A spot-on portrayal of the iconic Strip District Primanti Bros. is joining the menagerie of miniaturized historic Pittsburgh buildings at Carnegie Science Center’s Miniature Railroad & Village.
The two-story red brick building will be on view beginning Nov. 20. Visitors can gawk at the building’s exterior and even peek inside, which will be visible through the windows and doors, carefully crafted to look just like the real restaurant. The model will sit next to the village’s version of Mr. Rogers’ house and a Gulf Gas station.
“Isn’t that uniquely Pittsburgh?” said Patty Everly, Curator of Historic Exhibits at Carnegie Science Center.
“In starting to research it, you start to learn about the story of the Strip,” she said. “It’s a pop culture piece, not unlike Isaly’s or Forbes Field in people’s memories. But it’s also when you go back to the ’20s, you realize there’s real history.”
In the next few weeks until the grand unveil, Everly and her staff are putting all the finishing touches on the piece they designed. In the railroad workshop today, program assistant Nikki Wilhelm worked to design the interior of the model, carefully cutting and sanding the bottom of beer steins to affix to the tables.
Check out the miniature beer stein on the bar.Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline
Here’s a look at the new Primanti’s model, which will include tiny sandwiches, of course, by the numbers:
- 14 tiny liquor bottles at the bar
- 12 3D-printed windows along the front of the building
- 9 months of historic research by Science Center staff
- 8 mini beer steins
- 8 bar stools
- 6 weeks of intensive design work
- 1 blue-and-orange neon sign
- 1 silver bar
- 1 Toni Haggerty, a server and cook — because she’s the one-and-only
Toni Haggerty holds court in the back, while customers snack on sandwiches.Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline
Every year, the North Shore museum adds a new model to the display, each representing a piece of Pittsburgh history up until the 1940s. Recent additions included the Westinghouse Atom Smasher in Forest Hills, the Crawford Grill in the Hill District and the Buhl Planetarium on the North Side. The railroad features:
- 250,000+ trees
- 23,000 fans in Forbes Field
- 105 animations
- 85 automobiles
- 60 trucks
- 22 horse-drawn vehicles
- 14 aircraft
- 1 Incline (Monongahela Incline)
And soon, you can add 1 Primanti Bros. to that list, too.
An in-progress view of the restaurant's interior.Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline
Editor’s Note: Rossilynne Culgan is a former Carnegie Science Center employee.