Moonlit Burgers is going to college. The Dormont-based restaurant – which opened on Potomac Avenue in October after a year of hosting pandemic pop-up events – will have a spot at Duquesne University this summer.

The smashburger starts as a meatball that’s smashed with a spatula on the griddle, mixed with shaved, sweet onions and cooked until the thin edges are nice and crispy. It’s then topped with two slices of American cheese, homemade spicy pickles and Moon Sauce — which is a mix of gojuchang (a red chili paste), Duke’s Real Mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, sriracha, pickles and secret ingredients — and served on a Martin’s Famous Potato Roll.

Moonlit co-owners Derek Stevens and Mike McCoy, along with Parkhurst Dining — which manages the university’s food services — will open the smashburger joint by August in a space previously occupied by The Red Ring at 1015 Forbes Ave. in Uptown.

The new space is replacing the former Red Ring on Forbes Avenue in Uptown. Photo courtesy of Moonlit Burgers.

The eatery will feature vibrant, eclectic and nostalgic touches by architects Wildman Chalmers Design, graphic and branding design by Bear Left Bear and work by local artists and craftsmen.

“We’re excited to welcome Moonlit Burgers to Duquesne University,” says Matt Frist, Duquesne’s senior vice president for finance and business. “With their proven success, delicious food offerings and cool restaurant atmosphere, we know that they’ll appeal to our students, faculty and staff as well as the Pittsburgh community.”

The restaurant at Duquesne will offer Moonlit’s full menu, including smashburgers, veggie burgers, fried chicken, milkshakes, local craft beer and soft serve from Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream.

McCoy says the partners started Moonlit “to bring tasty burgers at a reasonable price in a quick service atmosphere that is fun and relaxed,” McCoy says. “This next step will allow us to not only serve students and faculty of Duquesne but also gives a chance to branch out to surrounding areas.”