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The Burger Shoppe - Review

Vise Mar 12, 2007 07:11 PM

The Burger Shoppe at Queen & Broadview opened today so of course we had to try it out for dinner, surprised to see how busy they were considering there was no advertising/promotion for the opening. Happy to report that they are serving up fresh and very tasty burgers... glad they aren't trying to be high end/fancy either, the focus is on a great burger made of quality beef cooked perfectly. They also have fresh cut fries, huge onion rings, poutine, etc... I also noticed an organic beef burger (via The Healthy Butcher) on the menu, will likely try that next time. Sadly they don't yet have their milkshakes (featuring Ed's Real Scoop ice cream) but I was told they are coming soon. For people in the area looking for a better burger option than the Double D (aka the flavourless grease bomb) give them a try. They are admittedly a bit pricey but I think the quality/freshness of the ingredients will keep people coming back... plus it isn't a chain/franchise so hopefully it won't suffer the same fate as Hero.

Already looking forward to my next burger... :-)

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  1. vorpal Mar 12, 2007 07:15 PM

    A few questions:
    1. Do they have a website?
    2. Do you know if they deliver?
    3. Were the onion rings homemade, or prepared from frozen?

    Awesome. I'm really looking forward to having a good burger joint in my neighbourhood. Thanks for the review and recommendation!

    1. Vise Mar 12, 2007 09:00 PM

      Don't think they have a website and they don't deliver... its actually quite small, only about 4 tables and a few stools so I'm guessing it will be mostly takeout. As for the onion rings... to be honest I'm not entirely sure but they were quite good, I would guess frozen based on the consistency of the coating (similar to panko breading) but frozen seems a bit contrary to the vibe of the place. Let us know what you think, I was pretty impressed considering it was their first day.

      Plus the owners (two brothers) were really nice and personable... they live in the area too, nice to see they are keeping it local. Next time I'm in I'll find out where they get their beef and if the patties are made on the premises.

      1. e
        enviro_123 Mar 13, 2007 12:53 AM

        Thanks for the review. What is the price point for a burger?

        I can't wait until they have those milkshakes! I will definitely have to stop by whent that time comes.

        1. h
          hungryabbey Mar 13, 2007 04:48 AM

          So, it isnt tabel service right? Its just like get your burger and sit down, right?

          2 Replies
          1. re: hungryabbey
            Vise Mar 13, 2007 08:18 AM

            The burgers start around $5 or so, close to $6 with cheese. No table service either, order your burger at the counter and sit down to wait.

            Hmmm.... burger for lunch today? :-)

            1. re: Vise
              h
              hungryabbey Mar 13, 2007 08:48 AM

              Yah, Im seriously tempted

          2. Teep Mar 14, 2007 06:51 AM

            Any non-red meat items? would like to take my friend who loves Burgers but I don't.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Teep
              Vise Mar 14, 2007 07:41 AM

              The menu board was hyping up their veggie burger (home made from their own recipe, not a frozen patty) so you could try that? Aside from that its basically burgers and fries, that's it.

              And who doesn't like burgers? :-)

            2. diesta Mar 14, 2007 06:25 PM

              went this evening; great tasty cheeseburger with pretty good onion rings; place seems cozy, but can see them wishing they had twice the space! Good quality product at a reasonable price...will definately be back again and soon! Great job guys

              1. vorpal Mar 14, 2007 06:26 PM

                My partner went down to the Burger Shoppe tonight to get us takeout. He said that the restaurant itself was very cute: four tables with a bench along one wall, and six stools by the window. The place sports a 50s diner feel but with modern touches, and the restaurant is small and you can see the kitchen. He spoke with the staff a little bit, and they told him that their fries are fresh cut, prepared daily, and their onion rings are also homemade.

                I had the organic burger with onion rings and fries. The onion rings consisted of thick slices of onion breaded in a panko-like coating. They were utterly delicious, and some of the best I've eaten in my life. The fries were soft, like Swiss Chalet fries, which some people don't like but I prefer them this way. I have felt rather french fried out lately and wasn't particularly looking forward to them, but they were great... just the way that I like them. The burger was sort of mixed... the flavours of the meat were superb, but the patty itself wasn't all that juicy and it was somewhat overcooked, I felt. I enjoyed it in spite of this, but it was chewier than I was expecting. They were also somewhat stingy with toppings: I got cheese and onions on my burger, which consisted of a very thin (almost nonexistent) layer of cheddar with a couple sad pieces of red onion on top whose flavour disappeared in the expanse of the meat and the bun.

                My partner got a regular burger and poutine. He's not a fan of soggy fries, and the poutine was very small for the price paid. Overall, he found it to be okay, but not entirely to his liking. His burger was also slightly overcooked and chewy, and while he'd asked for a number of toppings, again, the staff had been entirely ungenerous.

                Overall, I would certainly go back, especially for the onion rings. Being able to get an organic burger was also a nice touch. I wouldn't go out of my way to hit this place up, but I live nearby and it's definitely better than sufficient for a quick, inexpensive meal. It's also leagues ahead of Dangerous Dan's, although their burgers are definitely juicier.

                2 Replies
                1. re: vorpal
                  Vise Mar 14, 2007 09:10 PM

                  Hmm... must have been bad luck or bad timing, our burgers were perfectly cooked (slightly pinkish inside) and very juicy. That's too bad though, mention it to them next time you are there and see what they say.

                  I'm ready to go back, maybe tomorrow for lunch.

                  1. re: Vise
                    vorpal Mar 15, 2007 06:34 AM

                    Thanks for the heads up. Mine was definitely dense and dark brown in the middle. I'll definitely ask for them to hold down the cooking time next time I'm there, and I am excited to go back as well.

                2. h
                  hungryabbey Mar 15, 2007 08:04 AM

                  do they have anything other then burgers? like chicken breast burgers or anything like that?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: hungryabbey
                    vorpal Mar 15, 2007 02:16 PM

                    My partner told me that they had chicken burgers on the menu when he was there last night. You might want to call and ask to confirm.

                    1. re: vorpal
                      h
                      hungryabbey Mar 15, 2007 05:25 PM

                      oh okay good to know, thanks, ill check up on that.

                  2. t
                    The Macallan 18 Mar 15, 2007 08:53 AM

                    Nope, just beef meat! (And a veggie burger, but who want that!)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: The Macallan 18
                      h
                      hungryabbey Mar 15, 2007 08:56 AM

                      hahaha, alright fair enough.

                      1. re: The Macallan 18
                        Teep Mar 15, 2007 08:28 PM

                        Wrong, I had the chicken burger tonight. It was chopped white meat, and nicely grilled yet not dry. But not too much flavour. The veggie burger is not yet available, along with the milk shake that is also on the board. Aren't they tired of people asking for them? why not write "coming soon" next to the items? it's just chalk.

                        The ordering was a joke. I asked for ketchup and tomato only, my friend said no pickles, and to stay. When our order was up, they yelled to ask us if it's to go. And guess what? both our burgers came with everything.

                        Our fries weren't soggy; they were over fried. My friend had a few pieces that looked like charcoal.

                        I heard the staff say something about Chowhounds. My friend wonders if some of the good reviews in here are "shills".

                      2. a
                        ahysin Mar 15, 2007 11:59 AM

                        I saw this thread this morning and I was in the area so I went there for lunch. I got there around 1:00pm. I ordered the cheese burger, chocolate milkshake (they don’t have the machine ready yet, but that’s ok since I read from this thread that the milkshake is not ready yet), and the onion ring. But then I was disappointed to find out that the onion rings were sold out. I guess I will have to be there around Noon next time to catch the rings.

