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Onward Chef: Create Your Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

Welcome back to Onward Chef, the ultimate destination for Penn State-inspired food creations. Last time, we mastered the fine art of the Fat Bitch. This week, we’re going to dive deeper into Penn State’s food culture to recreate another culinary masterpiece: The Primanti Bros. “Almost Famous” Sandwich.

Though Primanti Bros. is fairly new to downtown State College, there is deep history behind the restaurant and its sandwiches. In the early 1930s, Joe Primanti opened a food cart in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. He sold sandwiches to hungry truckers who were passing through, and the sandwiches were so good that it was only a matter of time before they became Pittsburgh-famous.

Primanti Bros. “Almost Famous” Sandwich is by far the restaurant’s most popular item. The description of this delicacy is as follows: “You can get it with salami. Or with turkey. Or roast beef. Or even with no meat at all. But it’s not a Primanti Bros. signature sandwich without a generous serving of crunchy, tart coleslaw and crisp French Fries piled high on top of soft Italian bread.”

And that’s just what we’re going to teach you how to recreate.

What You’ll Need:

1 roll of Italian bread

Italian dressing

1-2 slices of Provolone cheese

1 slice of salami

Meat of your choice

Coleslaw or lettuce

French fries

Any additional toppings you want


sandwich 1

Start off with your white Italian bread roll. Smear some Italian dressing generously over the bread, making sure to cover every bite.

sandwich 2

Add one slice of provolone cheese to each roll.

sandwich 3

Add a slice of salami right on top of your cheese. Feel free to substitute the salami with pepperoni.

sandwich 4

Now time for the meat. Add two or three slices of turkey to your sandwich. Substitutes for turkey could include roast beef, chicken, or bologna.

sandwich 5

Sprinkle some coleslaw right on top of your meat. If you don’t have any slaw, no worries — just add some lettuce. Be sure the greens are crunchy, however, as it’s very critical to the overall texture of your Primanti Bros. creation.

sandwich 7

Add a few slices of fresh tomato and whatever other toppings you desire. This is where you can get creative and unleash your inner sandwich connoisseur. I chose jalapeno peppers because they add some spice. Some other ideas are olives, peppers, spinach, and pickles.

sandwich 8

Time for the final touch: french fries. These are what really transform a regular sandwich into a Primanti Bros. “Almost Famous” Sandwich. I opted for sweet potato fries, but regular fries work just as well. Use a handful of fries that are crispy but not too burnt.

sandwich 9

Time to wrap it all together. Combine your bread rolls to complete your sandwich. Ta-da! Look at that beauty.

The Final Product

sandwich 10

There you have it. Your very own Primanti Bros. sandwich. This sandwich will transport you straight to Pittsburgh without ever leaving your kitchen. Bon appetit!

Until our next meal — Onward Chef out!

About the Author

Carolyn Popescu

Current senior studying Advertising and Visual Arts, Carolyn has a passion for entertainment and music. She also loves photography, film, graphic design, social media, and all things in between. She's the current Sony Music Marketing Representative for State College, so be sure to reach out to her with any local music scene questions, ideas, proposals, or if you just need someone to geek out about music with.

(Contact her through [email protected] or [email protected])


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