Welcome to Burgatory

     Burgers, brews, and my boys.  I cannot think of too many ways I rather spend an evening out.  In March we attended an awards event hosted by the AIGA in Pittsburgh, one of the award winning design pieces was for a burger joint cleverly named Burgatory.  I had never heard of it before but as a lover of all things burger I was intrigued.  I could not wait to check it out.

     Last night I made the opportunity to go with Eric, my bro, and cousin.  I love hanging out with these guys.  They are like sound boards for each other, all things are silly with their unique brand of hilarity.  Not having eaten anything but a few zucchini muffins in preparation for their “Helluva Burgers + Heavenly Shakes,” we were starving.  There was a 45 min to 1 hour wait when we arrived at about 6:30 pm, but not a problem there were plenty of stores in the area to occupy our time, and they use an app that texts you when your table is ready and give you 10 minutes to show up to claim it.  Nice feature!

     After our table was ready it was time to peruse the menu and let me tell you it is a beaut! With eight burger creations on the menu, along with entree sized salads, and other sandwiches there is something for everyone.  However they also have a custom creation pad at the table, tear off a page and hand one to the bud at your side.  Who can resist making their own?  Of course we all had to make a custom creation.  Starting out with the burger there are six different choices some traditional and some not so traditional. The list includes hormone free beef, all natural chicken, natural bison, dry aged wagyu, lump crab, and their phat patti veggie. With six bun choices, seven rubs applied prior to cooking, eight different cheeses, twelve sauces, and thirty toppings (some of these are free, others 1 to 1.5 dollars), the combinations and possibilities are endless.  Here the burger is king, gourmet it up, take a nontraditional route, or remain true to the american classic. It is all up to you with the custom creation menu.

The list
My custom creation and half full shake, believe me it didn’t last long!
Eric working on his creation

     First things first however, and that is the subject of drinks.  Burgatory is proud of they’re heavenly shakes and rightly so, they are rich and pure deliciousness.  I started off my meal with Grand Daddy’s secret.  This shake begins its life as all shakes do there with the house made, hand turned, vanilla bean ice cream.  What makes it grand daddy’s secret is bourbon and carmel.  This one is not for the kiddos. It was extremely rich, covered with a tall thick stack of whipped cream and extra carmel sauce.  I loved that the place had some forethought and uses giant diameter straws so the thick shake is easy to suck down.  Burgatory has a total of 10 different creative shakes.  Five are as they call it, “hard shakes,” which as the name suggests are spiked with spirits.  Their five classic shakes to me were not so classic but more so original combos, like salted nutella crunch and coffee donuts.  My brother, I feel, chose the boldest and most unusual hard shake on the menu, apple pancakes and bacon.  It is made with gala apple and carmel flavored vodka, and yes, apple pancakes and bacon. I am not sure how they made this one but it was blended smooth except for the suspended bacon bits.  It was topped off with what tasted like maple infused whipped cream and was garnished with a slice of bacon slid down the side of the glass!  Besides for shakes they offer classic floats, lemonades, teas, fountain drinks, craft bottled soda, cocktails, nearly 50 different bottled beers, and 12 different rotating draft beers.

My cousin, half of our food, and the giant straw.

Close up of Apple pancakes and bacon shake!

     Now back to our custom creations; being a purist I chose the hormone free beef, which is a unique blend of sirloin, brisket, chuck and short rib.  My mates chose the dry aged wagyu, since I was hard pressed to finish half of my giant burger I did not taste theirs.  They did rave about it.  As we waited for our creations to arrive we shared an order of the truffled gorgonzola fries.  Before these guys arrived at the table we could smell them coming.  An intoxicating aroma from the truffle oil filled the air.  The fries were just right as Goldilocks would say, not to thin, not to thick.  They were fresh and crunchy, the addition of the truffle oil and gooey gorgonzola made them even more crave-able.

     By the time the burgers arrived I was already full! I had to leave the table, go outside and walk around for a bit just to take another bite.  That is what I get for not eating anything all day!  Next time I will make sure to eat more protein throughout the day and pace myself.  I was ravenous by the time my shake arrived, with the addition of fries and my shrunken stomach I could hardly take another bite! My brother was smart and ordered his shake with his burger.  However, we were all throughly impressed with our creations.  But I think Eric was the happiest.  He loves to order fried eggs on things, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers; they have a fried egg on the $1 buck topping list, just seeing it listed he was ecstatic.  It was fried just the way he likes it over easy with a gooey liquid center.  As he was holding his burger and taking a bite the liquid yolk was oozing down his hand and arm.  He just had to show me.  The burgers even on my full stomach were amazing. Crusty on the outside with its peppercorn rub I chose, it complimented the juicy meatiness inside.  Bacon, burgers and blue cheese are one of my favorite combinations. The addition of the quality amish gorgonzola, peppery arugula, and truffled shallot aioli made for a superbly elevated rendition.  Check it out next time Pittsburgh is the destination, this decision will not be regretted.  The website also boasts another location opening summerish 2012 in Robinson!  Yeah for us!

Eric’s creation: Wagyu beef, brioche, angel dust rub, truffle shallot aioli, smoked gouda, fried egg, & arugula.

My creation: Hormone free beef, brioche, cracked peppercorn, amish gorgonzola,
 truffled shallot aioli, applewood smoked bacon, onion straws, & arugula.
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