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Hero Certified Burgers....What the $^%#!!!!!

Is this place a joke?? I had lunch there today and I can't believe how bad it is. It's expensive and just plain terrible. I ordered a burger with peameal, cheddar and the other fixin's, fries and a shake. The whole thing set me back over $11. The shake was up first and I started on that. It was pretty bad. Very watery. Then my order came up. I looked at the fries and they seemed a little on the blond side. I tried one and there weren't bad. Just not cooked enough for my liking and most of them were under an inch in length. So I opened my burger and I almost cried when I saw a frozen patty. I couldn't believe someone would charge that much for a frozen patty burger. The worst part of it all was you couldn't taste the cheese, the peameal was all but lost and patty itself had no real beef flavour. Other than beef fat that is. I was pissed. I kept expecting Alan Funt to come walking out of the kitchen. I just can't believe they're getting away with this. It wasn't crowded on a Friday afternoon so I doubt they're doing well. I really felt ripped off.


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  1. And they are sprouting like weeds, new ones opening on Queen W and in Richmond Adelaide Centre, taking over Fit for Life.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mila

      There has to be a critical point where franchises turn bad. How many stores does it take? Two? Three? More? I think of Amato, for example, which used to make my favourite pizza and then started franchising and fell badly.

      1. re: Tout Garni

        Thats why Hero is smart...they started off bad, so nothing can go downhill for them. Agree that Amato is a REAL loss. The Queen W location had the best salads and pasta and meatballs and fresh bread...it was supposed to get a complete reno in 2005 and it never happened. The place just keeps slipping away. But with the huge margin on Zah I guess they will be fine. Pizziaolo on the other hand has greatly improved as they have expanded. Hope they expand their menu to include good greek and caesar salads.

      2. re: Mila

        I agree, there is another one opening at one of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus at Ellesmere and Morningside so I heard. Lets hope this shop is up to par.. or else it close down as fast as it came...

      3. In all honesty the best Hero Burger I've ever had was my first at the HAzelton Lanes location (1st in chain). I just died over it...it was moist, juicy, flavourful...it brought tears to this burger connoisseur's eye's. Then one day I saw that they were opening up one in the PATH underground...I said yippy yahoo! But then...the horror! First of all I had to wait for 30 mins in a line, but that's only if I got there 15 mins before 12 noon. Otherwise people would be standing there for at least an hour. At this point I was still enamoured with Hero Burger. But when I took my first bite of the food court Hero burger, my love affair was over...dry cold and tastless...for shame! I have tried another location that isn't bad - Queen / Tecumseth - so maybe it's the franchisor that is to blame...

        10 Replies
        1. re: TOfoodie

          And the franchise for not ensuring better quality. And consistancy for that matter.


          1. re: TOfoodie

            I have to jump in here and say I had my first Hero Burger a few weeks ago at the Hwy 7/Leslie location, and it was pretty good. So it does seem to be that the franchises are inconsistent.

            1. re: cord

              Well if you're ever in Aurora and want a Hero burger, go somewhere else.


              1. re: Davwud

                We go to the Aurora location often. You must have hit a bad day. They may be frozen patties, but they are lean Angus beef and since my choice is to add Boursin cheese and Hero sauce, they are great! We love them. The fries are addictive. We have only once had something we didn't like, and yeah it was the shake. I guess they are not much more expensive than Licks. I prefer Licks but Hero is a lot closer.

                1. re: Lipant

                  First of all, if I'm gonna pay that much for a burger, I just about want to see cows out back.

                  The Angus beef is another thing. I'm not sure I get it. I've had great beef and I've had Angus beef. But I've never had great Angus beef. It's always been mediocre.

                  As for it being a bad day. I guess I'll never know because I shan't be going back.


                  1. re: Davwud

                    Angus is just a breed of cow. It can be any quality at all. The "Certified Angus" brand of beef happens to be of very high quality. Methinks the purveyors of "Angus" burgers are riding on the coattails of this brand. Angus does not mean it's the Certified Angus brand, but the association exists in many peoples' minds.

                    1. re: embee

                      Never thought of it that way.
                      I have bought CA and thought it was terrible. I also have a buddy who's a butcher and he told me that, while it's supposed to be better because of marbling, he found it to be no better and he doesn't buy it because it's more expensive.


                      1. re: Davwud

                        Interesting. I have bought Certified Angus rib steaks/roasts from both Royal Beef and Loblaws and found it to be very good, both with the Royal Beef aging and straight from the supermarket. The CA is markedly better than the standard issue beef at the Loblaws stores carrying it.

                        I haven't tried any other cuts of CA beef, so can't comment on them.

                2. re: Davwud

                  I went to the Aurora location yesterday. It was my first and last time eating at Hero Certified Burgers.

                  I purchased a 6oz. burger with pemeal bacon, chesse etc.

                  It was by far the WORST BURGER I'VE EVER EATEN!

                  I can't believe a place that primarily serves burgers has such awful burgers. The beef was extreamly processed and had a very rubbery texture. It was obvious that it was a frozen patty.

                  For some wierd reason, the beef had almost no flavour. The only thing I could taste was beef fat - this almost made me gag.

                  I tried to force myself to eat it, since the combo cost me around $10, and I'm not fond of wasting money or food. Unfortunately, three quarters of the way through, I simply gave up. I though "why am I torturing myself"

                  I saw a few other people dining there. I have to assume it was their first time there as well, because I cannot believe that this restaurant has any return customers.

                  I'm definately never going back.

                  1. re: Jonathanm

                    You went to the very same place I did and had exactly the same burger.
                    I'll give them one thing, they're consistant.


