When sojourning in Pittsburgh, it’s apparent that this is a town with a hot dog culture.
Among my favorites is the Pickle Barrel, which you’ll find at 1301 East Carson Street on the South Side…a funky, on-the-comeback area loaded with all sorts of interesting stores and restaurants. The Pickle Barrel serves a foot-long Smith's Provision frank out of Erie, cooked on the griddle, about a 5 or 6 to a lb., 65% beef, 35% pork.
They top the dogs about 12 different ways, mostly named after regional preferences: i.e.- Chicago, with peppers, tomato, etc., all for about the same price: $2.50. Adorning the wall, several signs describe what beautifies each dog…though there is no hot dog listed with mustard and kraut or mustard and sautéed onions and thus delineated as a N.Y. dog. But that’s OK. I order my own, Weequahic Section, Newark, NJ. Style Sweetworks (mustard, kraut & relish) and they’re pleased to accommodate.
A best seller is the Pittsburgh. It’s the foot-long with mozzarella cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, black olives and honey mustard. I’ve never tried one, but ultimately will…perhaps next time. Y’know, when in Rome.
Additionally, the roll is impressive…a Schaible. All too many places serve foot-longs on small rolls that prove unwieldy. But this is just right, fresh, bountiful with taste, making more of a meal out of the whole affair…and thereby legitimizing the foot-long concept. Ask for the roll toasted. It’s better that way. I also ask for the frank cooked a little on the crispy side. They’re happy to oblige.
In any case, for about $6, you could have yourself a pretty good meal. I also usually notice people sharing large portions of hearty French Fries, including what looks like a concoction smothered with gravy, cheese and pieces of bacon. Actually, I think The Pickle Barrel is as popular, if not more popular, for their breakfasts as for their dogs. There’s a good-sized counter and several booths, old luncheonette style.
The phone # is 412-431-1114. Just tell ‘em the guy from Jersey sent you.