Sometimes, all you want or need is a great burger. Not a perfectly cooked filet, or trendy sushi, or an elegant seafood dinner, or even modernist cuisine, but a juicy, flavorful, classic hamburger, perhaps with a few creative toppings. And for that, you go to Burgh’ers.
Opened in 2010, Burgh’ers is one of several gourmet burger joints to recently hit Pittsburgh’s restaurant scene. What sets Burgh’ers apart from the crowd is its strong commitment to using local, natural ingredients—evident in the way the restaurant proudly lists its local purveyors right on its home page. Another source of pride for Burgh’ers is its proprietary meat blend, made from grass-fed beef raised at Armstrong Farms in Saxonburg, PA.
A quick glance at the menu will tell you this isn’t your parents’ burger joint. Instead of just hamburgers and cheeseburgers, you’re able to choose from nearly a dozen specialty burger combinations, all with sophisticated toppings. Caramelized onions? Check. Wild mushrooms? Check. Fennel seed? Check. Even rapini? You bet! None of the preconceived burgers quite your fancy? Then build your own burger with the toppings list on the back of the menu.
On my first (of what I hope will be many) trip to Burgh’ers last weekend, I selected the Forest Hills burger with a side of rosemary fries. Most of the specialty burgers are named for Pittsburgh neighborhoods; my Forest Hills burger was topped with blue cheese, sautéed wild mushrooms, mixed greens, and local honey. It was sublime. You may remember how I enjoy sweet-savory foods and other creative flavor combinations; well, this burger catered to every one of my taste buds. The pungent, savory blue cheese blended perfectly with the earthy mushrooms, while the greens added a bit of peppery freshness to the mix. The honey was literally the icing on the cake, balancing yet enhancing every flavor.
The fries glistened with fruity olive oil and were topped with chopped rosemary and coarse salt. They were delicious, with a vibrant woodsy flavor from the rosemary, but next time I think I’ll save them for when I order a more subdued burger. I washed everything down with a Boylan’s Birch Beer. (Side note: All of the sodas served at Burgh’ers are made with natural sugar. The restaurant stocks a variety of Boylan’s sodas, along with Mexican Coke in glass bottles.)
My dining companion for the evening, my husband ordered the Animal burger with a side of regular fries. The Animal is one of the few departures from the Pittsburgh neighborhood naming patterns; it’s topped with cream cheese, jalapenos, Swiss cheese, onion, romaine, and tomatoes. “It sounds weird,” my husband admitted, “but cream cheese is the perfect topping for a burger.” He raved about the burger for several minutes on the drive home, his only complaint being that he would have liked more jalapenos (he prefers foods spicier than I do).
What about Burgh’ers’ special meat blend? They have a right to be proud of it. My biggest complaint about many gourmet burgers, and I know I’m in the minority here, but I think there is a very big difference between juicy and greasy. Burger grease should not soak completely through the bottom bun before you’ve taken two or three bites. Burgh’ers recognizes this; their blend is juicy and full of flavor, not grease. I don’t cook with a lot of grass-fed beef because it requires some effort to find, but after being reminded of how good it tastes, especially in Burgh’ers burgers, I think I’ll put in the work from now on.
Burgh’ers’ home in Harmony, PA, is a bit of a jaunt from Pittsburgh (although less of a trip for Beaver County residents like me), but I think the casual, family friendly restaurant is well worth the drive, even with the price of gas today.
100 Perry Highway
Harmony, PA 16037