The idea of Primanti Bros. as a "must-stop" is evident in the 24-hour original location. At any given time, you can find city residents and visitors alike saddled up to the bar ready to indulge, like Jim Stange and his daughter Lesley on one Sunday afternoon. Jim has lived in the area since 1979, and has been coming to Primanti’s for sardine sandwiches since the '80s. "It is a hometown thing," says Jim. "People have tried to copy it, but it is not the same."
Lesley agrees. She lives in New York City now, but a giant sandwich is always in the cards on visits home. "There isn’t anything like it in New York," she says. And New York is supposed to have everything.
This singular sandwich brings patrons back, time and again. While ownership has changed hands several times in the 80-plus years, the menu has, for the most part, stayed exactly the same. As Smith says, "It's the Holy Grail -- why mess with it?" Offerings include classics like jumbo baloney and cheese, capicola and cheese, and pastrami and cheese. You can always double the meat and add on eggs and onions, if basic pile-ons aren’t enough.
“The ingredients taste great apart, but it is an amazing combination when you put them together,” says Mark Yester, a born-and-raised Pittsburgher. Mark, along with his wife Mary, brought a large group from Baltimore to try it out. Everyone seemed to enjoy the stacked sammies, and why wouldn't they? As Mary says, "All the food groups are here!"