            2. Coming to Yonge/King too.

              1. It may come to Yonge & King. I'll still go to Patrician Grill.

                1. How do these compare with the South Street Burger places that were opened by NY Fries? I actually don't mind the South St burgers - they're not great, but certainly much better than fast food quality (which they ought to be, considering a cheeseburger combo is $10). I like the condiment choices for being vaguely original without being completely trendy.

                  I do, though, rather wonder what would be so hard about throwing a little salt on those patties.

                  1. Everyone is saying how much these 'chain' burgers are and expectations almost always come up short. But then Googs mentions the Patrician grill...and I recall most diner/pub burgers I've had have always been the way a burger should be...and below the $10 threshold. Why do we keep paying big bucks for fast food when non-fast is better and perhaps cheaper?

                    I'm going to stay away from HCB, but will try South Street -- with only 2 locations in the chain they can't be that bad...yet.

                    I'm just sayin'

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: neighborguy

                      You got it. I've been saying that to my son for the last several months.

                      Why eat junk when you can get better quality & healthier for the same price.

                      Now just to find those mom & pop places is a chore, but well worth the look : )

                    2. They Sherway Gardens location is horrible as well. The burger I had was dry and the guacamole was brown.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: cutehinano

                        Agreed. I was so disappointed after all the hype.

                        1. re: RYP

                          Yah, my co workers always rave about them, and after I tried it, I really just was confused.

                          1. re: hungryabbey

                            I also ate at the Sherway Garden location and was deceived by the beautiful photo of the good looking burger on the wall... alas their secret sauce angus burger was not worth the hype at all.. i literally.. sighed out loud after i took the first bite and my gf said.. the picture got you didn't it... dry, flavorless burger.. and small pattie to boot.. expensive as well...

                      2. My experience at the Hwy 7 location was the equivalent of taking $10, ripping it into little shreds and then throwing it into the garbage. Awful burger, worse fries and by good it took so long to make it so bad.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Pizza Lover

                          In my opinion, it would've been much more enjoyable to do things your way PL.


                          P.S. Had the burger at Rebel House yesterday. Very good.

                        2. I frequently jones for a burger on my way home and have to go to Hero sometime. Besides the second time I went which was a fiasco it has become a predictably mediocure yet expensive burger place. Fries thick but not crips, unremarkable patty, tasteless toppings makeup each visit. It seems to be characteristic of too many Toronto eateries these days.

                          1. This isn't a Toronto experience. This is a chain experience. Start with bait, then switch. Judging by their website, Hero is not now nor has it ever been in the restaurant business. It's in the franchise business.

                            1. My first experience was the PATH location. Not bad, not memorable. 2nd visit was the Hwy 7 and Leslie area. Freakin AWFUL! The burger tasted like cardboard. I ordered the side salad to attempt to be somewhat kind to my heart. I dig in. Wilted pieces of crap all through it. I brought it back to the counter and I got the 'what the f** do you want' look.... not even any words, just a glare. As I described the issue, she wrenched it off the tray and litterally tossed another one on. When I went on to say I do not want another salad (as by this point, I was truned off and could also see the wilt in the other conatiners). She said, "what do you want.... your money back". God damn straight lady... cough it up. She gave me a looney! A freakin Looney. I'm positive their salads sell for more than that. With utter disgust, I turned, walked out, and vowed never to return.

                              In summary - this place SUCKS!

                              1. I love how candid everyone is :op Looks like Hero's on a downward spiral...

                                The burgers at Magoo's on Dundas, west of Parklawn in the Kingsway Mills plaza is an amazing burger shop owned by two brothers and a sister. Freakin' great homemade burgers with super fresh toppings. Fries are to die for - and don't forget the Magoo's sauce!

                                Organic burgers from the Healthy Butcher on Queen West between Spadina and Bathurst are unbelieveable for when you want to make some at home. My fav is the Diablo!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: TOfoodie

                                  "Ever tried the new soy/beef burgers? If you need the name of them, just ask me, but I don't get on here often & their new board still doesn't allow you to receive notifications when someone replies to your thread. The burgers need little to no seasoning & are so soft one has to kind of aquire a taste b/c normally burgers are hard. I had to call Loblaws & force them to bring them in b/c they didn't even have them set up in the system properly & only had them at TO locations, not in Miss. I just remembered the name, it's Kris or Chris & Tals They were at the food show several months back & I was so impressed, I hunted them down."

                                2. I've never had anything form Hero Burger (and may, now, never will). What I inferred from friends who had, though, was that the appeal of the place was their uncommon variety of toppings. If I recall, avocado was one of the listed items that struck me. It sounded like a cool novelty and was put on the long list of "places to check out in off-case I'm ever in that area (and hungry)".

                                  Unfortunately, it seems that no matter how interesting the toppings are, they're not enough to cover a terrible meat patty.

                                  1. I also had a very good first experience at the hazelton lanes location and was excited when they opened up in the PATH. I tried it over and over and each time the burger/chicken/veggies burger we on the bad side of mediocre and each and every time, they got my toppings wrong! So frustrating.

                                    1. It must be get realy Bad When it Open in the TD Centre the line up were up to 20 min before you got the Burger now just walk up to the Counter to get it no line up

                                      1. Personally, I was very dissapointed in this chain for 2 reasons. One - the hype. Two - the idea of an affordable gourmet burger that just went down the tubes. I am no burger making pro, but the last time I made burgers (2 months back), I picked up some plain ol ground beef and formed some nice burgers mixed with a little freah garlic and fresh herbs. Roasted some baby peppers and goats cheese. A little sauteed onion. Mmmm. Amazing. I thought to myself, wow, what a simple but great idea for a restaurant. Hero obviously had the same thought, they just lost their vision in the process it seams.

                                        1. Hal and Hero make lousy burgers. Hal is VERY overpriced, dry and bland and Hero is just plain disgusting. I will not get sucked into trying Southside. Why can't a chain serve real burgers at a reasonable price? Licks USED to be so great.

