Excellent | Worth a Detour
Jerry’s Curb Service | Drive-In Steak Salad | Pittsburgh-Style
Review by: Michael Stern
True Drive-In, Since 1947
When you first come to Jerry’s, you might think that someone tried very hard to recreate a dining experience from the heyday of American car culture. Sleek chrome and neon set the visual tone. Car hops bring meals out to eat at the vehicle’s window. Burgers and fries take center stage on the menu. But Jerry’s is no facsimile or recreation. In business since 1947, it is the real thing. They’ve spiffed it up, for sure. Car hops take orders on a mobile device rather than an order pad. But have a meal here and you know for sure you are eating in a genuine roadside attraction that serves genuine Roadfood. That ranges from classic burgers to a dazzling drive-in steak salad.
The burger chefs cook their patties thin enough that a double or even a triple makes sense. These burgers want condiments, and Jerry’s dresses them bountifully. Expect crisp lettuce, flavorful tomato slices, lots of mayo, etc. Beyond burgers, consider a Herbie (grilled ham and cheese) or, better yet, a Burnt Herbie. For that one, they slice the ham see-through-thin, Pittsburgh-style. Then they deep fry it to a bendable crisp that resembles bacon.
Yes, You Do Want a Salad!
One does not necessarily think of ordering a salad when arriving at Jerry’s. But in fact, the kitchen’s drive-in steak salad might be the most interesting item on the menu. Jerry’s boasts that in fact it invented the steak salad. Company history says Donna Reed, Jerry’s wife, conceived it some time in the early 1960s. As served today, it reflects the tendency of Pittsburgh cuisine to be kaleidoscopic in nature: multiple disparate ingredients, piled high. This salad contains not just lettuce, tomato, et al, but also cheddar cheese and a fistful of French fries. Plus a tremendous amount of sliced sirloin on top.
Food history footnote: Jerry’s adjoins a Bruster’s ice cream shop. It is the original Bruster’s (now gone national and even international). Bruce Reed, Jerry and Donna’s son, started the company in 1989. Bruce now also runs Jerry’s.
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner, Late Night|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|