As the spiritual successor to the Stack’d burger micro-franchise that has been sweeping up college areas in Pittsburgh left and right, Tipsy Cow has found its home in the heart of Shadyside. The new Ellsworth Ave. staple provides bites and brews similar to its predecessor, but with a couple of key twists. With the likes of BRGR and Burgatory already keying in on the premium BYO burger market, and Stack’d on the low end (not low quality, just cheaper options!), Tipsy Cow offers a nice happy medium to a popular Pittsburgh trend.
Comparing Stack’d and Tipsy Cow
You’re in for a pun here, because something about saying the burgers are “stack’d” feels justified. Not so clever, no, especially considering that the restaurant name probably came from a game of burger patty Jenga. At the Tipsy Cow, however, the restaurant/bar prefers quantity over quality. The burgers don’t come in stacks of two or three or five – they come in a single package. This beef patty, however, comes in at a whopping ½ pound. It’s rich rub options – classic, beef jerky, montreal steak, and habanero cajun – give you the added pinch of flavor that might have been missing in your average Stack’d burger.
Appetizers and bar bites don’t differ very much between the two spots. You still have crowd favorites like fried mac ‘n cheese, all sorts of wings (the flavor options are identical and priced the same, actually), and fried pickles. Tipsy Cow, however, gives you an extra non-fried option with three delicious mini taco selections – pork belly, carnitas, and mahi. There are a couple of extra salad options as well. Stack’d does have spiked milkshakes, though, while Tipsy Cow keeps it simple with their own thick-and-sweet alcohol-free milkshakes. What it lacks in boozy dairy drinks it more than makes up for in its other drinks.
The crowd you’re going to see at the Tipsy Cow is notably older than the students at Stack’d. With slightly pricier options and a location that’s two steps too far from the college crowd, well-off young professionals flock to the Ellsworth location for dinner and a good time. Is there ever any chance for a mixed demographic? Sure! Just don’t be alarmed at the men and women in chinos and blouses.
Burger Options and Specialties
In addition to the menu specialties, there are a number of meaty (and less meaty) options available at a ½ pound each, all of which give a special flair to the byo burger model. Add whatever rubs, sauces, or toppings you’d like to create your own personalized burger.
- The classic beef patty – made up of 100% locally sourced, sustainably farmed beef Cooked mid-rare, medium or mid-well (well upon request)
- The 50/50 burger patty – a delicious option that mixes half bacon and half beef
- The sausage patty – hot sausage made into an easy-to-burger patty
- The chicken breast – not a burger, but still a tasty white meat option for the lean-minded
- The salmon patty – still not a burger, but definitely a tasty fish option to cancel out the meats
- The veggie patty – actually a burger, but worth trying if you’re vegetarian or just adventurous
When you come to a burger joint like this, you should definitely try the specialties that they’ve created, because the chef probably knows his own food better than you do. The Jerky Cow (this cow tips and jerks, apparently) puts the classic patty to work with a mix of beef jerky rub, bourbon glazed wild mushrooms, dried bleu cheese and spicy garlic BBQ sauce. For the red meat intolerant, the California chicken puts together fresh greens, tomato, avocado, applewood bacon, smoked provolone and pesto aioli on top of a helping of grilled chicken.
Keep the Drinks Comin’
The bar is fully stocked with signature cocktail options year-round. Seemingly seasonal drinks like the Cran-Apple Cobbler and the Apple Pie Bourbon are available as an option throughout the year. Mix your childhood fancies with adulthood and try the Tipsy Chocolate Milk. Cider season not your cup of tea? Try a Miami V-Iced Tea for a refreshing beverage. (This drink is a winner for the clever name alone!)
If you’re more of a beer drinker, then the craft draft list isn’t going to disappoint! The beers they have on tap change from time to time, but the quality never falters. If you’d like to know what’s offered currently, take a look at their list on Untappd.
Every Monday-Friday from 5pm-7pm, you can enjoy half off drinks at Tipsy Cow. This deal, however, excludes 6 packs, pitchers and any of the signature cocktails.
Monday through Thursday, you can head over to Tipsy Cow for events, cheap(er) eats and yummy drink specials:
- Monday – Wings Night/Darts Night – ½ off of wings from 9pm-midnight
- Tuesday – Trivia Night – from 8pm-10pm
- Wednesday – Burger Night – ½ BYO burgers from 9pm-midnight
- Thursday – Sangria Night – ½ off sangrias all day
Tell us what you think of the Tipsy Cow in the comments section!