Heading to Pittsburgh? Don’t forget to hit these amazing eateries before you leave!
By David DelCollo, Attorney
There are many things that the great city of Pittsburgh is known for; the Steelers (and possibly the Pirates), Heinz Ketchup, its rich history in American Steel production, and of course being home to some great academic institutions (Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne University, and the University of Pittsburgh). However, the one memory that always resonates with me from my days in the ‘Burg is the food. In all of my travels, I have yet to find a city with so many amazing eateries that are so unique to one locale. And while I currently reside in Philadelphia and definitely recognize their craftsmanship for a good cheesesteak, I must say that in terms of variety, Pittsburgh tops the list. Here are my favorite Pittsburgh spots that are a must if you happen to hit the Steel City:
- Primanti Brothers
Their name being synonymous with the city itself, the Primanti Brothers offers the most revered meal between two slices of bread. Whether you want to grab a quick bite utilizing their counter-service or you want to sit down and dine in one of their restaurants, the quality and service will be seamless. Choosing the meat of your choice and topped with house-made coleslaw, fresh tomatoes, fresh-cut french fries, provolone cheese, all sandwiched between two pieces of Italian bread,-you will wish you could dislocate your jaw to wrap your lips around this massive sandwich. Oh and don’t forget, if you happen to hit the Pittsburgh bar scene and get that post-drunk craving, most locations are open until 2am.
My Personal Favorite: the double-egg and cheese.
- The Original Hot Dog Shop, aka The “O”
Stepping into the “O” is like hopping out of a DeLorean that hit 88 miles per hour. While the Oakland area of Pittsburgh has changed dramatically, the “O” has not changed a single bar stool since the day it opened in 1960. This place will charm you with the simplicity and quality of an era that is long gone. Known for their hot dogs and hamburgers, the “O” is one of those places that become a benchmark to your taste buds,-comparing every hot dog and hamburger to that amazing one you had at the “O.” To accompany your food, do not forget to get an order of their fresh-cut french fries in which these guys make a mockery of what we have come to know of “sizes.” Ask for a small order and you literally get a small dish placed on a tray with fries overflowing and covering both the dish and the tray,-there is nothing “small” at the “O.”
My Personal Favorite: the super dog and a “small” french-fries
- Sammy’s Famous Corned-Beef
Another staple in the ‘Burgh is the no frills one-of-a kind deli, Sammy’s Famous Corned Beef or just “Sammys” to most Pittsburghers. On a warm day, the downtown location bustles during rush-hour,-as workers crowd the small cafeteria style counter anticipating the sheer satisfaction one can only get when biting into the slow-cooked, hand-carved, corned beef topped with coleslaw, provolone cheese, and Sammy’s secret dressing and pressed between two pieces of fresh, warm marble rye bread. The fresh taste of Sammy’s sandwiches is unmatched probably due to their use of all local products (the bread is from an amazing North Side Bakery called The Breadworks). Then Sammy’s tosses the sandwich of your choice in a basket with an accompanying pickle wedge. No matter the line at Sammy’s, one can always take solace in the fact that it moves very fast, with Sammy’s operating like a cross between an assembly line and a cafeteria. If you want a great sandwich with your choice of over a dozen craft beers to wash it down, Sammy’s will never disappoint.
My Personal Favorite: the Famous Special!
With a classic diner feel, Pamela’s is anything but your classic diner. Primarily known for their Crepe Hotcakes, these ultra-thin pancakes with crispy edges will make you a life-long patron after just one bite. And you don’t have to take my word for it, just ask President Obama,-he has these amazing hotcakes regularly flown to the White House. And if you’re not in the mood for breakfast, feel free to indulge in any one of their landmark dishes such as: the slow roasted pork bbq sandwhich, the Cuban, or the P&G Diner burger. Most weekends, you will see the line going out the door and down the street for a taste of this one-of-a-kind food, but with 5 locations (Strip, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Mt. Lebanon, Millvale), there are enough hotcakes for everyone.
My Personal Favorite: Crepe Hotcakes and Lyonnaise Potatoes!
- Emporio: A Meatball Joint
This place decided that they were going to do the one thing they were good at and do it better than anyone else, and that is meatballs. Emporio has mastered the art of the meatball, hands down. Their menu consists of meatball sliders, meatball paninis, meatball grinders, and saucy meatballs, and the fun part comes with choosing the sauce of your choice, including a monthly sauce for those who like to experiment. If you are downtown and the mood strikes you for meatballs, give Emporio a shot,-they will certainly give your grandma’s meatballs a run for their money!