Pittsburgh's Best Sandwich Shops

We're going on the ultimate Steel City sandwich crawl

If there's one city that has serious sandwich history, it's Pittsburgh. Take Primanti Bros., where sandwiches are so colossal they're impossible to eat with just one hand. The establishment, which started as a humble street cart more than 80 years ago, has since swelled into a regional chain, with 17 locations in Pittsburgh and others scattered as far as Florida and Michigan. To this day, it's considered a citywide treasure—and if you're ever visiting the 'Burgh, it's absolutely essential you pay Primanti Bros. a visit.

Luckily, there's a sandwich for every stripe in the Steel City. Below, some favorites. 

① For Beer Nerds: Carson Street Deli

With combos like eggs and apples and a rotating selection of local brews on tap, Carson Street Deli promises one thing: Pairing sandwiches with beer can be an endlessly creative, gastronomic exercise. Standouts include the Dizzy Lizzy (curried grilled chicken, fresh slaw, dried cranberries and fresh almonds stuffed into a pita wrap) and the Donnie Brasco (Buffalo chicken, hot pepper cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, banana peppers and egg salad topped with ranch or blue cheese dressing).

② For Globe-Trotting Gourmands: Thin Man Sandwich Shop

The family-run Thin Man Sandwich Shop offers a variety of seasonal sandwiches, so expect the menu to change often. Seasonal specialties include the chicken katsu (Japanese barbecue sauce, cabbage, Kewpie mayo, baguette) and the butter-braised beets (oyster mushrooms, Manchego cheese, balsamic vinegar, French bread).

③ For the Gluten-Free Crowd: Jerome Bettis' Grille 36

Jerome Bettis' Grille 36 is perfect for travelers who love a well-built sandwich but need to heed dietary sensitivities. Its full menu of gluten-free items includes a grilled chicken sandwich and a blackened mahi mahi sandwich, both served on gluten-free buns. 

④ For Philly Fans: Peppi's

The Philadelphia-versus-Pittsburgh thing is a real rivalry among Pennsylvanians, but Peppi's makes it easy to honor both cities at once. The Wiz Sandwich, a juicy cheesesteak topped with grilled onions and mushrooms, tips its cowboy hat to Philly's most famous food

⑤ For History Buffs: Primanti Bros.

Before he opened his first location on 18th Street in 1933, Joe Primanti sold sandwiches to starving truckers from a cart in Pittsburgh's Strip District. After gaining popularity for quality sandwiches at unbeatable prices—and smack in the midst of the Great Depression, no less—Primanti Bros. began to expand. Today, the Pittsburgh mainstay continues to serve up its much-coveted classics, like pastrami and cheese, egg and cheese, and Genoa salami and cheese, all served on soft Italian bread alongside fries, cole slaw and tomatoes.