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Aug 3, 2011 01:34 PM

Suggestions for the following in Pittsburgh next week

I'll be in town from Detroit for the pinball tourneys next week in Carnegie, PA. I plan to head into downtown Pittsburgh a couple of days to play tourist and get some grub. I am looking for suggestions on the following items.

Real fried clams: I hear that the Robert Wholey & Co. market has them, any place else worth checking out?

New York style pizza slices.

Decent cheese steak.

A regional food item suggestion. (Chipped ham, Halusky?)

Also interested in any stores that might have a large selection of hot sauces.


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  1. Have to admit, one of the more ... unusual... to-eat lists I've seen, at least when it comes to Pittsburgh.

    Fried clams? I pretty much ignore Wholey's these days. If you want good, affordable seafood, I recommend going just down the street a few blocks to Penn Avenue Fish Company. Not sure about the fried clams situation there, but I would suspect you will find something you like. I'm personally a fan of their unique take on fish tacos.

    NY Style pizza slices: For this style of pizza, I'm personally a fan of Blue Grotto on the South Side. Huge slices, and well executed, IMO. If they have the slice with jalapenos and red peppers, I highly recommend that one. Other good pizza--not NY style, though--to be had at Dinette, but that's a bit more of an upscale experience, but by no means outlandishly expensive or stuffy. Just more of a focus on ingredient-driven pizzas and apps. Others have their favorites, and I'm sure they'll weigh in.

    Regional food item: often you'll see Primanti Bros. or perogies suggested. Church Brew Works is a really cool place that has daily perogie specials. When I've had them, I've enjoyed them, but they are far from the traditional style of perogies you might get elsewhere. I read recently on this board, from some one visiting for a few days, about excellent food, including perogies, I believe, at the Polish deli right next door to Penn Ave. Fish Co. Would save you some walking/driving, that's for sure.

    Hot sauces: Suspect you'd find several places in the Strip District that have a good selection of hot sauces, but that's mostly speculation.

    Have fun.

    Church Brew Works & Restaurant
    3525 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

    1. I agree with Whigsboy.. this is not a typical request for this area. Skip cheese steaks.. its a philly ordeal not Pittsburgh, but if you really want one.. Peppis is a sandwhich place (couple in pgh area) , that make sa decent one... nothing too great though

      I do not eat seafood, but never really heard anythign about fried clams...

      NY Style pizza slices... Blue Grotto is good, I also enjoy Piza Sola in South Side.. Dinnette has some great not soo traditional pizza.. Piccolo Forno has good pies also. I always hear people say you cannot find a 'real NY Style Pizza in this area" .. alot is up to opinion

      Renya's in the strip , has a lot of hot sauces.. its a mexican grocery store.. most are gimmicks some decent ones. the TACO STAND OUT FRONT IS A MUST.. they are not too big . Get one !!!

      Local foods.. Piergoies , chipped ham, etc. are local foods, but mostly sold as raw items.. Church Brew Works is an Awesome place and does serve some cool ones.

      As a side note you might enjoy Fat Heads.. its a sandwhich micro brew type place... One of my fave sandwhich place in PGH by far.. Skip pirmantis and try any one of there sandwhiches..

      Church Brew Works & Restaurant
      3525 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

      Piccolo Forno
      3801 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

      1 Reply
      1. re: Augie6

        I second Fat Heads as a decent local place with a VERY local vibe. Their spicy Arrogant Bastard-battered onion rings are among my favorite onion rings anywhere, and their sandwiches are good, humble, Pittsburgh-y fare.

      2. I don't think Penn Ave. does fried clams, though you could call them and ask. I had Cherrystone clams on the half shell there today. Delicious, ocean-briny.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Jay F

          Thanks for the tips so far. The fried clams were enticing to me as I am from Boston originally and when I saw Wholey makes them fresh, I was elated, but hoped to find some other places around town that might do them better.

          I know they NY style pizza request was going to be odd, and opinionated. After all, it's just not possible outside of NY to make it correctly right? :-) Another style I would dig is Napoletana, we have a really great place here in MI. that does it right.

          Renya's tacos sound good, I plan to hit the strip district one morning to wander up and down it.

          I plan to skip Primanti Bros, I really don't want the fries and slaw on a sandwich, but Fat Heads looks interesting.


          1. re: GrueLurks

            Also, do the brewpubs around there sell bottles to go? I'm a guy too and plan on hitting some bottle shops.

            1. re: GrueLurks

              What about S&D Polish Deli in the Strip? I haven't been there, but my (part) Polish roots are telling me to go there :)


              1. re: GrueLurks

                PA liquor laws are very strict. You must go to a 6 pack shop, and most do not have selected singles.. Not living directly in PGH i cannot recomend any. Except Fat Heads has a bottle shop upstairs (or at least did) .. Honestly, if you are a beeradvocate guy, I would highly recomend Fat Heads..

                For Napoleton Pizza il pizzaiolo seems to reign supreme.. not exactly in the city though

                1. re: Augie6

                  Augie said: "PA liquor laws are very strict. You must go to a 6 pack shop, and most do not have selected singles."

                  If you want to try (vaguely) New York(esque) pizza and drink beer, you might want to try Mineo's Pizza House or Napoli Pizza in Squirrel Hill. They sell by the slice (to me, the essence of "NY pizza"), though you are warned to order slices "as is" or they reheat them to the point where you can't not burn the roof of your mouth. Napoli has lots of coolers of beer, and maybe Mineo's does, too (I'm not sure--I don't drink).

                  Mineo's is a very oily pizza. I always tamp my slices with *two* paper napkins. It's very old-school, from a time when there was literally no other pizza worth eating in Pittsburgh, and Mineo's was a lone outpost for homesick, foodsick New Jerseyans and New Yorkers.

                  Neither place has slices that are as *large* as you'd get in NY, but that's the main difference. I don't know of any slice house that tastes as good as either of those places.



                  Mineo's Pizza House or
                  2128 Murray Ave Ste 1, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

              2. re: GrueLurks

                it's okay if it's "just my mood" -- and the philly cheesesteak is harder than getting you some good thincrust around here.

                1. re: Chowrin

                  I'm no cheesesteak maven, and I've never ordered one here, but Uncle Sam's hoagies don't suck, generally speaking.

                  1. re: Jay F

                    Their grilled Italian hoagie isn't bad, by quick/easy/cheap lunch standards. Their cheesesteaks aren't even in the same ballpark as any of the better places in Philly.

                  2. re: Chowrin

                    As a transplant who grew up in Philly, if anyone has found a cheesesteak in Pgh that measures up, I'd love to hear about it.

                    Frankly, I'm not convinced that you'll ever really find a good cheesesteak at a good price from any venue that doesn't specialize in em. And since most people won't pay >$10 for a cheesesteak, that makes good ones awful hard to find outside of Philly.

                    There are definitely some decent thin crust pizzas in Pgh though. As mentioned above, Piccolo Fiorno comes to mind, though there are others. They're sort of in between Neapolitan style and NY style, but it satisfies the same craving, at least for me.