We were only in Pittsburgh for a couple of days, so I didn’t get a chance to verify this, but Pittsburgh does not exactly scream “foodie city” to me. From my experience, Pittsburgh is a food town, an eating town (and yes, I know it’s a city, but somehow “town” seems kind of an appropriate descriptor). It’s a town that says, “I need to forge some steel and build a bridge! I need FOOD! SUSTENANCE!”
And in that sense, it totally delivered. From the few meals I ate in Pittsburgh, I was astounded at the amount of stuff in sandwiches. Yes, I know that by definition, a sandwich has stuff in it. That is the nature of two slices of bread with fillings. But in Pittsburgh, there was stuff in my sandwich that I normally would’ve expected to get on the side. For example, I didn’t have to choose whether I wanted pierogis or grilled cheese. I could get pierogis in my grilled cheese.
Also take the legendary Primanti Bros., which serves sandwiches filled with meat, fries and cole slaw on two pieces of waxed paper. Who needs sides, when you could shovel your meal into your entire mouth in a few bites and get back to the mill (or, as Primanti notes, back to truckin’)?
This type of food may not be popular to write about. It doesn’t come with reductions, and nothing is deconstructed, but it certainly had a quality to it that made you understand the city a little better. Eating like this made me feel more connected to the city, to its past — and in the case of Church Brew Works’ pierogi pizza I also ate (and most of which I carted home on a nine-hour drive because that deliciousness couldn’t go to waste)– of what Pittsburgh hopes to be.
Stories through food. Pittsburgh, yours is pretty interesting.