MA's Tips for Eating in Pittsburgh
Greetings fellow SHARE attendees! For only the second time, and 54 years past the first visit, SHARE is in Pittsburgh in...two weeks! Gosh, that is quite the hiatus! Being a Western PA girl, I thought I'd share my opinions (Imagine that!) on some eatery ideas and info.
First up: Primanti Brothers. If you do nothing else in Pittsburgh, you have to try the Primanti Bros sandwich. 46 18th Street is the original strip district location from 1933, and it's open 24 hours a day. Their motto is great food with no pretense for a good price. Aside from the classic sandwich, there are also hidden gems like a Kielbasa & Cheese sandwich and Chili on the menu.
So what the heck is 'it' anyway?? It's called the Pitts-Burger Cheese Steak. But it's not really steak. It's a rectangular ground beef patty. You can sub any other meat. On top of that is provolone, cole slaw, fries, and tomato on soft Italian Bread. The cole slaw is not mayo based, it's vinegar based. (Sortof like Italian Dressing). The fries are award winning. My advice: Go for the Pittsburger. Downside: It's cash only, but the sandwich's are about $10. https://www.primantibros.com/
Kelly O's This legendary diner has been featured on the Food Network's Diner's, Drive-Ins, & Dives. Hit them up for breakfast. 100 24th Street http://www.kellyos.com/
Pennsylvanian's love their ice cream. Did you know that the Banana Split was invented in a Latrobe drugstore in 1904? And, did you know that the ice cream scoop was invented in Pittsburgh back in 1897? And that the Ice Cream Short Course – a 7-day course taught in January at Penn State – has been running since 1925! (And Ben & Jerry took it!) I'm only going to suggest two, though there are 145 Ice Cream Shops in Pittsburgh. In comparison, there are 89 in Charlotte NC and 126 in St. Louis.
Near Carnegie museums is Waffallonia at 4212 Forbes Ave; they don't mess with cones, they slap a scoop on a flat waffle. www.waffallonia.com
Klavons Ice Cream, since 1923 at 2801 Penn Avenue is a beautifully restored fountain soda/ice cream shop. And you can get Penn State Creamery Ice Cream here, without driving into the middle of nowhere PA to get it on campus. (Disclosure: I'm a Penn State alumnus) www.klavonsicecream.com
I realize now that I've wandered a bit into ice cream. Alas, as a Pennsylvania girl, it is one of my fav's, but I shall endeavor to move on.
For a more upscale dinner, Eleven has a popular Chef's tasting menu, consisting of two appetizers, two salads, two entrees and two desserts, but it's pretty swanky. Definitely good for the indecisive. 1150 Smallman Street www.elevenck.com
If you're up for a short cab ride or a long walk, and you're into craft beer, head up to Church Brew, where you can get a pierogi pizza and award winning beers. Voted best microbrewery in Pittsburgh for 17 years. And yes, it resides in a lovingly restored church and rectory, and no, they haven't tried to disguise the fact that it's in a church. 3525 Liberty Avenue www.churchbrew.com
Overall, here are three things you really ought to try to do:
Drink an Iron City Beer
Eat a pierogi (Dough pocket filled with mashta taters)
Eat a pickled egg
Speaking of which, there are some...well, lets just say less common side dishes in the area. You might find some of the following on the menu: Creamed Corn, Stewed Tomatoes, Pickled Beets, Pierogies, Fried Cauliflower and Potato Salad. Yes, Potato Salad is common, but you don't often find it in restaurants.
That's it for eating! Next up, understanding Pittsburgh-eze, coming next week! Yinz really need to read this.
Here's a pic of a Primanti Bros sandwich:
Have a great day!