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Stampede Bison Grill

childofthestorm Jul 15, 2008 10:40 AM

Just tried this brand-new place on Brock near Queen in Parkdale, in the old Rosie's dirty-bird fried chicken and grease spot. They've renovated it and are serving bison burgers, beef burgers, chicken and veg burgers, plus fries, poutine (with real curds), salads, etc.

I wasn't that hungry so I just had a takeout bison burger ($4.50) with old cheddar (95 cents) and grilled onions (50 cents) on top. The burger was good, cooked medium-rare which I was overjoyed about, I guess they must grind on-site. The meat could have used a little more salt. The bun was a nice brioche-style, with a good bread-to-meat ratio. Having the LCBO right next door was too tempting, so I got a tallboy of Tecate to accompany the burger whilst sitting at my desk. I am having a good day.

We've been waiting for a new work lunch spot around here, and I know my co-worker just bolted out the door to get a poutine when I told him they had curds, so I expect more reports will be forthcoming soon. They don't seem to be licensed for booze but they were saying they did just get their patio license and the furniture is being delivered today. And they're open until 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays, which should be useful for the Ossington and Wrongbar crowd.

  1. p
    Pantz Jul 15, 2008 03:55 PM

    While I truly appreciate any attempt to rehabilitate what may have been the ugliest building in Parkdale, I have my doubts about the wisdom of setting up shop in that location.

    Being right next to a busy LCBO, the patio is sure to feature a lot of 'street theatre'.

    That said, this place is so close to me that poutine as a takeout is an option. That and a medium rare burger mean's I'll have to give them a try now!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pantz
      Pantz Jul 17, 2008 10:25 AM

      Tried this place yesterday. They are promising, but need to work out some kinks.

      First off, no air conditioning means that the interior is just brutally hot. You might as well be working the grill yourself.

      Another issue is ventilation. It didn't seem adequate and the whole place reeked of oil, like a Fish & Chip shop.

      I ordered the Bison burger with bacon and cheese and the poutine, which the menu board states has "real gravy and real curds".

      I get my order home and find the burger also has sautéed onions and mushrooms. Luckily, I like those items, so I dig in.

      I'm happy to say the burger is really good, cooked just a little under medium. Nice grilled flavour, nice texture, with that big bison flavour, almost uber beefy. Good ratio of burger to bun.

      Toppings are also good. However, if you are getting toppings you didn't order, I would recommend (not) ordering either mushrooms or onions. (Not) ordering both added a soggy factor to the bun.

      The poutine is really disappointing, only fit for the green bin. They get big points for using actual potatoes, but the fries are overcooked crisps and nearly, if not actually, burnt.

      There's an unpleasant bitter note in them, and I'm wondering about the freshness of the oil used. Or have they just burned enough fries that it's already bad?

      Gravy is a little bland and the cheese curds are as well, but with the bad fries, it's hard to say if they are just overwhelming everything else.

      To sum up, the burger is good and worth repeat visits. Fries…I'll try again and hope they master the Friolator. They were getting steady business around 8:30 on a Wednesday, so the LCBO traffic may work out for them.

    2. s
      Señor Food Bag Jul 17, 2008 03:55 PM

      Intrigued by this new burger spot in Parkdale. I ordered the bison burger to go this afternoon. It was a real treat! The meat was juicy and flavourful. No hockey puck burgers here! Nice gourmet toppings and sauces too.

      A unique spin on burgers! Looking forward to the licensed patio. Menu seems to have good variety for a burger joint.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Señor Food Bag
        childofthestorm Jul 17, 2008 07:11 PM

        Welcome to Chowhound. What's your favourite burger in the city?

        1. re: Señor Food Bag
          Señor Food Bag Jul 20, 2008 04:55 PM

          only in Toronto for the summer (I'm from Buenos Aires), so I am not so familiar with T.O burger joints...I am definitely enjoying this bison burger, especially at 3am on the weekends...!

        2. nipsyD Jul 18, 2008 08:22 AM

          Im with pantz on this one. There is a definate need to iron out the wrinkles. They messed up my order and served my order to someone else who ordered after me. so i had to wait whilst they remade a burger for her first. Duh. They recognized that there was a problem and offered complementary lemon juice and water, or "homemade lemonade"

          Bison burger was burnt and dry, poutine was vile due to the sludgey vegetable gravy, that tasted like burnt black bean sauce. Lemonade was too tart. I was underwhelmed, if thats a word.

          there is about 25 tables? and with four orders on the go, they screwed up. Its understandable as the girl behind the order desk couldnt take a phone call because they were "really busy". Oh and the bickering between staff that went on was entertaininger than the usual bum parade to the LCBO.

