Primanti Bros. | September 2022
“Put some fries on it” is basically the official Steel City slogan at this point. The “almost famous” craze started in 1933 with sandwiches sold by Joseph Primanti from a small cart in the Strip District.
Primanti was able to open a storefront later that year feeding hungry truck drivers and shift workers all day and night, providing the perfect context for the Primanti sandwich origin story… According to Joe Primanti’s nephew John DiPriter, “One winter someone drove up with a load of potatoes. Joe brought them over to the restaurant to see if they were frozen. I fried the potatoes on the grill, and they looked pretty good. A few customers asked for them, so I tossed them on the sandwich.” Putting fries on their sandwiches enabled truck drivers to eat it all with one hand and drive the truck with the other. To the likely fries that fell on the floor of those trucks, we bless you for your service creating Steel City history.
For some, innovation in Pittsburgh is the polio vaccine. Domination sounds like six Super Bowl wins. But in true Pittsburgh fashion, Primanti’s proves that nowhere but the Steel City can someone dare to create a sandwich so innovative (fries on it), and so dominant that celebrities and tourists from all over the world seek it out while lesser sandwiches fall flat. And though the menu contains dozens of varieties from capicola to corned beef, they’re all simply known by one singular name: the Primanti’s Sandwich.