Main Street Deli, Munhall, PA
Not all sandwiches are created equally. Some have gritty, tasteless meat, while others have stale, hard bread. True sandwich integrity- that’s what I’m always in search of… a hoagie with lean meat, crispy veggies, and most importantly, fresh bread. When all of these components come together, one can attain true sandwich bliss.
Well, my search is over. Main Street Deli in Munhall has reached sandwich greatness in my book. The hoagie I sampled was one of the best I’ve had in Pittsburgh. The bread (dropped off fresh every day from Cellone’s bakery) is superbly fresh and flavorful. The #2, (Roast Beef and Corned Beef with Provolone Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato and Onion) was colossal. I chose to take my sandwich home, and when Sara Kosko placed it in a bag, I thought they were giving me a torpedo instead of a hoagie- yeah, they’re that BIG. Homemade Italian dressing accompanies all of the sandwiches, though you can choose specific toppings, dressings or sauces.
I had a chance to speak with Bruce Barnes, who co-owns the Main Street Deli with his wife Abby. In addition to owning a thriving restaurant, Bruce works as a pharmaceutical sales rep during the day.
“I’m in the Strip District every day getting fresh produce for the shop; our meats are always fresh and lean as well,” Bruce explained.
The store itself isn’t big, but has ample seating if you’re interested in dining-in. Small tables with checkered cloths create a warm, familiar atmosphere. The walls in the front portion of the restaurant are adorned with photos of Bruce’s daughter. The restaurant is impeccably clean; something that is very important when choosing somewhere to eat. While looking around the Deli, I noticed a plaque from Channel 11 that awarded The Main Street Deli with the Best Runner-Up Hoagie in Pittsburgh- impressive.
Every Tuesday of the week Main Street Deli places a few tent-covers on the sidewalk and grills food for their customers. When I pulled up, fresh burgers and dogs were being cooked. Ed Piskor, one of the managers told me that they grill different items every week. Several locals were placing orders for grilled burgers as I waited for my sandwich to be built. The locals are all familiar with the main Street Deli, and called the employees by name.
The signature hoagies come in four different sizes, Kaiser ($4.95), 6-inch ($6.95), 12-inch ($9.95) and the famous 18” I-Beam ($15.95). While I was at the Deli, I was told about the I-Beam challenge. If you can finish the 18’ sandwich in 30 minutes or less, you get your picture on the wall of fame, a free t-shirt and most importantly, bragging rights. If you can’t finish the huge sandwich, your photo goes on the wall of shame! Approximately 15 have completed the challenge.
In addition to their famous hoagies, The Main Street Deli offers Big Salads, Gyros, and Wraps (available with white or wheat).
The employees at The Main Street Deli were extremely friendly. More importantly, they’re proud of their restaurant and take pride in their work. All of these ingredients combine to create environment that is conducive to creative, delicious sandwich making. Take time to visit The Main Street Deli in Munhall, just be sure to bring your appetite!
Chef Chuck Kerber