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Terra Burger ( Wow, that was bad!)

Ok, so I would normally never write such a negative review...but I really wanted this place to be great as its on my way to work and I would be craving a kick-ass burger at least once a week.

First off, the space seems a touch ridiculous inside...looks more like a Starbucks than a burger joint. I think the place is way to big to be just serving burgers. God only knows how they will make their rent! I don't think the space was thought out properly at all.I was expecting the place to be along the lines of my favs The Burger Shoppe or Craft Burger. I think the trend of jumping on the 'fine' burger bandwagon got to these guys and they thought it would be a great 'easy' idea. Unfortunately for them, I have never had such a terrbile meal...let alone a really bad burger.

I will put all the bumbling service and amateur inappropriate playfulness aside (as they are freshly new, and hopefully things will come together on the service front soon). As for the burger...I ordered the Terra Firma (their basic burger believed to be from The Healthy Butcher, which I find hard to believe because it was either a really bad burger on their part, or they have mis-treated or frozen them at Terra Burger) with some cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and Terra sauce. The burger itself with way under-coooked (medium rare) and cold in the centre. I was astonished that the burger itself had no taste! No fat, no spice, no char-grilled flavour at all! I have constantly had the organic beef burgers at both The Burger Shoppe and Craft and they have always been hot, juicy, char-grilled, full flavoured delicious burgers! I think that they were frozen perhaps, and this caused the meat to lose all of its integrity. Next, the bun...total disgusting stale disaster. It was absolutely inedible. You would think they would find someone to supply them with a proper yummy bun! On to the toppings...the lettuce was brown and soggy (I am not joking) and the tomatoes also seemed like they were cut 3 days ago. The Terra sauce also had no flavour. No acidity, no salt, no pepper it seemed. I could not believe that not one thing had gone right! Least to say, I was very disappointed and it kinda ruined my day as I was looking forward to this burger for weeks! As for the fries, I won't even bother. Mushy way undercooked or poached in oil at low heat with no salt.

It seems like they really do not know how to run a food business. This is not McDonalds or Harveys...and it looks like they spent a pretty penny on this place! Man, that's gonna be a lot of burgers to pay this place off! As for the whole 'organic' thing...I think its just silly and way past its 15 minutes of fame. I hope they figure out how to get this right.

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  1. Interesting review. Maybe they need to regroup a bit.
    I find it interesting what you said about The Burger Shoppe and Craft. I haven't heard particularly good things on CH about them before, particularly The Burger Shoppe. Perhaps this has changed? I haven't tried it, because it didn't seem worth it, but perhaps I'm missing something.

    1. Given that I found the Burger Shoppe a consistently gross ripoff (I walk by there frequently and wanted to love it), the concept of something being worse blows me away. It's almost beyond my comprehension.

      I do agree with Recyclor that your comment on the "organic thing" is offbase. While it is true that the definitions of what is "organic", "natural" and/or "free ranging" are open to much interpretation, the organic thing conceptually is a damn good thing.

      1. I totally agree with the review whole-heartedly. Especially the comment about the organic-ness.

        I'm certain your didn't think of organic food as being pasts its 15 minutes of fame, but the hype behind all things organic, and they are good because they are organic as being beyond its 15 minutes.

        Why would I prefer to eat a not-so-great organic burger/bun over a great "natural" burger somewhere else? I don't understand the idea of trying to make everything organic, if it's not going to be that great, and then also serving coke. It's like stand behind an idea if you believe it. I think it's mainly a reason to charge someone $34 for burgers for two.

        1 Reply
        1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

          $34? does that include a hot yoga class too? some days licks does not look that bad. it's getting depressing hearing about how hard it is to find a burger in this city.

        2. I look forward to further reports of your food adventures The Macallan 18. Always fun to read, always controversial. Thanks for not playing it safe.

          1. Here's a detailed report on Terra Burger that I received from a non-Chowhound. You might find this interesting:

            "Just thought I'd share my thoughts about Terra Burger with you. We went there last Monday evening. I ordered the Terra Firma burger, He ordered the buffalo burger. We ordered fries, onion rings and a chocolate milkshake.

            The fries were pretty good -- fresh, hand cut. The rings were more like strings, but were crisp and tasty and breaded, not battered (I prefer my rings breaded). The chocolate milkshake was delicious - thick and chocolaty.

            The service was amateurish: When we asked the owner about certain burger offerings and onion rings, his answers tended to be that they were good, but that they were working on getting them to be even better.

            We listened to his complaints about how long it took to open, and how the City is very demanding before handing out permits, even down to coat hooks in the bathroom stalls. Okay... why didn't you perfect your burgers while you were waiting for the coat hooks to be installed?

            You order at the cash (insanely, you have to list the toppings you want on your burger, since they're put on in the out-of-sightlines kitchen!!!) and sit down at a table to wait. And wait. And wait.

            Finally got the burgers, which we'd ordered "as least cooked as possible." Both were way overdone and absolutely rock hard. There did not seem to be any filler -- a good thing -- but there also did not seem to be any fat in the meat. No juiciness whatsoever.

