The Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” kicks off the new year with a Pittsburgh episode that will air at 9 p.m. on Monday.
Host Casey Webb said he had so much fun while filming here that he returned to Pittsburgh for a pre-holiday trip “just to hang out.”
The episode will feature Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville, D’s SixPax and Dogz in Regent Square and Steel City Samiches in Indiana, Pa.
At Church Brew Works, Mr. Webb dived into a plate of Buffalo Chicken Pierogi Saute — potato-cheese pierogies smothered with Buffalo cream sauce and beer-braised chicken. The show’s staff also wanted Church Brew Works to cook up some other nontraditional pierogies, so the kitchen created a chicken potpie pierogie, using puff pastry in place of pasta dough, and bratwurst and sauerkraut pierogies that the restaurant makes for its annual Oktoberfest.
Executive chef Jason Marrone said Mr. Webb was a lot of fun. Michael and Joe Grkman of the Grkmania polka band, who perform frequently at the restaurant, stopped by for the filming, and Mr. Webb ended up having them haul out their instruments and jam with him, Mr. Marrone said.
Mr. Webb said he was impressed with the 50-foot ceilings and beautiful space at Church Brew Works, as well as “the fact that they could keep that place alive and make something of it” when otherwise the unused church might have been torn down.
While filming in Indiana at Steel City Samiches, Mr. Webb visited the Jimmy Stewart Museum, saying he’s been a fan of Mr. Stewart since he was a kid.
The kitchen at Steel City Samiches built him the Stuffaluffagus, a five-pound sandwich made with an entire loaf of bread. It was served Pittsburgh-style, along with fries and slaw. The sandwich is on the restaurant’s regular menu, although it’s usually eaten by more than one person.
D’s SixPax and Dogz made Mr. Webb a Hot Valentine — a kielbasa topped with sweet potato fries and Sriracha coleslaw. The show’s producers told general manager Rena Agostinone that they wanted the dog after researching about it on the internet even though she doesn’t think of it as a “top heavy hitter.” She said Mr. Webb seemed to enjoy the sandwich and was “definitely super friendly and funny.”
The Post-Gazette spoke with Mr. Webb before his leisure trip to Pittsburgh, and he said he wanted to go to a Penguins game, stop by the restaurants where he had filmed, and visit Or, The Whale and Merchant Oyster Co., restaurants owned by his high school friend Dennis Marron.
“I just want to take in the city,” he said, noting there wasn’t enough time to see everything he wanted to see when he was here for filming. He had never been to Pittsburgh before filming here.
“There’s a lot of energy and buzz with new restaurants and new bars,” Mr. Webb said of Pittsburgh. “The beer scene and the bar scene are exploding and percolating.”
He said people are friendly in Pittsburgh and that the folks at D’s SixPax and Dogz even invited him to a Steelers game. He couldn’t go, but his production manager did.
“Pittsburgh has a hometown feel but in a major city,” Mr. Webb said.
Repeat airings of the Pittsburgh episode are set for midnight Jan. 2, 1 p.m. Jan. 6, 4:30 p.m. Jan. 8, 9:30 p.m. Jan. 15, 12:30 a.m. Jan. 16 and 12:30 p.m. Jan. 27.
Rebecca Sodergren: email@example.com; @pgfoodevents.