Monday, April 9, 2012


A few weeks ago, Mrs. P and I ventured to the Farm to Table conference. As if we didn't get enough to eat as we bounced from booth to booth, we decided to head across the street for lunch at Tonic Bar & Grill downtown.

The colorful walls were a modern contrast to the raw brick which gave the space warm, industrial feel. I'd eaten here a few years ago, but Mrs. P was a first timer.

The upstairs dining room/private party room
We decided to celebrate the occasion with a few midday cocktails. I began with a twist on a classic, Tonic's version of a Hurricane. Mrs. P opted for a Sunburn. Though together our drink names would have made an off-vacation, they certainly were a welcome addition to our day.

Sunburn: $8.50, Hurricane: $9.50
Their menu boasted a wide array of appealing options making both of our heads spin. But we bought more time by ordering the Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Hummus served with pita wedges and fresh cucumber.

Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Hummus $8

The Hummus was unique chalked full of hearty garlic and red pepper chunks making for a delicious spread which paired excellently with the cool cucumber slices. It was a deliciously healthy start to our meal!

After begging the waitress for more time to review the menu repeatedly, we finally landed on our entrees: Mrs. P with the Samurai Burger and I with the Chicken Pad Thai.

Mrs. P raved on and on about her burger and finished it more quickly than I'd seen her finish any meal before. The wasabi mustard and crispy wonton took a classic turkey burger to a whole new level.  The sweet potato fries were the perfect blend of crispy and creamy, adding a...well, sweet twist to her meal.

Samurai Buger & Sweet Potato Fries $15.50 total

I was slightly underwhelmed with my Pad Thai.  It was too sweet for my taste (I'm a spicy Pad Thai fan, myself) and wasn't bursting with flavor as I had hoped.

Pad Thai with Chicken $14
Next time I go I'll be sure to choose from one of the many other appealing options instead.  Mrs. P was blown away by their burgers, so maybe that's the direction in which I'll head!

Restaurant Information:

Address: 971 Liberty Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone:  (412) 456-0460
Reservations: Gets busy at lunch and I'd recommend it.  An upstairs room is great for privately reserved parties.
Hours: Mon-Wed 11 a.m. - 12 a.m.
            Thurs-Sat 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. 

Cliffs Notes:

Hurricane @ $9.50
Sunburn @ $8.50
Diet Coke @ $2
Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Hummus @ $8
Samurai Burger @ $13.50
    w/Sweet Potato Fries @ 2.00
Pad Thai @ $9
   w/Chicken @ $5

Tax:                        Food tax  @ 7% (Allegheny County only) @ $4.03
Tip:                           $13
Total for two:          $74.53

Overall Opinion:
I was neither impressed nor unimpressed.  I'll definitely never recommend the Pad Thai to anyone, but I wouldn't recommend that they avoid the restaurant altogether! The upstairs loft looked like an excellent venue for a small private party and their cocktail list was quite impressive, so Tonic may be the perfect place for your next happy hour or birthday party. Mrs. P couldn't get enough of her Samurai burger and would certainly encourage diners to give their burgers a try. 

Tonic Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon
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