Watch how Triangle Bar’s Battleship sub is built |

Watch how Triangle Bar’s Battleship sub is built

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
Tom Crombie, owner of Triangle Bar & Grill in Swissvale prepares the famous "Battleship" sub.

The rule at the Triangle Bar & Grill in Swissvale is this: “If you wouldn’t serve it to your mom, don’t serve it to anyone else.”

Owner Tom Crombie repeated those words Tuesday as he discarded a few rogue tomato slices while creating the famous “Battleship” sandwich.

What’s inside this submarine that made Thrillist’s 33 Best Sandwich Shops in America?

It starts with a 24-inch bun—made fresh at the nearby Triangle Bread Company – which churns out about 300 loaves a day.

Crombie sliced the bun and added a heaping of salami (they go through 1,000 to 1,100 pounds of salami a week), several slices of provolone cheese, piles of ham, shakes of oregano, salt, and pepper, lots of oil and finally, secret sauce.

“I can’t tell you what that is,” he said.

The Thrillist website — a resource for food, drink, travel and entertainment news — pins the accolade around Triangle’s 27-inch Battleship sub ( it should be 24 inches), calling it “a military-grade assault of provolone, ham, salami, lettuce, tomato and onion — topped with a heavy pour of oil and vinegar, with more than a few pinches of oregano, salt and pepper.”

“We get noticed by these lists and everyone knows about it because they share it on social media,” said Crombie, whose family has owned it since March 17, 1982. “Just wait until the college students come back in August. We will have them and their parents stopping in because they heard about Triangle’s subs. It will be packed in here.”

Not much has changed, Crombie said, including preparing the sandwiches on the same refrigerated work table for 45 years.

Being recognized by sites such as Thrillist and featured on WQED’s Rick Sebak’s show as the “T” in the Pittsburgh alphabet and others helps get the word out. He received more than 200 text messages on Monday congratulating him.

“We have been able to continue to be successful by offering the freshest bread, meats and cheeses that the original owners Joe and John Catanzano built the business on, Crombie said. “We love making hearty sandwiches for our customers who know what they will get when they’re here and we wouldn’t serve them anything we wouldn’t serve our mother.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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