The Pittsburgh salad was famously conceived on a chilly November night in 1963, when mobster Bridges Pasquerello demanded French fries be put on top of his salad. Four employees at the local deli were assaulted and sent to the hospital, then Bridges spent his first tenure in jail.
Pasquerello was a ruthless enforcer, but also a gourmand and pioneer of Pittsburgh cuisine – later developing the Pittsburgh pie (French fries and apple pie), the Pittsburgh malt (a French fry milkshake) and the Pittsburgh jig (shooting a man to death and throwing French fries on the body). Today, the Pittsburgh salad is making waves all across the country, but what exactly makes it so special?
The signature Steel City salad is an amalgamation of ingredients that are more or less defined by region. For example:
- Chris Chambers of Aliquippa says he won’t eat a Pittsburgh Salad with steak on it because of his “jerkoff doctor.”
- Joseph Elliot of New Castle substitutes the lettuce with chips, citing that he officially gave up on his health when his dog Max died on 9/11.
- Alex White, 62, tearfully says he can’t eat them anymore because his “wife did the cooking and she’s gone. She’s not dead. She just moved in with my brother.”
It seems like Pittsburghers just can’t agree on how to make a salad!
While the dish is gaining in popularity across the country, its hometown is where the salad is most recognized. The Mayor of Pittsburgh recently instituted a “Salad Day,”–a day of festivities intended to celebrate and boost the local restaurant scene. However, on this particular day, September 2nd, crime statistics have risen across the board in recent years. Many residents see Salad Day as an unspoken “purge” of sorts due to the number of people who take to the streets to air grievances, loot stores, and just generally wreak havoc. Some suggest that the purge is a direct response to citizens’ disgust for Mayor Peduto and his politics (Peduto has been known to take liberties with the city’s finances and is also said to have mob ties himself).
Many underground reporters believe the purge has been Peduto’s plan all along, perhaps to divert attention away from his wrongdoings in office, or even to create the sense that the people of Pittsburgh need his help. Still, Salad Day has been a huge success seeing a 20% sales boost in restaurants across the city. Citizens have been put on high alert for this year’s Salad Day, so if you’re in the Western Pennsylvania area, you might want to find a safe place to bunker down and dig in on your favorite French fry-topped bowl of greens!