primanti bros. – pitts-burger cheese steak

If you’re not aware, Primanti Bros. has been making sandwiches with fries and slaw for a while now. Whether you hate my decision or not, I made sure to make it to Primanti Bros. on my second trip out to Pittsburgh. Sure, I’ve heard a lot of talk comparing their sandwiches to the cheesesteaks made at Pat’s or Geno’s (overhyped tourist trap-wise, not sandwich), but not all overhyped tourist trappy places are bad. For example, I really enjoyed Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC.

Anyway, after checking out the National Aviary, me and my dining partner made our way over to the original Primanti Bros. in the Strip District. There were a large amount of sandwiches to choose from and my eyes led me to the Pitts-Burger Cheese Steak. Now, I know a lot of my Philly readers are going to give me lip about how this isn’t a cheesesteak. Duh. Of course it isn’t, nor was I expecting anything like what we get over here. I mean, c’mon now, it has the word burger in it, so it’s gotta be different!

The Pitts-burger Cheese Steak is made up of a burger topped with provolone, tangy slaw, fries, and a tomato which is then placed between thickly cut white bread. The meat had a texture similar to a Salisbury steak or meatball. The provolone was provolone. Same reason why I never get provolone on any sandwiches, there’s just not enough flavor from it. Not a lot of flavors stuck out and some bites were dry. I ended up adding ketchup and hot sauce to a lot of bites. Also, the fries were crisp, but needed to be seasoned more. The sandwiches reminded me of the Fat Sandwiches at Rutgers University, lots of stuff going onto a roll but needed something else to bind them together.

It was nothing stellar but I’m glad I finally tried it!

Primanti Bros.
46 18th St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 263.32142

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wursthaus schmitz

Wursthaus Schmitz, Brauhaus Schmitz‘s Reading Terminal outpost, has finally opened. Unlike Brauhaus on South Street, Wursthaus is a beer free, German deli. They offer several different cured meats, sides, sausages, and even specialty German groceries. The biggest attraction to me, a luncher who works nearby, is the five different specialty sandwich offerings.

Being within a few blocks of my office, I have gone twice already. The first time I got The Bavarian, a sausage sandwich consisting of smoked Bauernwurst, Bavarian cole slaw, horseradish sauce, and fried onions. It is easily one of the best sausages sandwiches I have ever had. All the flavors of this sandwich tasted really great together. It took a lot for me not to get it again the second time. On my second visit I got The Hungarian, a sausage sandwich consisting of smoked Hungarian bratwurst, beef goulash, and roasted hot Hungarian peppers. The Hungarian sure packed some heat, too. It, however, was not overwhelming heat, as I was able to feel warm yet enjoy the sandwich. Both sausages were cooked perfectly and with each bite you could “snap” into the casing.

The sandwiches are being served on fresh baked rolls from South Philly’s Ba Le Bakery. Priced at $8, they’re enough to satisfy one hungry individual or to split with a friend. For $6, they offer “naked” sausages on a roll. There is a small condiment bar to top that sausage with either curry ketchup, Bavarian sweet mustard, spicy mustard, or ketchup.

The Schmitz, a sausage sandwich made up of Brauhaus’s housemade bratwurst, pork & sauerkraut, and mustard, is being served on a pretzel roll. This sandwich has been put on hold as they’re waiting for the pretzel rolls. I can’t wait to try this one when they get em in!

Wursthaus Schmitz
Reading Terminal Market
51 N 12th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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lemon hill – classic patty melt

The Fairmount/Art Museum area unfortunately isn’t easily accessible by subway. Due to this, I haven’t been able to explore a lot of restaurants/bars in the neighborhood. Luckily for me, this past weekend’s holiday party put me in the area during brunchtime.

Lemon Hill doesn’t serve a burger, but what they do serve is pretty damn close. On their menu is a diner sandwich staple, the Classic Patty Melt, which is made up of a LaFrieda beef patty, American cheese, secret sauce, grilled red onions, and house pickles. I’ve had the Supper Burger before and I believe that they were using the same LaFrieda blend in this patty melt. So it’s definitely been on my list for some time but haven’t made it out until recently.

I’ve never had a patty melt from anywhere other than a diner or my own kitchen, so this was a pretty cool experience. When I ordered, I was asked if medium was fine. That being said, I guess they’re always cooked to medium unless specified otherwise. I definitely dig Lemon Hill’s patty melt. The patty melt was sandwiched between two perfectly toasted, thick slices of bread. The pickles & onions added a pleasant tanginess to the melt. The meat was juicy and the secret sauce added an extra element that you wouldn’t normally find on a patty melt. The accompanying parsley fries were good, too.

I also got to sneak some of my dining partner’s house cured LaFrieda bacon. Delicious.

Lemon Hill
747 N 25th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130

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lou’s sandwich shop

What is a zep? I asked some of my coworkers this when they mentioned this type of sandwich. I even asked some friends who were from the Norristown, Pennsylvania area. “It’s a hoagie with no lettuce,” they said. I did some research and found out that zeps are a Norristown variation of the hoagie, with one meat, provolone, tomato, onion, oregano, oil, vinegar, and hot pepper relish on a special Conshohocken Bakery roll.

I only recently had the opportunity to have lunch at one of the popular places to get a zep in Norristown, Lou’s Sandwich Shop. Lou’s Sandwich Shop has been a local favorite since 1941 and serves up all kinds of zeps in addition to other hoagies and sandwiches. Zeps come in three sizes, small, medium, and large. The small is served on a soft, round roll, so you wouldn’t be getting the true zep experience if you ordered that. The medium and large are served on the roll with a somewhat harder exterior.

I ordered a medium zep. The zep at Lou’s had cooked salami, provolone, tomato, onion, hot pepper spread, oregano, oil, and vinegar. First observation was that there was hell of a lot of raw onions on here. That would most likely be a downside of the sandwich, for me at least. It looked pretty good otherwise, as they didn’t skimp on any ingredients and it sure looked hearty.

The bread was certainly a little tougher (on the outside) compared to your typical hoagie roll. Halfway through the sandwich, I was surprisingly not appalled by the amount of raw onions on the sandwich. I think I didn’t notice the onions as much due to the pepper relish and oil & vinegar added. It masked a lot of the zing and it all together tasted quite good.

It certainly is similar to a hoagie. If you’re a fan of traditional hoagie rolls, the harder zep roll may be off-putting. It didn’t bother me though, as I enjoyed my first zep.

Any of you guys zep eaters? Do you go the traditional route or order one of the zep variations (steak zep, chicken salad zep, etc.)?

They even have a zep burger! Perhaps I’ll try this in the future…

Lou’s Sandwich Shop
414 E. Main St.
Norristown, PA 19401

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lil dan’s food truck – the godfather

I heard about The Godfather from Lil Dan’s Food Truck when it earned a spot on Eater Philly’s Sandwich Supremacy bracket. Unfortunately, while that was going on, I was a temporary vegetarian. Earlier this week, I finally got a chance to try The Godfather.

The Godfather is a breaded chicken cutlet sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, mayo, aged provolone, and bacon on a Liscio’s Italian roll. The ingredients are simple, nothing crazy, but it makes for one delicious sandwich. The chicken was sliced thin and perfectly fried crispy. My only dislike was the large pieces of raw onion used in the sandwich. It gave it a little too much of a spicy zing.

Lil Dan’s Food Truck
check their Twitter for location updates
Philadelphia, PA

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