Moonlit Burgers in Dormont prides itself on its “smash burgers”
They call them “smash burgers” – they start out like a meatball before being “smashed” and sizzled on a grill until golden brown and juicy.
The burgers are generously garnished with grilled onions, American cheese, dill pickles and a special “moon” sauce – a little spicy – all placed on a fresh Chambersburg Martin’s Potato Roll.
Appetizing sandwiches are served at Moonlight Burgers, which opened in November in Dormont.
“We put them on the grill and smash them so they have nice crispy edges,” said executive chef Derek Stevens of Crafton, who also calls himself “chef burger smasher.” “People love burgers because they know them well and they can be cooked and garnished the way they like them.”
Courtesy of @burger.buff
A “smash burger” at Moonlit Burgers in Dormont
They are really good, said owner Mike McCoy of Dormont.
The idea came to McCoy and Stevens at the start of the pandemic. The two, who had opened restaurant Eleven in the Strip District, were looking for another business opportunity in the food business.
They bought a grill and started doing pop-ups all over town. In February 2021, they started hosting pop-ups on Saturdays at IO Deli in Mount Lebanon.
On Tuesday, orders were sold out for Saturday pickup.
The space in Dormont became available last summer. It was a former restaurant, so it was a great place, McCoy said.
They started with takeout orders of the smash burger, which is made with a special blend of brisket, short ribs and chuck created by Weiss Supply Co. in the Strip area. The original is two patties, but customers can order one, three, or four.
There is a bacon cheeseburger and a vegetarian option.
“The veggie burger is damn good,” Stevens said.
Moonlit Burgers also serves chicken tenderloins, a chicken sandwich with coleslaw and jalapeno, a seven-bean salad and a homemade chili. Top off any meal with lace fries as well as Pittsburgh-based Millie’s Homemade soft serve ice cream, which uses heritage breed milk from Bentleyville-based Twinbrook Dairy.
“There’s nothing more American than a burger and soft cream,” said Millie co-founder Lauren Townsend. “Derek and his team at Moonlit make the best smash burgers in town, and we’re thrilled to complement their offering with an all-natural, super premium soft-serve blend.”
Courtesy of Tom O’Connor
A mojito from Goodlander Cocktail Brewery in Larimer
Wes Shonk, owner of Goodlander, said they specialize in “sparkling” cocktails such as Moscow mule and mojito. Moonlit serves the mojito.
“Having cocktails on tap makes a lot of sense for Moonlit, because making those drinks can be messy and time-consuming,” Shonk said. “Plus, they’re heavy on ingredients. It’s great to collaborate with other local businesses, because then we share the limelight and help promote each other. Their burgers are amazing. I wouldn’t be surprised if they open more locations.
Boyd & Blair co-founder and master distiller Barry Young said more and more restaurants, hotels and venues such as Walt Disney World’s EPCOT in Florida are buying ready-to-drink cocktails.
Moonlit Burgers serves The Keystone Tea, made with premium house-brewed Earl Gray tea straight from India, not-too-sweet lemonade and Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka.
“The owner and chef of Moonlit Burgers loves the fact that they’re able to serve up a consistent quality drink without the labor involved in making it,” Young said. “Their burgers are unreal. The crispiness of the edges of the meat and the sauce is amazing. It’s also such a cool space.
The bar and restaurant can accommodate 52 people. They have been doing takeout lately due to the omicron variant and staffing issues.
They said they chose this name because it brought back memories.
“The name for us was just nostalgic — like an old-fashioned restaurant where they served burgers,” McCoy said. “Burgers have been around forever, but we like to think our smash burgers are unique. And who doesn’t love a good burger?
Moonlit Burgers is located at 1426 Potomac Ave., Dormont
Hours of operation are 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.