Beyond the fries and coleslaw
Primanti Bros. isn’t the only game in town that knows how to stack toppings-upon-toppings between two slices of bread. Other spots are in on the action of getting as many food groups in one hand-held combo with their own outrageous pairings.
Since 1992, Fat Heads Saloon in the South Side has been an outpost for a solid oversized sandwich. Owner Glen Benigni used a bun from Sabroni’s, a local bakery, as the muse for the restaurant’s signature Headwiches.
"Sabroni’s makes this big, round bun especially for us,” says Benigni. “The sandwich turns out to be as big as someone’s head.”
Benigni started playing around with toppings, everything from sunny side up eggs to house-made bacon to broccoli rabe to meatloaf, with interesting results. The city’s other favorite food, the pierogi, even gets its due in the South Side Slopes 12, voted the 5th best sandwich in America by Maxim in 2004. Charred kielbasa, sautéed pierogis and onions, American cheese, and horseradish sauce... is your mouth watering, too?
Each Headwich is named after neighborhoods, family members, friends, and even loyal customers. None of the combinations is for the weak of stomach. "Our customers treat the Headwiches like treats," says Benigni. "We are the spot for people to go when they want that special sandwich."
Just down the street from Fat Heads sits another sandwich great, Carson Street Deli. Some of the menu is simple, like a BLT or beef and cheese, but some of the menu goes big. My fellow partner in food, Mandy McFadden of eatPGH, introduced me to the wonder of the Donnie Brasco -- Buffalo chicken, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, hot pepper rings, and egg salad. It’s like clearing out the cupboards into a bun. "The higher the mountain of ingredients, the better," says Mandy. "I like the sandwich to challenge me."