwich counter on the right for carryout orders, a bar area on left, and then regular restaurant seating past a wall behind the bar. In general, other than the sandwich counter, it looked just like any neighborhood sports bar.
The hostess came over and sat me, and then a minute or two later my waitress came by to get my order. Being the person I am, I had already looked at their menu online and knew what I was going to get. I ordered the Pitts-Burgher Cheese Steak sandwich, which is labeled on menu as their #2 best seller and has the top and most prominent position in the sandwich section of the menu (I forgot to ask what the #1 was). This consists of a sirloin beef patty, provolone cheese, fries, cole slaw, and tomatoes on fresh italian bread. On my waitress' suggestion, I also added onions to the sandwich.
As you would expect in a sports bar, there were several big screen TVs around the room showing various games. As a nod to their position as a food destination, there was also one TV that was tuned to Bizarre Foods on Travel Channel. I didn't have much time to watch TV though, as my order came out surprisingly quickly.
As you can see from the picture, this is one massive sandwich. You might think that this was done just for the sake of notoriety, or in interest of being different. I certainly thought so when I first saw these sandwiches on television, but I was pleasantly surprised. The combination of the saltiness and starch from the fries, with the sour/sweet vinegar cole slaw and the sweetness of the tomatoes made for a great compliment to the grilled meat. The meat itself was a rather typical grilled sirloin patty, but had just the right amount of salt and tasted great. The tang and sweetness of the onions completed it all perfectly.
Now, would I eat at Primanti brothers every day? Certainly not. This single sandwich was a huge meal. Do I recommend that everyone try it at least once? Absolutely. Besides just being a well known food icon, this was a very good, very reasonably priced experience. I highly recommend that anyone coming through the Pittsburgh area stop at one of the Primanti's locations and try one of their sandwiches.