                        So instead, I ordered the cheese burger, poutine, and a bottle of water. The total came to approximately $14.50. Which is quite expensive for burgers, but I don’t mind paying more for food if the taste is great.

                        So about 8 minutes later, my food is ready. I will have to say that the quantity of the toppings and poutine was light. But like I said, when it comes to food, it’s not the price or quantity that matters. It’s all about the quality.

                        Let’s start with the cheese burger. I will have to say that was only a “burger” because I can hardly see or taste the “cheese” in it. The only topping’s taste which stood out was the ketchup. The rest (red onion, lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard) I can hardly taste them since there wasn’t much of them to begin with. But the beef was so juicy. As I was eating the burger, I saw drops of meat juicy dropping from the other end of the burger. I will have to admit it was just a tad over cooked but you can still get a nice taste of the beef. The buns were not that special but they were not bad at all.

                        Next we have the poutine. The cheese reminds me of the cheese from New York Fries’ poutine, I will have to say they are more or less the same. The gravy is thinning than I have ever since in other fast food chains or restaurants but the taste of it is perfect. I was disappointed about the top layer of the poutine since they put way too much salt on it and I couldn’t taste nothing but salt for the first 10 fries or so. But once I reach to the bottom of the container, I can truly taste this poutine. I will have to say the fries are definitely prepared and made freshly, and daily. You can really taste the potato and not much of the oil. They are small like the size of McDonald’s fries and soft like Swiss Chealet’s. If you like that kind of texture in fries then you will love this. It soft, fresh, and with a strong taste of nicely cooked potato.

                        Overall, I think the food is alright. The fact that I couldn’t try the “legendary” onion ring kinda upsets me. I love their beef, however, the toppings were weak. I will probably go for the fries instead of the poutine, and tell them to go easy on the salt. I will probably go back there again but not out of my way. I give it a 7/10.

                        1. TorontoJo Mar 15, 2007 01:08 PM

                          Can I just be the first to say "let's please keep this place in perspective?" I'm afraid that this thread will grow into hype, then other hounds will go and be disappointed and perhaps trash the place. I would love for a new burger place like this to succeed! So please, let's not refer to the onion rings as "legendary". :o)

                          1. r
                            rsvp7777 Mar 15, 2007 01:40 PM

                            I live in the area too and went at 11:45 today with my 18 year-old son. Neither of us were knocked out.
                            He had the hamburger, I had the cheeseburger, he had the poutine, I had the onion rings. We each had a can of coke. That cost $25.00.
                            The meat on the burger is good quality but there isn't that much of it in ratio to the bun and toppings.
                            The toppings, BTW, were all pretty pedestrian.
                            The poutine was ordinary. Bland gravy. Standard curds. Soggy fries. (Some of them were not gravy-coated so I make my judgement call on that.)
                            The onion rings, however, were SUPERB. Beautifully golden, crispy. First-rate.
                            The service was friendly. The place is cute, if a little crowded.
                            I think people like the IDEA of this place so much that they're willing it to be better than it is.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: rsvp7777
                              r
                              ruckusrachie Apr 10, 2007 12:01 AM

                              "I think people like the IDEA of this place so much that they're willing it to be better than it is."
                              I agree. When it opened I was so excited that I begged my boyfriend all day to go. Oddly I found the service cold and somewhat rude. I had ordered a poutine but was charged for fries. When we pointed out the error they didn't seem to understand. We insisted to pay the extra few dollars (it’s a new business which needed support) but we were dismissed with a sneer.
                              My boyfriend tried one of their tiny burgers, which was far too expensive for its size. I had an average cheeseburger which doesn’t deserve a 6$ price tag.
                              I wanted the place to be great but was disappointed. Maybe they'll work out the kinks, reconsider their prices and finally get their milkshakes!

                              1. re: ruckusrachie
                                e
                                embee Apr 11, 2007 09:29 AM

                                I think you're both right about the "idea". I'm not willing it to be better than it is - I obviously didn't like it very much. But my expectations increased my disappointment.

                                I expected a locally owned neighbourhood place that was tightly focused on one thing, and thus did that one thing exceptionally well. I would have gone to a place like that several times a month (and likely more often in the summer).

                                What opened is a franchise prototype, owned by people who don't take constructive criticism well. I'm astounded by both the number of postings here and the number of words I wrote myself.

                                I wish them success. But as things stand, they won't see me very often.

                                1. re: embee
                                  diesta Apr 11, 2007 09:58 AM

                                  They've been open for what, a month now? Whether it's restaurant 1 of 1, or 1 of possibly more if that is something they decide to do, a month is hardly sufficient time to figure things out, determine what needs to be changed and then make changes that satisfy whatever might need to be done.

                                  Remember, your 'expectations' are irrelevant...it's the 'does it do it for me', apparently in your case it doesn't and that's perfectly acceptable. For what it's worth, I went again on Monday; we ordered two cheese-burgers and fries and the total is $18 approx. I think that's on par with Licks prices, but not sure. Regardess, the burger was cooked nicely--was flavourful and juicy; I would like to see a bit more cheese on the burger, but it's nice to not get processed stuff! The fries were great...perfectly cooked, appropriate crispyness, good flavour and not excessively greasy.

                                  1. re: diesta
                                    Vise Apr 11, 2007 01:19 PM

                                    This is the sort of experience I've had with the BS so far... hasn't been 100% perfect, but has been tasty and definitely enjoyable. They do need to work on their consistency (and hopefully adjust their prices), but that's to be expected with any new restaurant startup. I'll go back again and hope that they'll continue to improve their product as time goes on.

                                    1. re: diesta
                                      foodyDudey Apr 11, 2007 02:09 PM

                                      You think they need more than a month to figure out how to make decent burgers??? Seriously, their menu is simple and any monkey can make burgers. This is not a fine dining restaurant with many cooks/chefs and complicated recipes.

                                      1. re: foodyDudey
                                        diesta Apr 11, 2007 03:50 PM

                                        Sigh... your definition of what makes a 'decent burger' is different from others...for example, I happen to like them. Cut back on the vitriol. If any 'monkey' can cook burgers, every place in the city would have 'the best burgers'. The fact is it plays on what each persons preference is, as to whether they happen to like it or not. And yes, I happen to think that one month is not a long time to make a lot of changes in even a small place with all of the other things that a new restaurant has to manage on starting up.

                                        1. re: diesta
                                          deelicious Apr 11, 2007 05:35 PM

                                          ...especially when every maneuver has to bode well for the franchise recipe.

                              2. t
                                The Macallan 18 Mar 16, 2007 12:24 AM

                                Went today...burgers were good, nothing special or fancy...just good. My only peeve were the frozen onion rings! Not good at all. Sooooo easy to make real good yummy onion rings from scratch. Please do this and I will visit once a week. Also, add more flavour to the burger...(seasonings or toppings with added flare). Other wise, a very nice experience.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: The Macallan 18
                                  vorpal Mar 16, 2007 07:41 AM

                                  Hmmmm... how strange. When I got food from them, the onion rings were clearly homemade. I wonder if they couldn't keep up with demand and switched over?

                                  1. re: vorpal
                                    f
                                    FlavoursGal Mar 16, 2007 05:02 PM

                                    How hard is it to make onion rings from scratch? I doubt that a restaurant that's so quickly become known for their onion rings would dare to use frozen suddenly.

                                    1. re: FlavoursGal
                                      e
                                      embee Mar 16, 2007 08:56 PM

                                      They have made a splash on Chowhound for sure. But they've only been open for a few days and are not yet known in the immediate neighbourhood (for burgers, rings, or anything else).

