Primanti Bros. coming to area

CROSS KEYS – A popular Pittsburgh restaurant known for piling coleslaw and french fries on its sandwiches is making plans to open in Allegheny Township.

Primanti Bros. wants to remodel the former Krispy Kreme doughnut shop in Plank Road Commons and open in November, engineer Stephanie Shoenfelt of Keller Engineers said Tuesday.

She addressed Allegheny Township supervisors about the restaurant’s plans that include creation of an enclosed patio. Krispy Kreme closed in December 2008 after five years of business at that site.

Supervisors David Burchfield Jr. and Donald W. Fowkes offered conditional approval on the Primanti Bros. restaurant land development plans, subject to review by the owner of Sam’s Club, whose property borders the parcel. The plans are also up for review today before the Blair County Planning Commission.

“That’s a great restaurant,” Fowkes said of the proposal. “I’ve eaten at one in Pittsburgh.”

“They keep saying that no one here knows them, but I tell them that’s not true,” Shoenfelt said.

The Mirror contacted the company for further information but has not received a return phone call.

Supervisors Chairman David Burchfield Jr. said he did not know what attracted the restaurant to the township but welcomes the business.

When the restaurant chain announced plans in August to open a location in Morgantown, W.Va., company personnel told WPXI of Pittsburgh that they were also looking to open restaurants in Altoona, State College, Erie and Wheeling, W.Va.

The Morgantown location opened in March. The Erie location has been described as part of a forthcoming Millcreek Mall expansion.

The founding of Primanti Bros. restaurants dates back to the early 1930s when Joe Primanti began selling sandwiches from a cart to hungry truckers coming and going from Pittsburgh’s Strip District, which became the site of the first restaurant.

After Joe Primanti moved to California in the 1940s for health reasons, brothers Dick, Stanley and John kept the Strip District restaurant going. After Stanley and John died, Dick Primanti sold the restaurant, in 1974, to Jim Patrinos who opened additional locations in the Pittsburgh area and three locations in Florida.

In January 2013, the restaurant announced that it had acquired an unspecified private investment from Catterton Partners of Greenwich, Conn., that would be used to pursue expansion plans.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.