June 3, 2013 at 11:21 AM ET
Whether they’re squishing a beef patty and chocolate-covered bacon between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts or lattice-weaving strips of bacon together to create a taco shell, the kitchen at Philadelphia’s PYT thrives on cockamamie craveables. The latest creation at the outlandish burger joint, however, just might top the waistband-blasting heap.
All they had to do was replace burger buns with slabs of deep-fried lasagna.
The Lasagna Bun Burger, the latest installment in PYT’s perpetually one-upping “Burger of the Week” series, has been around for less than a week, but it’s already captured the imagination of a class of hearty eaters driven by innovation and disregard for calorie counts.
The idea started with PYT owner Tommy Up, who often gets the BOTW creative process started by tossing out thoughts and concepts. It’s then up to Kim Malcolm, PYT’s head chef and “divine goddess of burgers,” to execute them, the duo told TODAY.com.
Breading and deep-frying lasagna had been on the party planner-turned-restaurateur’s mind — they’d done it for fun before — so Malcolm was tasked with figuring out how to actually make it work for paying customers.
She starts by baking and freezing trays of old-school lasagna filled with ricotta, mozzarella and meat sauce. One jumbo hunk is then halved like a burger bun, dredged in flour, egg-washed and breaded in a homemade Italian breadcrumb mixture, before being frozen once more. (This process ensures the pieces stay uniform when deep-fried.)
For the meat, Malcolm blends together a traditional grandma-style meatball mixture using ground beef, egg yolk and various herbs and seasonings. That’s formed into a patty, cooked, topped with melted provolone and house marinara, placed between the two crunchy, gooey lasagna wedges and served with a side of Italian parmesan fries.
While it’s difficult to pick up and eat like a regular burger, it presents a hefty challenge with utensils. Eaters hack off hunks of lasagna and stack them with meatball to form super-bites, sometimes even tossing fries into the equation. It’s a daunting plate of food for sure, but the flavors in each element are still very focused — the meatball mix and homemade lasagna, deep-fried or not, would make for a great meal on their own.
Up, Malcolm and PYT manager/partner Sarah Brown are all unable to commit to a calorie count for the limited-time special, which has sold out each day. Suffice it to say it’s ”probably not for those who are trying to keep their summer swimsuit figure,” Brown said.
What exactly about the Lasagna Bun Burger, which has already garnered nationwide curiosity and coverage, appeals to so many people? Brown speculates it’s just the draw of novelty comfort food.
“When you take comfort food to a creative and wacky level, it sells so much better,” said Malcolm. “Lasagna is a comfort food in most homes. Burgers are a comfort food in most homes. But when you put the two together and deep-fry it? Mind-blowing.”
Thanks to its popularity, the $15 Lasagna Bun Burger, originally slated as a “Burger of the Week,” might enjoy an extended run thanks to its popularity.