                                      We don't have many decent quick bite places in this area, so I was looking forward to them with fairly high expectations. Hopefully it's a soft opening and they will respond to criticism in a positive way. I'd hate for this to become another Hero or South Street kind of place and I don't want any new business in my "transitioning" neighbourhood to die.

                                      I was going to go this weekend, but I'm holding off for at least a few weeks to see if they get their legs. Reading between the lines of these reviews, something just doesn't feel quite right.

                                2. z
                                  Zengarden Mar 16, 2007 04:58 AM

                                  This sounds like a very expensive burger and the comments aren't full on raves.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Zengarden
                                    s
                                    South Riverdale Snacker Mar 20, 2007 01:06 PM

                                    Thought I'd try the place last night. As a local, I want to see this and other new openings do well. I had the burger and onion rings. Service was reasonably quick and friendly. Burger was tasty, onion rings a little soggy, but ok. A little light on the toppings, a little pricey, but all in all enjoyable. I think this place will do well. People in the area have been looking for a somewhat healthier and tastier alternative to the DD. I do not think that this place will become a "destination" for people from outside of the neighbourhood but will probably be well supported by locals.

                                  2. e
                                    embee Mar 22, 2007 12:55 PM

                                    I wasn't planning to try them for a few weeks, but I was walking by and it started to rain, so...

                                    The obvious comparison is with the Double D and, on this, it's no contest. Dangerous Dan's is significantly cheaper (their normal size "homemade" burger is a buck less and a few ounces bigger). But I find DD's burgers gross. Their shop always seems dirty, moldy, and smelly (though they always seem to get a green pass from Toronto Public Health) and I hate the old car seats. I don't eat there any more.

                                    The Burger Shoppe is much smaller, clean, and has a nice vibe. Though they are both selling burgers, I can't see too much crossover between the Burger Shoppe and the Double D. That doesn't make the Burger Shoppe good, though. Better, yes, but definitely not good.

                                    They were doing steady eat-in and takeout business while I was there. There was no lineup and the grill cook wasn't busy.They didn't mention the Healthy Butcher, but described the meat as fresh.

                                    I ordered at the counter and the food was delivered to my window seat. I had a plain burger and the onion rings. I wasn't impressed.

                                    The burger was a skinny compressed patty. Perfectly OK for a "burger joint" but not my idea of a fresh homestyle burger. I asked if they would serve my burger cooked pink. They said they would. I repeated this request two more times.

                                    The burger arrived solid gray (cooked to at least 185 degrees). It was unseasoned, juiceless, and had no beefy flavour. There was quite a bit of gristle that I could both see and feel between my teeth. Even with mustard and mayo, it was almost too dry to chew. Pickle flavour dominated, so I removed the pickle, but I could barely taste the meat. The inoffensive bun neither added to nor detracted from the burger. The minimalist toppings were fine.

                                    The panko-style onion rings looked perfect and were fried to a beautiful crunch. I contend that they are factory made and frozen, though I could be wrong. Homemade rings in my experience just don't look like this. They were pleasantly oniony and a satisfying portion, though six rings for almost $4 seemed steep. They didn't have the industrial seasoning taste that I don't like -- they had no obvious seasoning at all and needed a surprising amount of salt.

                                    This meal cost just over $10 dollars, and did not include a drink. It wasn't worth that much money. They had a nice selection of Boylan pop, but not the naturally flavoured versions.

                                    The Burger Shoppe really disappointed. I would go back again if I was passing by, but that's all. I can't see myself saying "lets go to the Burger Shoppe", though I live just minutes away.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: embee
                                      domesticgodess Mar 26, 2007 08:31 AM

                                      I went recently to check out the veggie burger. I arrived at 12:30 ...and the place was jammed and patrons were told that there would be a 30 minutes wait. I was only ordering take-out so the "wait" didnt affect me.
                                      However I was told that they "sold out" of veggie burgers...I asked them, what time I need to arrive...11:30 a.m. to get a veggie burger??..lol
                                      I ordered the onion rings and the french fries to go.
                                      The onion rings were spectacular (although I agree with the another post that they were desperately in need of seasoning and salt). Needless to say I still ate all of them and will be going back for more.
                                      As for the french fries....ok.
                                      I will definetely be going back for the onion rings and hopefully a veggie burger too. LOL

                                    2. a
                                      Aardvark Mar 26, 2007 09:00 AM

                                      I tried this place a couple of days ago and would agree with some of the posts and not with others. I thought the burgers were pretty good (if expensive) and certainly I would get them again. Juicy even though they were cooked through.

                                      I would be surprised if the onion rings are homemade because they sure looked and tasted frozen to me. The fries were just ok.

                                      I will check back in a couple of weeks because they seemed to be still ironing out some kinks. They really weren't that organized and the wait for my food was longer than it had to be. For example they cooked the burgers and then when the burgers were wrapped and ready to go they started cooking the fries and rings!

                                      All in all, not a terrible experience but time should hopefully improve some of the weak points.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Aardvark
                                        m
                                        MinkusMan Mar 28, 2007 09:52 AM

                                        Hey all, my first post here!

                                        Well I didn't want to like The Burger Shoppe, it 's expensive, crowded with trendoids and it took over from Joe the Barber who I'd been frequenting the 10 years I've lived in the 'hood. I gave it a chance recently and was surprised: everything was pretty good, price and crowd aside. The fries were excellent and the burger tasted fresh, like a summer bbq patty.

                                        However, at twice the price of my absolute favourite, Speedy Burger, it's hard to justify. I'm not sure why all these "locals" all go to the Double D, but Speedy is definitly the best burger in QBV. Fresh made patties grilled up as you order them. A cheese burger (sadly it's a kraft single but whatever), fries and a coke come to less than the price of Burger Shoppes Cheese Burger on it's own. I wish TBS all the best, but they'll have to do better to justify the $$ IMO.

                                        1. re: MinkusMan
                                          Vise Mar 29, 2007 06:42 AM

                                          Where is Speedy Burger? Sounds good, I'd give them a try (assuming they are in the area) for sure.

                                          1. re: Vise
                                            Teep Mar 29, 2007 01:45 PM

                                            I was curious about that too, so looked it up on yellowpage.ca - it's at 636 Queen Street East, just a block or so west of the Burger Shoppe.

                                            1. re: Teep
                                              m
                                              MinkusMan Mar 30, 2007 11:59 AM

                                              Speedy is at the corner of Carroll St & Queen E. 1 block past the DVP bridge on the north side, they are closed on weekends. Classic greek owned greasy spoon.

                                      2. t
                                        torontoeh Apr 1, 2007 05:24 PM

                                        We finally got around to trying Burger Shoppe. Hoping they were open, we were happy to see a couple of workers inside when we arrived at 6:20 today (Sunday).

                                        But guess what...they close at 6pm on Sunday. 6PM! They stay open just until the dinner hour, and then when the clock strikes 6 and people think food, they close! Why dont they just close at 3 then?

                                        Anyway, as you can tell, we were amazed a resto could stay open for the entire afternoon just so they can close at 6. Wonder if this means the place isnt doing very well?

                                        Went to the Real Jerk. Great pork as usual but stay away from the fried chicken.

                                        1. deelicious Apr 2, 2007 03:33 PM

                                          Finally got there. Sigh - no big deal.

                                          The burger was just mediocre. I agree the patty is smallish for the bun. I ordered pink and got pink but it was not juicy in the slightest. It was also not seasoned at all but the burger flavour came through ok. I think they may be using meat that is too lean, or just squeezing the juice out of the burger as some places do while cooking. Instead of offering a double patty, i think they should offer a wider and thicker patty for those wishing more. I prefer yellow mustard on my burger, not dijon. They should list the mustard as dijon so you dont get stuck with something you dont like. Give me some pepper and garlic and hold the dijon!

