The Station Burger | Dave Bryce Photography
Food & Drink

The Best Burgers You'll Find in the 'Burgh

Updated On 08/04/2017 at 01:33PM EST
Kevin Alexander/Thrillist

The Tap Burger

The Urban Tap

Address and Info

South Side

The Tap Burger is a hulking creation combining locally sourced beef, red onion, and garlic aioli. The burger achieves a flame-grilled taste. Urban Tap strives for a fresh take on American gastropub fare, and the menu’s side dish options are solid evidence of that success. Order a side of crispy Brussels sprouts or butternut squash risotto.

Steak burger

Gaucho Parrilla Argentina

Address and Info

Strip District

Known as much for its delicious meats as it is for its line around the block, this elegantly rustic Penn Avenue restaurant has become a staple since its recent expansion. For the steak burger, it’s definitely worth the wait. The meat is cooked to just the right temperature on a wood-fired grill. The burger is juicy, pairing well with caramelized onions and portobello mushrooms all tucked between two slices of ciabatta.

David Bryce photography

Station Burger

Station

Address and Info

Bloomfield

If the words “asiago fondue” are enough to induce salivation for you, Station’s burger is a must-eat. This 6-ounce patty is a mix of chuck, brisket, and short rib, and gets topped with red onion jam, a crispy buttermilk onion ring, and creamy asiago fondue. Enjoy it in the dining room, or at the bar with one of Station’s many impressive cocktails, like the “Partisan”: a hearty drink featuring rye, Montenegro, orange and walnut.

Elise Ramirez Sloan

Shrooms Burger

BRGR

Address and Info

East Liberty

BRGR’s gourmet burgers are a handcrafted blend of Angus, chuck, and New York strip. The Shrooms Burger adds forest mushrooms, caramelized onions, Brie cheese, and mustard aioli to the sandwich. Wash it down with an adult root beer float -- root liqueur, local seltzer, and vanilla bean.

The Vandal

Burger

The Vandal

Address and Info

Lawrenceville

This burger is all about its local ingredients. The 5-ounce patty is from Butcher on Butler, just down the street from the restaurant. The brioche bun comes from Pittsburgh’s Mediterra Bakehouse; the bread-and-butter pickles are made in-house. All that, plus white Cheddar cheese, tomato mayo, and greens for good measure.

Brian Henry/Thrillist

Southwest Burger

Stinky's Bar & Grill

Address and Info

Lawrenceville

A testament to their heft, the burgers at Stinky’s are pierced with a steak knife through the middle, rather than a toothpick. Stinky’s Southwest Burger is a great pick, served with thick bacon, onion rings both inside the sandwich and on top of it, American cheese, and plenty of smoked BBQ sauce. It’s prepared just right from the kitchen, no ketchup or mustard required.

Kaya Burger

Kaya

Address and Info

Strip District

Kaya specializes in “island cuisine” with bold flavors. The burger is no exception. The Kaya Burger is stacked with sliced pickles, avocado, bacon, tomato, Chihuahua cheese, a sunny-side egg, and Kaya sauce. Kaya’s drink menu is known for its long list of tropical refreshers, from sangria to Mai Tais to mojitos, all of which taste great next to a burger.

Brian Henry/Thrillist

Hamburger

Tessaro's

Address and Info

Bloomfield

The burgers at Tessaro’s, on Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield, have been beloved by Pittsburghers for decades. Order a classic hamburger at this longtime establishment. Each burger is a half-pound mix of choice cuts and freshly ground beef, achieving the coveted smoky, just-off-the-grill flavor reminiscent of summer no matter the season. They’re cooked over a wood-fired grill stocked with oak, maple, ash, and hickory woods, all which add to the burger’s flavor -- and to the aroma of burgers wafting through Bloomfield. On a warm day, ask for a seat on the open-air deck behind the restaurant.

Burger

brunoise

Address and Info

Strip District

When a new crop of chefs rolled into restaurant incubator Smallman Galley earlier this spring, we were more than a little bummed to say goodbye to some of our favorite dishes from the inaugural class -- like Provision PGH’s out-of-this-world burger. But, as we ate our way through each concept, we found that we had nothing to worry about, especially when it came to finding an incredible new burger at the Galley. The burger at Ryan Peters’ brunoise is a simple affair, topped with lettuce, thinly-sliced pickles, white Cheddar, dijonnaise, and tomatoes (when they’re in season). What makes it outstanding is the Mediterra Bakehouse challah bun, which is buttered and grilled, giving each bite just a hint of a buttery crunch.

Kevin Alexander/Thrillist

Plain Jane

Meat & Potatoes

Address and Info

Downtown

The chefs at Meat & Potatoes know a thing or two about meat (also, potatoes), and the burger is unsurprisingly top-notch. The Plain Jane starts with a house-made bun, then adds a burger with all the traditional fixings -- lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles. The Pub Burger, featuring pastrami belly, is another popular choice.

Laura Petrilla

The Whitfield Cheeseburger

The Whitfield

Address and Info

East Liberty

Yes, one of the most delicious burgers in the city is served at a hotel restaurant. Starting with a dry-aged, grass-fed Jubilee Hilltop Ranch beef patty, Whitfield's burger gets topped with a mild Cheddar, thinly sliced fried onions, a mustard-mayo mix, and a touch of pepper jam. It’s available for both lunch and dinner, and is the perfect accompaniment to one of the badass cocktails on offer, like the Fourth River Mule (made with Boyd & Blair vodka, ginger, turmeric, honey, and lime).

Kevin Alexander/Thrillist

Fancy Burger of the Day

Butterjoint

Address and Info

Oakland

Butterjoint is the full-service bar within Legume restaurant in Oakland, a dressed-down and amazingly delicious alternative to the formal dining room. Its famous burgers are made from Western Pennsylvania beef that’s ground in-house, then stacked with a variety of house-made toppings, from cave-aged Gruyere to smoked rhubarb catsup. It also offers a rotating Fancy Burger of the Day, which usually includes a topping or two from their house canning cellar. And don’t even think about leaving without trying the pierogies, filled with grass-fed cottage cheese -- they're some of the absolute best in the city.

Kentucky Bourbon Burger

Benjamin's Western Avenue Burger Bar

Address and Info

North Shore

If you’re going to a place with "burger bar" in its name, you probably have some pretty lofty expectations, right? Well, Benjamin’s Western Avenue Burger Bar will exceed them. There are 10 specialty burgers on the menu (including a make-your-own option), all of which start with a custom blend of sirloin, brisket, and short-rib; the meat's ground daily and hand-formed into patties that get cooked to order on a steel griddle. The Kentucky Bourbon Burger is a house favorite, topped with Applewood-smoked bacon, bourbon sweet onions, and provolone cheese.

Justin Flagg

The Thick

Over The Bar Bicycle Cafe

Address and Info

South Side

For the better part of a decade, The Thick has been the best-selling burger at OTB on the South Side -- and for good reason. The patty (choose from ground beef, ground turkey, grilled chicken, or veggie) is brushed with BBQ sauce, then decked with melted Cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, and a heap of beer-battered onion rings on top. And, as the name suggests, it’s one of the thickest-stacked burgers around.

Brooks Broadhurst

Block Burger

Block 292

Address and Info

Mt. Lebanon

Block 292, a butchery, market, and café located in Mt. Lebanon, has a small menu that changes regularly with the seasons. One dish that’s always available, though, is the Block Burger: a massive, meaty sandwich made with fresh-ground beef, and topped with bacon, onion jam, bleu cheese, fresh tomato, and a bit of arugula, which beautifully cuts the sweetness of the onion jam with a tangy crunch.

Matt Dayak

Piggy Butter & Jelly

Burgatory

Address and Info

North Shore

Nothing about this burger should make sense, but it does. The Piggy Butter & Jelly at Burgatory starts with a spicy, Cajun-dusted patty, made with equal parts ground beef and ground bacon. Then, it's topped with melted white American cheese, sweet candied bacon, bread-and-butter pickles, and a generous spread of peanut butter and habanero jelly. Still not feeling it? Wait until you try a bite to pass judgment; it’s an incredible mix of sweet and spicy, with some saltiness from the peanut butter thrown in for good measure. While you’re there, be sure to get one of Burgatory’s "Heavenly Shakes," which can be made into an adults-only boozy treat by adding bourbon, vodka, and Kahlúa.

In-N-Aht Burger

Pittsburgh Sandwich Society

Address and Info

Various locations

If you’re lucky enough to find the PGH Sandwich Society food truck (and you can usually be pretty lucky since the location's announced daily on social media and the weekly schedule's listed on the website), be sure to try their classic burger, the In-N-Aht. It’s two massive beef patties, melted American cheese, onion jam, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and PGH's very own "Animal Sauce," all piled into a butter-toasted bun.

Kevin Alexander/Thrillist

The Nad-alie

Winghart's

Address and Info

Downtown

The organic meat at Winghart's is ground in-house daily, providing a fresh base for nearly a dozen burger-topping creations. The Nad-alie is one of our favorites: it’s topped with a homemade three-cheese potato pierogi, then covered in caramelized onions and doused with some burgundy au jus for good measure. Add a slice or two of cheese if you’re feeling totally, completely indulgent. Winghart’s is also a whiskey bar, so look for an ever-changing selection of distillers on the menu.

Burgh'ers Harmony

Maggie's Farm

Burgh'ers

Address and Info

Lawrenceville

Burgh’ers' new outpost in Lawrenceville has been super busy since it opened earlier this year, and for very good reason: all of the burgers are made using locally sourced beef from Jubilee Hilltop Ranch, and ground fresh each and every day. And they’re seriously good. Each burger is named after a different Pittsburgh neighborhood, with the exception of the Maggie’s Farm -- that one is topped with smoked Gouda, horseradish, caramelized onions, roasted chili, and a rum aioli made with (you guessed it) Maggie’s Farm rum.

Up Next
Bar Frenchman | Dustin Wickett
Food & Drink

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
P
ittsburgh takes its culinary clues from no one. The chefs and restaurateurs leading this city have their own, hard-won sense of what will work in this town, and the best new restaurants to open this year -- from a seafood and chop house to a French brasserie -- have forged their own path to offer something unique to Pittsburgh’s hungry masses.
With dozens of new restaurants opening each year in the city, it can be hard to make a lasting impression. As Pittsburgh gets more national attention, and more chefs are finding financial means to open their own brick-and-mortars, diners have more choices than ever on where to spend their dollars. These five new establishments have each had a big impact on Pittsburgh’s culinary landscape in the short time that they’ve been open, and are our picks for the best new restaurants of the year.
Ki Ramen PGH

Ki Ramen

Lawrenceville

Bustling ramen restaurant known for from-scratch noodles
Chef Roger Li has been busy. Last year, he opened Umami, a Japanese-style gastropub (and one of our best new restaurants of 2016), and this year, he (along with fellow Lawrenceville restaurateur Domenic Branduzzi) debuted two new concepts: Ki Pollo, the just-opened fast-casual restaurant offering Korean-style fried chicken and empanadas, and Ki Ramen, a from-scratch ramen restaurant, which has quickly become a go-to for those of us who lamented the lack of quality ramen in the city. At Ki Ramen, Branduzzi is charged with preparing the noodles that are cut daily using a Japanese-made noodle machine, adding weight and substance to Li’s delicate, delicious broths. The menu has evolved over time, and includes a vegetarian curry ramen and shoyu ramen, served with soy-braised chicken and an onsen (sous vide) egg. The restaurant has also recently added house-made bao to the menu, with fillings (miso eggplant and roast duck are two recent favorites) that change daily.

