Reviews: PYT

Burger-mania is strong in Philly, and No Libs newcomer PYT expands our options

PYT owner and party promoter Tommy Up says his burger joint’s name stands for “pick your topping” and isn’t a reference to the Michael Jackson song, though the bar’s photographs suggest otherwise. One displays a pretty young thing in a hot pink bra, mayonnaise dolloped improbably across her décolletage. But beyond the softly pornographic wall art lies PYT’s raison d’être: burgers. And, thankfully, they’re more interesting than the frenzied hype.

[sidebar]With a few new burger joints opening in the area, Philadelphia — like the rest of the country — is enjoying a ground-beef renaissance. Our best-loved burgers have long been of the thick and meaty pub variety, but Up is among a growing group that prefers the West Coast style: a smaller, thinner patty seared on a super-hot flat-top, and nestled into a soft roll. PYT’s crave-able namesake burger, topped with bacon and cheddar, is a fine example, though I suggest upgrading with an optional over-easy egg and onion ring. It’s over the top, like PYT itself.

The rest of PYT’s menu didn’t rise to the classic burger’s quality. The Shroom Burger sacrifices the meaty texture of portabella mushrooms for the generic taste of deep-fried whatever. The Serious Grilled Cheese was a seriously sloppy hodgepodge of boursin, soggy mushrooms and flabby bacon. Stick with the core menu and the well-executed fresh-cut fries and beer-battered onion rings. If you must stray, go for a PYT dog — a Hebrew National link topped with chili, cheese and raw onions — or the surprisingly moist chicken burger. The “Adultshakes” make an appropriately indulgent finale, especially the double espresso, which delivers a nice balance of sweetness, bitterness and booze.

You’ll need a few cocktails to keep cool about the service. Bartenders and waiters poured themselves shots while I sat beer-less for 10 minutes. Most of those pretty young things strut the place like it’s a catwalk, wearing skirts so short you can barely see them. It’s enough to make anyone old enough to drink feel over the hill. But regardless of age or tattoo quotient, burger enthusiasts should make the trip to sample the best West Coast-style burger in town.

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  • Nicole

    Such a disappointment to hear that their service is still not up to par. They really need a more attentive wait staff.

  • California

    For price, service, and quality, Five Guys beats this place’s cali-burgers hands down. Let’s see Tommy do a “Buy a 5 Guys and get a Free PYT” receipt exchange.

  • ed

    Service there is pathetic. I’ve been 5 times, it’s always the same, very poor. Last time was a little better, they’re trying, but they need to get on the ball.

  • Saxton

    If you’re not a colorway-co-ordinated urban street wear enthusiast the ambiance and service may turn you off. We happened upon there on a summer weekend to find loud obnoxious hipsters playing in a kiddie pool amidst the tables. It personally didn’t bother me (it WAS summer) but I can’t say the same for my companions. It’s a shame because the food was quite enjoyable. I’m wondering how it will fare in the coming colder months.

  • Amy

    While the burgers are awesome. And yes, the service is terrible. SLOW isn’t even the word. The photos on the wall of people slopping all over themselves are gross. I don’t care about the scantily cladness of them, but the food falling out of their mouths onto their fingers and chests is gross. To sit and eat across from them is not fun. Who’s terrible idea was that?

  • Carrie

    Absolutely the worst service, ambiance (if you can call it that) and clientele EVER. 15 minutes of sitting waiting without getting water, a smile or even a look from anyone while the waitress took time to eat her own lunch instead…we gave up and left- on the way out a drunk guy cursed at us. The hostess took a phone call while we waited to be seated too. WTF!