Benjamin's Burger Bar wants the first bite to hook you
A patty of meat. A bun. Some fresh garnishing. Maybe a blanket of shredded cheese.
At most places, that's a hamburger.
At Benjamin's Western Avenue Burger Bar, that's just a start. Sure, there's no getting around the basics. But after that, says Paul Tebbets, who owns the tony eatery, atmosphere also plays a role.
“You have to be interesting,” Tebbets says. “People want something that's going to make them remember the place where they had that first bite.”
Benjamin's, named for Tebbets' 4-year-old son, opened in November on the North Shore just blocks from Rivers Casino and Heinz Field. And nowhere else have the words “burger” and “bar” found a more-comfortable living arrangement.
From the glass wine cellar to the earth-toned decor to the elevated billiards room, the aura of Benjamin's exudes warmth and welcoming.
Here, burgers come in three designer varieties — the “regular guy,” the “big guy” and the “veggie guy,” which is made from chickpeas, sweet potatoes and fresh herbs.
Condiments? Think way beyond mustard and ketchup.
Specialties include its top-selling burger with rosemary, balsamic goat cheese and green apple and another stacker made with fried egg, bacon, potatoes and hot sauce mayo ($9.05-$14).
And then there's the rib-sticker crammed with bleu cheese and buffalo sauce.
That one was requested by customers.
“Some of what we do ... comes from experimentation. We were willing to try something new,” Tebbets says. “There's a number of burger places that do a exceptional job with the basics. But this (business) is an opportunity to do something fun and interesting.”
Earning a living one burger at a time seemed unlikely for Tebbets, who grew up in Greensburg and studied political science and philosophy. He actually had plans to go to law school, but needed a job right away. A friend got him an interview at Italian Oven, where he started out as a waiter.
It didn't take long for him to climb the ladder and learn the restaurant business.
Tebbets was a partner for a time in Red Fin Blue's restaurant in Washington's Landing, in Toast! Kitchen and Wine Bar in Shadyside with Chet Garland and in Jackson Fish Co. Market Cafe in Zelienople.
“It's fun to see people have fun with a service you provide for them,” Tebbets says. “It can be a challenge, but when you see smiles on peoples' faces, it's pretty great.”
Benjamin's Western Avenue Burger Bar is located at 900 Western Ave., North Side. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Details: 412-224-2163; www.benjaminspgh.com
Chris Ramirez is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-380-5682.
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.
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Steelers won’t be backed into a corner at NFL Draft
- Man beaten, robbed in South Side, police say
- Crosby’s 2 goals lift Penguins past Rangers, even series
- Starkey: Taylor’s type fading away
- Fights reported, shots fired outside Monroeville Mall restaurant
- Boscov’s could help sustain decade-old Pittsburgh Mills
- Coming off hill revives Seton Hill University, downtown Greensburg
- Transportation funding uncertainty impacts planning for Western Pa.
- Sutter steps up for Penguins in series-tying victory
- Boy, 17, shot in Marshall-Shadeland