Western PA Fish Sandwiches

Post
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
2011/11/11 14:41:09
After exhaustive research and endless sacrifices in the name of getting the definitive answer to an important question I have determined that
there are certainly four magnificent fish sandwiches available in Western Pennsylvania. Here is where to find the four:
 
1. Wholey Fish Market, 1711 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh
http://www.wholey.com/
 
2. Benkovitz Seafood, Smallman St., Pittsburgh
http://www.benkovitzseafood.com/
 
3 -- Tie.  Log Cabin Inn, Perry Highway, Harmony
http://www.springfields.com/lci_files/logcabininn.html
 
 Bert's Wooden Indian, Leopard Lane, Beaver/ Bridgewater
http://www.bertswoodenindian.com/
 
My fellow researcher (a chef and a seafood expert) and I would have gone with the fish sandwich at Benkovitz as No. 1 had it not been for a last minute visit earlier to Wholey's. That clinched it for Wholey's. What a sandwich! Cod. Coated with a light batter and deep fried to order. And huge! The fish at Benkovitz was cod, too, while both the Log Cabin and Bert's Wooden Indian used haddock. We both thought the bun at Benkovitz was better than the one at Wholey's, but the fish was not quite up to the excellence of the better known market.
 
Now, while the two Pittsburgh places were tops, a person can't go wrong with the fish sandwiches at the Log Cabin Inn or Bert's Wooden Indian.
 
 
 
 
post edited by Michael Hoffman - 2011/11/11 14:44:18
Buffalo Tarheel
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 15:26:41
While I can't speak of most of the choices you present, I can agree that Wholey's makes an excellent fish sandwich.  We first tried it on a recent trip when Buffetbuster showed us around Wholey's and the Strip District of Pittsburgh.  A great sandwich, indeed.
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 16:41:13
Kinda hard to beat Wholey's.  But then, the whole Strip District rocks!
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 16:45:34
Are you planning on disclosing the name of your "Fellow Researcher"?
You've made me long for the days when a good fish sandwich was readily available when I lived in Western PA.
I'm homesick.
Out here in the Seafood Wasteland, they have no clue what a good fish sandwich should taste like.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 16:57:21
Foodbme

Are you planning on disclosing the name of your "Fellow Researcher"?
You've made me long for the days when a good fish sandwich was readily available when I lived in Western PA.
I'm homesick.
Out here in the Seafood Wasteland, they have no clue what a good fish sandwich should taste like.

OK. It's lleechef.
 
By the way, my daughter, who lives in Scottsdale but is from Connecticut, says there's a place out there owned by some folks from New England that serves a good haddock sandwich.

post edited by Michael Hoffman - 2011/11/11 16:58:57
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 17:10:02
Someone had to educate the 'ol curmudgeon from Ohio!
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 17:54:36
Michael Hoffman

Foodbme

Are you planning on disclosing the name of your "Fellow Researcher"?
You've made me long for the days when a good fish sandwich was readily available when I lived in Western PA.
I'm homesick.
Out here in the Seafood Wasteland, they have no clue what a good fish sandwich should taste like.

OK. It's lleechef.
By the way, my daughter, who lives in Scottsdale but is from Connecticut, says there's a place out there owned by some folks from New England that serves a good haddock sandwich.

lleechef? Now your post has even more credibility!
Next time you talk to your Daughter, please ask her for the name of the place.
I'm currently doing some consulting work with a lady from Maine who "Winters" out here. She's having a Consession Trailer built to be able to sell Lobster Rolls and other New England seafood at the numerous events we have out here in the Spring. She's gonna have a Fish Sandwich too. Can't wait! A Lobster Roll washed down with a fish sandwich and a bowl of clam chowder! BYO Sam Adams!
 