                                          Liberty has a great burger/fries. Shanghai Cowgirl is fantastic. Epicure Cafe is a great burger/fries too. Love Beaconsfield, but they have raised the price to 15.00 - worth it once in a while.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: torontoeh

                                            I like Epicure, but the last burg I had there was dry and flavourless. Recently had a burg at the wellington which was quite nice. Very good patty.

                                            1. re: torontoeh

                                              I was quite surprised at how good the Shanghai Cowgirl's burger was. It was juicy, tasty and just very good. Not fantastic but far better than most anything you can find around there (certainly better than Hero).

                                              Always curious about the Beaconsfield - will try their burger sometime.

                                              Not only are Hero's burgers bad their service is pretty horrible I mean I know it's a fast food chain but the orders are slow and twice I've noticed people getting the wrong orders and on one occasion the manager there was being rude to people who noticed their mistaken orders (Queen W location). Blech.

                                            2. Ow! I hear so much burger-hate in this thread =).

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: qtxniki

                                                Go to HCB and you'll know why.


                                              2. Davwud I love you! Hero DOES absolutely suck.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: spigot

                                                  LOL Agreed, in fact I think HCB is gross to eat. Want to be similarly disappointed? Try Hals!!

                                                  1. re: spigot

                                                    Like I said in my OP. I think it's a joke.


                                                  2. Hero burgers truly do suck. Take a bite and look at the inside..
                                                    It's horribly dense compressed beef (I hope it's beef) grilled until it's dark grey. An awful awful burger.

                                                    Where is good?

                                                    Allen's are good. Simplicity.

                                                    Jule's on Spadina and Queen is a 'French' styled burger.. lots of herbs and seasoning + dijon, in a crusty bun. Definietly not traditional, but pretty good. And the fries are excellent.

                                                    Utopia - good sized, good toppings.

                                                    Barberians - Almost obscene in it's carnivorosity (I made that one up). A great big massive, perfectly cooked burger. Expensive.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: dombort

                                                      Barberian's burger, available only at lunch?

                                                    2. Yeah, I checked the website ... no burger listed.
                                                      Not sure if they removed it, or it's an old website.

                                                      I went there about a year ago for lunch... massive, massive burger.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: dombort

                                                        According to the menu posted outside the restaurant, the burger is free with the purchase of a wine of $100 or more. Cool idea!

                                                      2. Conceived by marketing students, what do you expect?

                                                        Certified average at best.

                                                        1. Hero's lousiness has nothing to do with its having been franchised. I tried the original location in Hazelton Lanes soon after it opened, and was disappointed with an overcooked, dry and tasteless burger. For those excited about all of the toppings available, when a burger is really well made and juicy, no toppings at all are required.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: FlavoursGal

                                                            I wish they would close down already. Just nasty and I hate that tourists are attracted to try it...Toronto can do soooo much better than this crap.

                                                          2. I agree wholeheartedly at the less-than-mediocreness of Hero. Tried the Queen W location, and was severely disappointed. My friends were okay with it, but I was horrified by the quality/cost ratio.

                                                            Also scary is Hal's. Trying so hard for the avante-garde burger thing, and coming up only luke-warm at best, and far overpriced. Only good thing there is the dessert, and the beers are okay.

                                                            For my money, I'm gonna stick to the little hole in the wall College bar Bistro 422 for burgers on burger night! Cheap and tasty! And cheap beer, too!

                                                            1. I agree. Hero Certified Burger is not quite up to par. If you want a great burger go to DB Bistro.


                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: HarryLloyd

                                                                "Not quite up to par."??? These things are terrible. I'm totally with Saviolo, the quality/cost ratio is brutal.


                                                              2. I guess there are just a lot of mediocre to lousy burgers to be had.
                                                                This has been discussed in previous threads, but I find that Burger Shack (Eglinton east of Avenue rd) and Goldenstar (yonge n of steeles) have excellent homemade burgers, as well as very good fries. I actually like Lick's burgers too (although I suspect there would be a wide range of opinions on this) - the problem, to me, with Lick's is that their fries are frozen gross things (their onion rings are at least decent though)

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: FresserGuy

                                                                  The big problem I have with Lick's is, it used to be so much better.


                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                    I grew up around the corner from the original 2 booth 5 stool hole in the wall it started as. back when all of their burgers were hand made. It used to be fantasic, now that they have gone corpoprate they are average at best.

                                                                2. the burgers at Hero are BEYOND gross. I made the mistake of trying one out at the Hazelton location. I had to return it to the counter - easily the worst burger in Toronto IMO. Their expansion totally puzzles me and makes my brain hurt! Of course the owner is the same as Lettieri - easily the worst coffee in town and that should have been a clue.

                                                                  1. I love burgers. Today I followed some friends to Hero Burger at Hazelton Lanes. Brutal. Seriously. The burger was dry, the toppings (their "signature") were tasteless, and the fries were soggy. If I weren't filling my post-valentine's day wine needs, I would not have finished it. Is there any explanation for how this place continues to exist? I could get better food and a real beer instead of a root beer for less money. Damn.

                                                                    1. Dangerous Dans downtown Toronto, at Queen and Broadview. MUCH better burgers....I last had Hero Burgers at Toronto General Hospital on University. I found a hard piece of white stuff...which was either bone or cartiledge.

                                                                      I am never eating there again. THE END.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: kevthegrad

                                                                        I have not been to DD's but I've read here (and heard from friends) that the burgers there are nasty.

                                                                        1. re: kevthegrad

                                                                          Dangerous Dans is all about obscene quantity. The burgers taste gross.

