Taste-testing Duquesne’s newest restaurant

Brentaro Yamane | Layout/Multimedia Editor | Moonlit Burgers is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and is closed on Sunday. Happy hour (for those 21 years or older) runs 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

Isabella Abbott | Features Editor

Sept. 1, 2022

Newly located on Duquesne’s campus, Moonlit Burgers, a trendy burger joint, has been a smashing success since opening its doors on Aug. 22. I was lucky enough to see why students are flocking there for delicious meals, paired with quick service on Monday.

With a quick trip down to Forbes Avenue, the bright-neon signs in the windows are can’t-miss, and they entice and invite students, like myself, to try their famous “smashburger.” The popular burger gets its name from a process in which the patty is smashed on the grill, producing a thinner burger.

And boy, did I find out why it was so famous.

As I walked through the big glass doors and past a clean white motorcycle, I was greeted by the vibrant array of colors lining the walls showing that the modern aspect of the restaurant was absolutely up-to-date. Workers and students alike can agree with this.

Server Aubreauna Scott, who’s been with the company for about three months, said customers can see the trendy vibe of the restaurant right when they walk through the doors.

“It’s very lighthearted, very modern,” Scott said. “Whenever you come, and you look at it, you know exactly what you’re going to get into.”

Taking in the view before I ordered, I turned to my left to see the one wall filled with multicolor cafeteria trays, which added to the restaurant’s warmth. The other surrounding walls displayed painted lines of color.

When it was my turn to order, the many burger and snack options stared back at me as I struggled to pick from an overwhelmingly intriguing menu. But when I asked for a recommendation, I was drawn to the bacon double cheeseburger and an order of their “shoestring fries.”

While the burger doesn’t usually come with their “moon sauce,” to get the whole experience, I knew I had to try it. So, my double burger came smashed, with iceberg lettuce, tomato, sweet onion and garlic Dijonnaise (mix of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise) on a Martin’s potato roll.

After just a few short minutes of waiting, my burger and basket of fries came hot and ready to my booth, filled with toppings galore. With each bite, I could taste every flavor, and the crunchy smashed patty brought it all together, making it a burger heaven. It was the best-tasting burger I’ve had on campus.

Other students praised the flavorful food, especially sophomore Sarah Zadrozny, who says she’ll be coming back for future dinners.

“I came last weekend with my sister to try it out, and we both thought it was really good,” Zadrozny said.

If students aren’t inclined to try a burger, the menu has many different food options to choose from, like their seven-bean salad, which Scott named as her absolute favorite dish on the menu.

“My favorite, definitely the seven-bean salad, and I’m a picky eater,” Scott said. “It’s very sweet … nothing crazy.”

When asked about another great meal for anyone who may not want a burger, Scott said their chicken sandwich, called the “moon bird,” has been a staple meal for students so far.

“Like I said, I’m a picky eater, but [students] seem to eat it up, they love it,” Scott said.

Other menu items include their “smash fries,” which contain a double patty, onion, cheese sauce, “moon sauce” and pickled jalapeños. All of these toppings are mixed with their “shoestring fries” and are delivered in a basket.

Moonlit’s portions aren’t too overwhelming either. Even a double burger is a good meal for anyone. If the two patties seem like too much, Scott said it’s the perfect amount of food.

“It takes people off guard because it’s a double … but it’s not as bad as people think,” Scott said. “It’s not that filling because the patties are so flat and smooshed down.”

After they’re finished with lunch or dinner, students can stop by the ice cream station in the back and order a tasty cold milkshake or soft serve from Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream, which is exactly what Lori Gatz, a fourth-year pharmacy student, had in mind.

“I got the cookie monster ice cream sandwich,” Gatz said. “It was good. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was good, still.”

Moonlit Burgers staff members are thrilled to have more customers and are waiting for them to start flooding in. They want to show customers what they, as workers, get to experience every time they come into work.

“It’s all light,” Scott said. “Everybody’s a little community.”