Smash Burgers Continue To Flatten The Competition In The ‘Burgh

At pop-ups and dine-in joints around Pittsburgh, thin patties with crispy edges are a smashing success.


I’m dating myself with this ancient Wendy’s reference, but if you want to know the answer to the question “Where’s the beef?” well, it’s everywhere. 

As many local vegan spots close, flat top grills are sizzling with smash burgers. 

If you’ve been living under a rock instead of a spatula, you get a smash burger by flattening a meatball and leaving it on the hot surface until the thin edges are nice and crispy. Add your preferred toppings and condiments, throw it on a soft bun — potato rolls seem to be the preferred bread among smash burger purveyors — and welcome to your new obsession. Please leave your diet at the door.

Since February, Burgh’ers Brewing, which has sites in Lawrenceville, Zelienople and a soon-to-open spot at The Highline on the South Side, has been releasing edible odes to famous chain eatery burgers. The Fast Food But Better series has given a gourmet boost to Burger The Whopper from Burger King, White Castle sliders and Shake Shack’s mushroom burger.

The homegrown Moonlit Burgers chain is putting the finishing touches on its third local storefront and is gearing up to go national. 

On March 23, the owners of Bridge City Brinery food truck unleashed another mobile kitchen called Bridge City Smashery. Carnivores will howl over the Oklahoma Onion two beef patties, American cheese, city sauce, white onion. I don’t know the melting point of ground beef, but I’ve never had a burger melt in my mouth quite like this one — an ooey-gooey delight.

Vegans, don’t feel left out of this culinary phenom; The Smashery has The Vegan Smashie, three mushroom patties, pickled red onion and cilantro chimichurri. 

While Bridge City Smashery is on a roll, there’s a new stationary smash burger kitchen at Lawrenceville Market House on Butler Street in Lawrenceville. 

Simply Burgers & Fries doesn’t mince words. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 4 to 9:30 p.m. for pick-up, delivery and dine-in. the menu items include a single, a double and a triple-patty burger, a donut burger (Lawrenceville Market House is also home to Oliver’s Donuts) 

The dining room is located across the street in the lower level of Bierport at 4115 Butler St. There’s a cool little bar down there (a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Butler Street) and a wide selection of bottles and cans of beer to choose from or take home in a six-pack. You can also take in a movie at the adjoining Row House Cinemas. All the businesses are run by Botero Development. 

On Saturday, April 1, Leon’s Smash Burgers, an Australian-based pop up, will set up at Pizza Lupo at 5123 Butler St. in Lawrenceville from noon to 5 p.m. The burger guru from Down Under films his globetrotting, high-cholesterol adventures for his YouTube channel so you might see yourself getting smashed online. 

It’s guaranteed to be a g’day, mate.

Categories: PGHeats