Last Updated on February 17, 2021 by Angie
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Tessaro's is old school.
Upon stepping inside, everything from the waitresses calling you sweetie to the 1980s computer behind the bar suggests you've entered some sort of time capsule. After checking out so many up-and-coming restaurants and attractions in the past few weeks, we thought it was time to visit a Pittsburgh institution.
Tessaro's has a pretty extensive menu with deli style sandwiches, salads, ribs, steaks, and chicken. But if you've never been here before, there's really only one thing you need to know: get the burger.
Having been on all sorts of “best-of” burger lists, and being in search of the best burger in Pittsburgh ourselves, there was no question that we had to order burgers.
Tessaro's Burgers Are Not Gourmet – Just Simple Perfection
You won't find any frou-frou toppings on your burger here, no sir. If you want those, you'll have to go to Bier's Pub on the North Side.
Here it is just a half pound of serious meat and, if you like, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, and mustard. The fanciest burger here is the “gourmet cheeseburger” which comes with bacon, grilled mushrooms, onions, and your choice of cheese.
We opted for a regular cheeseburger as well as the gourmet one, and they came out with lightning speed. We had heard service can be painfully slow here, so we were pleasantly surprised to get our food before we could take more than a few sips of our beers (which is impressive since Jeremy often finishes his first beer at restaurants well before the food comes).
Hardwood Grilled Burgers at Their Best
What makes Tessaro's burgers so special? They're cooked on a hardwood grill which gives the burgers a really unique sweet, smoky crust on the outside. The flavor is very distinct and delicious. Throw in a side of home fries and you have one large meal to tackle.
Unfortunately, I ordered my burger medium and it was really well-done. It was cooked all the way through with no pink to be found anywhere, and the meat was consequently pretty dry. Jeremy ordered his burger medium rare (which came out more like medium) and it was a little juicier than mine.
As we've found with many other burger places in Pittsburgh, if order your burger cooked to one level lower than what you want you'll probably get something close to what you're looking for.
Overall, we were really happy with the burgers at Tessaro's and will be returning. Despite being overcooked, the flavor from the hardwood grill was incredible and the toppings were simple, allowing the flavor of the meat to shine through.
When it comes to searching for a delicious burger, this is all you truly need.
Looking for more burgers in Pittsburgh? Check out Burgatory, Kaya Pittsburgh, or Revel and Roost for some of our favorites! Or, for more reviews of Pittsburgh restaurants, click the previous link to be taken to our directory of every review on Discover the Burgh!
Does Tessaro's accept credit cards?
At the time of our visit, Tessaro's accepted credit cards.
What is parking like at Tessaro's?
Tessaro's only has metered street parking available and spaces tend to fill up fast. Note that side streets are often parking by permit only with limited free parking durations.
Why is Tessaro's famous?
Tessaro's is known for having a delicious All-American burger. These typically do not follow the gourmet trend of other restaurants and are simply solid burgers done right for decades.