The top 5 tastiest French-fry-topped salads in PittsburghIf there's one thing that people from Pittsburgh know aside from unfailing loyalty to the Steelers and the importance of pierogis in a balanced diet, it's how to take a salad and make it as unhealthy as humanly possible. Enter: the Pittsburgh salad. It's lettuce, typically iceberg, topped with some veggies, chicken or steak, croutons, a heaping pile of cheese and French fries. Oh, and don't forget about the bucketful of Ranch dressing usually served on the side. Once inside the western Pennsylvania/greater Pittsburgh area these salads are about as common as sweet tea in the southern states. Here's where to find some of the best.
1. Spak Brothers
Spak Brothers is what you think of when I say "hole in the wall." Driving by you may not even know the tiny square building is a restaurant, let alone one where you can find an incredible salad topped with strip steak (or chicken if that's what speaks to you). Don't quote me on the actual nutritional content of this salad, but the lettuce is a field green mix rather than iceberg, so it at least feels healthier than some of the more artery clogging options out there.
2. Local Bar + Kitchen
Price: $9 + $3 for chicken or $4 for steak
There's now two Local Bar + Kitchen locations, one on the South Side and one the North Shore. At both places you can find the heaping monster "16th & Carson" salad - named after the street the original location is on. It's served in a U-shaped bowl and topped with fries cut so thick they give you a steak knife.
3. Fat Head's Saloon
Fat Head's just goes for it: their salad is simply called "Pittsburgh Salad." It has the lettuce, chicken/steak, and cheese, like all good salads should, and the real goodies like sautéed green peppers and red onions, hard-boiled egg and cucumbers. Just because it's from Fatheads doesn't mean it can't hold some nutritional value, right? Pairs well with one of Fathead's own unique brews.
4. Mad Mex
Please don't hate me: Mad Mex is kind of a chain, but it's a local one. The funny thing about this salad is that it shouldn't even be on the menu at all. The rest of the Mad Mex menu is Cal-Mex inspired, tortilla based grub that goes with margaritas. The menu description even says "this is not a joke item." The secret as to why this one makes the list? The fries are waffle fries.
5. Pizza Milano
It's a classic pizza joint salad, or what I like to call a "fat salad,"because you certainly won't be shedding any pounds eating salads like this. Available in fried, breaded, or buffalo chicken varieties and steak. Cracking the surface of this salad is like breaking into a crème brûlée, except it's made of melted mozzarella and potato pucks (similar to waffle fries, just solid). It's the cheapest and biggest, and definitely the messiest.
Cristina Holtzer is a part-time assignment editor at WTAE-TV, part-time team member at Target, and full-time crazy cat lady. Follow her on Twitter @CrissyMarieH if you like news and memes.