Pittsburgh, Cole Slaw, French Fries, N’at*

About ten years ago, I found out about this place in Pittsburgh called Primanti Brothers. (Be sure to swallow it a little to sound more authentic; it’s sort of pronounced like “perMANee.”) Primanti Brothers was apparently a famous restaurant down on the strip.

Well, a famous sandwich place.

A famous, somewhat grimey, 24-hour sandwich place, if you’re getting the picture.

They were famous for a handful of things, not the least of which were their enormous sandwiches and grouchy waitresses.

The rumor was that if you asked to have your sandwich without cole slaw (that is, without cole slaw on it, which is standard at this joint), they’d look you right in the eye as they scooped an extra large portion of the mayonaissey wonder onto your sandwich.

Sounded like my kind of place.

I mean, there are lots of things I like about Western Pennsylvania, but at least two of them are cole slaw and French fries.

Slap them both on a sandwich, throw on some corned beef, and I’m in heaven. (Thus saith the near-vegetarian in her everyday life–it’s like I have a secret identity that involves mayonnaise and fried food.)

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that for ten years, I’ve been wanting to go to Primanti Brothers.

For at least the last four or five, when J has asked me what I wanted to be sure to do while we were home in Pennsylvania visiting family, I’ve responded with, “Go to Primanti Brothers.”

In that time, the little grimey sandwich place has expanded into a local chain (with a trendy new website to boot)–and one of those locations was in a city pretty close to my in-laws’ home. So he offered multiple times to take me there. But really, why go to Primanti’s if you weren’t going to have the authentic, downtown “strip” experience?


So finally, finally, this year it happened. We went to Primanti Brothers.

And that, folks, was my sandwich.


* “N’at” is one of my favorite Pittsburgh turns of phrase. According to the Pittsburghese Glossary, n’at means “And so forth. Used for emphasis. [For example:] ‘We went shopping n’at.'”


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