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 Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: Local Beverly's Birthdays Gets National Attention

Watch: Local Beverly's Birthdays Gets National Attention

NBC Nightly News profiled Megs Yunn of Irwin, who doles out birthday cheer 365 days a year.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Meet the Federal Galley Chefs

Meet the Federal Galley Chefs

We have the lowdown on who is cooking what in the new North Side food hall from the operators of Smallman Galley.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


King Arthur's Sword Turns a Spot in Baldwin Into an Entertainment Destination

King Arthur's Sword Turns a Spot in Baldwin Into an Entertainment Destination

IQ Escape's new South Hills escape rooms elevate Crafthouse Stage & Grill and Legacy Lanes.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Encouraging Start Only a Start for The Steelers

Encouraging Start Only a Start for The Steelers

The season's first two victories were notched against mediocre competition. Eventually, the degree of difficulty is going to ratchet up considerably.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Kingsman Sequel Leans Into the Crazy (And Turns Out Fun)

Kingsman Sequel Leans Into the Crazy (And Turns Out Fun)

Reviews of "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," "Friend Request" and "Brad's Status," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Mad Libs Adds Laughs and Advice to Pittsburgh Wedding

Mad Libs Adds Laughs and Advice to Pittsburgh Wedding

Wedding guests were asked to bring their creativity to the couple’s big day.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Tour Chatham Village, Pittsburgh’s Own Secret Garden

Tour Chatham Village, Pittsburgh’s Own Secret Garden

The home and garden tour in the historic planned garden community in the heart of Mt. Washington takes place next week.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments

Edit Module

Edit Module