OTB burger. Photo by Brian Cohen.

OTB burger. Photo by Brian Cohen.

OTB Bicycle Café

Monday nights are a good time to crave a burger. At OTB Bicycle Café in the Southside, the burgers are also just five bucks on Mondays. And if you thought espresso and rosemary seemed a bit pedestrian, try out the Dirt Rag Delight, which comes with American cheese, pickles, and a healthy slathering of peanut butter. It is surprisingly good, as are the ten or so other signature burgers, which can be made with beef, turkey or veggie patties. With the recent opening of a new location in North Park, OTB is bringing their quirky burger sensibilities to more Pittsburghers than ever before.

Salt of the Earth's burger. Photo by Brian Cohen.

Salt of the Earth’s burger. Photo by Brian Cohen.

Salt of the Earth

I first had Salt’s late-night burger when Kevin Sousa was still at the helm, so I was expecting some sort of ultra-modern, deconstructed, or otherwise tweezered version of the classic. What I got instead was, well, a burger. Beef, cheese, lettuce, pickles, mustard, bun. What looks like your average greasy spoon burger, though, is anything but. The pickles don’t come from a jar, and even the American cheese is made in house. This is a burger that proves that familiar dishes don’t need to be covered in foie gras and truffles to be restaurant-worthy. Since that first visit, Chad Townsend took over as executive chef and the burger has moved onto the dinner menu. Luckily, it’s still as simple and delicious as ever.

Tessaro’s

I wrestled a bit with including Tessaro’s on this list. On the one hand, how could you make a list of the best burgers in town without mentioning the beloved Bloomfield institution? On the other, is anyone reading this who hasn’t already been there? When I asked around, Tessaro’s was the name that came up over and over again, a knee-jerk reaction to the phrase “best burger in Pittsburgh.” Not that they don’t deserve it. For over a quarter of a century, Tessaro’s has been cooking up classic American hamburgers on their famed hardwood grill. The smell of caramelizing beef is as much a part of the fabric of Bloomfield as the little Italian bakeries and the old timers hanging out on the sidewalk.

Got a favorite burger in the ‘burgh? Let us know in the comments below.