J & L Grill Company on the South Side gives extra kicks to burgers and shakes
Burgers and shakes have fueled many successful businesses, most spectacularly Ray Kroc's McDonald's fast-food empire starting in the mid-'50s.
In recent years, smart entrepreneurs have seen the market for higher-end and grown-up combinations of burgers and shakes. The burgers are bigger and made from fresh ground beef, hand shaped, and grilled, not fried. They are cooked to order from rare to well done.
The shakes are bigger and richer, too, and feature novel combinations of flavors, including ones with an alcoholic kick. Beer, which some would say goes better with burgers than shakes, and other alcoholic beverages are served.
J & L Grill Company on the South Side, which opened in June, joins Burgatory in Fox Chapel and BRGR in Shadyside and Cranberry as the leading local examples of this trend.
Owner Jeff Yot and his partners planned J & L Grill Company for about a year before opening. He began working in restaurants when he was 16, working his way up from hand washing dishes to management. After about 15 years, he decided to finish his degree from Duquesne University, and then worked for a decade in information systems auditing for ADT and PNC Bank.
Yot, 43, is a burger enthusiast who appreciates the high-quality food he's found in his travels and at Burgatory.
The J & L Grill Company menu includes soups and appetizers, more than a dozen varieties of burgers, 15 kinds of wings, sandwiches, salads, non-alcoholic and spiked shakes, and other beverages.
The basic burger ($8) is a 10-ounce patty served on a Mancini's bun. You can build your own burger by choosing from a dozen kinds of cheese and 14 other toppings (ranging from portobella mushroom and guacamole to corned beef and bacon) at 50 cents to $1.25 per topping.
The Yinzer Burger ($11) is the most popular, Yot says. This burger is topped with cheddar cheese, grilled Black Forest ham, fried egg, applewood-smoked bacon, grilled onions and barbecue sauce.
The Eliza Furnace Burger ($10) is one of many menu items that refer to the old J&L Steel Co. tradition. It's topped with chipotle-barbecue sauce, fried onions and Pepper Jack cheese.
Turkey, veggie and salmon burgers also are served, as well as sliders.
Wings are a big seller, Yot says, and available in 15 varieties, $6 for a single serving, up to $23 for a Slag Pot of wings.
“All our recipes are made from scratch,” Yot says. The hottest wings, called Molten Steel and Blast Furnace, use ghost chili and Trinidad scorpion peppers. “We add other extracts and seasonings for a real nice, almost sweet flavor, not at all metallic. It goes in easy and then, almost as a secondary reaction after a second, it feels like somebody lit a fire at the back of your throat.”
The non-alcoholic shakes ($5) include the classics, orange-dreamsicle, caramel-chocolate espresso malt and cookies and cream.
Among spiked shakes ($9), The King Lives, taking inspiration from Elvis' love of fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, includes fresh banana, peanut-butter cups, vanilla vodka and banana liquor topped with whipped cream. The Cousin Vinny, inspired by one of Yot's favorite films, is a malt with coffee concentrate, chocolate shavings, Kahlua and dark rum garnished with whipped cream and espresso beans.
The fully stocked bar is particularly strong in flavored vodkas. More than 100 beers are available, 30 rotating seasonally on tap; most range from $4 to $6. You might want to consider a designated driver when stopping by with friends.
J & L Grill Company, 2829 E. Carson St., South Side, is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The kitchen closes at 10 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Details: 412-944-2300 or jlgrillcompany.com
Mark Kanny is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7977 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Women’s health the focus of 2nd annual Head to Toe
- Fiscal concerns define Westmoreland County commissioners race
- Steelers are banking on linebackers to improve strength of defense
- Civilian Corps to be highlighted in Connellsville
- Republican businesswoman Fiorina to join 2016 presidential fray
- Teachers from China observe autism training at Riverview Jr./Sr. High School
- 10 candidates seek school board seats in Greensburg Salem
- Friends join forces to open thrift store, consignment shop in Jackson
- Knoch sophomore establishes Gay Student Alliance club
- Pirates suffer 3rd straight walk-off loss in St. Louis in 14 innings
- Western Pennsylvania mobilizes to aid Nepal in earthquake recovery