A new burger place has arrived in New York City, and it’s definitely got Shake Shack beat on the creativity front.
With burgers that incorporate outlandish ingredients like chocolate-covered bacon, deep-fried beer, and spaghetti buns, PYT has been a Philadelphia favourite for years.
Its New York City location, which soft-opens on the Bowery next week, is PYT’s first store outside of Philadelphia.
It’s a slightly smaller storefront, with four tables and a counter designed in a kitschy, ’80s-inspired style. What appears to be an arcade game in the back of the room is actually a secret door leading to a pizza place speakeasy called SRO, or Standing-Room Only. That restaurant is already open now.
As for PYT NYC’s menu, there will be four main burgers, in addition to rotating experimental burgers and boozy shakes. Prices range from $US9 to $US13, though the specialty burgers may cost more.
Owner Tommy Up is all about trying new things. He and the rest of the PYT team will be scouring local markets and restaurants to find interesting ingredients to inspire new burgers.
“Is there anything I wouldn’t try on a burger? Yeah, there are some things I wouldn’t try,” manager Igor Simic said to Business Insider. “I have a line I wouldn’t cross. Tommy does not.”
Business Insider got a preview of some of the crazy burgers Chef Kim Malcolm and the rest of the PYT team will be cooking up for New Yorkers starting at the end of the month. Keep reading to see what we thought.
The PYT Burger
First up, the classic. The most popular item at the Philly store, the PYT burger is a beef patty topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, onions, and tomato, all slathered in PYT’s mayo-based “awesome sauce.”
This one was our personal favourite. The bun had a chewy, but light, texture.
It was the signature sauce, however, that set it apart from your standard burger. It was slightly sweet and totally messy, and we’ll admit that multiple napkins were needed.
The Cheesesteak Pretzel Roll Burger
The new PYT location may be in New York City, but Tommy and the rest of the PYT gang haven’t forgotten their Philly roots.
This monstrosity is a regular cheeseburger that has had an entire cheesesteak stuffed on top of it. It’s then slathered in PYT sauce and served on a pretzel roll bun that’s specially made by the Philly Pretzel Factory.
The cheesesteak is served “whiz wit,” which, in Philly speak, means that it has both onions and cheeze whiz.
This one isn’t for the faint of heart. As you’d probably guess, it’s incredibly cheesy and salty, though the sweetness of the bun helps to cut through it.
Steak layered on a beef patty makes for one meaty burger, almost overwhelmingly so. Still, it was delicious.
The Doh! Nut
Behold, the Doh! Nut burger. With a name inspired by Homer Simpson, this burger has a beef patty, American cheese, and chocolate-covered bacons strips between a toasted glazed doughnut bun.
This burger is totally decadent and memorable.
As we took our first bite, chocolate sauce came spilling out of the doughnut’s hole.
We have to admit — the taste is definitely confusing to the palate at first. The doughnut is so sweet, and the taste of chocolate on beef is not something we’re used to.
We’d definitely eat this again, but as a late-night indulgence, not dinner.
Inspired by the pickleback shot, this burger is another favourite at PYT’s original restaurant in Philly.
The Picleback (misspelling intentional) is a beef patty topped with pepper jack cheese, applewood bacon, fried pickles, and a Jameson whiskey glaze. The pickles come from “Steve the pickle man,” a local Philadelphia supplier Tommy has befriended.
The whiskey glaze gives off a sweet aroma. That, combined with the sourness of the pickles, makes for a very complex flavour.
This one was probably our least favourite of the four, mostly because we weren’t crazy about the sweetness of the Jameson glaze.
Madeline Stone / Business Insider
BONUS: The Johnny Loco
We also got to try one of the specialty burgers that will be taking turns on the PYT menu.
Priced at $US64, this burger was made from wagyu beef that Johnny purchased from a local Japanese meat purveyor. It’s topped with Japanese sea salt and black truffle shavings.
The wagyu is an exceptionally smooth patty, and you don’t get the same charred taste you get from your typical burger. That, plus the truffle shavings, made this the most decadent burger we’ve ever tried.
Tommy said they will aim to have some other New York-centric burgers, including possibly a dish inspired by CBGB, the legendary punk club that once stood in PYT’s new neighbourhood.
“We’ll be trying all kinds of experimental things,” Tommy said. “We’re getting to know our neighbours.”
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