PM dining critic Hal B. Klein spent months eating scores of hamburgers in and around Pittsburgh. Find out how he narrowed his list down to 19 — and see which ones made the cut.
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photo by nick spanos
Meat & Potatoes
It’s challenging to find a great late-night hamburger in Pittsburgh, but owl-shifted Pittsburghers can find one on Monday nights at Meat & Potatoes with the nightcap burger. It’s a straightforward patty of 100-percent Black Angus chuck, grilled and served — until 1 a.m. — in a Mancini’s potato bun. It’s smoky, beefy and a steal at only $6; look for rotating weekly specials. Build in an always-excellent cocktail special and your week is off to a solid, if perhaps bleary-eyed, start. The establishment’s dinner-menu “Plane Jane” and “Pub” burgers also are worth ordering.
[649 Penn Ave., Downtown; 412/325-7007, meatandpotatoespgh.com]
photo by Hal b. klein
OTB Bicycle Cafe
What’s better than chowing down on a fat, juicy hamburger that tastes like a backyard barbecue? Eating that burger while relaxing by a beautiful lake after you’ve spent the past few hours bicycling, hiking or kayaking. Over the Bar Bicycle Cafe’s North Park Boathouse location serves a selection of charbroiled, ½-pound, loosely packed ground chuck burgers in a variety of permutations. I’m partial to The Trail Builder Burger (bacon, provolone and cheddar cheeses, onion straws, lettuce). OTB’s original South Side location serves equally delightful burgers, minus the view.
[Allison Park and South Side; otbbicyclecafe.com]
Nox’s Tavern & Grille
Steamers — hamburgers cooked primarily via steam — typically are a New England theme, but you can find them in Blawnox at Nox’s Tavern and Grille. Cooks at the family-run establishment begin by searing an 80/20 mix of ground beef on a flat-top and then give it a hot sweat in a steam table to cook the meat. The hamburger returns to the flat-top for a final sear before it’s topped with white cheddar, lettuce, tomato and pickle, and then it’s sandwiched in a buttered and toasted Mancini’s Bakery Kaiser roll. Bonus: the bar’s steak-fries rank among my favorite in Pittsburgh.
[720 Blaw Ave., Blawnox; 412/794-8233, noxstavern.com]