Anyone who’s visited Pittsburgh’s Market Square downtown has probably seen the little fish place on the corner of McMasters Way, The Original Oyster House.
Maybe you’ve even been there — and if you have, surely you know that they offer on their menu a “Famous Fish Sandwich.” That was what brought us to the place on a blustery night about a week back: we were pumped to kick off round two of our 2015 Famous Fish Fracas.
Founded over 140 years ago, The Original Oyster House is Pittsburgh’s oldest extant bar and restaurant. On the bar side, which is where we visited (because c’mon, it’s us), you get a similar vibe to that of Nied’s, where it’s kind of low-rent but friendly and welcoming.
With vintage decor that was actually installed brand-new, a giant Rocky Marciano poster over the bar, and a laminated menu featuring a copy of an autographed Sinatra headshot, this place is the epitome of old-school.
Before digging into the Famous Fish sandwich, we got a little warmup of New England clam chowder. It was a little on the thick side for our tastes, but it was very meaty and not overly salted, as clam chowders often can be. It paired well with our shots of Jameson. (Of course that’s true, because clam chowder is a thing, and all things pair well with Jameson.)
And then came our reason for the visit — we had a date with some fried cod, draped in breading made from an almost-100-year-old recipe. Along with the sandwich, we ordered some coleslaw and house-made chips.
You know what? For the money, it was a really good sandwich. The fish itself was a little on the thin side, but the breading was great and the bun was good quality. It didn’t blow our socks off like the one at Nied’s, truth be told, but the food was served quickly, we did enjoy what we ate (the chips were a highlight), and it was really cheap. Including our shots, we spent a bit over twenty bucks on everything you saw in the pictures. If you’re in the mood for church fish fry, but it’s not Lent, definitely give this place a shot. It’s got a unique ambiance, the staff is friendly, it’s got a lot of history…and the fish ain’t bad, either!