                                          The onion rings are definitely frozen. I would bet anything on that. Although the breading was very very good, and the onion flavour was great too, you can always tell frozen when the onion loses its firmness and becomes almost liquified. I miss the onion texture and prefer to not have onion puree inside. But they were good.

                                          The original Licks. Ahhhhhhh

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: deelicious
                                            n
                                            Nodnarb Apr 6, 2007 07:38 AM

                                            Seems like a lot of people have are taking guesses at the onion rings, maybe you should ask them where they get it from.

                                            And for the burgers, I don’t know about you but I love the Organic burger, Umm.... next time when your there get one, and ... ask if Gary can make you the burger.

                                            The fries ARE fresh made everyday, blanched first then cook when you’re ready to order. The reason why the fries are so salty because of the left over seasoning from the other fries order before. For my understanding they clean it out once in a while so it should be better.

                                          2. y
                                            Yongeman Apr 8, 2007 08:20 AM

                                            This was reviewed (favourably) by Jennifer Bain in today's Sunday Star.

                                            19 Replies
                                            1. re: Yongeman
                                              e
                                              embee Apr 8, 2007 08:48 AM

                                              Yes, and also a good review in Now. In reading Bain's article, I was convinced that she interviewed the owners of the place and published nothing more than a publicity piece. Amy Pataki is the Star's restaurant reviewer - not Bain.

                                              The owners of the Burger Shoppe turn out to be corporate people (ex-Keg in one case) rather than good food fanatics starting a new small business. According to the Now review, they are ready to blanket Toronto with Burger Shoppe franchises. (And they are barely a startup themselves). They are obviously very media savvy. My first experience was blah, but I had hopes they would get better with time and practice. Given this new info, I have my doubts. Here comes another Hero Burgers-type operation - great hype, not great chow.

                                              1. re: embee
                                                Vise Apr 8, 2007 07:05 PM

                                                I find your comment interesting... does being a 'corporate' person preclude one from being a good food fanatic? Seems a bit harsh and more than a little judgmental in my opinion. Does the fact that Cumbrae's does very well (and charges through the nose) and has more then one location make their products inferior based on your logic?

                                                As I've mentioned in this thread I've enjoyed the Burger Shoppe's product so far and have returned a few times with similar results. I agree that its not perfect (their poutine could definitely use some work and their prices are higher than I'd like) but I think its better than most in the area and has the potential to be consistently great with a bit of work. However, if the owners chose to parlay the success they've had so be it; it doesn't matter to me one lick how many locations they have or if they are franchised or not as long as the food is good. I understand your reluctance based on the Hero Certified Burger fiasco (I agree their burgers suck), but try and give the place a chance before handing down your undeserved judgment. To this observer it would appear your bias against 'corporate people' is influencing your opinions on the chow. My 2 cents.

                                                1. re: Vise
                                                  e
                                                  embee Apr 8, 2007 08:26 PM

                                                  Sorry Vise. I respect your postings, but you are way off base. I'm stating facts, based on my experiences, and positing opinions based on these facts. I am not casting aspersions.

                                                  Living in a neighbourhood that is distressingly short of good local places where one can get a quality quick bite, I expected something different. A devoted local owner operator who wants to serve the best food possible is in a different business from someone prototyping a franchise concept.

                                                  There's nothing wrong with having "corporate" experience. This background can give one the business discipline that many (perhaps most) restaurant operators don't have. And it certainly doesn't preclude one from being a food fanatic. But wanting to flood the city with franchises from what I see as an immature and flawed prototype is inconsistent with being a food fanatic. The "Hero Burger fiasco" is, I believe, the norm and not the exception. The criteria for franchising restaurants are quite different than the methods needed to run a successful neighbourhood burger joint. Even this early on, I see another Hero Burger in the making, and I'm disappointed.

                                                  Sure I'm being judgmental, just as you are being about me. I'm glad that you enjoyed their product. I wish I had. I wanted to. I didn't. I may try again, but not anytime soon based on what I'm reading here.

                                                  I respect Cumbrae's and the Healthy Butcher. Even though I haven't liked many things I've tried from these places, I can sense their commitment to quality. Maybe it will last and maybe it won't. I hope they don't outgrow their spans of control.

                                                  Four Seasons Hotels manages to maintain a quality standard in dozens of far flung places. At a more plebeian level, Moevenpick of Switzerland often does a decent job. Marks and Spencers food quality is legendary. But I've watched so many places lose what made them special as they've grown.... And once you grow beyond a certain (relatively small) size, logistical and operational concerns become much more important than serving delicious food. Running a chain is extremely hard and running a franchised chain is even harder. Some succeed. Most fail as food destinations, even when they succeed financially.

                                                  Sticking to the local burger realm, I can cite Licks as the best example. It used to be a destination; now I avoid eating there. Not because it is now "corporate", but because I don't like the food any more.

                                                  My gut tells me that these guys are very smart, very clever, and want very much to succeed. It also tells me they aren't passionate about their food, but about the successful marketing of their brand. I wouldn't mind being wrong.

                                                  But biased against "corporate people"? Not at all. Disappointed because I was hoping for a great alternative to the very local Dangerous Dan's? Absolutely. Premature? I don't think so. Their obvious media savvy might have served them better had they waited until they had their very tight concept down pat. Look at the buzz they've got in two weeks. Very impressive, but the food just isn't. Have a soft opening, get the food right, and THEN get the word out to the world. My 2 cents.

                                                  1. re: embee
                                                    deelicious Apr 8, 2007 09:02 PM

                                                    I agree.

                                                    I was very disappointed by BS, and Hero and Hals and Acme (havent bothered with south side) and I am fed up with these franchise types wanting to take on the world with their stupid Angus burgers or otherwise. Can someone just bring us a quick delicious juicy burger?

                                                    Licks is unfortunately the best case scenario of a burger chain in my opinion. Great burgers for a number of years while the company remained small. But once they 'blanketed' the city the shift of focus from food to franchise absolutely destroyed the product. Most people that eat licks have no clue what it once tasted like.

                                                    I disagree that these guys are so savvy. A better strategy is to keep quiet about your bigtime plans and just work on pleasing the locals. Then you can thank them for "making you what you are today" when you go bigger. What happened to modesty? Instead they make us feel like guniea pigs in their big franchise plans. Plus now we know we are paying franchise fees in every bite.

                                                    I say free burgers if you want to test the crap on us!

                                                    1. re: embee
                                                      Vise Apr 8, 2007 09:21 PM

                                                      Fair enough. I respect your opinion and agree to an extent (both Licks and Hero prove your point), but I still think you're putting your spin on the place before they've had the chance to establish themselves.

                                                      Let's keep things in perspective; they've been open for less than a month and definitely have kinks to be worked out. They did have a soft opening and most of the buzz has come from Chowhound and other food blogs. It would appear that most of the hype (positive and negative) has come from us foodies (gasp!) excited about someone trying to elevate the humble burger to something beyond.

                                                      My point is that to paint the Burger Shoppe with the same brush as Licks/Hero is a bit of a disservice to the effort these guys are trying to put forth. I agree that things could go sideways and fast, but I'd hope the owners are smart enough to sort out the issues and clean up their act before attempting any grandiose plans at expansion. I've been lucky enough to have a postive experience with them so far and I hope that remains to be the case. I'd just hope/wish that no one here would will them to fail or try predict their future without really knowing the story. For all we know they could be listening to their critics, resolving the issues, and delivering a burger that will please all.