                                                                          1. re: kevthegrad

                                                                            i ended up at dangerous dan's a while ago and was horrified by the restaurant itself. the people are fantastically nice, but the seating area makes me question the cleanliness of the kitchen.

                                                                            the burgers were large but flavourless, dry, blech. nothing to recommend about the place. i thought they would be redemption in their milkshakes. oh how wrong i was. they told me that they took fresh summer fruit and froze them into containers to carry them throughout the year. one peach shake later and i felt like i was just sucking back frothy 2% milk. fries were even worse than the burger.

                                                                          2. Best Burgers!!! I am suprized to hear anyone suggest Dangerous Dan's this is NOT good. It's all quantity NO quality. Like a really bad meatloaf on a bun.
                                                                            Fat Phil's is Fantastic and try the Tulip everything else they do is Awesome. and the buger is awesome.

                                                                            1. I had a burger combo at the Hwy 7/Leslie location and it was awful imo. I frozen patty that was salty and very compressed. I'll never have a burger from there again.

                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                              1. re: red dragon

                                                                                Too bad you didn't read this first.

                                                                                I have no idea how Hero is getting way with this. There are tons of places serving decent burgers at half the price.

                                                                                Is it the "Angus" moniker??


                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                  Hi Davwud,
                                                                                  Yes, I wish I had known sooner.

                                                                                  1. re: red dragon

                                                                                    I assume that the majority of people on this site are foodies or think that they are foodies but you have to realize what Hero burgers is marketing. It is not, to my understanding, a gourmet burger but a healthy burger. It is advertised as an antibiotic, hormone and nitrate free and free range burger.
                                                                                    I have had a few of them from different locations and agree that the consistency is not there, but I go there knowing that I am not filling myself and my son with harmful antibiotics and hormones and that the Brazilian rainforest is not being cut down for my eating pleasure. There burgers may not be as good as the one I cook on the BBQ, but I know they are far superior to the other fast food chains, and they really don't taste that bad. I believe that the $2.00 more that I pay, compared to the other big chains for the equivalent combo, is well worth it.

                                                                                    1. re: jjjj

                                                                                      You raise a good point although I am wondering from where you got this information? I couldn't find anything on their website that stated such quality claims. All I saw was - Hero Certified Burgers are made with 100% Angus Beef. All of our Hero Burgers and Big Frank 100% pure beef hot dogs are made with no filler or MSG and are additive, preservative, and gluten free. http://www.heroburgers.com/menu.htm

                                                                                      Did I miss it somewhere? Those are just standard all beef claims.

                                                                                      And their Mission Statement simply says - Our goal is to deliver the best tasting food and the highest quality service in a clean environment for a fair price. At Hero Certified Burger we are constantly evaluating every aspect of our business, looking for ways to enhance our guests' dining experiences. We want to offer our guests a delicious meal and exceptional service every time they visit.

                                                                                      They make no food quality claims. As far as my experience goes, they fail terribly on both taste and service.

                                                                                      1. re: jjjj

                                                                                        If they're supposed to be a "Healthier" altenative to the ff chains, they sure do a good job of keeping it to themselves. The burgers even taste fabricated.
                                                                                        Aside from that fact, they can make a tasty burger from organinc beef I would think. First of all, ditch the Angus crap. I have no idea who got people believing it's better beef. I've found absolutely no evidence to support that.
                                                                                        Secondly, bring in fresh beef and make them on site.

                                                                                        This place is a total joke and a complete rip off.


                                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                                          See my comment on "Angus" earlier in this thread.

                                                                                        2. re: jjjj

                                                                                          If this was, indeed, a "healthy" or "drug free" or "cruelty free" burger, we'd see they flogging this information at every turn. I have never seen such claims and, IF they were ever true in the past, that was then. If you can't point me to some reliable backing for these claims, then you undoubtedly aren't getting the product you expect. You need to validate this info and decide whether you still want to eat there.

                                                                                          As far as I can tell, Hero's product is no more virtuous than a Harvey's burger and (sadly) considerably less appealing. (I don't like Harvey's burgers, but they taste better to me than Hero's.) I see it as just an expensive franchise system peddling an inferior product at an inflated price. It's just another fast food place, and not a very good one. They don't claim that their burgers are freshly made, so we can't accuse them of deception.

                                                                                          BIG franks are widely available at retail. They are from the successor company to the late Jack Kwinter.

                                                                                          And pray tell me why their chicken breasts are tenderized with soya? Why would anyone need to tenderize a chicken breast? Bizarre!

                                                                                          1. re: embee

                                                                                            You are right, they don't claim to be hormone, nitrate, and antibiotic free on their web page but I know I read it in their store. I'm pretty sure it was at the Queen Street location. I will check tomorrow as I will be in the area.

                                                                                            If this is the case, they are certainly missing one hell of a marketing angle.

                                                                                            1. re: jjjj

                                                                                              Yes if it is true and the claim can be backed up, it is a tremendous offering for FF.

                                                                                              And if it is still written somewhere in the store as you saw it, I would demand to see it added to their website along with some validation. I just find this so hard to believe.

                                                                                              1. re: deelicious

                                                                                                Not a chance a place like Hero who even put Certified in their title would miss a trick like this. It's all about selling franchises. Can't believe they'd have that heavy a marketing strategy (hey look at all the people who bought burgers there that thought somehow this chain burger place would be different) and not sell the virtue alongside the burger. I hear that's better than their fries. Now that's marketing!

                                                                                              2. re: jjjj

                                                                                                I have a better marketing angle. Good burgers!!!!!!


                                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                  Went there today and they do claim it is free range with no antibiotics,nitrates or hormones on their sign in the store. Find it strange they don't push that.

                                                                                                  1. re: jjjj

                                                                                                    I still think it's irrelevant. It can be coddled by god. If it tastes like crap, who cares??


