What is a Pittsburgh sandwich? Pittsburghers know them as Primanti’s Brothers sandwiches because that’s where they originated. What makes the Pittsburgh sandwich unique is that the cole slaw and fries are served on top of the sandwich. The story is that make it easier for the trucker drivers to eat; however, it makes for a rather sloppy sandwich that I personally can’t imagine eating while driving.
Confession: I never really liked Primanti Brother’s sandwiches. There was too much bread. The fries were usually undercooked, and I’m not a huge fan of cole slaw even as a side. When it came to Pittsburgh cuisine I much more a fan of the Pittsburgh salad (which also comes with fries on top).
Despite that, I must have been in a nostalgic mood when I visited Jerry’s Sandwiches in Andersonville years ago and ordered the Pittsburgh steak sandwich. Their version was not quite like the Primanti’s original. The quality of the steak, slaw and fries, were much better than what they were trying to emulate, and the proportions were better.
And it was delicious.
The Pittsburgh sandwich became my Jerry’s go to. Until one day it was gone. Jerry’s had changed the menu and my sandwich was no longer an option.
This wasn’t a huge tragedy since Jerry’s has a lot of other delicious sandwiches to choose from, but I did miss that Pittsburgh sandwich. That’s why once I decided I wanted to go to Jerry’s for my birthday dinner I made a few tweets to see if I might be able to get them to make me a Pittsburgh sandwich.
@WithHotSauce Years ago you had a Pittsburgh steak sandwich (steak, fries, slaw). It’s my birthday. Is there any chance you’d make me one?
— Kim Z Dale (@observacious) April 21, 2017
My tweet didn’t go viral or land me on the Ellen Show or anything, but I did get support from one of my Twitter friends.
— sarah james (@cryingbaseball) April 21, 2017
I waited and waited for a response, then finally Jerry’s replied. Specifically, someone named Trey replied that he’d be working at Jerry’s in Andersonville and would be happy to make me a Pittsburgh sandwich!
@observacious Hey Kim. I’ll be at Andersonville Jerry’s tonight and would be happy to make a Pittsburgh sandwich for you. Trey
— Jerry’s (@WithHotSauce) April 21, 2017
I was cautiously excited. I mean what if Trey wasn’t there when I got there? What if when I tried to explain my order to the waiter he just looked at me like I was crazy? What if they screwed up my sandwich?
Luckily, Trey and friends delivered on my sandwich. It wasn’t quite the same as I remembered it, but it was delicious.
Thank you, Jerry’s, for a wonderful birthday dinner.
Hmm…I wonder how many tweets it would take to get the Pittsburgh sandwich officially re-added to the menu. And since their current menu names all its sandwiches with a first name and last initial, I wonder if they might consider calling it the “Kim Z.”
By the way, if you are in Chicago and want to try a more authentic version of a Primanti Brothers Pittsburgh sandwich, Lucky’s Sandwich Company in Wrigleyville makes sandwiches that are pretty close.
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