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Jun 28, 2012 04:46 AM

Pittsburgh ~ pre Pirates game. - moved from Great Lakes board

Hey Hounds.

Mrs. Sippi and I will be traveling back down yonder and we'll be through Steel Town next Thursday. We saw an episode of 3D last week here and (I think) Nadine's was featured. It looked really good and we do like hitting up places that Guy has been.

So my questions are, 1) is this place easy to get to pre ball game on a week night?? 2) will it be over crowded?? 3) what do people recommend??

Also, if not Nadine's then where?? Is there a specialty regional to Pittsburgh we need to sample. We've not eaten there and I haven't really done much research yet. I'll start looking now.

PS, we're staying by the airport.


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  1. I understand Primanti's does a signature sandwich but it sounds like it's more of a been there done that thing for locals. Is that just because it's so familiar or are they just not "Making them like they used to??"


    5 Replies
    1. re: Davwud

      More so because Primantis was never that great in the first place, IMO, and the Pittsburgh dining scene has gotten good enough of late that Primantis looks worse by comparison. Their signature stroke of genius - putting their mediocre fries right in their sandwiches. Pittsburgh has much better to offer.

      If you're only looking for distinctively local, diner-style food - I suggest you try Pamela's. Especially for breakfast.

      If you're in town on a Saturday, walking down the strip district and trying things from the vendors is a distinctively Pittsburghian experience, and a delicious one.

      1. re: cowboyardee

        This will be a Thursday night dinner only. It's just a stop over on the way and we decided to take in a Pirates game.


        1. re: cowboyardee

          I have posted several times on these boards about my love of Primanti's. It is most certainly Pittsburgh's signature dish, and I make sure that I take all of my out-of-town friends and family there when they visit. The sandwich consists of meat, provolone, fries, vinegary coleslaw and slices of tomato between two thick slices of Italian bread. My favorite is the capicola and egg. I am local, have had hundreds of Primanti's sandwiches in my life and still try to get there once a month or so. Just talking about it here makes me want to run and grab one for lunch. The original location is in the Strip District, and I usually suggest first-timers go there; however, the location in Market Square is more convenient in relation to PNC Park, and you would be able to walk to the game. There is a Primanti's outlet in PNC Park, but I do not suggest in partaking of that location. They only serve two options (cheesesteak and capicola), and the sandwiches are not as fresh or substantial as you will find at the locations I mention above.

          Other suggestions:
          Close to PNC Park (ie, in very short walking distance) you will find three places I enjoy pre-game: Hyde Park, Bettis' Grille, and Rivertowne North Shore.

          Hyde Park is an upscale, national steakhouse chain, but they have one of the best happy hours in Pittsburgh. Monday - Friday, 4:30 - 6:30, they offer $4 martinis and $5 plates of bar food.

          Bettis' Grille is also a national chain, serving fairly standard bar food, none of which is spectacular but most of which won't really disappoint. However, they do have a large bar area and service is generally very good.

          Rivertowne is a local chain that brews its own beer (not at the North Side location). Some of the appetizer-style dishes are pretty good, and they have a large selection of their own and other craft beers, all of which are very reasonably priced. Service can be, and often is, lacking.

          Otherwise, also within walking distance of the stadium, on the city-side of the river, I would suggest:
          Meat & Potatoes - This is a gastropub in the theatre district. They have a nice selection of cocktails, and the bartenders are quite knowledgeable. Everything I've had from the menu has been very good. Service here can also be lacking.
          Winghart's - In Market Square, has, in my opinion, the second-best burgers in Pittsburgh (#1 being the burger at Eleven, in the Strip District, which is only served at lunch). The fries and pizza are also very good.
          NOLA - Also in Market Square, is a New Orleans themed restaurant. The food is good but not exceptional. They have a nice selection of beer, including many Abita options, which they bring up from New Orleans.
          Sienna Sulla Piazza - Also in Market Square, is a fine-casual Italian restaurant, and in my opinion the best of the Italian options around the Square (La Cucina Flegrea and Vallozzi's being the other two).
          Diamond Market - Also in Market Square, and run by the owners of Primanti's, offers standard bar food, most of which is solid but uninspiring. They have a large selection of craft and micro brewed beers on tap, and service is usually quite good.
          Penn Ave Fish Co. - On Forbes, just up from Market Square, has very good sushi and seafood options. This location is their more standard restaurant location, the location in the Strip mentioned below also being a seafood wholesaler that is not open in the evenings. The Forbes location has a lunch service that ends around 3, with dinner service Wednesday - Saturday from 6-10pm.
          Sharp Egde - on Penn has ok food, but one of the best beer selections in Pittsburgh. They also have one of the best happy hours in Pittsburgh, as well. All of the Belgian beers on tap, and there are a lot of them, are half off from 5-7 pm.

          I will echo cowboyardee's suggestion of going to the Strip District, as well as trying out Pamela's for "distinctively local diner-style food." There is a Pamela's in the Strip District, and the breakfasts are fantastic. On the weekends you will absolutely have to wait. My favorite offerings are the pancakes and Lyonnaise potatoes.