                                                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                      Indeed. Thank goodness it's summer. We can all fire up our barbecues and forget about Hero. If you really wanted to recreate the experience, though, you could toss 10 bucks on the grill to increase the chances of overcooking the burger. Saves a trip.

                                                                                            2. re: food face

                                                                                              They have since added this to their website.

                                                                                              "Using nothing but 100% free range Angus Beef that is hormone and antibiotic free and adding no additives or preservatives, we make the freshest and juiciest hamburgers possible."

                                                                                              Too bad they don't make a leaner version. Most of that said juice is just grease!

                                                                                              1. re: deelicious

                                                                                                If you want an honest to goodness great burger, please try Weezie's at King & Power (one block east of Parliament). As I've said before, it's a perfect place for a romantic night out and a burger. How many places can claim that?

                                                                                      2. You know what pissed me off the most about Hero, they wouldn't put lettuce on my burger. I'm paying $10 for a burger and fries and you are not going to honour my request for lettuce? They serve a garden salad so its not like there isn't lettuce on hand. It's a burger, a burger sold by a chain, it's not a work of art... if I want lettuce put it on the god damn burger.

                                                                                        Needless to say, I waited until the burger was up and then walked out without paying.

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: ok2

                                                                                          You were saved from getting the crappiest burger - lettuce or no lettuce!

                                                                                          1. re: deelicious

                                                                                            10 bucks for a burger when you can easily make a half-dozen better ones at home for the same price? Sheesh. W.C. Fields comes to mind.

                                                                                            1. re: mrbozo

                                                                                              next time try South Street burger co. very good, kind of what Lick's was like when they first started out. Good selection of toppings and fabulous onion rings. Leaside area.

                                                                                              1. re: millygirl

                                                                                                Doesn't SSB use frozen burgers??


                                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                  As best as I can figure out, South Street uses pre-formed burgers that aren't frozen. But I disagree with millygirl's assertion that they resemble what "Lick's was like when they first started out".

                                                                                                  In Licks' early years, I remember delicious thick, juicy, well seasoned burgers cooked to order and cooked as desired. Rare burger? No problem.

                                                                                                  I would agree that South Street serves a somewhat better burger than today's Licks, and much better than Hero's. But I am damning with faint praise. South Street serves thin, compressed, under-seasoned patties, cooked to order, but cooked to death. They promise - in writing - they will serve burgers that are still pink. Indeed, they state that you must tell them if you want your burger well done. But I needed to send back multiple burgers before getting what they promised. (Reminder to all: there is NO law governing burger doneness in Toronto.)

                                                                                                  On the brighter side, South Street's shakes are great and their toppings are much better than the competitions'. The onion rings are beautifully made, though I detect an unpleasant taste undertone in the coating - something like soy flour. The fries are fresh.

                                                                                                  1. re: embee

                                                                                                    My brother-in-law and I ate at the Hero Burgers in the underground food court at Toronto General Hospital (University Ave). We too, waited 30 minutes for our burgers (there were no other customers, we should have taken the hint). The burgers were awful, tasteless, and again, the fries undercooked. Couldn't believe we spent $25 between us for such crap. Our only excuse was desperation, we thought it would be better than the hospital food, but we were so wrong.

                                                                                                    Sensualspirit- I really enjoy Chris&Tals soy/beef burgers too. Like you, I also tasted them at the Good Food Festival. Whole Foods now sells them, although I wish they also carried the sausages and ground soy/beef mixture.

                                                                                                    1. re: czthemmnt

                                                                                                      If you get up to the Mt. Pleasant and Eglinton area, try the Homeway. It's got a really good burger. It came slightly pink without even asking.


                                                                                        2. Yes, they totally suck, I was at the Highway 7 and Leslie location last year and they got my order totally wrong! As others have pointed out, the patty was overcooked and dry.

                                                                                          I took over 35 minutes for me to get my order ... I was not impressed at all.

                                                                                          I sent a complaint letter to the store and to their head office, they didn't bother calling me back to apologize. Hey, a quick 2 minute I'm sorry call (or even a form letter) would have kept this disparaging remark off of Chowhound.

                                                                                          But I guess, this crappy burger joint has a lot of unhappy customers ;-)

                                                                                          1. Hero...three sizes of patty all cooked by an idiot. If you order small patty then it may be cooked, but if you order medium size be prepared for outside done inside pink mush. Twice have experienced it on medium patties. DON'T order anything larger than the small because cooking in the kitchen at Hero isn't yet perfected at least at the one where I had to get served. The fries often are inferior overdone. By the way they used to wrap the burgers in a silvery paper in which the words Hero were printed but the ink would imprint on the next one printed on the side which touched the sandwhich. I pointed it out to the manager and they served the last burger with paper that no longer has the printing on it. At least they got that right.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: mikervin

                                                                                              My buddy & I were having lunch at the Lanes Food Court (just S of Sheridan Centre) having our favorite fast food Pho and talking about the "Hero" discussion on this site. Neither of us had ever eaten a Hero. He noticed a number of fellow diners having the burger and proceeded to do a quick straw poll....the result was that out of 6 responses, 3 were very positive and 3 were very negative. I found it interesting that there was no middle ground of opinion and that the positive diners were younger than the negative ones. So the Hero Burger is not off my list as yet.

                                                                                              1. re: T Long

                                                                                                What about polling all the people who weren't eating Hero Burgers....

                                                                                                1. re: deelicious

                                                                                                  Lol....naw, maybe just conclude that all young people at heart tend to love Hero, and those older than X probably don't....

