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'Wich of the Week: Pittsburgh's All-in-One Sandwiches

'Wich of the Week: Pittsburgh's All-in-One Sandwiches

I've never been to Pittsburgh, home of the Super Bowl champion Steelers. But I have been to Giordano Brothers, the West Coast version of Pittsburgh's famous Primanti Brothers sandwich chain. Founded in the 1930s, Primanti Brothers originally catered to truckers on the go with sandwiches encompassing a side of french fries and coleslaw between two slices of bread.

Rumored to be a fave of Mario Batali, the legendary Steeler city sandwich requires a champion appetite. Hungry with curiosity, I ventured to San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood, where some Pittsburgh natives founded Giordano Brothers to serve similar all-in-one sandwiches to unsuspecting Californians. For the hot, gooey details,


At Giordano Brothers, the sandwiches are served on thick-cut slices of freshly baked Italian loaf. The bread is left untoasted, so it's easier to squish over the pile of fixin's, which include provolone cheese, seasoned fries, and oil and vinegar coleslaw.

Most of the menu focuses on Italian meats, cooked hot on the griddle, though vegetarians can opt for fried egg. I went for hot coppa, which (as the FAQ sign explains) is sort of like prosciutto. Either way, the combination of warm, crispy-on-the-outside fries and grilled protein makes the cheese melt perfectly, even on untoasted bread. The result is nothing if not hearty, best served with a few dashes of the tableside hot sauce.

Though the sandwich looks daunting, it all actually squashes down quite comfortably, though I can't really say the same for how it sits in your stomach. Still, I'd definitely eat another one. Would you dare to try it?

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