Food & Drink

The 11 Best Sandwich Shops in Pittsburgh

Published On 05/12/2015 Published On 05/12/2015

There is something about putting two pieces of bread together and filling them with meat and cheese (and in your most glutinous hour, French fries) that really fuels the soul. While Pittsburghers have several sandwich joints available to get their fill, consider these the 11 best.
 

Thin Man Sandwich Shop

Thin Man Sandwich Shop

Strip District
What you’re getting: The Thin Man
Thin Man Sandwich Shop gets a little fancy with its sandwich choices. Its signature sandwich features chicken liver mousse and locally-sourced bacon accordingly. The in-house infused seltzer beverages help wash each bite down. 

Courtesy of Jessica Yurjevich/Carson Street Deli

Carson Street Deli & Craft Beer Bar

South Side
What you’re getting: Donnie Brasco
Carson Street Deli allows sandwich fans to create their own meals, but if your brain is overridden by your stomach, there's no shame in staying on-menu. There are crazy concoctions like the Donnie Brasco (buffalo chicken and egg salad) and the Big Porker (pulled pork topped with cole slaw). The bar is stocked with local brews that pair well with your hefty sandwich.

Courtesy of Szmidt’s Old World Deli

Szmidt’s Old World Deli

Downtown
What you’re getting: Pole-Lockarogi
From the sauces, breads, and pierogies (that can be put IN the sandwich), Szmidt’s stays old school with its house-made recipes. Try one of the pierogi sandwiches, like the Pole-Lockarogi which includes four potato cheddar ‘rogies, bacon, sauerkraut, and garlic mayo. 

Laura Zorch/Thrillist

Spak Brothers

Garfield
What you’re getting: Seitan melt
While Spak Brothers is more than just a sandwich shop -- you can also order pizza, wings, and salads -- the hoagies are total standouts, and the offerings of buffalo chicken and hot sausage are worthy pursuits. Go big and order the seitan melt, covered in BBQ or buffalo sauce. It’s truly hard to know this baby is meatless. 

Flickr/Joseph

Triangle Bar and Grill

Swissvale
What you’re getting: A battleship
The Triangle Bar is a star for its outrageously large sandwiches coined "battleships." A battleship is a classic Italian sandwich that is over 2ft. long, making for the ultimate game-day snack.

Flickr/Kate Hopkins

Peppi’s

Multiple Locations
What you’re getting: The 7
Naming sandwiches after football players isn’t just a Pittsburgh thing, right? Maybe it is. At Peppi’s, you can order up the quarterback of sandwiches named after Big Ben himself, complete with sausage, cheese, and egg.

Courtesy of Adam Milliron/Bluebird Kitchen

Bluebird Kitchen

Downtown
What you’re getting: Croque monsieur or house roast beef
Bluebird is way more than just sandwiches, but the ones served at this breakfast and lunch spot are beyond impeccable. The croque monsieur, a ham sandwich on brioche covered in béchamel sauce, takes your mouth to France, without the airfare. The house roast beef on ciabatta is also on point, and worth the inevitable lunch line.

Laura Zorch/Thrillist

The Bloomfield Sandwich Shop

Bloomfield
What you’re getting: Breakfast sandwich or Hobo sandwich
This tiny shop along Liberty Ave in the heart of Bloomfield is the best kind of greasy spoon. Open for breakfast and lunch during the week, and late into the night on weekends, it’s a neighborhood favorite. A breakfast sandwich, with two eggs your way on grilled bread, will be a perfect remedy for Monday morning or late Saturday night.
 
 

Laura Zorch/Thrillist

Smallman Street Deli

Multiple Locations
What you’re getting: Reuben
Smallman Street Deli is a straightforward, no-nonsense deli in Squirrel Hill and the Strip District. Deli classics like a Reuben or Rachel are good bets, or get a little crazy and get your Reuben sandwiched between two potato latkes.

Flickr/Sean Kelly

Uncle Sam’s Sandwich Bar

Multiple Locations
What you’re getting: Uncle Sam’s Special Steak
Uncle Sam’s Sandwich Bar is known for having some of the best French fries in town, but the sandwiches hit the spot too. Get the cheesesteak topped with peppers, mushrooms, and provolone.

Primanti Bros.

Primanti Bros.

Multiple Locations
What you’re getting: Capicola & Cheese
You weren't going to make it through a PGH sandwich pilgrimage without a visit to Primanti Bros. The fries and coleslaw topped ‘wiches put Pittsburgh on the map for crazy food combos. Pork cold cuts (capicola) and cheese given the Primanti’s treatment is a ‘burgh must.
 