                                                                                                  1. re: T Long

                                                                                                    My Lunch buddy & I finally tried the small Hero Burgers at the Lanes Food Court the other day. We both felt they were decent sandwiches tastewise and the topping selection quite good. My buddy thought it tasted "gamier" than other places and for him that was a good thing. For me the burger was a bit drier than say Wendy's or Burger King's, but that likely reflects the use of leaner meat which for me is a good thing. The cost is quite a bit higher than other food court burgers places. Nevertheless, it seems to be one of the more popular destinations at this particular food court.

                                                                                            2. no discussion of burgers would be complete without honourable mention to Apache burger, west yonder Etobicoke way, around where Dundas and Bloor meet again. Downtown, a little pub on Dundonald is putting a lot of love into their burger and doing it right. Check out Local 4 for a juicy burger.

                                                                                              1. Yeah but Hero's still sucks. Its really not a good buger dude. Its like glorified Harveys.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: goodcookiedrift

                                                                                                  For comparison, what burgers do you like? And I'm talking fast food, not bars.

                                                                                                2. There are worse and even MORE overpriced places, if you can believe it.

                                                                                                  For a truely crappy overpriced SMALL burger go and waste some money at South St. Burger

                                                                                                  That place is pathetic. $1 for a slice of cheese and $1 to add one strip of bacon.. And the burger is so BLAND

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                    i agree but that doesnt make Hero any more palatable for me!

                                                                                                  2. they fucking suck ass! overpriced shit on a bun! you're money is better spent next door buying bondage gear at Misbehavin'

                                                                                                    1. My vote goes out to Hero's. I think they're a bit expensive (that's why i never get the add-ons!), but their cheeseburger, IMHO, is the best fast-food burger you can find in Toronto. Notice how i said FAST FOOD... I'm not comparing it with restaurant burgers.

                                                                                                      Of the big fast food franchises, I like A & W.

                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: sepandee

                                                                                                        IMO Hero is actually worse than most bog-standard fast food...worse than BK, Wendy's and A&W for sure. Maybe not worse than McDs and Harvey's, but little is. The burger they served at Queen/Palmerston (before I knew better) was a gristle-icious tocatta in dessicated overdoneness, lubricated by something they must have purchased next door at Misbehavin'.

                                                                                                        1. re: LiviaLunch

                                                                                                          Hero is the worst. Even a McDonalds single burger is more palatable.

                                                                                                          1. re: deelicious

                                                                                                            worse than McDonalds? Come on. I don't know which Hero you've been to, and whether you had a "lemon" experience. But apparently, it's been enough to make you come back to this forum to repeat the same point over and over and over and...

                                                                                                              1. re: sepandee

                                                                                                                lol - i get sucked in every once in a while and find myself at Hero on Queen W. I find it so greasy in the worst way. Nothing great about the texture either. So it has been more than just one visit.

                                                                                                                The McDonalds single burger is not a good burger but it does hit the spot sometimes as a tasty snack with a certain mix of flavour and texture. Hero does not satisfy at all IMO as a sandwich or as a burger.

                                                                                                                1. re: deelicious

                                                                                                                  While I'm still puzzled at to why someone would go back and eat something he/she hates (that's not medicinal), it is refreshing that your opinion is based on first hand and recent experience;)

                                                                                                                  1. re: T Long

                                                                                                                    I go with office staff once in a blue moon - It's like having kids - sometimes you go "for the kids".

                                                                                                                    Now it is craft burger when with staff....bye bye Hero (for me)

                                                                                                                    1. re: deelicious

                                                                                                                      Do you think you can try the Hero at Yonge and St. Claire (just a few steps west of Yonge on St. Claire) whenever you pass by there and let us know what you think? Perhaps each location is different??

                                                                                                                      1. re: sepandee

                                                                                                                        OK OK I will let the Hero thing rest. : )

                                                                                                        2. I experienced the same thing at the Hero Certified Burgers outlet at Yonge and Eglinton. I was totally unimpressed with my buger that tasted the same as a frozen patty from the supermarket. Total rippoff and I'm not going back! I found the burgers at South Street Burgers (on Laird Drive south of Eglinton) to be far superior and they truly tasted fresh. In fact, they were the best burgers I've tasted in years -- way better than Licks.

                                                                                                          East Side Guy

                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: East Side Guy

                                                                                                            South Street Burgers aren't much better, and they most certainly don't taste "fresh." They're pretty bad as well. Where else are you eating burgers if South Street is the best you've had in years?

                                                                                                            1. re: tjr

                                                                                                              Totally agree, South Street is terrible in my opinion

                                                                                                              Bland bland bland... and definitely overpriced

                                                                                                              I always see places on the tv show "Diners, Drive In's & Dives" and all of the burger places they visit are always grinding their own beef in-house and making burgers from it... I can't figure out why Toronto places can't do this..

                                                                                                              1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                They can. They just don't need to. They do very well without all the fuss.


                                                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                  well if they're doing well without all the fuss (frozen burgers as solid as hockey pucks) then I'd imagine they'd do even better if they had a respectable product (freshly ground hand-made burgers)

                                                                                                                  damn, i am getting hungry

                                                                                                                  PS: I agree about HERO burger , I am very surprised the one we have here in Mississauga (Brittania Rd.) is still open; I rarely see people in the store

                                                                                                                  1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                    It depends what time you go. I've waited in line with 3 or 4 families in front of me. I go because it's one place my muslim son can get a burger. Although, I read that some Lick's have halal burgers.
                                                                                                                    For me, I'd rather eat at home. Way too expensive.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Evenshorter

                                                                                                                      If you go to Big Moe's in Scarborough (2 locations) they are Halal and even owned by Muslims.

                                                                                                                      Very good burgers too


                                                                                                                      1. re: Evenshorter

                                                                                                                        The Burgernator in Kensington Market is also Halal. It's not all that great, but it's still about a zillion times better than Hero.