          Also in the Strip District is Deluca's, another distinctively local diner, which you will have to stand on line for during the weekend. The breakfast burrito is fantastic. Reyna's taco stand, Cafe Raymond (for delicious sandwiches), and Penn Ave Fish Co. (for top notch sushi and seafood), are all very good options.

          As for Nadine's, I have never been terribly impressed. Nadine's is in the Southside, which would be a very hearty walk, including crossing two bridges, to get to the stadium. Personally, I wouldn't do it. I actually don't spend too much time in the Southside. There are a lot of bars and restaurants, but, especially on the weekends, it can get a little rambunctious. The quality of most of the establishments in the Southside just doesn't justify going there for me. There are a few exceptions: Fat Heads (fantastic sandwichs, good beer selection), Piper's Pub (very good food, good beer selection), 17th Street Cafe (American), Dish Osteria (Italian) and Yo Rita (tasty and unique tacos). I think all of these places serve better food and are more unique than Nadine's.

          Driving around Pittsburgh is not difficult, and usually doesn't take too much time; however, you will be coming from the airport, necessitating a trip through the Ft. Pitt Tunnel, which can get backed up a little bit. Coming in from the airport during the afternoon - evening won't be bad, as you will be going against traffic; however, the closer you get to gametime, the more likely it is you will get held up slightly (maybe 10-15 min, but probably not that long) on account of game traffic, especially if the Pirates are still playing well.

          1. re: MonMauler

            FYI eleven serves the burger for dinner too. Just ask for it.

        2. re: Davwud

          Lots of people like to put down Primanti's but I'm born and raised in Pgh and I can tell you that we eat at Primanti's a few times a year. It's just what you expect it to be, nothing life changing, nothing fancy, but we do enjoy it the few times a year that we go.

          Primanti's has a location right inside PNC Park, you could always just try one to share just to say you had one.

        3. Nadine's is not hard to get to, although it is in the South Side, while PNC Park is on the North Shore. Still it's no more than 10 minutes or so away. It is located on a side street so make sure you have the address. It's a great place, and is just like they showed it on DDD. Local's, good food, very inexpensive and friendly.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Burghfeeder

            Would we be well served parking in the area and hoofing it for the rest of the night??


            1. re: Davwud

              That might be the best option. The North Shore, where the stadium is has a number of pretty good restaurants (not great, but good) and you could easily walk across the bridge to Downtown, Market Square and try Primanti's or one of the other places there.


              1. re: Burghfeeder

                I'm looking for great or at very least, legen-wait-for-it-dary. Primanti's would quialify although at this point, I'd have to be talked out of Nadine's and it probably wouldn't do it.

                How much of a walk are we talking between Nadine's and PNC?? We regularly walk our dog 2 - 3 miles. Walking is not only not a problem, it's almost preferred.


                1. re: Davwud

                  If 2-3 miles is a regular deal for you, then Nadine's to PNC would be in range. I would estimate that walk to be right around 2 miles, maybe a tad less. And it's pretty flat.

                  1. re: MonMauler

                    Plus crossing a couple rivers might me nice.


                      1. re: Chowrin

                        As reported downstream it was a little over 3 miles from one to the other. Walking one direction with some time would've been okay if the weather was nicer. So we drove to Nadine's then to the park. Well, we parked on the other side of the Clemente bridge and walked across. The weather was opressive so we would've ended up soaked by the time we got there.
                        We were lucky to end up with seats in the very top row just to the right field side of the press box. There was a nice breeze blowing through up there that made it comfortable.


                        1. re: Davwud

                          Yep, you sure did pick a hot weekend! But from what I saw, it was brutal just about everywhere. I'm glad you went to Nadines and liked it. It's not typical, but it's quirky, and I like quirky!


          2. Of the handful of places Fieri has been to in Pgh, IMO the only one really deserving of attention is Big Jim's in the Run. But you're not walking there.

            Seriously, choose FatHeads over Nadines.

            And if you're looking for breakfast, forget the silly Pamela's/DeLucas mediocre Pittsburgh institutional diner food. Bluebird Kitchen just off Market St. Get the egg sandwich with bacon or the grits with egg. And get your coffee there too instead of at one of the chains. This is good stuff. Promise.

            1. And just to put Mrs. Sippi's mind at ease, if we do decide to park (by PNC) and walk, is it a decent area around dinner time?? Last thing she wants is to get mugged day one of vacation. She just has no sense of adventure!! LOL

              BTW, walking from PNC to Nadine;s is about 3 miles. We wouldn't walk that. That's a bit far.


              2 Replies
              1. re: Davwud

                It's fine safety-wise. But your better options are across the Clemente Bridge downtown and in Market Square. The stuff right around PNC Park is OK, but nothing special.

                Except for the men's rooms at Bettis Grille. That's special, lol.

                1. re: Panini Guy

                  Park in town, only $5 after 4 at most garages..then go to Six Penn, Meat & Potatoes or many others in town. Walk across the Clemente Bridge.

              2. Thanks for all your help gang.

                Right now the plan seems to be park by the stadium, get tickets, walk across the bridge to the Strip and see what tickles our fancy.


                1 Reply
                1. re: Davwud

                  I always recommend the Strip, but please note that it's not an evening place. Much better suited for a morning or afternoon stroll, I prefer the weekends. Have a great visit, and please report back and let us know about your trip.