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Roasted Garlic Chorizo Pretzel Burger

Roasted Garlic Chorizo Pretzel Burger

Burger Best of Winner

  • Press Bistro | Johnstown, Pa.
  • Pittsburgh Division

the Dish:

In what might rightly be described as super-saturated prime time for burgers, plenty of room remains for greatness to emerge. A perfectly conceived combination of patty, bun and condiments inevitably will be impossible to ignore or to resist, a point proven time and again by burger-obsessed restaurant patrons.

Meet the roasted garlic and chorizo pretzel burger from Johnstown, Penn.’s Press Bistro, a spunky addition in a field that’s full of delicious options. Sassy, complex and a little spicy, juicy, meaty and jammed with flavor from first bite to last, it hits on all the right notes.

“You can’t go wrong adding chorizo to the basic burger formula,” says Jeremy Shearer, co-owner, along with his wife Jennifer, of Press Bistro. “And we build it out in a way the works really well.”

They landed on a Mexican flavor profile to balance out and hold its own with an IPA for a special beer dinner. For the burger, chorizo sausage with the quiet simmer of ground cayenne pepper was added to the mix, resulting in an especially juicy, meaty-tasting patty. A dose of garlic, roasted to tame its bite and turn it sweet and almost nutty, adds another dimension. And because great burgers beg for condiments, a pile of crisp house-pickled onions is deep-fried then piled on along with pepper Jack cheese and guacamole. As for the bun, “What doesn’t taste better when it’s served on a big, soft pretzel roll?” says Jennifer, adding that the bun is lightly toasted and slathered with chipotle mayo.

the Restaurant:

The regular menu at Press Bistro romps through world cuisines for inspiration, picking key ingredients, techniques and presentations to amp up eclectic American fare. Mussels in Thai coconut-curry broth, ramen bowl and a Vietnamese pork bahn mi sandwich with pickled jalapenos and chili-garlic sauce share space with balsamic-glazed salmon and chicken and Cheddar-cheese waffles with maple gravy. It also has at least a half-dozen burgers, from an all-American classic to the shrimp-topped Bang Bang Burger. “We didn’t want to get key-holed into doing just one style of cooking. We like to introduce new foods and flavors,” says Jeremy. “This gives our guests a lot of choices. You can come in and one person can have Asian and another Mexican.  And keeps it interesting for us.”

The dinner menu was specifically designed by chef/owners Jeremy & Jennifer to create an inspiring fine dining experience. According to the restaurant’s website, it’s never been "cookie-cutter." Since day one they have focused on creative, unique flavors for Johnstown. That can be especially seen in the special events they host at the restaurant on a regular basis.

When it came time to plan an upcoming beer dinner, Jennifer and Jeremy used the same globe-trotting food philosophy to structure the meal. “We considered the beers that would be featured and thought, ‘all right, what can we do that is new and a little more creative,’” recalls Jeremy. “The beer needed something really unique for the right match. It was a double IPA (India pale ale), wonderfully sweet with a bitter hoppy finish and a high alcohol content.” That’s how their award-winning burger was born.

“At our wine and beer dinners, there’s an emphasis on educating people. We tell why we chose the foods and how their flavor profiles combine with the beverages,” explains Jeremy. “That learning element is a huge draw for customers. It keeps them coming back.”

A Piece of the Essay:

This recipe is perfect for the bar and grille because it pairs spicy elements with refreshing cold beers. The spiciness of the chorizo and pepper jack cheeses are mellowed by the creaminess of the mayo and guacamole. The crispy fried onions add the extra added crunch and the greens provide a freshness.

Judge Comments:

  • Very, very good
  • A little spicy and very flavorful
  • Soft bun and guac make for a good texture
  • Perfect combination of beef and chorizo
  • Great concept
  • Flavors worked really well
  • Blended meat patty was great
  • Good spice with the garlic, but not overwhelming
  • Love the pretzel roll 

Chorizo sausage with the quiet simmer of ground cayenne pepper was added to the mix, resulting in an especially juicy, meaty-tasting patty.

See the recipe