                                                                                                              2. re: East Side Guy

                                                                                                                Where is the Yonge and Eg location? i am always in the area (everyday almost cause i work there) and have never seen it?

                                                                                                                1. re: flying101

                                                                                                                  I wonder if he's thinking of the one at Yonge & St Clair.

                                                                                                              3. I've been to two of them now. The funny thing is that I had a really good burger at the one in the food court in Sherway Gardens (I think that's where it was ). It wasn't the best burger I've ever had and it was a little expensive, but it was worth coming back for.

                                                                                                                Then a few weeks later we went to the one in Queen Street West, and it was much worse. The meat was dry and gristly, and the fries were a bit undercooked. I won't be going back.

                                                                                                                1. Once upon a time, Hero Certified Burger opened a shop in Hazelton Lanes. It was good.... REALLY good.

                                                                                                                  Then when they grew popular enough to open a second location - it went to the shitter.

                                                                                                                  Never eat at Hero Certified Burger, it is THE WORST BURGER JOINT IN THE CITY!

                                                                                                                  However, the idiots that buy their food will continue to support them, which means we need to support worthwhile restaurants.

                                                                                                                  1. I completely agree with you! I heard Hero Burgers were really good and was so shocked to see it was basically Burger King but double the price. Completely ridiculous for the price. I would never eat there again.

                                                                                                                    1. I don't know about now...but I tried Hero burger a long time ago. I can't even remember..last year? As for location not too sure but I am guessing its around Markham since my friend lives up there and took us to Hero.
                                                                                                                      My memory tells me their food was okay. It was bit pricey I must said but I got a big chunky burger which makes totally sense.
                                                                                                                      I dont find it as bad as most of you make it sound, but I guess its different now. I just have to say...its not oh-so-tasty that's why I said earlier "was okay". I can save myself time and just do it myself at home and get a same-or-better quality burger

                                                                                                                      1. Well smack me upside the head for not listening to my inner chowhound. I was running errands and starving and there was a Hero Burgers right next to the Shoppers Drug Mart I was at. I knew it was going to be a not-that-good burger, but I didn't expect it to be a take-a-bite-and-spit-it-out burger. It was revolting. Gray, processed, rubbery protein masquerading as a burger. Why anyone one would eat one of these for free, let alone pay $8 for it, is beyond me. The whole thing went into the trash. I'll take a Wendy's burger over one of these any day.

                                                                                                                        The pricing at Holy Chuck, Stockyards and Burger's Priest suddenly don't seem that bad.

                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                          Bet you wished you read this first eh??

                                                                                                                          It's truly remarkable how bad these things are.


                                                                                                                            1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                              And they seem to be opening new locations constantly. (Shakes head).

                                                                                                                              1. re: terrycar

                                                                                                                                They do seem to be spreading at Starbucks-like frenzy. You rarely see one being built, it's just suddenly there and open.

                                                                                                                                I've learned that in a pinch when being dragged there by friends the poutine isn't too bad as far as fast food versions go and suitable for a quick hang over cure. Also the onion rings are decent. Burgers are gross and best to avoided.

                                                                                                                                1. re: abigllama

                                                                                                                                  I think that they're the same company as Lettieri. They're just converting all of the Lettieri restaurants into Hero Burgers. The one at Church and Wells, The one down on Queen and Spadina, I was in a Lettieri, and the names of both company are on the certificate on the wall.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Saviolo

                                                                                                                                    From http://www.lettiericafe.com/locations...

                                                                                                                                    Lettieri Espresso Bar and Café is co-branding with Hero Certified Burgers to create our combo store. See www.heroburgers.com for more details and combo franchise information.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                              And you know what? I had read it, but it was so long ago that I didn't recall how truly scathing the reviews were.

                                                                                                                              Seriously, this was the single worst thing I've tried in YEARS. I cannot fathom how people are eating and enjoying them.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                  Yep, I'm 100% with DT and Jo on this one - AVOID at all costs!
                                                                                                                                  I would seriously choose a double-cheeseburger at BK ahead of this garbage!
                                                                                                                                  Big, small, fries, everything - AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: TorontoTips

                                                                                                                                    Hero is an absolutely disgusting burger - worst in the city. Yes it is owned by the folks at Lettieri - another place that was sub-par, but Hero goes to a new depth!

                                                                                                                                    I have been told the poutine fries etc are quite good and keeps them busy which is too bad because I would much prefer that they be forced to fix their burger or close down!

                                                                                                                          1. I recall having the large burger in the past and it being gross. About 6 months ago I had one of their smaller sized burgers (maybe 4 oz patty?) and I liked it better. Anyone tried their salmon burger or other options?

                                                                                                                            And yeah, the chain is really growing fast. They seem to really be trying to expand quickly.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: ylsf

                                                                                                                              The veggie burger, they call it a "soul burger" is pretty good. The poutine with beef is a pretty decent hangover cure as are the onion rings. Still avoid the burgers, they're gross and expensive.

                                                                                                                            2. I've only tried Hero Burger a few times in the past. Experience was forgettable. Better burger at Southstreet Burger I thought.

                                                                                                                              These days, I try to avoid red meat but when the cravings hit, I enjoy the offerings at Burger Priest and Holy Chuck. I hope to complete the trinity with Stockyards soon though.

                                                                                                                              My wife rarely eats red meat but loves the Burger Priest (both outlets).

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: Yimahaji

                                                                                                                                I concur that south st. is a bit better if we are comparing the two but in all honesty for the kind of money that these franchised/corporate chains want you to shell out for their burgers I'd rather wait 20 mins in line at BP.

                                                                                                                              2. Everyone trashes the places. How do the succeed in their business?

                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                                  It's a freakin' mystery Vin. Obviously there are those who just don't give a crap about what the food they eat tastes like.


