Last weekend, Mike McCoy and Derek Stevens turned 800 beef patties in four hours.
They’ll be back on February 20th making moonlit burgers for the masses.
The pop-up burger spot is handled by io Deli at 306 Beverly Rd. In Mt. Lebanon every Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. Order online and get your meal to go. You may not be able to resist eating it in the car; Moonlit Burgers are out of this world.
The sandwiches are LA-style smash burgers made with a beef patty or two from the Weiss Provision Company in the Strip District.
It starts as a meatball that is smashed with a spatula on the grill, mixed with shaved sweet onions, and cooked until the thin edges are nice and crispy. It is then topped with two slices of American cheese, homemade spicy cucumber and gojuchang moon sauce (a red chili paste), Duke’s mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, sriracha, pickles, and other secret ingredients. All of these delicacies are served on a Martin’s Potato Roll.
The double full moon burger is $ 8 and a single half moon burger is $ 5. They also do a kids’ version for $ 5. Complete the meal with Zapps voodoo chips and a Mexican cola.
For McCoy and Stevens, who met while working at Eleven in 2004, Moonlit pays homage to old-fashioned diner burgers and the culinary juggernaut in-n-out burger on the west coast.
McCoy, whose parents are from Pittsburgh, grew up in Southern California and is a hardcore fan of the fast food chain.
“I always thought Pittsburgh was a great burger town with Tessaro’s and all the other places,” he says. “A large part of my family still lives in California and I saw these burger concepts pop up all over the place. I had to try a few and realized that Pittsburghers would be really excited about what was going on out there. “
Stevens is from North Hills and has been in the local restaurant scene for 35 years. He recently had to close his downtown restaurant, Union Standard, because of the pandemic.
Friends have been talking about opening their own place for years. When Covid hit, they decided to ditch plans for a stationary restaurant and show up in various locations around town, including Millie’s homemade ice cream in Shadyside and The Vandal in Lawrenceville. Lines wrapped around the block so that they transitioned to online ordering to provide a safer and more efficient system.
Jeff and Carol Iovino, owners of io Deli and Cafe io, let the couple take over the kitchen when they close at 3pm on Saturdays. In the future, McCoy and Stevens could open their own facility, but right now they’re happy to freak out on the fly.
“We want to do a few simple things so that they are fun and affordable,” says Stevens.