                                                      I also disagree with your view that the local area is short of good places, I'm pretty happy with the options right now (for eat in and take out) but of course it could always be better. After having lived on the Danforth for several years I much prefer the energy and vibe of the Leslieville strip. I guess (as always) its comes down to personal opinion; what works for one does not work for all. C'est la vie... probably a topic best discussed in another thread.

                                                      1. re: Vise
                                                        e
                                                        embee Apr 9, 2007 11:01 AM

                                                        What inexpensive quick bite/fast takeout places do you recommend (for dinner) in the immediate area? We now have an extensive choice for sit down dining. Some of these places are wildly inconsistent, but we've come a long way from what existed when I moved here almost 20 years ago. Still, for a quick bite or take out in the evening, I can't think of very much.

                                                        There's Reliable F&C (though the fish wasn't great my last time there, it has generally been very good - hopefully an off day and not the start of a trend), and there's Cajun Corner.

                                                        Bonjour Brioche isn't open in the evening and isn't a great dine in experience at any time (though I do like their food). Ditto Coyote Willie, though for different reasons.

                                                        The Velvet Pub had very good food for a long time, but they recently jacked up the prices while the food has been slipping. Their service is extremely slow.

                                                        I have been disappointed in Leslieville Cheese, though I'm hoping they will improve. Again, they close very early. The new organics place has been profoundly disappointing.

                                                        Getting further away, Strat's has some good food amongst the dross. Sushi Marche is very good, but also quite expensive.

                                                        I can't stand Dangerous Dan's. Mary MacLeod's isn't a real restaurant and isn't open evenings. The Jerk hasn't been good in years and, except for the roti, is no longer cheap (made worse by the fact that I know the owner can cook). Newell's, Blue Moon, K&S, Jim's, and Goodwill are not meant for me. The Chinese takeout (I can't think of the name) sucks. The Wokker is edible, but not cheap, and a weird place at which to dine in. I've never had the nerve to try Gale's, but they also close very early.

                                                        Lisa's on Carlaw tried opening in the evening, but their condo landlord apparently made it impossible for them to continue. Joy used to serve great sandwiches (for dine in and takeout) that weren't listed on their dinner menu, but they won't do it anymore.

                                                        1. re: embee
                                                          pescatarian Apr 9, 2007 11:17 AM

                                                          Embee, I had a very good meal at Cafe le Vert recently. It is small, but they have renovated and they indicated that they would be opening for dinner from now on.

                                                          1. re: pescatarian
                                                            e
                                                            embee Apr 9, 2007 11:22 AM

                                                            Cafe Vert is a great place, but not for a quick evening bite or fast takeout. I consider it "dine in", even at lunch.

                                                          2. re: embee
                                                            Vise Apr 9, 2007 12:34 PM

                                                            Here is a short (heh) list of places in the 'general' area we have tried or frequent for lunch/dinner takeout and/or delivery... sure I'm missing some as it seems like we've tried everything. Had to consult my menu stack to remind me of some of the places we tried in the past.

                                                            Of course not all are great, some are just passable but at the very least its a pretty decent number of options. Keep in mind I drive so have no probs going as far as 10mins or so away to pickup a meal. With the new baby we've been cooking/staying at home a fair bit lately but its nice to have a wide selection in the general are so that we can order/grab something quick when time is short.

                                                            Cajun Corner - current fave
                                                            Pizza Pide - also a fave
                                                            Reliable Fish & Chips - ditto
                                                            British Style Fish & Chips
                                                            Burger Shoppe - discussed above :-)
                                                            Bonjour Brioche
                                                            Sushi Marche
                                                            Chick N Joy
                                                            Kubo Radio - delivery
                                                            Okay Okay Cafe (takeout)
                                                            Queen Pita
                                                            Seabreeze
                                                            The Tulip (takeout)
                                                            Lahore Tikka House
                                                            Rose Cafe
                                                            Mimi Vietnamese
                                                            Miao Ke Chinese Bakery - east side of Broadview across the street from Phoenix
                                                            Kaka Lucky/Sing Sing/BBQ Restaurant - none are favourites but can cure a BBQ duck craving
                                                            Brick Street Bakery - great for sandwiches at lunch
                                                            Pizzaiolo
                                                            Mamma's Pizza
                                                            Danforth Dragon
                                                            Messini
                                                            Asteria (not Astoria)
                                                            Square Boy
                                                            El Sol
                                                            Magic Oven - rarely if ever lately though
                                                            Popeyes - when the mood strikes (Danforth & Main so technically too far)
                                                            Hot & Spice Thai Restaurant/The Family Thai - neither lately though
                                                            Donlands Gardens
                                                            Royal Kabob House

                                                            Would love some additional ideas/recommendations in the Leslieville/Riverdale (and as far as Danforth) area if anyone has them so I can expand the list. Having a list makes thing much easier trust me, I just go through the list of places with my wife and let her decide. :-)

                                                            I'm also exluding some places I can't recommend to anyone (ie. Dangerous Dans, Coyote Willies) based on food being beyond bad. Gale's is now on my list (thanks Chowhound), hopefully we'll try it out soon.

                                                            1. re: Vise
                                                              foodyDudey Apr 9, 2007 12:50 PM

                                                              Since you aksed for other recommendations, you should try the seftalia at the Friendly Greek. I wrote about it here http://www.chowhound.com/topics/387812 last week, but it hardly got any replies. It's worth trying.

                                                              FoodyDudey

                                                              1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                Vise Apr 9, 2007 01:12 PM

                                                                Thanks, missed that thread. Have eaten at the Friendly Greek before (prefer others on the strip), but that dish sounds great. Added to the list of places to try.

                                                              2. re: Vise
                                                                z
                                                                Zengarden Apr 9, 2007 03:38 PM

                                                                Sakawaya (next door to Danforth Dragon)
                                                                Jean's Vegetarian Thai
                                                                Que Ling (lunch only as they are closed evenings)

                                                                1. re: Vise
                                                                  e
                                                                  embee Apr 9, 2007 04:07 PM

                                                                  That's quite a list, and I go to places on it more than occasionally. However, it does range geographically far beyond what I'm looking for. Once we're up to Danforth or in Little India, there's a plethora of choice. My interest is chowish places I can walk to from Queen/Logan within in roughly 15 minutes. You mention several I'd forgotten. I like:

                                                                  - Pizza Pide - the Turkish stuff and baklava - not the pizza

                                                                  - Mimi Vietnamese (also XeLua and a new one on the north side toward Logan)

                                                                  - Miao Ke Chinese Bakery - though their goodies have gone downhill recently

                                                                  - Kaka Lucky for the salt BBQ chicken, scallion/ginger sauce, and bargain whole fish

                                                                  Others you mention (most of which are outside my geographic range):

                                                                  - British Style Fish & Chips - after reading many positive posts, I was very disappointed

                                                                  - Chick N Joy - I haven't tried them

                                                                  - Kubo Radio - Blah food and appalling attitude and service. It's not inexpensive and it's very slow. Never again, and it's only a 2 minute walk

                                                                  - Okay Okay Cafe - frozen hash browns, packaged hollandaise, closed most evenings. It's Okay (Okay), but no more

                                                                  - Queen Pita - I don't understand the fuss. I find their food heavy and tasteless

                                                                  - Seabreeze - I went once and would never go back. Retro boring Canadian Chinese - the Wokker does it better

                                                                  - The Tulip - It's fine for diner grub if I'm passing by. I don't understand the fuss about their steaks

                                                                  - Lahore Tikka House - This was my favourite Toronto restaurant for several years, especially in summer. I still go there, but it's no longer cheap and no longer special (as it was when they were an unpretentious little dive). This is a classic example of a fabulous little place growing into mediocrity. It'll be interesting to see what the food tastes like when they open their new million dollar + palace.

