Junior Burger
2004/11/24 03:36:21
Here's a regional specialty (I think) that's a new one on me. At the Pottsville Maroons Sports Bar in Pottsville, Pa., one of the hamburger choices is a screamer, which the waiter definted as having hot sauce mixed in with the meat. I had one, and it was pretty good -- and pretty powerful.

The Coal Region Web site ( defines a screamer as a hamburger from Tony's Lunch in Girardville, not far from Pottsville, "that consists of a buttered roll, hamburger patty, hot sauce, and onions."
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Screamers 2004/11/24 05:06:14
Originally posted by BW

Here's a regional specialty (I think) that's a new one on me. At the Pottsville Maroons Sports Bar in Pottsville, Pa., one of the hamburger choices is a screamer, which the waiter definted as having hot sauce mixed in with the meat. I had one, and it was pretty good -- and pretty powerful.

The Coal Region Web site ( defines a screamer as a hamburger from Tony's Lunch in Girardville, not far from Pottsville, "that consists of a buttered roll, hamburger patty, hot sauce, and onions."

I guess the first question that comes to mind is, is it named for how it goes in, or how it comes out?
Junior Burger
RE: Screamers 2004/12/28 22:54:53
a little of column A and a little of column B.

I have had the pleasure of having many many screamers. I live in southern NJ but i have family up in the coal region of PA. I must say that these things are probably some of the best burgers i have ever eaten. i would not suggest eating them in the middle of a road trip but then again i have a terrible stomach

RE: Screamers 2007/08/02 23:22:23
Glad that Tony's hit the board here.

Screamers are a legendary hamburger with Tony's hot sauce and onions with a buttered bun, just as described. They are hot, no question about it. They will burn ya twice. Certain days of the week are hotter than others. I imagine that Joe (current owner, not Tony) makes big batches of the stuff and if it sits around unsold it gets hotter. It is heated before application to the Screamer. The other Tony's staple is the Growler, which is a hot dog prepared in the same fashion. Tony's is also known to older locals as "Fudgies" which is a bastardization of Fulginiti (sp?), the original Tony.

The typical happy meal at Tony's is 2 Screamers chased by a Guers Iced Tea or a Chocolate Milk. The milk seems to cool the bite of the hot sauce a little better than the tea. The place is open from about 8:30 PM till about 2:30 or 3 AM. Despite the name Tony's Lunch, it is not open for lunch. It caters to the bar crowd and night owls. Not that there are many bars in Girardville anymore, but people come from all over creation for Screamers and with good reason. They are fantastic. If you don't like spicy food, get a burger however you like it with normal condiments. These burgers are hot, and I like hot stuff. The secret I believe is the butter on the bun. Not grilled, just spread on like your Mom used to do with your school lunch. The heat of the meat does the rest.

The sauce cannot be purchased to take home. The recipe is more secret than launch codes. Tony's is a great, great place. I haven't had one in years but I don't imagine much has changed.

Oh, and a few other things I thought of regarding Tony's...First off, I know nothing of the Maroons' Sports Bar having never been there. I know who the Maroons were, but I never heard of anybody using the Screamer moniker besides Tony's. Maybe someone affiliated with the Pottsville establishment knows Joe "Josie" S., the proprietor of Tony's and he is either selling them the sauce or allowing them to use the name. Maybe it's not a protected trademark, I have no idea, but there is one Screamer in my book, and it's in Girardville at Tony's Lunch. Also, if you like fries, you'll wait for them at Tony's. They cook every batch as they're ordered. No hot lights or re-heating. Your fries take a long time to make and they are the temperature of the flames of Gehenna upon arrival. They sell a lot of chips for the saltmongers because it's quicker. Speaking of quick, Tony's also offers the "Quick Cheese" which is a cheeseburger prepared with a cold slice of cheese just thrown onto the Screamer or other burger preparation. They ("Bernie" the sweet lady cook) will also grill you a regular cooked cheeseburger but you gotta wait. People with a good belly full of Yuengling don't want to devote that kind of time to the Tony's experience, by and large.

I am not putting the knock on this Pottsville place, as I said I was never there and Pottsville has the Coney Island, an institution of its own...just saying. Screamers do not live in Pottsville.
Junior Burger
RE: Screamers 2008/06/28 19:19:21
Though I'm in total agreement that the true screamer only belongs to Tony's lunch, other joints have taken the screamer moniker for their own hot-burgers. Another spot is Shicky's Wings and Things in Mount Carmel Pennsylvania.

