Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop brings Delaware subs to Pittsburgh


John Blair | Senior Staff Photographer

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop on Forbes Avenue.

By Ananya Pathapadu, Staff Writer

Pittsburgh natives have long known the corner of South Bouquet Street and Forbes Avenue as the location of The O, an iconic hot dog shop. After the closing of The O in April 2020, which left the space vacant for months, the storefront is the new home of Capriotti’s sandwich shop. 

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop started in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1976 and has since expanded to 12 states and more than 100 locations nationwide. The restaurant offers classic sandwiches such as cheesesteak and Italian subs, as well as vegetarian options with veggie meat or “Impossible” plant-based meat.

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop and Viva Los Tacos now occupy the space that once was home to The O, and Jeremy Tuckfelt, co-owner of the Oakland location, explained how when Viva Los Tacos approached him about the space, he was not certain that he had a chance of getting this location.

“We came into this space together with Viva Los Tacos,” Tuckfelt said. “Viva came to me and said, ‘Hey do you wanna go into this space together?’ and I said, ‘I think we have a 0.0000001% chance of actually getting in, but sure let’s do it.’ And the rest is history.”

Tuckfelt was first exposed to Capriotti’s when he studied at the University of Delaware.

“When I was in college I used to eat here every day,” Tuckfelt said. 

Tuckfelt said the idea of opening a Capriotti’s in Pittsburgh was something he started thinking about five years ago, when he accidentally walked into a Capriotti’s in California one day.

“I went to a wedding in California five years ago,” Tuckfelt said. “I went and walked around and made a left off of Rodeo and there was a Capriotti’s. So I got some subs and really started to think about owning the business. Researched it for five years until this point right now.”

A Pittsburgh native, Tuckfelt said he has been very familiar with the space and knew it would not be easy to open a new restaurant in The O’s old storefront.

“Being born and raised here, I have been in this building my entire life. It doesn’t come easy to come into a legendary space and then change it but I think we did a pretty darn good job,” Tuckfelt said.

When Tuckfelt secured the location, he knew a lot of work needed to be done to revitalize the space because the location had been unchanged for 70 or so years.

“Put a lot of love into this place. It needed a lot of work as you could imagine. Really not doing anything in this space for 70 years or however long they were here,” Tuckfelt said. 

Having had Capriotti’s in the past, Tuckfelt said he wanted to open a location and bring the food to his hometown of Pittsburgh. He didn’t want to wait for someone else to do it.

“Folks that have had Capriotti’s in the past, whether it be in Delaware or Vegas or California or anywhere, know the brand and kind of waited for it to come here. For me, I couldn’t wait for it to eat the food again because there’s no Capriotti’s around here,” Tuckfelt said.

Tuckfelt said a highlight of the food at Capriotti’s is the turkey, which is roasted fresh daily at the shop. Aside from the ingredients in the sandwiches, he said the bread and the way the sandwiches are made make the food special.

“Turkeys are all freshly roasted daily in house. It’s not processed turkey or sliced turkey, we actually roast roughly 27-pound birds, four of them a day in the oven and then we pull ‘em downstairs,” Tuckfelt said. “Fresh-roasted turkey, meatballs, it’s just all made with love and care. The bread really makes the sandwich and our bread is perfect.”

Julia Skwirut, a senior nursing major who ate at Capriotti’s, said she was familiar with the sandwich shop and that the food here tastes like it does in her hometown.

“Yes, I’ve been here before. We have one in my hometown,” Skwirut said. “It’s fine, it’s my first time [visiting the Oakland location]. It took a while to wait, but besides that it tastes the same.”

Capriotti’s offers vegetarian alternatives with plant-based meat, which is what first-year computer engineering major Ankita Raj ordered at the shop. She said the food was fresh and tasted great.

“It’s really good. I got the impossible cheesesteak which is a plant-based meat sandwich with American cheese, mushrooms, onions and hot peppers. I also got a side of chips which are really good. It’s really nice and warm and the ingredients taste really fresh,” Raj said.

Aside from the food, Raj said the look of the restaurant is something new and thought it was well-organized.

“Even though it’s like a fast-food restaurant, I feel like it’s really contemporary and I like the walls and the design of the place. And I think the way it’s set up is efficient,” Raj said. 

Tuckfelt said the response from the community has been very positive, and he sees people coming in and enjoying the food.

“The response has been nothing but positive. We’ve been asking everybody, what’d you get to eat? Did you like it? People have been like, ‘I love it.’ I’ve seen a few people back here every day since we’ve been open which is a good thing as well. I think we’ve been well received,” Tuckfelt said.