Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is my hometown and I was lucky to visit "the Burgh" not once, but twice, this summer! During my first trip I visited some of my old favorite spots like PNC Park and Eat 'N Park, saw some new-to-me places like Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, and ate like a Queen thanks to dippy eggs and pierogies.
The more recent trip to Pittsburgh allowed me to check a few more favorites from my list. It wasn't all nostalgia, though, I explored new foods and milkshakes alike! My Fav 5 from this visit include:
1. Primanti Brother's restaurants are located all over the city. These sandwiches are Pittsburgh's gift to the world. They're made with soft and fresh Italian bread, stuffed with your choice of meat, plus cheese, and a tomato slice. While typical sandwiches stop the ingredient list there, Primanti's adds the French fries and cole slaw inside the sandwich for a giant, messy, and unexpectedly wonderful eating experience.
The huge sandwiches are filled with varying textures and flavors and you'll never find something else just like them. The fries are thick and salty, the cole slaw is vinegar based and refreshing, and the serving sizes are more than generous. You may want to share your Primanti's sandwich with a friend!
You can find Primanti's in all 3 of Pittsburgh's stadiums (Penguins hockey, Steelers football, and Pirates baseball), across Pennsylvania, and in a handful of other states. Depending on the size of the Primanti's you're visiting the menu offerings will vary.
In the stadiums there are just 2 or 3 sandwiches to chose from. Most stand alone locations have dozens of sandwich options ranging from steak and cheese to colossal fish and cheese. The choice of meat or fish affects the flavor of sandwich very little compared to everything else that's going on inside! The more suburban locations with larger kitchens and proper dining rooms also serve appetizers, pizza, wings, and desserts. I'd recommend a cold beer or nice iced tea with one of these sandwiches if you have room!
2. Dunkin' Donuts coffee is something that those of us living on the West Coast don't know too much about. The chain is based in Massachusetts and is wildly popular in the Northeast. When my parents' Pittsburgh neighborhood got a Dunkin' store, with a drive through, the people rejoiced! I visited DD at least four times in the week I was in town. My go-to drink is their iced latte with almond milk and I highly recommend it.
A few more housekeeping notes about Dunkin':
3. Rita's Italian Ice is similar to Kennywood park that they're both only available in Pittsburgh during the summer. Italian ice is similar to a snow cone but more flavorful, softer, and smoother. Another company that's popular in the Northeast, Rita's began in Philadelphia where it's called "wooter" (water) ice.
Rita's serves the Italian ice, custard, and a few other cool offerings. My favorite is the combination of delicious Italian ice with cool and creamy custard - their gelati. You're able to select the flavor of your Italian ice and custard separately. I always, 1000% of the time, get mango ice with vanilla custard. The cool and fruity mango ice blends seamlessly with the vanilla custard. It's THE BEST and you're welcome!
Just this year we got Rita's here in Seattle. I was overjoyed to order some at Safeco Field, our baseball stadium. First, they didn't have mango, then the texture of both the ice and custard were all wrong. You should be able to easily spoon both ice and custard together in one blissful bite and that was not happening. It was so sad.
4. PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball stadium, was the one place I visited during both trips.
Just inside the Center Field gate you can find grapefruit beers at a beer cart.
The food during my first time was just OK so I did a little research before going back for a second ball game. Rivertowne Brewing Hall of Fame Club's buffalo cauliflower is what I set my sights on for round two at PNC Park. Rivertowne is a proper bar and sit-down restaurant located inside the park, much to my surprise. The seat usher in my section told me how it's done, thankfully! You go into the restaurant and order the buffalo cauliflower, then ask for a to-go box and pack it up yourself! That's exactly what I did, with the addition of extra ranch dressing. The serving was large and the cauliflower pieces were spicy and delicious! I was glad I found this tasty treat, even if it took a while and gathered a few funny looks.
5. Finally, the brand new Milk Shake Factory in downtown Pittsburgh is spinning up something yummy for you! (See what I did there?) They've got dozens of milk shake flavors and just as many objects dipped or covered in chocolate. The store is really charming and old fashioned looking inside, it reminds me of the vibe on Main Street in Disneyland or in Magic Kingdom at Disney World, some of my favorite places!
We got mint cookies and cream (left), mint chocolate (middle) and chocolate peanut butter (right, mine!) milk shakes and we all loved them. I'd go back again in a heartbeat.
You may know more about Pittsburgh now than you'd ever intended to, between my first trip and Fav 5, the low-down on Kennywood, and this list. Please share these with your friends in Pittsburgh or those who might be visiting the Burgh.
Of course, always keep in mind that Pittsburgh is the home of Heinz ketchup! And that we're really into dinosaurs.
Hello, I'm Angela.
Figs and Flights is all about traveling near and far & eating great food both at home and away.