Skip Nav
Original Recipes
Grab a Forkful of Happiness by Making This Garlicky Spaghetti Immediately
Cooking Basics
14 Grocery Staples I Always Have as a 20-Something on a Budget
Fast and Easy
60+ 1-Pan Dinners That Are Ready in an Hour or Less

'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?

Join The Conversation
Nyrina-Windu Nyrina-Windu 8 years
I like stuffing different things onto my sandwich when I'm in a hurry. I've put fries and slaw on many different types of sandwiches and doesn't gross me out. But I would NOT want someone else to make my sandwich that way for me. In my opinion that sandwich looks a little too messy. Some places may overdo it and therefore they give you a large soggy sandwich. And I don't want any sandwich of mine being soggy. As for the calories - no matter how they eat it, on the side or combo on top of the sandwich, it all adds up to the same thing when it goes down. And it's not like you couldn't make a healthy sandwich that's mixed like that one too. You gotta respect the vegetarian's that want to mix it up a little too.
bonniebonnie bonniebonnie 8 years
Sometimes food is not cute and not low calorie. I think the sandwich looks delicious and I would risk getting food on my face and being a little more full than usual if I could indulge in this sandwich. I love being an unpretentious foodie!
alexask alexask 8 years
oh my gosh. i'm a vegetarian but for some reason i really want this sandwich.
dioraddict dioraddict 8 years
When I saw the pic I immediately remember watching Man Vs Food on the Travel channel. He ate 3 of these kinds of giant sandwiches here in Chicago at a place named Lucky's.
Martinee Martinee 8 years
One hell of a sandwich! Although its prolly a heart attack waiting to happen... I bet its really yummy!
smorzalli smorzalli 8 years
I've been to primanti's and seeing this pic makes me want to go back to pittsburgh just to get another one of those sandwiches...yummy.
krissycake krissycake 8 years
it looks so insane that i must have one...
emalove emalove 8 years
I have this weird thing where I will NOT eat a sandwich if it's messy-looking or stuff is hanging out of the sides. It makes me crazy.
lauren lauren 8 years
I would have to at least taste it!
Chica8a Chica8a 8 years
I would try it!
saraswords saraswords 8 years
Yay, Primanti Bros! Without a doubt, the best thing to eat after leaving the bar at 2am. I love Pittsburgh!! Go Steelersssssss!!!
krys786 krys786 8 years
woo hoo! thanks for featuring a sandwich from my hometown, Yum! i see why people may think this looks gross or like a heart attack waiting to happen..but think about it: most sandwiches have fries and slaw on the side anyways, so putting it all together shouldn't be an issue with your stomach. it's convenient and yummy!! :)
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
good lord!!
mlen mlen 8 years
shoneyjoe i agree!!! the FAT sandwiches are the best. although they ARE a heart attack on a roll. there is the original Fat Cat which is 2 cheeseburgers and fries on a roll. my PERSONAL favorite which is the Fat Koko which is a Cheesesteak, mozarella sticks, french fries and marinara sauce all on a roll. and there are like 20 other Fat sandwiches. you have to eat them at like 3am when you are slightly less than sober though but they really are fantastic!
smellanny smellanny 8 years
that looks amazing. i'm not a fan of cole slaw but i would def. try it. i put potato chips in my sandwiches... always have and always will... so why not french fries? i'll try the fries next time if i order a sandwich and it comes with fries. YUM.
soulight soulight 8 years
I agree I hate hate hate coleslaw, but love Primanti Brothers, but only when I'm drunk. I have never gotten a hangover after eating there after a night of partying. When I'm sober I can't stomach it.
That looks terrible! Coleslaw is awful and the sandwich looks like structured slop.
kla621 kla621 8 years
There is a show called Man vs. Wild - i think it shows on the Travel channel, not positive (def. not foodnetwork). The guy takes on all kind of food eating contests. He went to the Primanti sandwich place and ate 3, yes 3!, of those sandwiches in less then a half hour. he had to clean his plates and everything. He killed that challenge.
heatherhas heatherhas 8 years
That looks awesome! I would scarf that down in a second.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
omg Primanti Brothers is delicious and I don't even like coleslaw!
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I don't think I'll be partaking of the sandwich, but I love their chalk board!
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 8 years
okay that looks DELICIOUS!!!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I love Primanti Brother's. Their egg and cheese with bacon has to be the most perfect late night food ever! And I don't even like coleslaw, so that's saying something.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
That looks so yummy! I would def. try it. I don't think its all that bad as long as you don't eat one everyday. I would still probably try it once. @Pharma: Girl, I'm in Queens too! What's a good sammie place in Astoria, I don't knw any and I'm dying for a big ol' sandwhich sometimes.
How to Make a To-Go Sandwich
Easy Poached Egg Sandwich Recipe
Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs Recipe
What Is a Hoagie?
From Our Partners
Latest Food
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds