Winghart's Burger & Whiskey Bar Opens Downtown

Led by its namesake and a guy that insists on being called "Shipwreck," Winghart's Burger & Whiskey Bar in Market Square is a dream come true for burger lovers.



Ranging from local pop art on display, to a mixture of alternative folk music complimenting their ingredients, Winghart's Burger & Whiskey Bar sets the stage for a unique experience. From left: Joe Schuster, owner Zachary Winghart, "Shipwreck" and Tara Zynel.

Photo by Tony Madonna

As a heap of perfectly seasoned fries are nudged aside to make room for a gigantic, mouth-watering burger, I take a moment to listen to the upbeat punk music jumping from the speakers. I look up and down the bar at a half-dozen smiling people eagerly chatting with the line cooks, the hostess and each other. I smell pizza cooking in the wood-fired oven.

A thought occurs to me: This is the exact opposite of grabbing a sandwich and bringing it back to my desk.

I’ve had hundreds of uninteresting lunches downtown, which usually consist of balancing some fast food between my keyboard and phone. It is, to put it mildly, an uninspiring ritual. And Winghart’s is here to end it once and for all.
 

wingharts burger

The Beretta Veggie Burger, a Portobello-falafel patty covered in spinach-artichoke spread and topped with roasted red peppers, arugula, olives and feta, at Winghart's Burger & Whiskey Bar.

Photo by Tony Madonna   

Head to Winghart’s—almost hidden in a corner of Market Square—around lunchtime, and you’ll grab a seat at the bar, which is all that separates you from the kitchen. You’ll order your food at the cash register, possibly be given a code name to distinguish you from other guests (mine was Captain Morgan; my friend was Julia Roberts), and your food will be prepared as you chat with the guy making it.

And you’ll love it. Oh, man, will you love it. There’s the Shipwrecked Burger: Brie, carmelized onions, bacon, arugula and white truffle aioli, on top of a perfect hunk of beef. The Tatonka Chicken Pizza (so named for what the Indians in Dances with Wolves called buffalo): House-made chicken sausage, blue cheese, mozzarella, provolone and buffalo sauce. Feeling like a salad? No light greens and vinaigrette here. Have the Popeye’s Guilty Pleasure, made of spinach, sliced egg, red onions, gruyere cheese, bacon and honey mustard.

In a word: Yes.

Winghart’s is the creation of chef and creative partner Zach Winghart, a Pittsburgh native who trained at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute (now Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts). After school, Winghart headed to Florida to study under master chef John Johnstone, of the Ritz Carlton, but eventually ended up back home. Winghart’s is his first restaurant.

“I want it to feel a certain way,” he says. “I want people to feel as much as they can like they’re a part of this restaurant.”

To do so, Winghart's made Pittsburgh feel welcome in early January with a Free Food Day, opening their doors with gratis pizza and burgers, just to announce their presence. A few weeks later, they opened for lunch (current hours are Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m., but they’re about to expand further into the evenings), and had enthusiastic customers on the first day.

“There aren't too many places where you could have this much walking traffic,” Winghart points out.

Winghart’s second-in-command is a man who insists that his name is “Shipwreck,” the namesake of the aforementioned burger. When pressed, he’ll defiantly state that his full name is “Nautical Vessel Wrought Asunder,” so it’s best to just call him Shipwreck. He also insists that his title at Winghart’s is not manager or cook; it’s Viceroy.

So, he’s a bit quirky.

In any case, he’s at Winghart’s every day, and he’ll probably be the one you’ll chat with over the counter. He says he was surprised at how quickly Winghart’s caught on.

“As time progressed, I saw less and less people that I recognized,” he reports. “So I thought, we must be doing well.”

Shipwreck and Winghart currently are occupied with trying to get a liquor license in order. They’re expecting it in mid-April, and clearly have had booze in their thoughts from the start; the menu reads “Winghart’s Burger & Whiskey Bar.”

Shipwreck will gladly rattle off all the varieties of whiskey they’ll soon have; until then, the food and the atmosphere are more than enough reason to stop by. It’s everything a great meal out should be: Social, lively and unique with inspired food.

“I literally had a dream about opening this place,” Winghart reports. For him, it was a dream; for Pittsburgh, it’s a dream come true.

(Wingharts Burger & Whiskey Bar, 5 Market Square, downtown. Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Info: 412/434-5600)
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Sports media company Whistle Sports documented Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon's recovery workout regime.
Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

The Heinz History Center’s World War II traveling exhibit focuses on western Pennsylvania’s ties to history.
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Meg Cheever To Step Down

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Meg Cheever To Step Down

The nonprofit's founding President and CEO will leave her position early next year.
Pittsburgh Pens' Spouse is ‘Hockey Wife’ On and Off Camera

Pittsburgh Pens' Spouse is ‘Hockey Wife’ On and Off Camera

After a Stanley Cup-winning season for the Pittsburgh Penguins, one player’s wife is working on her own claim to fame.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Restaurant Review: Pork & Beans

Restaurant Review: Pork & Beans

The latest restaurant from the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group brings Texas-style smoked meats and more to Downtown.
Daytripping: Brave the Cave

Daytripping: Brave the Cave

Go subterranean at Laurel Caverns, the largest cave in Pennsylvania.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Sports media company Whistle Sports documented Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon's recovery workout regime.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Dish Osteria and Bar To Close

Dish Osteria and Bar To Close

The beloved Pittsburgh institution will serve its last meal in April.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

Voodoo Brewery is an enticing alternative to the many chains in and around the Waterfront.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Even as they entertained Dont’a Hightower for nearly seven hours during a free-agent recruiting trip to the South Side, the Steelers never lost sight of who they are or what they’re all about.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

The miniature bath- and shower-oil collection from Aromatherapy Associates makes every shower a luxury experience.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

Reviews of two films appearing at the 2017 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: "I, Daniel Blake," and "The Eagle Huntress." Plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Combating the Cold: How This Couple Pulled Off Their Winter Wedding

Combating the Cold: How This Couple Pulled Off Their Winter Wedding

Happy to see warmer weather? This gorgeous winter wedding may actually have you missing the snow.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Auction Alert: Own a Piece of Artistry

Auction Alert: Own a Piece of Artistry

Looking for a unique piece? Inventory from Artistry, which closed up shop in the Strip District after more than 25 years in business, will be sold at auction this weekend.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

The Outdoor Recreation Club becomes the newest student organization at the college.

Comments