1050 North Hancock
LRT: SEPTA 15
Bus: SEPTA 5, 57
Visit: March 26, 2014
In life, there are two words that we all have heard of that ruminate in the back of one’s mind and that’s the ‘bucket list.’ Over the course of the last 9 months, in planning my incursion into Philadelphia, there was one place that couldn’t be avoided because it was becoming one of the hottest places in the entire United States. Well, I can officially cross a place off of my burger bucket list and it’s simply known as PYT.
The first day of our school trip to Philadelphia was mostly filled with bus travel. After a stop in Albany that lasted a few more hours than we hoped for, we finally made it to our hotel in the historical district of the city of brotherly love. As soon as everyone settled into their respective hotel rooms, we were set to foray out into the city to eat.
I have to say that I am extremely lucky that my vice-principal is understanding. I was allowed to make some very interesting choices during the trip when it came to my burgers. Our hotel was located a decent walk away from PYT. There was no way that I was going to let this once in a lifetime opportunity get away from me. Along with a bunch of interested students, we walked north towards PYT, not knowing what we would find when we got there.
Before I get to the actual evening, I can’t go any further without going over the incredible reputation PYT has. A few months back, I wrote an article about Philadelphia burgers for another blog. In that research, I came across some really unique creations that were too good to be believed. All you have to do is watch this Zagat video to see what I mean. They have these monthly burger specials that make a trip down I-95 a subscription I’d like to get. Seeing that PYT was really close to our hotel was all I needed to make this the one place I wanted to visit.
I usually make the majority of my visits as a place opens. I find that the later I show up, the more waiting there will be. Plus, when you’re leading a group of 15 other people towards a small restaurant, you might never get anywhere. The walk up 2nd street was quiet and we didn’t really see any sign of life. Half of the businesses were struggling, while a few were open. As we approached PYT, we had to look a little to find the entrance. I sent in the students first as an attempt to devise a strategy to be served without spending the entire night there.
Luckily, there was space for all of us and we were seated in four different places. You wouldn’t really know it from the one server who was hoofing it quite quickly, but it wasn’t as busy as one would have expected. I placed myself with the last group of students and we were taken to our table, which was on the other side of the restaurant. Within a few seconds, we were informed that we could all be seated together. This was the first great sign of the evening.
In the back room of the restaurant, our group of 16 were comfortable and the wi-fi that we got from the attached apartment complex made things even sweeter. After a few moments, our server showed up and we were underway. I have to take a moment to make something very clear. PYT never had to make any accommodations for us, but they did. They could have also refused to serve 15 teenagers, but they didn’t. We were there for about 2 hours and the entire experience was awesome. The patience and politeness that the server showed was nothing short of incredible. That alone made my night.
The menu at PYT isn’t limited to burgers. There are a number of other simpler options like grilled cheese and salads which should please everyone. What should be noted is that there is a selection of adult shakes that are offered which never saw any time in our section. It’s really a varied menu and the prices are more than reasonable.
PYT Pu Pu Party Platter ($25)
This platter contains bacon cheeseburger quesadillas, beer-batter onion rings, pretzel bites with cheese, and buffalo chicken waffle fries.
In our large group, one of our smaller subdivisions decided to split this platter for their meal. These four items are really the most appealing side dishes or snacks that you could get at PYT. I got a chance to try the waffle fries and can tell you that they have a bit of a kick. The pretzels were salty and weren’t really in their taste, but there were other people who were more than happy to finish those off. From what I could gather, the students who ordered these were pleased.
I placed a picture of a plain burger to demonstrate just how wonderful the service was on this evening. We had one member of our group who was a tad bit picky and the only way they wanted their burger was plain. There’s nothing wrong with that if you know what you want. Well, PYT was more than accommodating here and that was another positive notch in the belt.
The PYT Burger ($12)
This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, PYT sauce, and bacon.
Before I get to the burger, I have to make note of the onion rings that I spent 2 dollars as an upgrade. I know that I’ve seen some pretty big onion rings in the past, but these take the cake. These onion rings were ridiculously huge and the fact that you only had four or five of them didn’t change the impact. One onion ring, with a really thick slab of onion under the batter, was a meal in itself. When you have a good side, the burger is that much better.
The temptation to order one of the crazy burgers that PYT is known for is quite high. You could have a doughnut with chocolate covered bacon or even one where the bun is replaced by a layer of bacon. Alright, as I’m writing this, I was listening to a radio ad for a local place that has their own insane burger choices. I lost concentration for a moment. To think of it, I needed to be able to compare this burger to the ones I had in the past. So, picking simple was the way to go. Plus, I really want to make a return visit.
Upon first glance, I felt that the burger was hastily put together. Then again, I can’t really blame anyone on this fact, considering that they had to put something like 11 other burgers for our group together, not to mention the other tables in the restaurant. Before I was able to eat, I had to make a few minor adjustments to make sure everything was in check. I wasn’t able to completely make things go my way, as it was a messy deal.
I’ve said in the past, either in writing or in person, that a messy burger is worth it if the product is good. This burger is surely worth it. The requested temperate was met on nearly every level and burger. The ingredients were simple and that’s what worked the best.
The one component that I can’t ignore is the inclusion of PYT sauce. The sauce is what makes this burger. It’s a combination of mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and garlic. It was really useful during the later stages when the meat dried a bit. We all know that, with time, beef dries and gets a little tougher to eat. That PYT sauce really saved the day and was the one thing I took away from the whole experience.
After all that waiting, the burger was behind me. I have to say that, while it may not be the greatest one I have ever consumed, it was worth all that travel and all the walking. The fact that the ingredients were simple and the sauce meshed in really well was all I needed to like the burger. What’s more important for me in this particular visit was the fact that every burger consumed at our large table was met with total satisfaction. That last fact alone outweighs anything I might think.
PYT lays claim to having the craziest burgers in the United States. I might not be able to vouch for that at the moment, but what I can say is that they have a good 16 more fans. The service and the welcoming nature really help shape our trip to Philadelphia. For that alone, I’m always going to cherish, not my, but our visit to PYT.