Recently, a colleague wrote a delightful story about aptronyms.

These are last names that relate to the person's chosen profession or interests.

A physician with the last name "Docktor." A banker with the last name "Swindler." You get the idea.

The ideal example in the local restaurant scene is the owner of the Brickyard Tavern, a gritty bar and grill that loves ground beef.

His name? Scott Hamberger.

"I dunno," Hamberger said. "I guess I always have had an interest in grilling burgers."

In the six years since he purchased the Brickyard, Hamberger has made the beef patties - called "Berger's burger" on the menu - center to the identity of his establishment.

Last summer, he opened a large patio with a full, open-air bar and a built-in gas grill. You can smell the smoke and hear the sizzle while your burger cooks.

After searing both sides, Hamberger finishes his burgers in a metal press over indirect heat. He said the pressure keeps the beef juicy.

I wouldn't argue. It's definitely the tastiest burger I've had in York. I've visited the Brickyard several times, and despite other delicious options, such as the mushroom Swiss burger, I can't resist getting the Buffalo burger again and again.

The burger is topped with wing sauce tucked under a layer of American cheese. Beneath the beef is a layer of homemade bacon ranch dressing, a brilliant layering of hot and cool and a perfect prelude to a cold beer.

The buns, toasted on the grill with a hot brick, are thick, satisfying and hold up well under even the gooiest burger. I had a cup of chili on the side that was well-executed, more sweet and smoky than hot and spicy.

A slight snafu occurred when splitting the bill with my fellow Cheap Eaters. Some of us were charged too much, and there was a moment of confusion. However, all was forgiven when the waitress provided us with two poker chips for a free round.

The only noticeable weakness at the Brickyard is the relatively small menu. Hamburger plans to expand it soon. But in the end, it's still all about the burgers.

Appropriately, Hamberger seems to take personal pride in those burgers.

"Right now, people still want to go out sometimes, but they don't have the money to get a steak," he said. "But if you put a good enough burger out there for them, it's a good substitute."

Cheap Eats is a biweekly column on local restaurants' meals for less than $10. Suggestions are welcome.

If you go

LOCATION: Brickyard Tavern, 748 S. Albemarle St. in Spring Garden Township

CUISINE: American

WADE'S PICK: Buffalo burger ($5.95)

PARKING: on street

HOURS: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday; 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday

PRICE RANGE: $2.50 to $9

ALCOHOL: full bar


ACCEPTS: Cash and major credit card


KID'S MENU: grilled cheese, mini burgers, popcorn shrimp and chicken fingers

DETAILS: 854-8739

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