When nonresident citizens of the Steelers Nation congregate for the Super Bowl Feb. 1, food from home can be an important part of the party.
Whether it's a package of Isaly's chipped ham shipped to a son in Seattle, or a loaf of Mancini's bread overnighted from McKees Rocks to Minnesota, or even a gallon of dad's homemade Super Bowl chili, favorite hometown foods are in demand.
Fortunately, the availability of Web sites and overnight shipping service has made it possible for people from California to Florida to satisfy their game-day cravings.
"It's like Christmas," says Josh HIllyard, an associate at The UPS Store on the South Side, who has seen an upturn in customers shipping Steelers-related items. "It started the week before the playoffs, and goes on until the day before the game. Usually, it's normal Steelers gear -- Terrible Towels and Steelers hats and bobble-head dolls. We also get a lot of pierogis."
And local merchants are glad to oblige. Mary Mancini, owner and president of Mancini's Bread Co. in McKees Rocks calls the company's partially baked and frozen loaves "Steeler inspired." The loaves were created to make the company's bread more economical to ship. A fully baked loaf of Mancini's signature twist bread costs $2.20. Because the bakery uses no preservatives and wants to guarantee freshness and quality, it will only ship those fully baked loaves overnight. If the recipient lives in Florida or California, that can add as much at $40 to the bill. Some customers don't mind and are willing to pay shipping costs as high as $102 to put four or five loaves on their Steelers party table. But several partially baked $2.47 loaves can be travel by two-day ground for a smaller $11 shipping charge. Loaves can be ordered in quantity and frozen for future use.
Mineo's Pizza House also helps feed the Steelers nation. The last time the Steelers played in the Super Bowl, Mineo's shipped between 250 to 300 pizzas to 48 locations around the country. By the time the Steelers face-off against the Cardinals in Tampa, owner Dominic Mineo expects at least 70 customers far from Pittsburgh will have one or more of his pizzas on the menu for their Super Bowl party. Mineo's bakes its pizzas halfway, then freezes them before shipping for overnight delivery via FedEx. It's not inexpensive. A 12-inch pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms costs $14.50. But, depending on the pizza's destination, overnight shipping costs will add $20 to $30 to the bill, Mineo estimates. Larger orders are more cost effective, Mineo suggests. Because they arrive frozen, additional pizzas can be stored in the freezer to be eaten later. Increasing an order from one pizza to 10 will increase the shipping bill to $40.
"It makes sense to order eight or 10, because then you're paying $4 (to ship each pizza) instead of $20. Despite advances in technology -- not to mention frequent requests and pleas -- Primanti Brothers Restaurant signature sandwiches remain unavailable for shipping. "The sandwich will not taste the same by the time it gets there," explains Toni Haggerty, manager at the Strip District location. "The bread gets mushy if you don't eat it right away."
By Alice T. Carter, TRIBUNE-REVIEW Tuesday, January 20, 2009