I don't think it's a bad thing, as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It also opens the door for those uninitiated in Coal Region cuisine to be introduced to Tony's. Unfortunately that'll mean a longer line, as if it isn't bad enough already .
Fire Safety Admin
RE: Screamers 2014/06/25 22:44:06
I had read about this local specialty called a screamer mentioned in the boards over the years, specifically in this thread, but it wasn't until someone sent in a review for Tony's Lunch a few months ago that I really paid it much attention.  After doing some more reading, the more intriguing it became, until I finally decided to go check it out last weekend.

Located in Girardville, not far from I-81 in central Pennsylvania, Tony's Lunch is clearly misnamed.  It doesn't even open until 7:30PM.  Despite this, the customer base, at least at this time of night (I arrived just before 8:00PM), was a nice mix of people of all ages, singles and entire families.
When you walk in the door, make sure you don't make the same mistake I did.  You need to grab a number. 

The front pile is what people pick up from when they walk through the door, while the back pile shows the numbers of the people who have placed their order.  I didn't get my number upon entry and it probably cost me at least 45 minutes here.
This gave me plenty of time to watch the action, since I eventually moved up to the counter, at the seat closest to the door and register.  There is one man working the grill in the kitchen above,

with two women assembling the food and taking orders.  The older of the two women is named Bernie and you can tell she has been here a long, long time and is treated with much affection by the customers.  Here she is

taking the order from a couple guys at the counter.
They do have a menu on the wall,

but I did not see anyone referencing it and as you can notice, their best known food, the screamer, is not even listed.  You can also see the walls are almost entirely covered with signed dollar bills.  Having time to watch the food being prepared, I could see that burgers were the #1 seller, with hot dogs not too far behind.  There was also a fair amount of cheesesteaks, which look exactly like they do in the Tony's Lunch review.
When it finally came my turn, (I had now been here 1 1/4 hours), I told her I wanted a screamer with the chili sauce, which she quickly corrected me by calling it hot sauce.  And even though I only seen a handful of these screamers being served with the Marshmallow Fluff, it was too irresistible to pass up.  In just a short amount of time, this is what I received. 

After photo taking took several minutes (which the ladies found very amusing), nature took it's course

and the Fluff mostly slid off of the burger.
Taking the first bite, I wanted it to be just the burger and the hot chili sauce, without the Fluff. Wooo, I would not make this mistake again, because it was ferociously hot, with a serious burn.  Well, at least by my standards.  Still, as hot as it was, it had wonderful flavor, which left you with a craving for more.  The next bite was with the Fluff and then I understood why this was a thing.  The cool sweetness of the marshmallow counterbalanced each other, making an irresistible combination.  Neither one would work as well on their own.  At least for me, I needed both.  By the way, these screamers also have a strong taste of dairy as they use a generous swipe of butter on the bottom of the top bun before the burger gets topped with anything else.  Yeah, this isn't health food.
The screamer is not particularly big and when I placed my order, the lady seemed genuinely surprised that I ordered just one.  Not sure if that was an unspoken commentary on the size of the burger, the size of the customer or the fact that no one in their right mind would wait as long as I did for just one screamer!  Next time, I will know to start off with at least two.
I did also try the French fries,

but those were less successful.  Too airy and lightweight and they did sit around for a few minutes before getting to me.  To drink, the locals like to drink chocolate milk

to help soothe the heat from the hot sauce, so I asked for a pair.
Before driving to Tony's Lunch, I mentioned to several people what would be my dinner.  Across the board, everyone said yuck, even when showing them the photo.  When I posted my photo on Facebook, most everyone said no way.  As a matter of fact, the one person who responded positively was Michael Hoffman.  I have to admit to being a little skeptical myself, but the Fluff and hot sauce on the burgers really did work and it worked well.
BTW, just to make sure I am not confusing anyone, I believe just having the hot sauce on the burger makes it a screamer.  It doesn't need the Fluff to qualify, as most people order it without.        
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/06/26 07:20:53
RE: Screamers 2014/06/26 02:54:52
Nice report BB!
I wonder if they would throw you out if you ask for the fluff in a monkey dish on the side?
And I wonder what a "Bull Burger" is???????????
Fire Safety Admin
RE: Screamers 2014/06/26 07:18:28
I really wanted to ask questions, like what is a bull burger, but there were so many people waiting after me to get their order in, I didn't want to take the time.  I would love to visit Tony's Lunch sometime when they aren't crowded, but that might not be possible.
RE: Screamers 2014/06/26 08:59:26
BB, how do you think the Screamer would be with peanut butter (ala Goober Burger) instead of the Fluff?
Fire Safety Admin
RE: Screamers 2014/06/26 09:03:24
Even though I am a big fan of peanut butter on burgers, I'm not so sure how well the pb would work with the hot sauce.  Of course, I wasn't sure if I would like it with the Fluff either.  An interesting idea.....