Dan and Sherri Leiphart finally found their spot. Their Thin Man Sandwich Shop opened Feb. 5 at the corner of 21st and Smallman streets. After two years of looking, they felt that the heart of the Strip District's gastronomic bazaar was right for combining a fine-dining aesthetic with a lunch-counter atmosphere.
The long, narrow space faces the landmark Produce Terminal. They named it after the classic "Thin Man" film series because they identify with the playful couple portrayed by William Powell and Myrna Loy.
Working at top local kitchens (he notably with Isabela, she at Le Pommier), they'd noted how "everything's becoming super small-batch and artisanal," says Sherri Leiphart.
The hearty, inventive sandwiches range from red-curry hummus to the "Old-School Cold Meatloaf Sandwich" (with Hellmann's mayo). The "Smash" ($8.99) featured a slab of goat-milk-marinated organic chicken breast, with avocado, alfalfa and lemon-pickled green onion, on a toasted wheat baguette. The rich and warming pumpkin soup ($3.50) incorporates Wigle Whiskey (distilled nearby), crème fraiche and whole-grain croutons.
The Leipharts do all the cooking, and source from local farms when possible. Even the house infusions (like sweet ginger) use Pittsburgh Seltzer Water.
Experimentally, Thin Man stays open late to catch homebound commuters. And Sherri Leiphart says they enjoy introducing customers to new tastes. "What's mortadella?" they ask. "Fancy bologna from Italy," she replies, "only way better."