Pittsburghese food missing Pittsburgh heritage

Let’s begin by pointing out – for those reading this outside of the Pittsburgh area – that “Dahntahn” is Pittsburghese for “downtown.”  I work dahntahn and after a team meeting decided to gather a couple co-workers for lunch.  We all were up for trying something new, so I suggested the Taste of Dahntahn.  This new restaurant has a large colorful sign which hangs over the sidewalk of Liberty Avenue near Fifth Avenue Place.  The entire restaurant is themed toward historical Pittsburgh – the tabletops are even covered with black and white photography which probably dates back into the early 1900s (or earlier).  The menu is very kitschy, infusing many Pittsburghese-like words into the selections and their descriptions.

For my lunch, I decided to order from the BURGERS N’ AT section and get the “Bees Knees Sirloin” – Half pahn burger with bacon, American, cheddar, dahntahn’s 58 mayo, shredded iceberg, tuhmaytuh & red onion. $9. with fries add $3.

The highlight was the $3 add-on fries.  The fact that they were shoestring fries wasn’t something I even noticed on the menu, but it was a nice surprise because you can’t get them many places.  The Burger was cooked as ordered.  I ordered my burger medium-well, and it was delivered hot and to the correct temp.

Sadly, those are it for my highlights.  The burger was just okay – nothing special, but overpriced.  Plus, I still don’t know what dahntahn’s 58 mayo is.  Did they add something to Heinz 57 to turn it white and call it mayo?  (I’m joking.)  
Taste of Dahntahn on UrbanspoonWhat I find most disturbing isn’t the fact that I wasn’t impressed with the food, because every town has run-of-the-mill lunch spots which are able to have a neat theme.  The problem I had was that due to its name and its location, I could picture travelers to come to Taste of Dahntahn, be as unimpressed as I was, and think that all of Pittsburgh dining is like this.  In fact, I don’t think the menu is a good representation of how great Pittsburgh dining is.  I hope travelers see it for its theme and don’t judge the rest of the city’s dining scene based on a single visit here.
If given the opportunity, I may try it one more time and try to get something else.  But I’d like to see them upgrade the menu with some regional flair.  I mean, can you really represent the taste of downtown Pittsburgh without a Pierogi on your menu?
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