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Pittsburgh's Buzz Worthy Bar: Burgatory

By Brooke Keane

Rather than offer a cute, but probably overdone, analogy tying Burgatory's name to its heavenly menu selections, I'll just say this. Burgatory Bar is awesome. But really, it's where all other burgers go to die. I couldn't resist.

Though the name makes obvious what their menu primarily consists of, that is only just the tip of the delicious iceberg. Burgatory's full bar lends itself to some delightful cocktails alongside a beer list to be envied and has quickly become one of the city's most talked about new restaurants.

C'mon though, who would know a burger better than a 'Burgher?

Waterworks Mall
Hours: Mon-Thurs - Sun 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat - 11am-11pm

(Photo: Brooke Keane)


The pièce de résistance, the calling card, the burger. Over the last few years, a few gourmet burger joints have popped up around the city, touting the best beef in the area, but none quite like this. Not only does Burgatory offer eight erected and perfected specialty burgers, they also have an almost overwhelming, build-your-own burger option. Building your own custom burger allows diners to choose from beef, chicken, bison, crab, Wagyu beef (a version of the more popular Kobe beef) or a veggie option, on a choice of five different buns (including topless) or no bun. From there, the combinations are truly endless. Some of the more sinful toppings include a meat rub called Angel Dust, Horseradish Cheddar and Amish Gorgonzola cheeses, Truffled Shallot Aioli sauce and Banana Ketchup, Napa Slaw, Grilled Pinapple, Maple Cured Ham, Cabernet Sauce and Avocado Wasabi…just to name a few. So many options makes it hard to decide what you want, but easy to come back another time to try something new. All of the burgers are also served with a mix of Russet and Sweet Potato chips. If gluttony is a sin, well then I would rather not be a saint!

(Photo: Brooke Keane)


Mouth not watering yet? Just check out the milkshakes. These shaken, frozen, creamy delights include Caramel Pretzel, Campfire S'mores, Salted Nutella Crunch, PB&J and Coffee & Donuts. And those are just the non-alcoholic ones! Rounding out the shake menu are five concoctions of ice cream and liquor that might make you melt. Highlights of the Spiked Shakes include the Apple Pancakes and Bacon shake with Gala Apple and Carmel Vodka blended with apple pancakes and bacon, and the Burnt Almond Torte shake which combines Amaretto with Vanilla Vodka and the local and ultra delicious Prantl's Bakery Burnt Almond Torte. The shake list also sees the occasional seasonal update and the Vanilla Bean ice cream used in all of the shakes is turned on site. One of these shakes might make you think you've died and gone to heaven, which is fitting since they're listed on the menu as "Heavenly Shakes." At least you'll have died happy.

(Photo: Brooke Keane)

Cocktails and Beer

If a thick, creamy spiked shake is too rich for your blood, there are plenty of other sinful beverages on the menu. The specialty cocktail list includes classics like a margarita, sangria, and gin and juice, all of course with their own twist or alterations to recipes. Two basil infused beverages and a drink with Devil's Cut Bourbon called the "Devil's Grandma" round out the cocktail menu, but the full bar allows for old favorites and traditional cocktail staples as well.

If you're a traditionalist (or a fan of alliteration) and want a beer with your burger, there is no shortage of options, as if building your burger wasn't nerve-wracking enough. With over 40 bottled selections ranging from ales to lagers to porters, finding something to wet your whistle might be a tough decision, but there will definitely be something to satisfy your specific tastes. The bar also has 12 rotating brews on draft, which are offered for half price during their "Hellacious Happy Hour" weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

If you're going, a word of caution, go at least an hour before you're going to be hungry. You'll be waiting. The restaurant is tucked into the small corner of a strip mall, so if you're antsy, at least you can walk around while you wait. Plus you can always check their website before you head out, it gives you an expected wait time. One thing is for sure though, the wait is definitely worth it.

And when you leave feeling uncomfortably full and like you've done something wrong, take solace in the fact that the food coma you're about to enter might be just like Heaven.

Brooke Keane acquired a bachelor's degree in journalism from Pittsburgh's Point Park University where she served in several editorial positions on school weekly, The Globe. Since graduating, Brooke has blogged for online vintage clothing boutique Crazy Hot Clothes and tried her hand at some freelance work. First a writer and then a fashion-lover, Brooke can be found spending time at the mall, when she doesn't have her nose buried in an AP Stylebook or is surveying Craigslist for jobs.

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