There isn’t much I’m allowed to like about Pittsburgh. Mostly because of the Steelers. Really, that’s the only thing I’m not supposed to like about Pittsburgh. And that’s good, because it’s really the only thing I don’t like about Pittsburgh. I’ve got a lot of former co-workers from there, who are all lovely people. Their new baseball stadium is beautiful. My moms company is based there. The weather is pretty much identical to wear I live now, which is a good thing. These are all nice things but there’s one reason that I have to actually be thankful for the City of Pittsburgh.
Back in days of yore, I worked at a tiny establishment known as Mulligan’s. It was your regular, run of the mill sports bar but it had a very special item on the menu. No, it wasn’t the crab pretzel which while delicious, was something I’d seen before. No, I’m talking about the Pittsburgh Salad. I always thought it was an odd name for a salad and wondered if such a thing as “Pittsburgh Style” food was real. Oh it’s real my friends.
See, Pittsburgh has solved a problem that I’ve faced for many many years. I try to be healthy, eat right, but when I’m at a restaurant, I always want the french fries. And it can be awkward always having to ask “May I please have fries with that salad?”
Then, I was introduced to Pittsburgh style. Apparently it stems from sandwiches but basically you have your average, run of the mill sandwich, cold cut preferably, and then you just throw some fries on top. Don’t believe me? Let me introduce you to the Primanti Brothers. They introduced “Pittsburgh Style” to the world. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about them:
A chain of sandwich shops, founded in 1933. Its signature items are its sandwiches, which consist of grilled meat, an Italian dressing-based cole slaw, tomato slices, and French fries between two pieces of Italian bread.
And why should we trust these people?
The restaurant has evolved to become a casual neighborhood restaurant with 16 Pittsburgh locations, including those found in the city’s major sports venues PNC Park, Heinz Field, and the Consol Energy Center.
That’s right, if sports establishments trust them, so can I.
A Pittsburgh Salad is basically your average chicken or steak salad. I personally make my salads with lettuce, spinach, corn, a little bit of cheese, cucumber, tomato, and then you add the fries (or any fried potatoes, personally tots are my favorite, more specifically the crispy crowns from Ore Ida). Traditionally you then mix everything with a hearty dose of dressing. At mulligans there were definitely salad specific dressings. Chicken got honey mustard, steak got ranch or bleu cheese. I’m personally a fan of Catalina with the steak (Mulligan’s honey mustard will always be in my heart for a chicken salad though. I even know how to make it which helps because the restaurant no longer exists). I also like to wait and put the potato on after I’ve mixed up the salad to keep the potato crispy.
When all is said and done, you’ve got a delicious salad that looks a little something like this
And for the record, it was delicious. I highly recommend it.