          I will wait a month and go back to try their beef burg and roast bison samitch and potentially good frites, au natural (as i deem them too thin for poutine). And see where they stand. I overheard that they may have delivery soon.....

          Oh and even on the second run through my order they forgot the pickles , dammit!

          5 Replies
          1. re: nipsyD
            childofthestorm Jul 18, 2008 10:40 AM

            Ha, yes, they were bickering like crazy when I was there too! Probably a good idea to wait a while. I'll be back soon though, as I am so sick of the lunch options around here. There is only so much sharwarma and pho that a guy can eat.

            1. re: childofthestorm
              Sui_Mai Jul 18, 2008 12:38 PM

              Totally get you on the shawarma/pho thing. It's all I eat here (Asia 21 at King and Dufferin has great vermicelli though!)

              So I went to Stampede for a Bison burger today and it was great. Juicy and rich meat with a bun that does not overpower. Toppings are good but not too interesting. I was hoping for more nifty relishes/sauces a la Buddha Dog.

              It was too muggy today but that cute patio with the coloured Umbra chairs really brighten up that corner. Definitely hitting that when they get a license!

              1. re: childofthestorm
                Sui_Mai Jul 18, 2008 12:44 PM

                In the hood, The Beaver does a wicked Lamb Burger. It seems to have survived a few menu iterations, so I'm not the only one that thinks so.

                BTW, do not order a burger from the Swan.

                1. re: Sui_Mai
                  Pantz Jul 18, 2008 03:44 PM

                  I agree about that Lamb Burger at the Beaver. Went there last month for the first time in a year or so and I remember almost being shocked at how juicy and tasty it was when I took the first bite. Goes to show how hard it is to get a good burger is in this town. And the Beaver doesn't even have a kitchen, they just cook everything with steam nozzle on the espresso machine.

                  1. re: Pantz
                    cupcakez Aug 19, 2008 04:49 PM

                    cumbraes was making them for beaver for a while, pretty sure they still are.

            2. s
              shillmon Jul 18, 2008 09:14 PM

              Went to Stampede tonight and it was awesome. Bison burger was excellent, service was friendly and fast, fresh squeezed lemonade yummy delicious. Sat outside on the fantastic patio (altho no license yet). Didn't try the fries or poutine. Will definitely become a new regular place for this Parkdalian.

              1. Googs Jul 19, 2008 08:00 AM

                So why is it only new Hounds like this place? Hmmmmmmmmm.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Googs
                  childofthestorm Jul 19, 2008 02:08 PM

                  Who you calling new, pal? Ha, I know what you're saying though. Although to be fair I liked but not loved it...it needs some work for sure. I think it's worth a try though, especially given the dearth of options in that area.

                2. f
                  Foodman X Jul 20, 2008 04:47 PM

                  Considering this place just opened about a week ago, I see some great potential. Bison burger was good and cooked perfectly. Although fresh cut fries were tempting, I couldn't resist the sweet potato option and was not disappointed. All around a good experience and the patio really does brighten up the area. Will be back for sure.

                  1. w
                    wolfmanharv Jul 22, 2008 02:06 PM

                    i live next door to the grill and have been there several times already. Love the sweet potato fries.... but would like some sort of aioli. the staff is super friendly and they have done an amazing job transforming what was Rosies. Bison burgers are really tasty. Instead of avocado slabs maybe guacamole on the burger would have been better. can not wait until they have beer there. this could be an amazing patio for watching some craziness. i hope they do not have trouble with the locals. did not care for the onion rings. they should serve nachos.

                    1. p
                      PrawnSolo Jul 30, 2008 06:24 PM

                      Went there tonight. They are fully licensed now. $3.75 for a 50, $4.50 for guiness, Organic, and beers like that. They also have a Sailor Jerry's Spiced Rum milkshake. Haven't tried it yet.... but it sounds great to me.

                      Got a Bison Burger with goat cheese, dijon and the freebies. It was cooked to medium. Would have liekd it a little rarer, but hey, it was still very tasty. While I was waiting, another customer got a double order of the yam fries. He ate them there, and then got another double order of the same... I was already wanting to try them..

                      I will definitely go back.

                      1. a
                        airsey Jul 31, 2008 07:37 AM

                        Made it here last night. Overall, thought it was quite good. Had a bison burger with sweet po fries and a beer on the patio. Amusing watching the Parkdale hoods and drunks meander by just dying to take the beer off your hands. Would have preferred a bit thicker burger but it was well cooked and the fries were definitely excellent. If I lived across town I wouldn't make it a regular destination but for a 10 minute walk it's definitely worthwhile.

