Legend has it that once upon a time in the town of Aspinwall there was a dive bar and grill creatively named The Aspinwall. Folks from all over the local suburbs flocked to The Aspinwall for the food, drinks and atmosphere. Slowly, though, the place fell into decline. The service slacked, the food became less appealing and the atmosphere was no longer enough to keep people coming back. Recently, the place has been revamped as Sam’s Tavern in the Wall, maintaining that same atmosphere and attempting to bring back everything else that made The Aspinwall great.
Of course, having not been in Pittsburgh until a few days before visiting Sam’s Tavern in the Wall, I didn’t quite have the reference that my relatives did when they brought me. Thus, I ordered what I assumed would make me the happiest: the Tavern ‘Burgh’er. This pun of a burger came topped with gouda, bacon and a fried egg. Lettuce, tomato and red onion were available upon request, but I certainly had no use for them. It also came with house-made chips, a side that I was beginning to realize was the norm in Pittsburgh.
When it came, I was disappointed to find glowing slices of pickles perched right up against the bun of the burger. It was a shame to be certain, as it tainted a bit of bun that could never be edible again. With these removed, I dug in and found myself eating exactly the kind of burger I would expect in a dive bar. The patty was brown all the way through, but decently juicy; the egg was fried just a bit too long so as to prevent it from being runny; and the bacon was perfect. In all, I can’t say I was disappointed because this was more along the lines of a diner burger than anything gourmet. In that regard, it at least had good ingredients that were executed to a decent level. Plus, the house-made chips were pretty awesome.
So has Sam’s Tavern in the Wall brought back everything that made The Aspinwall great? My relatives say a resounding “Yes” and I simply say that it was a burger I would happily eat again if I were in the area, but I wouldn’t seek it out otherwise.