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  • Michael DiBartolomeo

What Foods Is Pittsburgh Known For?

Whenever visiting a new place, it is good to find out what foods the location offers. It’s important to immerse oneself in the culture of where they’re visiting, so the top question is often, “what foods is Pittsburgh known for?”

There are countless famous foods that Pittsburgh is known for and that are great to consider when looking for date night ideas. Some became famous because they were created in the city. Others adopted other cultural foods that are now integrated into the diet. With that, some come from specific categories with a die-hard following. On top of it all, some were created elsewhere but became popularized in the city because of the market following.

Since there are so many popular foods in Pittsburgh, this isn’t an exhaustive list. Still, it covers the most unique and well-known options.

Primanti Brothers

Nothing is as emblematic as the Primanti Brothers. The sandwich chain has been around since 1933 and is in the Strip District. At first, it was there to feed truckers making deliveries throughout the neighborhood. They only had one free hand to eat, so the restaurant started putting the sides (coleslaw and fries) on the sandwich.

While there are now many locations, the most popular is the original Strip District option. It’s open 24 hours a day and is an icon for Pittsburg. Regardless of what sandwich is bought, make sure to get a fried egg on it.

The Pittsburgh Salad

Pittsburgh became known as the city that puts fries on everything, which is why the Pittsburgh Salad is so popular. While most people think of salads as having vegetables, lettuce, and possibly a protein, fries are often found on top here.


When Pittsburgh was a steel-making town, it saw a huge influx of Eastern Europeans. Therefore, that region’s cuisine was mixed into the diets of those living in the city. There are plenty of foods that could be listed, but a favorite is the pierogi.

This dumpling is highly popular and is found at food trucks, high-end restaurants, and as sandwich toppings. When eating around the city, make sure to grab a few pierogies, too.

Sarris Candies

Almost every city in the nation offers an iconic candy or chocolate shop. For Pittsburg, it’s Sarris Candies (Canonsburg). The specialty store opened up in 1960 and grew tremendously throughout the years. It offers chocolates, ice cream, and candies, and is now found in more than 1,000 stores throughout Pennsylvania.

Stop at any Pittsburgh store to buy some or go directly to the candy shop for the best experience.

Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte

Just as with chocolate, each city has a favorite pastry that’s only local. Pittsburgh’s version comes from Prantl’s Bakery. The burnt almond torte features a white cake fully covered with icing and topped with almonds.

Ultimately, the story indicates that Henry Prantl visited California during an almond surplus and created the dessert idea to use some of the extra almonds. It was a sure-fire hit, and people flock to one of three locations to get it by the slice.

Heinz Ketchup

While not necessarily a food, the iconic condiment was created directly in Pittsburg. In fact, H.J. Heinz started in the industry back in the 1800s, beginning with horseradish, and introduced tomato ketchup in 1875.

Though Pittsburgh isn’t the production home anymore, its history remains. Most restaurants and food trucks serve nothing but it.

Pamela’s Hotcakes

Where breakfast foods are concerned, there are tons of restaurants in the area wanting to be an icon. There are plenty with a die-hard following, but a standout treat is Pamela’s Hotcakes.

It’s a crepe-like, large pancake that’s quite thin and crispy around the edges. Plus, it makes for a simple and decadent breakfast. Though it’s possible to order it alone, it’s best served with the many fruit fillings, sour creams, and brown sugar.

Ask for a side of Lyonnaise potatoes to round out the meal. This Pittsburgh breakfast can’t be forgotten by anyone who tries it.

While there are many locations throughout Pittsburgh, make sure to plan to stand in line during breakfast hours.

Eat n Park Smiley Cookies

Why are smiley-faced cookies so popular? It’s hard to tell. However, the iconic cookie was introduced in 1986 to the Eat n Park locations, and those living in Pittsburgh can’t eat enough of them. It could be because these restaurants feature on-site bakeries. Another option is that people can’t help but smile when snacking on them.

Chip Chopped Ham

Every person living in Pittsburgh knows that chipped chopped ham from Isaly’s is a treat. Though it was invented in Ohio, it didn’t fare well there, and the Pittsburgh dwellers seemed to like it.

Plus, the meat is hard to define. It’s shaved by blending trimmings, seasonings, and ham chunks, then molded into a loaf and shaving again.


What foods is Pittsburgh known for? There are countless options available and plenty of brewery tours as well. When in the area, consider asking a local where they might eat. It’s a great way to bring culture to the trip and enjoy the local fare.

Visit The Kelley Financial Group website for help on saving up your money so you have more time and funds for traveling around the Pittsburgh area.

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