            The flavour was fine: they were definitely seasoned. The Terra sauce had obviously been soaked up by the bun, as it was invisible, and the bun itself (made, supposedly, by Brick St. Bakery) fell apart into large pieces that I kept having to reassemble. The Terra Firma burger, I decided, was very aptly named. Firma, indeed.

            I spoke to the owner/manager afterward and asked if he wanted some constructive criticism. He said okay, a bit apprehensively, I thought. I told him that the meat he was using was too lean, and his answer was that it was custom created just for them by the Healthy Butcher.

            I told him I didn't care about his custom ground meat, and advised him that a good burger should not be made with lean meat but, rather, needs a decent amount of fat in order for it to be juicy and to have the juices running down your arms as you're eating.

            He didn't get it. He did say that he hoped I'd be back and that "in this neighbourhood, people have to like it from the start; otherwise we're toast." Well, duh!

            The place itself is not overly huge, but the set-up is a bit awkward. There's a Starbucks style seating area at the front -- four comfy-looking armchairs around a low coffee table. Not an appropriate seating position for eating burgers; the chicly dressed woman eating her burger in one of these armchairs, leaning over awkwardly as she ate, would attest to this.

            One other thing: At about 7:45, someone came in to order a Terra Firma burger and was told there were none left. The "Closed" sign was hung on the door at about 7:55.

            I truly think that part of the problem with these people who open burger places is that they're of a certain [young] age that grew up on McDonald's and have no inkling of what a real, juicy burger should be. Sigh..."

            2 Replies
            1. re: embee

              Yeah, I shant be visiting this place. It sounds ramshackle, poorly thought-out, and without a soul, passion, or common sense for their business. How could they think this type of seating is an acceptable way to eat a hamburger?! How could they not know a good hamburger requires meat that contains fat?! Appalling.

              Too bad, it’s relatively close by and would be easy to check out. But given the overwhelmingly negative response why would I waste my money. Same with LPQ. In the same area as Terra Burger but the near universal bashing of this place has served as good warning. I'm a firm believer you should try things for yourself and see if you agree or disagree. But with these two places and the insightful comments made by so many people who care, I feel like I've already given these two joints a fair shake. I'll just continue to give my local burger business to Burger Shack. They never let me down.

              And good grief, it sounds like you need a loan to eat there. Forget this place.

              1. re: embee

                That is so bang on, I had the same thing with my burger, no juicines whatsoever. I think there i just a lack of "getting it", I'm not sure if they've ever checked out Craft Burger, or south street before. I don't get why they are pushing the organic thing, sometimes you just was heinz ketchup and a coke with a burger.

                If I was the healthy Butcher I'd want them to stop using their name because it's not being used for their benefit.

                Also, it's funny about how they said,"in this neighborhood, people have to like it from the start, or we're toast." Because I don't think I've read a positve review. And it's only a week old.

              2. Thanks for the review. No need to waste my time with this place. I personally find the name annoyingly stupid. "Terra", like there burger is going to save the planet.

                Anyhow, just curious about your Burger Shoppe comment...I used to really like it, but the last two times I went, the burgers were way overdown and I got the sense it was going downhill. Have they improved?

                4 Replies
                1. re: grandgourmand

                  You probably know this, but one of the guys that started the Burger Shoppe left there to start Craft Burger, which is great. So, I'd try Craft Burger way before going back to the Burger Shoppe.

                  1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                    That's too bad...I'll check it out, but Craft isn't as conveniently located as Burger Shoppe, or for that matter, my own grill. I've hooked myself up with a meat grinder and a supply of chuck. Homemade burgers for summertime BBQ's...doesn't get much better.

                    1. re: grandgourmand

                      That's it! I'm following you home, gg, with a bottle of Zin. Best be saying there's charcoal underneath those burgers.

                      Not that you need it now, but if you haven't checked out the burger at Weezie's you're really missing out on something good. Corner of King & Power for your convenience.

                      1. re: Googs

                        Alas, no. It's gas. Charcoal is in the works, though.

                        Yeah, love the Weezie's. I've had the burger three times. The last time was overdone, which I attribute to an off night. The steak tartar there is some of the best I've had in the city. And the one waiter/bartender guy, he's amazing. Good service and I've seen him cover an almost full restaurant and still come by every now and then to fill our water, ask what we want, etc. Yeah, I like the place.

                2. If someone does want a good burger, go to Merci Mon Ami in Liberty Village. It was an incredible burger yesterday, I think one of the best I've ever had, even beating out Craft Burger. The burger was breaking apart as I ate it, which is a sign that it was hand formed and not bought premade or anything. The seasoning was really good, and fries were great. I think they run the burger as a weekly special so I'm not sure if you can get it everyday, and they are only open for lunch, but if you are in LIberty Village for lunch, you have to at least try this place once.

                  1. Over-cooked!

                    My $12 Bison burger was terribly over cooked and after mentioning it to the cashier, the manager said nothing.

                    P.S. Good Fries