                                                                  - Rose Cafe - I haven't tried them

                                                                  - Phoenix - I've never tried them

                                                                  - Brick Street Bakery - I love this place, but it's nowhere near the nabe. Are they open evenings?

                                                                  - Pizzaiolo - On my must try list

                                                                  - Mamma's Pizza - my favourite chain pizza, but not in the nabe

                                                                  - Danforth Dragon - We got takeout there last week for the first time. Never again. I should post a review.

                                                                  - Messini - I've heard good things, but their style (pork and fries inside) doesn't appeal

                                                                  - Asteria (not Astoria) - Haven't been since the eighties and can't see a reason to return. What do you recommend?

                                                                  - Square Boy - not my style

                                                                  - El Sol - I'm ambivalent about them. I love their guac and sangria, but I've been disappointed too often by almost everything else (tough shredded beef, overcooked chicken, veggies that all taste the same). And "El Slo" isn't a joke. I think they cook some things to order that SHOULD be made in advance (e.g., th shredded beef)

                                                                  - Magic Oven - another former fave that hasn't been very good lately, and quite expensive for things in the form of a pizza

                                                                  - Popeyes - I admit to liking their chicken and biscuits, but Overlea Blvd and Lawrence/Midland are much better than Danforth/Main

                                                                  - Hot & Spice Thai Restaurant/The Family Thai - never been there

                                                                  - Donlands Gardens - never been there

                                                                  - Royal Kabob House - never been there

                                                                  1. re: embee
                                                                    Vise Apr 9, 2007 05:49 PM

                                                                    Well like I said, I consider local to be within a short drive so those are some places on our long list. Not all great by any means but most are worth a shot ... from that list you can probably tell we're not averse to burgers & fries, souvlaki/gyros, and diner/fast food type of places. To each their own I guess, I think some of those places are great for what they are (ie. Queen Pita for chicken shwarma, Asteria for souvlaki on a pita, Okay Okay for a BLT when I'm feeling lazy). Not the best in the city, but when I'm looking for a quick/cheapish meal it doesn't need to be.

                                                                    Also, a bunch of those are delivery places so the location isn't too important as long as they deliver down to Queen & Logan.

                                                                    Holy tangent! We should move this discussion to one of the Leslieville/east end threads. :-)

                                                                    1. re: Vise
                                                                      e
                                                                      embee Apr 9, 2007 07:16 PM

                                                                      Or maybe drop it for now. But all suggestions for new places to try are very welcome.

                                                                      (I'm guessing you haven't been to Queen Pita in the evening...)

                                                            2. re: embee
                                                              c
                                                              chalenegirl Apr 9, 2007 01:49 AM

                                                              I just want to say that your post was very well written :)

                                                              i haven't tried the BS yet.

                                                          3. re: embee
                                                            diesta Apr 8, 2007 07:09 PM

                                                            why don't we keep in track with food reviews, opinions of food etc. instead of casting aspersions on people's intentions and probability of success based on second hand accounts of information. To slight an operation because they worked in a 'corporate' atmospere before and don't have an intent to put together a quality business with good product is silly--the Healthy Butcher, Globe Bistro and many other places immediately come to mind as having similar birthings. Similarly, what is wrong with aiming to want to expand their operation--it's a new endeavour they will makes mistakes...maybe they will fix them and maybe they will get to each of our own unique 'nirvana's' of burgerdom...if they decide to take that route and fail, call them on it then, for now, I'm looking for this board to spend more time talking about food itself as we're steering further away from that than I enjoy.

                                                          4. re: Yongeman
                                                            Leslieville Apr 8, 2007 08:57 AM

                                                            If you notice, she said absolutely nothing about the taste or quality of the food. So yes, I guess it was a favourable review. Purely a publicity piece.

                                                            1. re: Leslieville
                                                              deelicious Apr 8, 2007 05:46 PM

                                                              NNN for potential is how I read the NOW review.

                                                              Didn't commit to saying anything too great about the burger.

                                                              I will go back and try the Organic as mentioned in the thread...but I really doubt it will be so much greater than the standard.

                                                          5. sierramum Apr 8, 2007 01:48 PM

                                                            We stopped by there last week for some takeout. I had the cheeseburger and "poutine", hubby got the double burger (I believe) and onion rings, and 2 orders of the mini burgers for the kids. When we got home, I found out exactly what everyone's been saying about the skimpy condiments but the dijon mustard was a pleasant surprise. And the burger itself...let's just say I enjoyed it enough to eat the whole thing. The poutine, however, was a joke, but I didn't expect much to begin with. My daughter ate both of her mini burgers which impressed me because she's such a picky eater, plus she liked their fries. Hubby ate his whole burger and onion rings, but didn't give me enough feedback on how they tasted. He also ordered a vanilla shake, but I'd be surprised if he had more than a couple of sips because the kids were hogging the whole thing. I take it to mean that it was good.

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: sierramum
                                                              mrbozo Apr 8, 2007 02:43 PM

                                                              6 ounces fresh lean ground beef cooked to your satisfaction, one fresh kaiser roll, one slice Black diamond processed cheddar, three fresh jalapenos trimmed sliced lengthwise and sauteed. Yummy. Total cost: about $1.50. I'll have a second, my diet and my wallet can afford it.

                                                              1. re: mrbozo
                                                                deelicious Apr 8, 2007 05:48 PM

                                                                What does that mean, mrbozo? 1.50? From where?

                                                                1. re: deelicious
                                                                  red dragon Apr 9, 2007 07:57 AM

                                                                  Yes, what costs $1.50?

                                                                  1. re: deelicious
                                                                    l
                                                                    lister Apr 9, 2007 10:53 AM

                                                                    Making it yourself at home.

                                                                    1. re: lister
                                                                      mrbozo Apr 9, 2007 11:21 AM

                                                                      Yeah, guess I was just being snarky, but I'm appalled at the prices charged for hamburgers of lacklustre quality.

                                                                      1. re: mrbozo
                                                                        e
                                                                        embee Apr 9, 2007 11:34 AM

                                                                        While $1.50 sounded kind of snarky, I gave it a bit more thought. Last week I made a couple of 8 oz burgers, seasoned to taste and cooked to medium rare, one stuffed with Gorgonzola and the other topped with PC 4 year old cheddar, on sourdough buns smeared with Catharine's green bruschetta and Dijon. They cost about $3.50 each with a nice portion of homemade frites (reusable oil cost not included).

                                                                        Of course, I had to buy, prepare, and cook the things and my wife had to deal with the mess (no flames - I cook/she cleans up). That's worth a few bucks too ;-)

                                                                2. re: sierramum
                                                                  deelicious Apr 8, 2007 05:50 PM

                                                                  As a person who hates Dijon, it was not a pleasant surprise to me!

                                                                  I am just curious, and to help me understand your review a bit better, would you go back for a burger for yourself?

                                                                  1. re: deelicious
                                                                    sierramum Apr 9, 2007 11:09 AM

                                                                    Absolutely. But *just* for the burger. (And maybe a shake.) I didn't try the mini burgers, but I'm sure my daughter wouldn't mind having those again. Has anyone asked for extras on the condiments? I wonder if they would accommodate. And do they only have dijon mustard? I'm sure there are many people like you who don't like it, so they must have an alternate, right?

