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For the first time in more than 20 years there is a new Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh.

The “almost-famous” sandwich purveyors will open their fifth city location Wednesday, January 18 at 5491 Penn Ave. in Garfield.

The new restaurant keeps the bright green facade of its predecessor, Verde, and its large, curved stainless steel bar but inside it’s a Primanti’s through and through, from the Penguins game on the TV to the daily half-price happy hourand of course the fries and coleslaw on the sandwiches.

This will be the 37th overall location for the restaurant chain, which was founded in the Strip District in 1933.

New Primanti Bros. at 5491 Penn Ave. in Garfield. Brian Conway photo.

Primanti Bros. began to expand outside of Pittsburgh proper in the late 1990s with suburban locations in Robinson, Pleasant Hills, and Cranberry. Then came regional locations in places like Erie, State College and Morgantown, WV. Later this month they will open a 38th location outside of Indianapolis.

“The idea was to grow in concentric circles outside of Pittsburgh into Rust Belt areas where Primanti Bros. is received really well,” says Mike Mitcham, Operations Director at Primanti Bros.

The Garfield location is one of three local restaurants that Primanti’s plans to open this year, with the others planned for Allison Park and Homestead.

Mitcham says he views the Garfield location as a “hybrid” spot with the vibe of a city location but with food and drink options typical of a suburban location. On tap one can find local craft breweries like Hop Farm and East End next to the Iron City. On the menu, four new salads and four new “amped-up” sandwiches are being tested along with the full menu.

“We’re big on neighborhoods,” says Mitcham. “Primanti Bros. has a cult following and we become the neighborhood joint to a lot of people. We really dig in and get involved in the community, and we know the Garfield area is a real tight-knit community.”

The new spot joins existing city locations in the Strip, South Side, Oakland, and Market Square, which was the most recent city location to open in 1996. (A small, lunch-counter location on Cherry Way Downtown closed in 2013.) Like Market Square, there will be outdoor patio seating during the warmer months.

“Primanti’s is a Pittsburgh staple,” says Aggie Brose, deputy director of the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation. “We look forward to this affordable, high-quality restaurant moving into our neighborhood for nearby neighbors and outside visitors alike to enjoy.”

“There are a lot of cool things happening here,” says Mitcham. “With the art scene popping up, the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, the Alloy Dance Studios, and being right across the street from the Pittsburgh Glass Center, when this location became available we figured we couldn’t go wrong.”

Brian Conway

Brian Conway is a writer and photographer whose articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune and local publications. In his free time, he operates Tripsburgh. Brian lives in the South Side.