Ask your Daughter if she's ever been to the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction?
It's a "Happening". The Lobster Lady will be there!
Here's the Car I'm planning to buy!
http://www.barrett-jackson.com/events/scottsdale/2012-sneak-peek/33-pierce/
Kenny Joe
Cheeseburger
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 17:56:44
A Wholey's or Benkovitz fish sandwich is a fine thing and I have never turned down an opportunity to gobble one up. (I haven't been to the Log cabin Inn or Bert's Wooden Indian.) But I have a strong preference for the breaded  Oyster House fish sandwich. (http://originaloysterhousepittsburgh.com/)
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 18:10:57
We will have to try the Oyster House on the next trip through the 'Burgh.  I've never been there.  I've also heard that Little Oasis in Bridgeville does a good job on their fish sandwich.
joerogo
Filet Mignon
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 18:11:00
lleechef

Someone had to educate the 'ol curmudgeon from Ohio!

 
Took the words right out of my mouth
 
Agreed, The Strip Rocks!
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 18:45:52
I'm not merely a curmudgeon from Ohio, I'm proud to be the curmudgeon of the world.
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 18:53:11
Michael Hoffman
I'm not merely a curmudgeon from Ohio, I'm proud to be the curmudgeon of the world.

Are you a Member of The IOOC? The International Order Of Curmudgeon's?
Since I'm the Treasurer of the IOOC, you can forward a $25 Dollar check to me for your annual dues.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 19:34:43
I'm not a member of any phoney organization such as the one you mention. I am, however, a Turtle, and a charter member of the Armadillo Breeders Association of America.
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/11 19:51:59
Michael Hoffman

I'm not a member of any phoney organization such as the one you mention. I am, however, a Turtle, and a charter member of the Armadillo Breeders Association of America.

Just to prove you wrong sir, we're going to crown you a Grand Poobah in The International Order Of Curmudgeon's with all the righst and privledges therein. So, along with your dues, enclose an additional $50.00 for your crown and cape.
falco
Junior Burger
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/12 10:02:46
Hi,
  May I suggest Keith's Katering in Trafford, Pa. East Of Pgh. But not far, Keith's will make you wonder how you have lived this long without their fish.
                                              Falco
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/12 13:53:59
I'll mention Keith's Katering to my Western Pennsylvania guide.
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/12 14:43:27
 Thanks for the tip, falco!  We will certainly have to try Keith's Katering.  Trafford is not far considering we once drove over 200 miles to Lake Erie to have walleye and perch sandwiches. 
cementhead
Cheeseburger
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/12 21:33:08
Sure wish the eastern part of Pa had fish sandwiches like that.
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2011/11/14 12:50:16
I'll have to give Keith's Katering a try. What makes it so special?
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/21 17:55:16
Lisa and I were talking about stopping for lunch tomorrow as we head for her Mother's house in Rochester.  And the unanimous decision is:  Wholey's in the Strip in Pgh. for a fish sandwich.  It's been a long time since we were there and we're hungry for one of their great sandwiches!
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/21 18:55:25
When I was a kid the "R.C.'s" had their "meatless Fridays" and we Presbyterians ... long story short ... deprived ourselves of things such as fish.  All I can say now is that I am not limber enough to kick myself in the a$$.
 
In my college years I discovered the "Pittsburgh Fish Sandwich" at the Enon Valley Inn.  PTL!  http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/252/1159125/restaurant/Pennsylvania/New-Castle/Enon-Valley-Inn-Enon-Valley .  The notbilly review is hilarious. 
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/21 19:50:18
Michael - I don't know how this plays in the 'Burgh, but I suspect that Wholey's (or any other fishmonger) may be utterly swamped on Ash Wednesday.  They take on quite a line on a regular day; tomorrow may be crazy.
Kenny Joe
Cheeseburger
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/21 20:37:49
The Travelin Man is correct. Be prepared for a longer than usual line, especially if you are there at lunchtime.
And in my experience, that will also be true for any other fishmonger.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/22 07:33:27
Wow! I never thought of that. Maybe we'll just check it out and do the obligatory shopping at the Pennsylvania Macaroni Factory instead.
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/22 08:06:38
Michael,
 
If you don't make it, you can always have this photo as a memento
 

The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/22 09:14:57
See....now that's just wrong. Telling a man he can't have something and then teasing is just plain mean!  :-)
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/22 09:39:38
In a fish sandwich obsessed city, Wholey's is still a clear cut #1.  Of course, that doesn't mean I won't continue to look for other places just as good!
 