                                                                                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                    Really? This is what chowhound has devolved into? Different tastes for different folks why can't hounds leave it at that? It's one thing to criticize the food, but to criticize others for liking something that you do not; I don't understand that.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Apprentice

                                                                                                                                      Normally I don't but Hero is beyond bad. It's a freakin' joke. It's absolutely impossible for me to understand how anyone would buy a second burger there. Even me.


                                                                                                                                      1. re: Apprentice

                                                                                                                                        I'm with Davwud on this one. Normally I'm all for civilility and all opinions being equal and all of that, but Hero is terrible. It is objectively bad, and if you like it you have bad taste and should feel bad about that.

                                                                                                                                        I kid, I kid! Seriously though, Hero is so amazingly awful. How it continues to thrive absolutely baffles me.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Michael N

                                                                                                                                          I'm with you guys. An absolute mystery. We have one in LV, and when I see people eating there, I wonder how they manage to swallow it. Of course, I don't think Harvey's and the like are a whole lot better. I avoid the burger/fast food chains as much as possible.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Michael N

                                                                                                                                            Sorry but have to agree that it is a blight on Toronto's food scene. Absolutely Horrendous.

                                                                                                                                            To each his own yes, but I feel that the people who enjoy Hero would enjoy anything marketed at them so I wish it were a good burger instead so that we could all enjoy the sprawl.

                                                                                                                                            PS: I am just speaking to their burgers. I don't know about the fries, milkshakes etc.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                                              I gave Hero another shot last week at a new location that popped up at the East York Town Centre. I never had quite the hate that others had for it; my first visit many years ago at the Yonge and St Clair location went pretty well. But last week's burger was awful. I took 15 minutes for burger to be cooked but it was still barely lukewarm inside. Fries were decent, but the burger was downright bad. Never again, Hero. Give me Five Guys anyday.

                                                                                                                                    2. There has been recent controversy/debate about them (Hero Burger) winning a RFP for a new Nathan Philips Square location. Some of the councilors said there should be something better/more exciting/unique/etc/etc there. I don't know why they didn't work that into the RFP then. Anyway, bottom line is that they voted to award it to Hero in the end.

                                                                                                                                      What really got me was the media talking about this. On Newstalk 1010 various hosts were talking about this issue and they and others were calling in to say that Hero was a "good" burger/etc. Some people were calling in with high praise... I want to think they were employees but I guess some people really do love Hero burger!

                                                                                                                                      I have had "okay" burgers from there in the past (I find the larger ones disgusting, but, the smallest burger is bearable/ok to me). I would have also liked to have seen something more unique/healthier/etc there but oh well.

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: ylsf

                                                                                                                                        I stand by my original post. I think it's an embarrassment that they're opening a store in such a place. But at the end of the day, money rules.


                                                                                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                          Couldn't agree more. Except I don't know what's more embarassing, having Hero Burgers at City Hall, or Rob Ford himself. He called it "an important accomplishment". C'mon. Seriously??? Is someone pulling my leg?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: justxpete

                                                                                                                                            Well, not to talk politics, but, I think he was referring to keeping the procurement process in tack.

                                                                                                                                            Like, if you have an RFP, and a company comes up with the best offer, and the acceptance is set up on what is the best offer, once you award the contract to them then don't go about trying to take the contact away from them. Otherwise, what happens when the next RFP comes along and people are hesitant to even bother bidding. Hero said they were fine with whatever they decided though and weren't going to sue (likely something in the RFP/etc that prevented that anyway).

                                                                                                                                            I really think they should have designed the RFP differently to ensure something positive would have been there though.

                                                                                                                                      2. On a side note. I went to 'Taro' on Sheppard for some sushi and sashimi on Tuesday and ended up having a char-broiled burger at the ' Burger/Souvlaki ' joint next door instead!! Surprisingly good!! Very smokey and pate not dry at all. Like the way they toasted the bun. Fries and gravy were amazingly good as well. Apparently Post City magazine voted it 2nd best diner burger out of 10 candidates. Beating out Steer Inn and Golden Star...etc

                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                                                                          Are you talking about the place in that tiny plaza just west of Leslie across from the massive development that was the old CT warehouse??


                                                                                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                            Yup!! ( Further down from Canadian Tire.. Across the road )

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                                                                              That'd likely be Burger Hut, a local fave for many years. Recent reviews have been pretty harsh. I think that Post City award predates the 2009 ownership change. Interesting to see a good review. Whaddo I win?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                                                Whatever happened to Zumburger after they closed on Vic Park?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Herne

                                                                                                                                                  Zing Burger :) They probably retired to that big grill in the sky.

                                                                                                                                        2. I actually like this place. I went to the Queen and Spadina shop around 3am and there wasn't many people in it. I order the largest size burger with the usual toppings and it came out delicious. The biggest downfall was that afterwards I went online to see how much fat it contained and the patty alone contained 60 grams of fat... uh... never again... i wanna puke just thinking about it.. but the burger was quite tasty :)

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: setofdueces

                                                                                                                                            I'd just stick to the A&W across the street

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Yimahaji

                                                                                                                                                'Come And Get It' around the corner has better pork

                                                                                                                                          2. Tried them a couple of times. Worst burger I ever had. At the time they did not even offer lettuce and tomato? Not sure if this is still the case. Popular toppings such as Bacon not available either.

                                                                                                                                            Ever wonder what the "Certified" stands for ? Here is an explanation.


                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: KKeswick

                                                                                                                                              Ah, I never knew that they were halal certified. I never saw "halal certified beef" before actually, I always see it in reference to chicken and other products. Do they advertise this in the restaurant? I thought it was like "certified fresh" or "certified to fill your stomach with 60 grams of fat"