Pittsburgh’s Primanti Bros. Restaurant Review

Several months ago, I caught my husband watching The Travel Channel—and Man vs. Food was visiting a restaurant, Primanti Bros, in Pittsburgh that was serving up monstrous sandwiches topped with coleslaw and French fries. In the back of our minds, we said that if were ever “in the neighborhood”—we’d make a point to try to stop in. This past weekend found us in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—literally ten minutes from one of the suburban locations for Primanti Bros. in Moon Township, Pennnsylvania. We visited and we stuffed ourselves—so what was our review of Pittsburgh’s Primanti Bros. in Moon Twp., PA?

Location, Parking, and Wait Time. As usual, I was worried about (1) being able to find the Primanti Bros location and (2) being able to find parking, and (3) facing a massive wait time when we were all starving, impatient and a bit overtired. Okay—the Primanti’s in Moon Twp., PA, was super easy to locate with our GPS. The parking lot was huge—and it even had a flow over lot up the hill with stairs leading down to the restaurant, and our wait time was less than 20 minutes for three of us at 6:30 on a Saturday night. We were off to a happy, mom-approved, start to the meal!

Primanti Bros. Atmosphere. My next (mom) worry is always the atmosphere of a new place—especially when bringing kids. The environment at the Moon Twp. Primanti Bros. location was similar to most sports bar/family restaurants. Since we didn’t visit the original Primanti Bros., I’m sure we missed a lot of the nostalgia (and probably some of the parking woes and wait time!). The servers were dressed in Primanti t-shirts and jeans—and were all super busy on a Saturday evening during dinner rush. Menus were stored on the table in an old-school diner style metal holder—and napkins were held in a metal napkin dispenser. We were given paper plates for eating our appetizers—and our drinks arrived in paper cups. It was a really relaxed, down played atmosphere. We were seated in a booth near the bar area (with a Pittsburgh Penguins game on one television and an NCAA tournament game on another) but—the noise was light and the patrons were perfectly PG-Rated.

The Food. Ahh…the food. After a quick glance at other tables, it was easy to see that chicken wings were the appetizers of choice. Since we figured 8 out of 10 tables knew something that we probably didn’t—we ordered a basket of wings. We were in a debate over which sauce to choose for our 10 wing basket: Spicy Garlic and Garlic Parmesan—to which our server quickly offered to split it to two types for us (not an option on the menu—so immediately, we were upping the ante on her final tip). The wings were awesome. We have eaten chicken wings at hundreds of restaurants over the years with more sauces than you could imagine. There was something about the batter on the Primanti wings that made the sauce almost insignificant. Both varieties were equally delicious—but, the coating simply gave the wings a texture and flavor that is few and far between. For this trip, we only had one daughter along for the meal. She is not a bone-in chicken fan—and is generally not a “wing” fan in general--but, she loved the garlic parmesan wings at Primanti Bros. I would highly recommend them. In fact, next time, we’ll probably get a basket of boneless wings for the girls and bone-in ones for the grown ups.

But—we didn’t go to Primanti’s for the appetizers—we went for the sandwiches! There were several types of sandwiches on the menu (plus pizzas and several other meal items). We zoned in on the "Primanti Bros. Sandwiches--Almost Famous since 1933" section. Then—we had to choose WHICH ONE. Corned beef? Roast Beef? Pastrami? FISH? Our server let us know that roast beef was her favorite (and in hindsight, I wish I had tried it!) I felt obligated to sample the Pitts-Burger Cheesesteak (their menu proclaimed #2 seller) and my husband opted for the Pastrami—then we split them so that we could each try the other. Oh, wow—were they HUGE! I could barely hold a Primanti sandwich half in my two hands. I actually pulled out several of the fries to share with our daughter since she had opted for a grilled pizza and side of peaches and milk from the kid’s menu.

Okay—let me be honest—I generally HATE it when foods touch on my plate. (I was seeing this as a difficult meal experience for me.) A sandwich loaded with meat, Provolone cheese and sliced tomatoes on massive slices of fresh, un-toasted Italian bread was one thing—one topped with a full side serving of French fries and coleslaw was something else. Yes—it was something else. A good something else! Not only did I eat it—but, I liked it! I preferred the pastrami to the cheese steak—and not being from Pennsylvania, I can accept the guilt of that. The flavor of the pastrami was amazing. The French fries were large, deep fried, thick, hand cut potatoes. The coleslaw was a bit tangy—but; buried inside the sandwiches it added a nice taste and texture to both sandwich varieties. I probably still won’t mix my foods on my plate at home—but it worked deliciously well on the Primanti sandwiches.

A Meal Contained in an Easy-to-Eat Sandwich...What a Concept!  Since we were in a bit of a rush facing a 4 hour drive back to Central Ohio at 7 pm with an 8 year old—the convenience of the contained “meal in a sandwich” really made practical sense to me! See the sandwich was originally created to serve truckers stopping in for a lunch to take on the road. They couldn’t exactly scoop up spoonfuls of coleslaw on the go—so Primanti’s served the meal up as one entity on a sandwich--ingenious.  While we didn't take our food to go--it was still a quickly eaten meal.

Dessert. Stuffed from the meal—we were too full for dessert. Our little one’s kid’s meal came with animal crackers and while she was ready and willing to try out the BIG Brownie Sundae—we didn’t want her be carsick for nearly 300 miles. Without a word, our server brought her an extra—a chocolate chip cookie. Again—I didn’t see this “option” on the menu—it was just a pretty cool perk that Primanti’s offered to bring us back the next time we hit the Pittsburgh Airport.

The Bill. We racked up a surprisingly small bill of about $27.00, before tip, for the three of us for three huge meals, drinks and an appetizer. We had skipped the alcohol since we had our entire return trip home ahead of us—but, next time we visit; I would like to try the Pumpkin Bread craft beer or a Steel-Tini, one of the specialty house martinis.

Our final thoughts on our review of Primanti Bros. in Moon Twp.? I would recommend it for individuals, couples or families. The atmosphere is family friendly, the staff is extremely friendly and helpful, and the food is well worth a try. Even if the all-one-meal-on-a-sandwich is not your thing---the menu is diverse enough that there is something for most. My husband is already considering which sandwich to try next when we return to Pittsburgh in October—Primanti Bros. was really that good.

Thinking of visiting Primanti Bros.?  Check out the Primanti Bros. website and menu!

Primanti Brothers ( Moon ) on Urbanspoon
Disclosure:  We were not compensated for this review.  We paid, in full, for our meal, trip and all costs associated with the visit.  As always, all views are our own and were in no way influenced by the company or site reviewed.  We just thought it was a great place that our readers may like to visit!

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