By: Saúl Berríos-Thomas | Layout Editor
BRGR catches the eye and the food captures the heart.
Innovative in every way, from the menu to the seating, the restaurant takes ideas and presents them in new ways.
On the lower level of the East Liberty location, situated at 5997 Penn Circle South, there are normal tables as well as taller tables. Some of the tables are against the giant couch where patrons can sit. There are upwards of 10 televisions in the restaurant which makes it a great atmosphere to watch a game, but the staff keeps the volume off of the TVs and the music, which included The Black Keys, City and Colour and others, plays softly making it an intimate setting, perfect for a romantic meal or just a night out with friends.
The upstairs is beautiful and even though there are only a few tables it is the perfect setting for a nighttime meal. During the warmer months the garage door shaped glass windows in the front of the restaurant are opened and the air flows in and out of the first floor. The art and furniture are really what take the restaurant over the top because it’s what makes the setting unique between the interesting cowboys on the wall to the low hanging lights.
The atmosphere is very inviting and the host welcomed my dining companion and I with a warm smile and quickly seated us. We were lucky because the place was only about half full at 6 p.m. on Monday. If you go on the weekend might have to wait for over an hour because of BRGR’s popularity.
The waiter was quick to serve us and was always around when needed, but never intruded. I started off with a root beer from Natrona Bottling Company. I had never had the brand before and when I took my first sip I realized that this was one of the better root beers available.
The menu is simple, page one lists alcoholic and non-alcoholic milkshakes, page two names the burgers and page three advertises the sides and other entrée options. Even though the menu is easy to read the food is anything but ordinary. I had a lot of choices for burgers, including the signature BRGR, which comes with pickled red onions, arugula and bleu cheese, or the Fire in the Hole, which called my name with guacamole, jalapenos, pepperjack cheese, chipotle mayo and sriracha, but no good yinzer could pass up the Double Yoi. This smartly prepared burger comes with pastrami, Swiss cheese, fried egg, coleslaw and thousand island dressing. I got a side of their homemade chips and crack dip, a delicious meat and cheese dip. My friend got the Santa Fe hippie, a black bean and roasted corn falafel patty with tomato, guacamole, pepperjack cheese, shredded lettuce and cilantro-lime creme fraiche, with a side of BRGR fries.
When I took the first bite of my Double Yoi I was shocked. The flavors were so full and bright. Every component of the burger was in harmony with one another. The patty was cooked to a perfect medium. At each table there are four sauces: ketchup, mustard, a custom whole grain Dijon mustard and the BRGR sauce. I splashed a little of the BRGR sauce, mayonnaise fused with other spices, on my burger and it really enhanced the flavors. The chips were cooked well, but the amount of salt on them made them almost inedible, which was a shame because the crack dip, a meat and cheese mixture, was really good and would have went well with an ordinary chip.
My vegetarian friend was pleased with his Hippie. Those patties are difficult to make exciting, but they did a good job of putting the right complimentary pieces around it. The combination of guacamole and crème fraiche really made the sandwich stand out. Both sandwiches came on the same type of bun, which was one of the better buns either of us had ever had. His side of fries. However, were just ok. The fries were average quality and they were helped a bit by the seasoning (parmesan and herbs) put on them, but we were left wishing for flavor.
I capped off my meal with a handspun vanilla milkshake. The milkshake was delicious through and through. The consistency was perfect and it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. For those interested in adult beverages, they have a wide selection of both wine and beer.
The meal was very affordable and worth every penny. I paid about $25 for my meal and my friend paid about $13. The atmosphere and high quality ingredients would leave you expecting to pay much more.
When planning your next meal, consider everything BRGR has to offer. It is a great place to get a high-end, modern take on an American staple. The burgers will be delightful; just don’t have the same expectations of the sides.