Freshly ground never frozen beef, eight different cheeses and white truffle aioli: all this and more has been available in Market Square since the opening of Winghart's Burger and Whiskey Bar on Jan. 11.
One of the only burger restaurants in the square, Winghart's boasts a wide variety of burgers and salads, as well as 10 in. wood-fired pizzas all priced at around approximately $10. A number of sides are also available, including hand-cut french fries and potato salad, the recipe of which came from the grandmother of one of the owner's college roommates, each for just $1.75 an order.
Chef and co-owner Zachary Winghart said that his decision to open up the restaurant was simple. A Pittsburgh native from the North Hills, who trained at the downtown Le Cordon Bleu, believes in making things the right way.
"I'm a French trained chef and certified butcher, so that skill set lends itself to this. I've pretty much had everything you could think of eating," Winghart said. "I've worked in five star restaurants to … dive bars, and burgers and pizza are … my favorite things to eat. So, why not make the world's best burger?"
Tucked away in the corner of the square next to Starbucks Coffee, this no-frills burger joint specializing in gourmet fast-food now occupies the space previously owned by the Buon Giorno Cafe.
"[My] boyfriend [and I] walked by last night," said Maria Scheller, a sophomore stage management major at Point Park University. "We were like, ‘we have to go there,' … but I'm here today without him. I couldn't wait."
Inside Winghart's, customers sit at the bar, where the flat top grill can be seen, listening to fun music and watching as their food is prepared, fresh and made to order. There are also a few tables near the back of the restaurant providing for additional seating. All the meat is the same cut and is ground in-house daily, allowing Winghart's to serve its burgers rare, if requested. Also available are falafel patties, which are made from portabella mushrooms, for $8.50, offering a unique twist on the veggie burger. Plans for milkshakes are also in the works. Currently only dining-in and take-out ordering are available, but delivery will be available in the near future, once more staff are hired.
"[It's a] neat, small place, [with] a kind of gritty and cool feel to it, and I definitely liked the music choice. I think Modest Mouse was playing when I walked it, and it was fun to see the chefs singing along and really enjoying themselves while they worked," North Shore business owner Matt Brind'Amoursaid. "I liked the stained concrete countertops as well. For the restaurant only being open a couple of days, I was impressed at how smoothly things went and how quickly the food was delivered. Everything was very tasty [and] definitely met my expectations."
Although there are plenty of burger selections at Winghart's, the second half of the restaurant's name, which calls for whiskey, has yet to be fulfilled. Winghart's is in the process of getting its liquor license, which will take about a month and a half after application forms have been submitted.
"There's an amazing amount of red tape you have to cut through. We haven't gotten there yet, but we will," said Shipwreck, Winghart's front house manager.
The restaurant plans to carry a wide selection of scotch, whiskey and bourbon, as well as top shelf vodka and about 10 beers on tap.
Once its liquor license is obtained, Winghart's also plans to remain open even later than its current operating hours of Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
"We already have 15 regulars – one guy who comes in with his son, one guy who has been in here four or five times and another that came in here three days in a row," Winghart said. "People aren't just stopping in and trying it. They're actually choosing to eat here … that's saying a lot. It makes me feel [as if] we're doing something right."