Our Story

Our long, proud & colorful history

Primanti Bros. Founders

Let's take a trip back to the early 1930's.

Joe Primanti opened a cart in Pittsburgh's Strip District selling sandwiches to hungry truckers who were coming and going at all times of the night. Encouraged by sales and the positive feedback he got, Joe decided to expand to a small storefront on 18th Street, where he was joined by his brothers Dick and Stanley and their nephew John DePriter. And that's how the very first Primanti Bros. location was born - open 3am to 3pm, feeding hard working truckers and shift workers good food for a fair price during the height of the great depression.

According to John, "One winter, a fella drove in with a load of potatoes. He brought a few of 'em over to the restaurant to see if they were frozen. I fried the potatoes on our grill and they looked pretty good. A few of our customers asked for them, so I put the potatoes on their sandwiches." The rest, as they say, is history.

While Joe moved out to California in the 40's for health reasons, Dick, Stanley, and John kept the restaurant going strong for 30 years. But when Stanley and John both passed away in the early 70's, Dick decided it was about time to sell the business.

Primanti Bros. Three Amigos

Jim Patrinos bought Primanti Bros. in 1974. He continued the tradition of serving good food to busy locals. A few tweaks were made, like opting to stay open 24 hours. But with sales strong and people flocking to the restaurant, Jim decided it was a good time to expand. The second Primanti Bros. location opened in Oakland, near the University of Pittsburgh, and it was a hit with both students and professionals in the neighborhood.

Bolstered by that success, Primanti Bros. would soon open restaurants in the South Side, Market Square, and Three Rivers Stadium. In 1998, the restaurants rolled into the suburbs, keeping the same relaxed atmosphere while expanding the menu a bit. When Three Rivers closed up shop in 2001, Primanti Bros. opened in both the newly built PNC Park and Heinz Field to keep sports fans well fed during events. And after Consol Energy Center came along in 2010, Primanti Bros. was happy to open a spot there, too.

Primanti Bros. currently has 17 locations right around Pittsburgh, with more in Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia, all dedicated to that early notion that folks deserve great food with no pretense for a good price.

Primanti Bros Sandwich Sketch