                                                                    1. re: sierramum
                                                                      deelicious Apr 9, 2007 02:37 PM

                                                                      Yes. When I go back to try the organic I will ask; and I will also suggest that they tell (warn) people that Dijon is standard.

                                                                3. vorpal Apr 9, 2007 03:16 PM

                                                                  I don't know if anyone else reported this (I checked and saw nothing, but I'm frightfully unobservant), but they were also reviewed in the latest issue of NOW by Steve Davey:

                                                                  http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/2007...

                                                                  I was absolutely shocked by this review. Davey had virtually nothing good to say about them, and his expectations seem to have been thwarted by the staff at every turn (poor service, overcooked meat, items missing from his order, wrong condiments, disappointing poutine), but he still seems to have awarded them a rating of NNN. Am I the only one who gets the impression that he does this based solely on the hype that seems to be surrounding this place?

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: vorpal
                                                                    foodyDudey Apr 9, 2007 03:48 PM

                                                                    That's an odd review. He actually went to pick up his order 45 minutes after calling it in? And it seemed like he expected it to be waiting there for him. Who in their right mind would want to eat a burger that was sitting around for almost 45 minutes?

                                                                    In the closing paragraph he says it not quite up to Lick's. Why would he even mention the lame burgers that Lick's serves now? Is he trying to say theat the BS burgers are just plain B.S. ? As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, some people don't remember what Lick's burgers were like back in the late 80's.

                                                                    1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                      f
                                                                      Fetter Apr 11, 2007 10:15 AM

                                                                      Oh goodness do I ever miss the REAL Lick's burgers. Those frozen patties will never cut it now.

                                                                      1. re: Fetter
                                                                        foodyDudey Apr 11, 2007 10:57 AM

                                                                        The Burger Shoppe guys should have tried to make their burgers as close to the original Lick's burgers as possible. Then they'd have that place packed! There's a Licks a short walk from my house but after trying it once, never again. I may be 20 years older than when I first ate a Lick's burger but my memory is intact, not like those burgers they pass off now...

                                                                      2. re: foodyDudey
                                                                        Teep Apr 11, 2007 02:32 PM

                                                                        He could possibly have asked for a pick-up time at 45 minutes after the order, it wasn't clear. And usually when you phone in an order you do expect it to be there when you arrive; I don't find anything odd about that.

                                                                        I see that he also had the same problem I had a month ago - requests on what condiments to put it or leave out were blithely ignored. Staff should have been trained or their process should have had the kinks worked out by now.

                                                                        1. re: Teep
                                                                          vorpal Apr 12, 2007 06:01 AM

                                                                          For what it's worth, when my partner picked up takeout for us from them a few days after they opened, they did get our burger condiment order correct. I was just disappointed at the fact that they considered a reasonable quantity of onions on a burger to be about four microscopically thin strips of red onion.

                                                                        2. re: foodyDudey
                                                                          j
                                                                          julesrules Apr 12, 2007 07:06 AM

                                                                          Yup totally weird review. Rating did not match comments at all. And his issues were all related to service, which is something that might improve if he gave them another month or so - and THEN publish the review if the issues are the same.

                                                                          I feel bad for this place, the length of this thread alone is ridiculous.

                                                                      3. b
                                                                        bruce_from_sydney Apr 21, 2007 06:42 PM

                                                                        This place was expensive to the point where I was cought off guard. If you want a better burger at a better price you have a range of options that are a stone' s throw: Newell's just east of there, Jim's, Gail's.

                                                                        They claim fresh beef but the beef is fresh and tsaty at Newell's and Jim's.

                                                                        Dangerous Dan's is tasty but disgusting.

                                                                        My wife and I had 2 burgers, 2 fries and 2 drinks - they guy said: $26 - I said Holy,.... The guy said: that is h ow much it i everywhere else - where does he eat?

                                                                        Newell's - a better burger with a drink and home tasty fries: $5.

                                                                        We will not be back for sure.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: bruce_from_sydney
                                                                          a
                                                                          ahysin Jun 25, 2007 06:44 AM

                                                                          Can you be more specific about the locations of Newell's, Jim's, and Gail's please? I work in the area and would like to know more food places. Thanks.

                                                                          1. re: ahysin
                                                                            e
                                                                            embee Jun 25, 2007 09:04 AM

                                                                            Newell's is on the north side of Queen, east of Broadview, near the laundromat, fairly close to the tracks. Although I've never been inclined to eat there, I know the owner and there's nothing actually "wrong" with the place. Be prepared for a very grotty ambiance and a somewhat "picturesque" clientele.

                                                                            Jim's is on the south side of Queen a bit east of Logan, in a corner of an auto repair place. It's a decent small diner, though not nearly as good as it once was. They are locally famous for their western sandwiches. (I've never had one, but reports are good.)

                                                                            Gale's is on the southwest corner of Carlaw and Eastern. I've never eaten there, but do plan to get there one day. They don't have any chowish delights, but Gale's has to be the cheapest source of food in Toronto - often cheaper than eating the same grub at home. They close early.

                                                                            I assume that you are looking for "cheap". Although people do actually seek out Jim's for that one sandwich, Newell's and Gale's are mainly about the extremely cheap food. You'd probably also want to try Reliable Fish & Chips and the Velvet Pub, which aren't quite as cheap, but which serve much better food..

                                                                        2. e
                                                                          embee Apr 22, 2007 03:25 PM

                                                                          Alexia brand frozen onion rings??

                                                                          1. b
                                                                            Bornagainst Jun 17, 2007 02:19 PM

                                                                            I feel let down. Overpriced and bland burgers, tiny portions and barely acceptable fries. I don't see what I missed. Both my partner and I (regular burger, chicken burger and poutines) were both very unhappy with what we recieved.

                                                                            Dangerous Dans is right down the street. For the price, I'll stick with the Double D. It may not be pretty, but it works.

                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Bornagainst
                                                                              a
                                                                              abigllama Jun 25, 2007 04:22 PM

                                                                              This place is either inconsistant or we all have a different idea of what a good burger is...

                                                                              Partner and I split poutine, mini burgers, and a cheeseburger and we both really enjoyed it. Burgers we a bit overcooked but still very tasty. Condiments were as ordered. Poutine was great - thin gravy, tasty cruds, and smallish fries.

                                                                              It's overpriced, not a destination, but would eat there again if in the area for sure!

                                                                              1. re: abigllama
                                                                                t
                                                                                thekiddiot Jun 26, 2007 11:14 AM

                                                                                Abigllama I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that we all have a "different idea of what a good burger is". This is the issue in Canada. We do not have many fine examples of good hamburgers.

                                                                                We don't have In n out, we don't have pj clarks, we don't have shake shack or fatburger.

                                                                                The hamburger in Canada usually resembles a piece of equipment used in its favorite sport.

                                                                                The burger shoppe was just another horrible example of people who keep messing up the most simple thing. Their burger is dry, overcooked and thin, with a bad bun and a horrible bun to meat ratio.

                                                                                Not to mention the burger is ridiculously over priced. How is a double patty an extra 4 dollars? Are they using meat from the Golden Calf? Last I checked they are getting their meat from European meats in Kensingtom market...which is by far the cheapest place to buy meat in Toronto.

                                                                                Their food makes they're whole organization a joke . Too bad becuase they have a nice place, nice concept and a good location, just a garbage product.

                                                                                I would love to say that this place won't be around long but it is going to take time for people to realize that its not very good and way too much money.

                                                                                But having said that, Pizza Pizza is still in business regardless of the quality of food they are serving so who knows.

                                                                                How long do we have to wait for a good take out burger in this city............how long?