Union Standard

Downtown

Buzzy downtown spot offering a modern take on Northeast American cuisine
Since opening earlier this year, Derek Stevens’ Union Standard has given Downtown a sorely needed after-work option, elegant enough to take out-of-town clients yet casual enough for happy hour drinks with friends. The beautifully designed restaurant was part of a $100 million renovation to the historic Union Trust Building, and offers a lively, modern bar area downstairs, and a cozy, intimate upstairs dining room. The menu merges Northeastern American coastal cuisine with heartier dishes made on the wood-fired rotisserie and grill, and Stevens also offers an incredible raw bar, serving shellfish and seafood from all the usual Northeast spots -- Massachusetts, Chesapeake and Maine are typically represented. Although the menu changes frequently, it tends to lean toward traditional steak-and-seafood house fare, including a flawlessly-prepared rib-eye and a salmon dish that’s brightened with dill gnocchetti and hazelnut brown butter. You’ll also find one of the best bar snack menus in the city here, with elevated takes on classic offerings including duck fat popcorn (made with Anson Mills heirloom flint corn) and smelts (fried and served crispy with a smoked pepper remoulade).

Dustin Wickett

Bar Frenchman

East Liberty

Upscale French brasserie serving classic European dishes  
The Twisted Frenchman has been a top-ranked restaurant in Pittsburgh since opening in 2015, so when chef/owner Andrew Garbarino announced earlier this year that he was introducing a new upscale French bistro concept, we were stoked. Bar Frenchman has since lived up to the high standards set by the Twisted Frenchman, serving perfectly-executed French classics like escargot with mushroom ragout, ratatouille, mussels & frites, and the best foie gras to be found in the city. The elegant bar also serves a killer cocktail, with a menu that features twists on classics (the Boukman daiquiri with white rum, cognac, lime and cinnamon is a favorite), along with an extended list of Champagne cocktails.

Superior Motors

Braddock

Community-driven, hyper-local restaurant in Braddock with a focus on seasonality  
It’s impossible to over-emphasize how highly anticipated Kevin Sousa’s Superior Motors was for the Pittsburgh dining community. Not only was it one of the highest-grossing restaurant Kickstarter campaigns ever, but Sousa (who dazzled diners at Salt of the Earth and Union Pig & Chicken) has a well-earned reputation as one of the city’s leading culinary forces, and while the wait was long -- more than three years between the initial Kickstarter campaign and opening night -- it was worth it. The community-focused restaurant in Braddock is now open seven days a week, serving a seasonal, locally sourced menu, with produce primarily coming from nearby Braddock Farms. The dessert menu is a particular standout, with complex pairings (chocolate matcha cake with mushroom, sourdough pound cake with fresh corn cream) ending each meal on a decidedly sweet note.

or, The Whale

Downtown

An elegant seafood and chop house known for customer attention  
Downtown’s new Distrikt Hotel Pittsburgh is now home to or, The Whale, an ambitious restaurant led by chef Dennis Marron, who’s pulling double duty on the restaurant-opening front as his Merchant Oyster Company also recently opened in Lawrenceville. Housed in what used to be the gym and track area of the historic Salvation Army building, or, The Whale is a beautifully designed gem, with an upstairs bar and lounge, and an impressive dining room that features a butcher room, a private wine cellar, and an open kitchen, featuring a wood-burning hearth and a pastry room (all the better for pastry chef Jessica Lewis to make her delightful desserts). The menu offers an eclectic take on seafood and chophouse standards, with dry-aged steaks sharing space with linguine and cockles (served in a lightly seasoned garlic herb sauce), and a ground duck burger topped with seared foie gras. A separate bar, called Evangeline, adds to the experience, serving coffee during the day, and cocktails and raw bar offerings at night.

Food & Drink

The Best Places to Eat in Pittsburgh Right Now

Updated On 05/16/2018 at 05:29PM EST