Two weeks ago, after a matinee at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, we stopped at the Atria's at PNC Park. As it happened, the Pirates had played an afternoon game that day as well, so we ordered from the special "Game Day Menu". Of course, I went for the burger and it was terrific. In fact, the only thing that keeps me from rating this higher is the fact that a week later, i happened to dine at the Atria's in Mt. Lebanon, and the burger there was not nearly on par with the one at the PNC Park location. I give no separate rating for it, but it may have hurt the franchise when I came to rank them.
The big news, though, is that there is now a new Number One, and it is the Union Grill on South Craig street in Oakland. Big Brother Bill Sproule has been touting this one ever since The Quest began, so earlier in the week, Marilyn and I met Ann and him for lunch. First off the burger is HUGE. They say it's a half-pound, but I don't believe it. It's gotta be bigger than that. Cooked to order and with your choice of toppings (I went for cheddar, bacon, and sauteed onions). It was delicious, and I didn't have to eat for the rest of the day. If there is a criticism to be made, and this sounds crazy, it's that the burger is too big, to the point that I almost felt that I was forcing myself to finish it. Marilyn was smarter than me: she took half of hers home, reheated it, had it fur lunch the next day, and assures me that it was just as good on Day Two as it was on Day One.
For now, at least, we have a new champion.....
- Union Grill (Oakland)
- Tessaro's (Bloomfield)
- The Rochester Inn Hardwood Grill (Ross)
- McFadden's (North Shore)
- SoHo Restaurant (North Shore)
- Atria's (PNC Park)
- Bella Ria's (West View)
- Valiant's (Ross)
- The Tilted Kilt (North Shore)
- BZ Bar and Grill (North Shore)
- Sunny Jim's (Emsworth)
- TGI Friday's (McCandless)
When I began this series, I deliberately chose not to include the burgers from fast food places such as McDonald's, Burger King etc. This is not snobbery on my part, because, trust me, there are times when nothing hits the spot more than a Big Mac. I just felt that those kinds of burgers should not be included in The Quest. That said, let me plug the burger at Flamer's Hamburgers. When I was still working, Flamer's in the Fifth Avenue Place Food Court was at least a once a week stop for me for lunch. There is a Flamer's in the Ross Park Mall Food Court as well, and when we do go the the Mall, Flamer's is my burger of choice, even preferable to the very good burgers that you can get at the Five Guys store in the same Food Court. Give it a shot if you haven't been there.