Some might argue that you can't go to Primanti Bros. without ordering the sandwich that gave the restaurant its fame.
Just ask my husband. While he might not be a Pittsburgh native, he grew up just over the border in eastern Ohio, where the small chain of restaurants had already made its mark in his culinary belt.
So, when the Pittsburgh-based restaurant opened its first location in York County, he knew we'd being having a meal — or several — in the establishment that reminds him of home.
It turns out that's a pretty common reaction, said Will Bowker, operations manager at the York Township location.
"We were surprised to see how many people have transplanted here from the western part of the state," he said. "For a lot of people, they were pretty familiar with what we offered."
If you go
Location: 2151 S. Queen St., York Township
Cuisine: American/Pittsburgh fare
Rebecca's pick: Turkey breast with cheese sandwich with added bacon ($6.99 + $.99), chocolate milkshake ($3.99)
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Price range: $2.99 side salad, $16.50 large pizza feast
Alcohol: Yes, full bar
Accepts: Cash and credit
Kid's menu: Yes
Details: Call 717-900-1996 or visit primantibros.com
For those who are new to Primanti Bros., prepare your stomach for what the restaurant has to offer.
The classic Primanti sandwich is a meal in itself. Guests choose their meat, ranging from turkey to capicola, salami and a slew of other options, which gets piled between two thick, soft pieces of Italian bread along with provolone cheese, tomato, vinegar-based coleslaw and handcut French fries.
That's right. This sandwich doesn't come with sides — because they're built right in.
It's an odd concept for some people. During a recent visit, my husband and I witnessed a couple order their sandwiches – fries on the side — and I gasped in horror. Our waitress wasn't fazed and she kindly honored their request without even a flinch.
While the restaurant is happy to accommodate — you've got to try it the authentic way if you want the Primanti Bros. experience.
If sandwiches all together aren't your thing, there is a full menu of other options to tempt you. My husband and I started our meal out with the buffalo shrimp basket ($8.99). Despite being listed under appetizers, it can hold its own as a meal because it comes with the restaurant's famous French fries.
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The buffalo sauce is tasty and the shrimp are perfectly covered in a crispy beer batter. The complimentary ranch on the side is a must for cooling down the spicy bites.
But there's also a range of salads, from a simple side mix ($2.99) to the sirloin steak salad that comes topped with fries ($9.29). Pizzas with made-from-scratch dough and sauce are also popular. They range from a personal ($6.99) to the loaded version with pepperoni, sausage, onion, mushroom and green pepper ($17.99).
Click here for more photos from this story.
We stuck to the sandwich side of the menu for our main course. I opted for the turkey breast with cheese ($6.99) and added bacon ($.99). My husband ordered the pastrami and cheese with double meat ($9.29) and added a fried egg on top ($.50). The egg is another Pittsburgh tradition, although not required.
Photos: Primanti Bros. sandwiches are mouthful
The bread is baked fresh daily. The slaw is sliced and prepared in house. The meats are cut each morning for that day's service, Bowker said.
While the restaurant has bustled with business since it opened just a few weeks ago, Bowker expects it to continue.
"People who missed the taste of this place are coming back, and those who are finding out about it for the first time are falling in love," he said.
Even though the chain's roots are in another city, it's already taken on a feel for York County. Décor inside boasts Pullo Center events, local sports teams and Hershey's Chocolate.
It seems wherever Primanti Bros. goes, it brings a bit of home to whoever steps inside.
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