Michael & Lisa-
About half of the people I work with are from Beaver County and I asked around yesterday for where they think the best local fish sandwich comes from.  While a few names came up repeatedly, there were several places I had never heard of before.  We may need to check some of these places out! 
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/22 10:24:22
wanderingjew

Michael,

If you don't make it, you can always have this photo as a memento



Now that's just a rotten thing to do to someone.

lleechef
Sirloin
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/22 10:24:41
bb, let's check!  We are always up for a good fish sandwich. 
I am very disappointed that it's Ash Wednesday.  Wholey's will be a zoo  for sure.  Well, maybe on the way back next week.
ScreamingChicken
Filet Mignon
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/22 10:40:21
This has probably been asked (maybe even by me) and answered elsewhere but this thread is certainly appropriate:
 
Are there any traditional condiments for a WPA fish sandwich?  WJ's photo looks like fish on a plain roll.
 
Brad
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/22 13:33:51
Brad-
In the local restaurant in my town, they always ask you if you want cocktail sauce or tartar.  Tartar is undoubtedly the most common condiment.  For me, I prefer eating it plain or with some malt vinegar.
Kenny Joe
Cheeseburger
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/22 22:06:52
Cocktail sauce and tartar sauce are the usual toppings. Like BB, I prefer it plain or with malt vinegar. The malt vinegar is on the tables at Wholey's and, if you go to The Oyster House, you also have the option my favorite topping, their house spicy malt vinegar.
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/22 22:12:42
Well, there's more than one way to skin a cat or a fish......so tomorrow night we're meeting up with buffetbuster at Rook's in Ambridge.  One of their specialties is a fried fish sandwich.  Also wings.  Also burgers.   And yes, they have pie.  Sounds like a great evening spent with a good friend.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/22 22:28:39
Did someone say pie?  Looking forward to seeing Lisa and Michael tomorrow night!
gregys
Cheeseburger
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/23 21:52:25
Tarter sauce is common for take out. Down the strip I think they just have various bottles out, like tarter and vinegar, hot sauce.

I don't get out much. I think of big jim' s, doritos, roy's by the tracks, eliots backstreet BBQ, chick's.

I don't know if chick's actually have a sandwich, but I know they have breaded fish. The baked cod was the best fish I ever ate. It was fresh fish with the right spicies.
Yes, I just checked, fish sandwich.
Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/ChicksGrillMcKeesport

Greg
post edited by gregys - 2012/02/23 22:04:38
gregys
Cheeseburger
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/23 22:09:25
If there is a good place in Scottsdale I would like to know. I pass through there on the way to camp.

Greg
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/25 12:51:03
lleechef and I met with buffetbuster Thursday night for fish sandwiches at Rook's Eastside Saloon in Ambridge, Pennyslvania. It's a pretty near place, and the fish sandwiches were terrific. The fries were OK, but the cole slaw must have been really good. leechef ordered the slaw instead of fries with her sandwich and she and buffetbuster both dug into that. Rook's fish sandwich isn't Wholey's, but I'd go back again, after we've tried a few more Western Pennsylvania fish sandwiches. Although, I might consider a returbn visit just to try the hot Italian sausage sandwich with peppers and onions. Buffetbuster got one to go. I'll wait for his report.
 
Truth to tell, even if the fish sandwich hadn't been as good it would have been a fun evening.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Western PA Fish Sandwiches 2012/02/27 21:23:25
A thank you to lleechef, who sent me a link to this really good article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Wholey's.  Although it may not have as the reputation to non-locals as Primanti Brothers, it is every bit as much a Pittsburgh institution.