The only sandwich you’ll ever need is found at Primanti’s. 

It all started in 1933 in the Strip District when Joe Primanti started serving sandwiches from his small sandwich cart. He was so successful so quickly that that same year he was able to open up a storefront – located at 18th Street & Smallman.  

Pittsburgh is a hard-working town with many faces to feed and stomachs to stuff. Primanti recognized that right away and specialized in always being open when truck drivers and shift workers would be looking for a quick meal. 

And a meal it is! With everything you need packed onto the sandwich it’s an easy meal to grab-and-go. Not as easy is actually fitting the whole thing in your mouth. But Pittsburghers and visitors alike gladly rise to that challenge to feast on the beast. 

So what exactly is “A Primanti’s Sandwich”? Well, it’s just one of those things you have to eat to believe. We can tell you its technical specifications all day long, but until you have one in your hands and have taken a bite it doesn’t fully capture its essence. 

Fresh Italian bread surrounds a stack of grilled deli meats, slices of provolone, a handful of fresh cut fries, a dollop of coleslaw, and a few tomato slices. Those are the tech specs. But what you hold in your hands is so much more due to time-tested experience born of opportunity. 

The genius of the Primanti’s sandwich was tossing all the “sides” onto the sandwich. Truck drivers can hold the sandwich in one hand and drive with the other and not have to fiddle and fumble trying to find loose fries. Bar hoppers stopping by after a boozy night out only have to figure out what meat they want then can quickly chow down before wrapping up their night’s adventures. 

The argument can be made that you might not officially be a Pittsburgher until you stop at the original Primanti’s at 2am for your sandwich night cap. 

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Fortunately for all present-day foodies Primanti’s has had such success over the last ~90 years that they have expanded across the Pittsburgh area and even beyond. Nowadays you don’t have to plan a trip to the Strip District just for the famous sandwich (though we recommend you do) and instead you likely could find one in your own neighborhood. There are now 20 locations in the Pittsburgh area and just as many beyond – you can even get your Primanti fix while in Florida!

Along with their additional locations their menu offers more than just their famous sandwiches. Grab a pizza or a burger or even a salad. And if for some reason having fries on your sandwich just isn’t enough you can even order a Primanti-sized side of fries. 

The next time you’re in need of a satisfying meal, get yourself a Primanti’s sandwich.

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Mo Macel

Mo is a pun-loving Pittsburgher who likes to take photos and write. She blogs at and

1 Comment
  1. NO ONE that I would be friends with would go to 18th & Smallman Primanit’s location (the ONLY one for purists) and order a salad. Or PIZZA, for that matter. Doing so would be blasphemy! The Strip District location is the cynosure of all things sandwich. Those senseless and shameful menu options are fine for the suburban locations (free-standing buildings with parking lots) where yokels ask for Rye bread…

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