Considering a sandwich topped with French fries is pretty much Pittsburgh’s unofficial mascot, it goes without saying that our city takes sandwiches pretty seriously.
All across Southwestern Pennsylvania, delis are turning sandwiches into art with fresh bread and house-roasted meats.
They’re also slathering them with mayo and cheese, because let’s get real – that tastes darn good, too.
So, if you’re looking to expand your Pittsburgh sandwich repertoire (or just wanting to grab a quick and tasty lunch), considering checking out some of the spots below.
How to Take the Ultimate Pittsburgh Sandwich Road Trip:
1: My Hero’s Sub Shop
This straightforward sub shop has been a favorite in Rochester, PA for decades. The town – which is located 10 miles west of Cranberry Township – swears by them, and once you have your first bite, you’re hooked.
If you’re craving a classic sandwich, stuffed with meat, cheese, and all the fillings, look no further than My Hero’s. The meat is sliced to order, and piled high on fluffy bread.
The menu includes 19 numbered sandwiches, but the most popular is the #1, consisting of ham, salami, capicola, pepperoni, and cheese.
Subs come in whole or half sizes, but trust us – you want to get the full. You’ll be craving the other half before the end of the day (if you haven’t already finished it).
My Hero’s Sub Shop (343 Brighton Avenue)
2: Freedom Farms Sandwich Shop
Freedom Farms is a bit of an institution in Pittsburgh. This team does everything from farmers markets to donut making and even reality TV.
Luckily for us, they also make a mean sandwich. Everything served at the Freedom Farms Sandwich Shop is extremely fresh and locally sourced. The sandwiches are truly farm-to-table, using meat from their livestock, fresh produce from their farm, and bread that was baked in their own kitchen.
You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but one customer favorite is “Lisa’s Chicken Salad,” consisting of chicken salad topped with melted cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and banana pepper rings, sandwiched between slices of their own multi-grain bread.
Freedom Farms Sandwich Shop (796 Pittsburgh Road)
3: Allegheny Sandwich Shoppe
This sandwich joint, located on Western Ave in the Northside of Pittsburgh, has been serving up delicious sandwiches since 1981. The spot is famous for their long list of sandwiches, delicious breakfast, and daily special menu.
Customer favorites include Allegheny Sandwich Shoppe’s house-roasted roast beef, or their house-roasted turkey. Can’t decide between the two? Order the “Dagwood,” which is loaded up with both.
Other items on the menu give a nod to Pittsburgh with names like the “Steel City Slammer,” the “North Side Grill,” and the “Three Rivers Reuben.” This spot is perfect for weekend breakfast, or grabbing a bite before a game on the North Shore
Allegheny Sandwich Shoppe (822 Western Avenue)
4: The Pear and the Pickle
The Pear and the Pickle only opened in Pittsburgh’s Troy Hill neighborhood last year, but the spot is already a fan favorite in Pittsburgh. Their thick sandwiches are loaded with freshly-sliced Boars Head meat and cheeses, stuffed with fresh vegetables, and slathered with house-made sauces and aiolis. The sandwiches are then grilled to perfection.
Already drooling? This is all without mentioning their breakfast sandwiches, which are served all day long. Start your morning (or afternoon) with an ooey-gooey sandwich, filled with eggs, bacon, and cheese on fresh Mancini Bread. How could you ever resist?
The Pear and the Pickle (1800 Rialto Street)
5: Primanti Brothers
The Strip District
A list of Pittsburgh sandwiches would be awkwardly incomplete without mentioning Primanti Brothers. Long before national publications were naming Pittsburgh a “food destination,” it was sandwiches (and salads) topped with french fries that were putting Pittsburgh’s food scene on the map.
What started as a simple sandwich shop in The Strip District in 1933 has now grown to be an empire with locations across the city, and even as far south as Florida.
Stop by anytime (the original location is open 24 hours a day) to take a real bite of Pittsburgh’s history. No matter what you order, expect coleslaw, Italian bread, and freshly-cooked french fries. That’s the Primantis way.
Primanti Brothers (46 18th Street)
7: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina
Gaucho is already a staple on many people’s lists of their favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh.
The spot is famous for their collection of Argentinian-style meats, which are expertly seasoned, cooked over a wood fire, and served steaming hot and juicy, with a selection of house-made sauces.
While their Carne de Vaca are delicious on their own, it goes without saying that roasted pulled pork, grilled chicken breast, and braised beef topped with caramelized onions, are going to be good on a sandwich.
The menu changes daily, but pick what sounds appealing and prepare to be wowed. Vegetarians – don’t worry. The shop also has (delicious) vegetable sandwich options.
Gaucho Parrilla Argentina (1601 Penn Avenue)
8: Grant Bar & Lounge
Grant’s Bar – located in a tudor cottage in Millvale on Grant Ave – is famous for their decadent coconut pie, which is worth any drive to procure.