                                                                                1. re: thekiddiot
                                                                                  aser Jun 26, 2007 11:55 AM

                                                                                  better to move to another city than spend time waiting.

                                                                                  We won't get a good burger here unless our draconian health codes changes. Alas I doubt it'll happen anytime soon. Nobody is willing to cook a burger below well done in this city, tis a sad reality we live in.

                                                                                  1. re: aser
                                                                                    vorpal Jun 26, 2007 12:26 PM

                                                                                    I'm very curious... are restaurants allowed to cook burgers to less than well if they grind their own meat?

                                                                                    In the US, do restaurants that cook to order grind, or do they frequently use pre-ground? How real are the dangers of eating raw ground beef? Are people just being paranoid as so many are about raw eggs?

                                                                                    1. re: aser
                                                                                      e
                                                                                      embee Jun 26, 2007 01:03 PM

                                                                                      This keeps coming up over and over again. There is no law governing the doneness of burgers in Toronto. It is a misconception that an incredible number of people seem to believe, but it isn't true. Period. Check it out yourself. We have draconian health codes about foods sold on the street, but nothing to prevent a restaurant from serving burgers cooked to taste.

                                                                                      You can get burgers cooked to taste at quite a few places in Toronto. Many don't want to publicize this and all that I know of are relatively pricey. Allen's does it openly and their burgers are wonderful. But a burger and fries is more than $12. (Mind you, Burger Shoppe charges almost as much for their cardboard disk.)

                                                                                      1. re: thekiddiot
                                                                                        e
                                                                                        embee Jun 26, 2007 04:20 PM

                                                                                        It's been quite widely publicized lately because there has been some movement on Council to open things up. Essentially, the only legal "street food" in Toronto is a reheated, precooked "sausage-type food" that must be served on a bun. They can't be served with any toppings deemed to need refrigeration. So the only thing you can buy from a cart is a hot dog or similar sausage.

                                                                                      2. re: aser
                                                                                        deelicious Jun 26, 2007 03:18 PM

                                                                                        Just curious....have you been to shanghai cowgirl for a burger....topped with cheddar and back bacon?

                                                                                        1. re: deelicious
                                                                                          v
                                                                                          vox Jun 27, 2007 08:18 AM

                                                                                          this is my review:

                                                                                          ended up at the burger shoppe last night. they ONLY do burgers, fries, onion rings and shakes and they market themselves as "specialists" in that particular idiom. dinner was on the pricey side: 2 "shoppe" burgers (with caramelized shallots and horseradish) combos, 1 with fries, 1 with rings, a side gravy, an upgrade to boylan's soda (instead of canned coke) and a vanilla shake cost $30. it's getting a shade high for me. the fries were outstanding, the onion rings needed a touch of seasoning, the shake was a good shake (if i had my own milkshake machine, i would exercise the masochistic need to be gouged every time i want blended ice cream and milk), and the burgers were quite good, although what i really enjoyed was the shallots and the horseradish. it was beefy little number, but it wasn't the kind of burger that makes me want to shoop, if you know what i mean. i had what i thought (on a tastebud satiation level) was an equally good banquet burger, made with a quantifiable amount of less care and cheaper ingredients, for $3 at square boy. so burger for burger, i don't know if it's worth the drive to acton. the fries were just the way i like them though. top fries in the city (in no particular order): the burger shoppe, duff's wings, and oyster boy. we got a side of gravy with our fries which was surprisingly tasty and had a great consistency...thin enough to make you believe that it might have been made from scratch, but beefy/salty-tasting enough to make you second-guess your optimism.

                                                                                          1. re: deelicious
                                                                                            f
                                                                                            foodieinTO Jun 28, 2007 04:57 PM

                                                                                            Is the food good there?

                                                                                            1. re: foodieinTO
                                                                                              deelicious Jun 28, 2007 10:11 PM

                                                                                              I think Shanghai serves one of the best burgers in the city. The fries are great too; sweet or regular. I order their Deluxe Burger (8 oz) topped with back bacon and carmelized onions. It is charcoal broiled to perfection.

                                                                                  2. c
                                                                                    cara89 Jan 10, 2008 01:59 PM

                                                                                    The concept of the place is nice, not original. Since Hero opened, we've been hit with South Street and now the Burger Shoppe and only more will come from it. They are all kinda trying to bring the Chicago burger joints to Toronto.
                                                                                    The food itself was good, the place however is quite tiny. They are going more for an old fashioned style, from the fridge to the uniforms and the menu boards.
                                                                                    Not that impressed but I'm sure it'll ride a good wave.

                                                                                    C

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: cara89
                                                                                      c
                                                                                      currycue Feb 8, 2008 08:20 AM

                                                                                      I've been going here off and on since they opened and the burgers have been great (even though the staff always seem to mess up your order some how) But I went back there a few weeks ago and there seems to be new staff and smaller burgers / different buns less or different toppings. It was still pretty decent but something to keep an eye on. The quality has definitely dropped a bit.

                                                                                      1. re: currycue
                                                                                        vorpal Feb 9, 2008 05:24 AM

                                                                                        Less toppings? If they gave you any less than they did before, you'd need a microscope to find them.

                                                                                        1. re: currycue
                                                                                          t
                                                                                          theyoush Oct 15, 2008 10:57 AM

                                                                                          I raved about this place last year when it opened. I even dragged people from all over the city there to eat. No more.

                                                                                          Everything has changed - except the staff are still consistent with their errs.

                                                                                          As far as I can see on their new menu (even the handwriting is awful) they aren't using organic beef from the Healthy Butcher anymore. They no longer offer a 'combo' and their prices seem to have increased.

                                                                                          Sorry dudes, but this place has gone downnnnnhill. Shame because it was so tasty before.

                                                                                          I guess i'll have to get my fix from the new Terra Burger at Yonge/Eglington instead.

                                                                                          1. re: theyoush
                                                                                            e
                                                                                            embee Oct 15, 2008 12:30 PM

                                                                                            I don't know how you had your earlier good fortune there. It was poor on my first visit and it stayed that way - except when it was worse. After far too many tries, I gave up.

                                                                                            I've heard some pretty bad reports on Terra Burger - in essence, just another burger ripoff.

                                                                                            1. re: embee
                                                                                              t
                                                                                              tjr Oct 15, 2008 07:55 PM

                                                                                              Seconded. I'd never had a decent burger at Burger Shoppe, nor have I had anything worth eating from Terra Burger. Best to look elsewhere.

                                                                                            2. re: theyoush
                                                                                              Googs Oct 25, 2008 09:55 AM

                                                                                              Not so fast theyoush.
                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/538026

                                                                                        2. k
                                                                                          kernalpanx Oct 25, 2008 12:45 AM

                                                                                          Ok we live in the neighbourhood and tried it ..... definately and ok burger but not worth the money paid. OK in the sense it was beef but over cooked.... the fries were soggy and the onion rings were good. Same onion rings you get at Harry's Drive In in Scarborough with the cost of Leslieville ...

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: kernalpanx
                                                                                            helen0505 Nov 8, 2008 06:17 PM

                                                                                            i am not a big fan of this place. sure, its cute...but for a small "boutique" burger place, they should have more topping options....that'd be a good start! also, i didn't like how pink my burger was and the fact that they didn't ask how we wanted our burgers done. i was also unimpressed with their sweet potato fries. that being said, its not a complete write off as the burgers did taste pretty good and they were fresh.

                                                                                            1. re: helen0505
                                                                                              a
                                                                                              Atahualpa Nov 8, 2008 09:18 PM

                                                                                              Wow! You got burgers that were TOO pink? I have tried that place several times specifically asking for pink burgers to no avail. All have been overcooked.

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