Dormont, get ready for out-of-this-world grub.
Moonlit Burgers, the popular smash burger pop-up eatery, is opening a brick-and-mortar spot at 1426 Potomac Ave in October.
Owners Mike McCoy and Derek Stevens are remodeling the former Fire Bar & Grill space to give it a nostalgic 1980s vibe. The pair will also add additional outdoor seating.
With any luck, more Moonlit locations will follow in the next few years.
The L.A.-style burgers start as meatballs. They are smashed with a spatula on the griddle, mixed with shaved, sweet onions and cooked until the thin edges are crispy.
The single or double patties are served on a Martin’s Potato Roll and topped with two slices of American cheese, homemade spicy pickles and Moon Sauce, which is made from gochujang (red chili paste), Duke’s mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, sriracha, pickles and other secret ingredients.
In addition to smash burgers, the menu will feature a plant-based burger, fried chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, appetizers, milkshakes and soft-serve ice cream. Moonlit will boast a full bar, canned and draft beer and an ice cream service window for to-go desserts.
The eatery will be open for lunch and dinner five days a week but plans to expand business hours to seven days a week.
The business partners met in 2004 while working at Eleven in the Strip District. McCoy, who grew up eating In-N-Out Burgers in Southern California and now lives in Dormont, wanted to bring the same kind of deliciousness to Pittsburgh. Last summer, he joined forces with Stevens and started flipping patties every Saturday at various locations around town.
Since then, they’ve sold thousands of smash burgers, including 750 in one day.
While renovations are underway in Dormont, Moonlit will host a few more pop-ups this summer, including at Allentown’s Hilltop with the Lid Off on Aug. 28 from 4 to 9 p.m. and the Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival at Kennywood on Sept. 26 from 1 to 6 p.m.
Dormont’s business district is shining bright. The borough recently welcomed Pauly’s eatery, Arsenal Cider Tap House, Potomac Station Coffeehouse, Tal & Bert and Mike & Tony’s Gyros to the neighborhood. Dad’s Basement comedy theater and Back Alley Brewing are launching this fall.
“We like the population density of Dormont and all the new businesses that have opened in the area,” Stevens says. “This concept works well in areas that are walkable and close to public transportation. We wanted to be in a neighborhood setting.”