However, there is another item on the menu that’s almost as famous as the pie: Grant’s fried fish sandwich. The restaurant says that the breading on their seafood is a special family recipe. They delicately season and deep fry their fish until it is perfectly golden brown.
This flakey (and buttery) slab of fried fish is almost as long as your arm, but you’ll still want to finish every bite. However, save room – didn’t you hear us say famous coconut pie?
Grant Bar & Lounge (114 Grant Avenue)
6: Smallman Street Deli
The Smallman Street Deli is another classic Pittsburgh sandwich spot, with two locations in Squirrel Hill and The Strip District.
Pittsburghers love the spots comfortable, no frills atmosphere almost as much as they love their corned beef, pastrami and roasted turkey.
The spot does it all, offering butcher-cut meats and cold cuts to go, as well as serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. And, don’t forget about their freshly made baked goods.
The shop is famous for their “U-Can’t Eat It!” sandwich, which features over a pound of meat on rye bread with mustard. Well, you know what they say – if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again!
Smallman Street Deli (1912 Murray Avenue)
9: Triangle Bar and Grill
Now, if you thought a pound of meat at the Smallman Street Deli sounded intimidating, than you’re probably not ready for menu at Swissvale’s Triangle bar and Grill.
From the outside this shop may not seem like much, but inside lurks an infamous sandwich – The Battle Ship.
Triangle dubs The Battle Ship the “Sandwich That Made Swissvale Famous” – and they might be right. People flock from all over the city to try to sink this sandwich.
The two-foot long sandwich weighs in at a whopping 1 1/4 pounds, and is stuffed with salami, ham, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper. Intimidating as it may be, the sandwich is also a great bargain at only $12.25 a pop.
If that (somehow) isn’t enough of a challenge, for an extra dollar, guests can upgrade to the “Super Battle Ship,” which includes another half pound of meat.
Triangle Bar and Grill (2122 Monongahela Avenue)
10: Rudy Martino’s Original House of Submarines
As luck would have it, two Swissvale sandwich legends are located a quarter of a mile apart on Monongahela Ave, making it easy to ditch the car for this section of the road. And, let’s get real – you’re probably going to need to walk it off after trying to eat Triangle Bar’s Battle Ship sandwich.
Rudy’s Subs can now be found in several spots around Pittsburgh, but to get a taste of the original sub, one must travel to their location in Swissvale.
Rudy’s is known for their iconic Pittsburgh cheesesteak, which they introduced to the city 1959. Although the cheesesteak is still a popular menu item (there are now seven varieties), sandwich options have since expanded to include dishes like “Pepper and Egg,” and “Eggplant Parm.”
No matter what you order, keep in mind that it’s not a Rudy’s sub without the special Rudy’s dressing.
Rudy Martino’s Original House of Submarines (1918 Monongahela Avenue)
11: Carson Street Deli
The Carson Street Deli is officially known as the “Carson Street Deli & Craft Beer Bar,” which is good news for anyone who likes to wash down their sandwiches with a delicious craft beer (ie: everyone).
These fresh, and locally sourced sandwiches are a favorite for diners on the South Side. No matter if you build-your-own, or order one of their signature sandwiches, you know you are going to get a quality meal.
Two customer favorites include the “Carson Street Reuben,” with lean corned beef, Russian dressing, swiss cheese and fresh cole slaw on marble rye bread, and the “Cheesy Beefy” with hot roast beef, melted hot pepper, swiss cheese, green and red peppers, onion and ranch dressing, all served on a french baguette.
The restaurant has a beautiful courtyard, and is a great place to grab a bite to eat on a nice day.
Carson Street Deli (1507 East Carson Street)
13: Lebo Subs
Lebo Subs is another newcomer to the Pittsburgh sandwich scene, but the shop is gaining attention south of the Monongahela River.
This shop is working to bring “Jersey-style” subs to Pittsburgh. While the ingredients are locally-sourced, each sandwich is piled high with their signature lettuce, onion, tomato, vinegar, oil, salt and oregano combination – just as they do in Jersey.
One customer favorite is the restaurant’s namesake “Lebo” sandwich, which features swiss, turkey, ham, roast beef, and bacon. Be sure to checkout the roast beef, which is cooked in-house.
Served cold or hot, these sandwiches are hard to beat.
Lebo Subs (632 Washington Road)
Bonus: Mt. Pleasant Sub & Pub
This spot gets an special mention on our list, not for their oven-bake subs (although they are great), but for their wings that everyone cannot stop raving about! If you are a bit sandwiched-out after this epic road trip (we don’t judge), consider a drive to Mt. Pleasant for some hot wings!
These giant wings are served whole with a variety of sauce options. Any wing fan will be pleased!
Mt. Pleasant Sub & Pub (207 N Church Street)
What about dessert?
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read our other Pittsburgh food road trips:
Apologies if we forget your favorite sandwich! Don’t fret – just share it in the comments below!