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Laura Zorch is a Pittsburgh writer who loves the crap out of cake. Follow her sweet tooth at @eatpgh where she eats around town with her three pals.

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1. Thin Man Sandwich Shop 50 21st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (Strip District)

For a sandwich shop, Thin Man is fancy as hell. What's the fanciest thing you can stick between two pieces of bread? Chicken Liver Mousse? Shaved Pickled Fennel? Smoked Scallop Croquettes? Expect fresh and seasonal fare between your carb boats, and wash it all down with a house infusion of "Pineapple-Brown Sugar seltzer."

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2. Carson Street Deli & Craft Beer Bar 1507 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 (South Side Slopes)

Carson Street Deli allows sandwich fans to create their own, but why bother? The menu is full of crazy concoctions like the Donnie Brasco (buffalo chicken and egg salad) and the Big Porker (pulled pork topped with cole slaw). The bar is stocked with local brews that pair well with your hefty sandwich.

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3. Szmidt's Old World Deli 957 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15207 (Duquesne Heights)

Szmidt’s Old World Deli is all about homemade. From the sauces, the breads, and the pierogies that can be put in a sandwich (we’ll get back to that), this is as fresh as it gets. Try one of the pierogi sandwiches, like the Pole-Lock which is potato cheddar ‘rogis, bacon, sauerkraut and garlic mayo.

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4. Spak Brothers Pizza and More 5107 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224 (Garfield)

This Garfield pizza joint is a crowd-pleaser with its many vegan options -- plus plenty of choices for carnivores. Slices are bubbly and big enough to fold, andare served on pieces of wax paper. On most nights, a line snakes through the shop, and punk or metal music blasts through the speakers. Bring along some coins to play the restaurant’s vintage pinball machines while you wait for slice after addictive slice.

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5. Triangle Bar & Grill 2122 Monongahela Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15218 (Regent Square)

The Triangle Bar is a star for their outrageously large sandwiches coined battleships. A battleship is a classic Italian sandwich that is over two feet long. These beasts make the ultimate game day snack.

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6. Peppi's 12 Smithfield St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

With four locations throughout the city, you have no reason NOT to visit Peppi's. These subs are of the old school meat-and-cheese variety, and are come fully loaded. Chicken Fingers are under the "Veggies and Stuff" section of the menu. That's the kind of magical place we're talking about.

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7. Bluebird Kitchen 221 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Bluebird is more than sandwiches, but the sandwiches at this breakfast and lunch spot are beyond the beyond. The Croque Monsieur, a ham sandwich on brioche covered in béchamel sauce, takes your mouth to France, without the airfare. The House Roast Beef on ciabatta is also on point and worth the inevitable lunch line. For the vegans among you, the seitan taco is a must.

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8. Bloomfield Sandwich Shop 4613 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224 (Bloomfield)

This tiny shop along Liberty Avenue in the heart of Bloomfield is the best kind of greasy-spoon. Open for breakfast and lunch during the week, and late into the night on weekends, it’s a neighborhood favorite. Ordering a breakfast sandwich, with two eggs your way on grilled bread, will be a perfect remedy for Monday morning or late Saturday night.

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9. Smallman Street Deli 2840 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (Strip District)

Smallman Street Deli is a straight-forward, no nonsense deli in Squirrel Hill and the Strip District. Chow down on a Reuben with some latkes and matzo ball soup. Finish it all with some Hamantaschen and dream of the old country.

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10. Uncle Sams Sandwich Bar ‪5808 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217-1602 (Squirrel Hill North)

Uncle Sam’s Sandwich Bar is known for having some of the best French fries in town, but the sandwiches hit the spot too. Get the cheesesteak topped with peppers, mushrooms, and provolone. If you're feeling brave, get an Ultra. It's like a regular sandwich, but with extra EVERYTHING.

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11. Primanti Brothers 46 18th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (Strip District)

Primanti Brothers sandwiches are as iconic as Pittsburgh food comes, and the caloric empire all began with a humble food stop slinging sandwiches to truckers in the 1930s. The must-order Almost Famous Sandwich has equally humble beginnings: when a food transporter feared his potatoes may have been ruined by the cold, he asked the kitchen to fry some up to test them. Customers quickly asked for the fried potatoes inside their sandwiches, and a tradition was born: the addition of a pile of french fries to sliced tomatoes, tart coleslaw and your choice of meat (from pastrami to roast beef) between thick slices of Italian bread. Come hungry, because these things are gigantic. And you want to leave room for the wings, cheese-drenched fries and beer, don't you? This flagship location, marked with an old-time neon sign, has been the deli's home since 1933, long before the brand expanded up and down the East Coast.

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