                        1. j
                          jayseeca Aug 2, 2008 07:07 AM

                          stopped by yesterday for a take-out bison burger with old cheddar, onions, and tomato. overall, the taste of the meat was great but mine was cooked well-done! or rather over done... it kinda ruined the burger. the bun was nice, and i also think the bun/meat ratio was great. also, yummy yummy old cheddar.
                          i thought it was a little expensive ($7), but i'll probably give it another try and make sure they cook it medium/medium rare.

                          1. j
                            JamesJT Aug 2, 2008 02:35 PM

                            Stopped by last week to try a bison burger. I've really been feeling the need for a great burger fix lately and was crossing my fingers here. I asked for medium, they said the meat was ground off site so I ended up going with medium. The burger came well done and was understandably dry. Disappointing as the place seems so interesting.

                            1. i
                              insideman Aug 18, 2008 02:02 PM

                              tried this place and it fails into the fail category unfortunately. the fries were improperly blanched and after that improperly fried. check your blanching, oil and/or fryer and spare me a box of soogy and undercooked frites.

                              i had the beef burger and it tastes and looks suspiciously like a frozen patty to me. the bun was so-so, lettuce limp and raw onion-wtf? thanks for the nasty gas. i asked for the aged cheddar on the burger(nothing more than black diamon old) and they didn't even melt the cheese on the burger instead they just lazily threw it on the bottom end of the bun.

                              they also have some home-printed sign on the register in reference to "real change instead of spare change for pan-handlers" i sure hope they are giving a portion of their earnings to help this issue and not just giving some more usual left-wing, liberal bleeding heart rhetoric malarkey.

                              learn how to make a decent burger first.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: insideman
                                gluttire Aug 19, 2008 08:12 AM

                                I recently tried this trendy burger joint on a trip to Toronto (I'm from Boston). The bison burger was cooked perfectly medium-rare, as it should be. The bun was very fresh; the aged cheddar, onions, and bbq sauce were perfect compliments to the burger.

                                <boston rant> For anyone traveling to Boston, unfortunately there's no equivalent burger place here that serves bison. The one attempt in Boston - Know Fat Lifestyle grill - does not even compare or fall into the same class as Stampede Bison Grill. You have to travel out to near Worcester to buy fresh bison cuts and make it on your own. </end boston rant>

                                Stampede Bison Grill does the bison right. Large meat portion, hand-made flavour (tastes fresh, and definitely not frozen).

                                insideman - I can't speak about the beef burger but the bison is amazing. The aged cheddar is definitely NOT black diamond, it tastes significantly better. They don't melt the cheese here. The mid-melted texture adds to the dynamic flavour of the burger. I tried both the regular fries and the sweet potato - both excellent (perfectly crisp) and didn't have that old oil taste. This was during the weekend of Aug 1- 4.

                                Plus, the namesake here is the bison - so try it! You'll thank me.

                                1. re: gluttire
                                  cowhound Aug 19, 2008 08:39 AM

                                  Welcome to Chowhound!

                                  1. re: cowhound
                                    tjr Aug 19, 2008 12:37 PM

                                    What type of cheese do they use there? Has anyone asked?

                                  2. re: gluttire
                                    jayseeca Aug 19, 2008 11:55 AM

                                    Yep, the aged cheddar is definitely not Black Diamond, but they seem to have some inconsistencies which is bringing them down. My burger was wayyyy over cooked and it ruined the whole burger, no matter how much I enjoyed the bun and condiments on their own.

                                    1. re: jayseeca
                                      gluttire Aug 19, 2008 01:03 PM

                                      specify the doneness then, if that bothers you. BTW, 4.50 for a bison burger is quite a low price. We're stuck with $6 bison burgers in Boston, and they don't even compare to Stampede's. :(

                                      1. re: gluttire
                                        jamesm Aug 19, 2008 01:26 PM

                                        I've had the bison, chicken sandwich and burger and they were each delicious and cooked perfectly with a nice bun. The salad is substantial for a side too with a nice homemade vinagrette and the option to add goat cheese and roasted red peppers. A nice alternative to fries. And the cheese was certainly not Black Diamond. Sometimes I see comments about hamburgers here and wondering what people are expecting.

                                        1. re: jamesm
                                          erly Aug 19, 2008 02:49 PM

                                          Their veggie burger is good, as well.
                                          I liked it because it doesn't try to emulate meat.
                                          It is a veggie burger.
                                          I tasted their yam fries, and must have hit a good day as they were crisp, and the oil was fresh.

                                          1. re: erly
                                            insideman Aug 20, 2008 02:17 PM

                                            i never complain about food even when i feel let down but this trip to a simple burger shop was just wrong on all fronts. if there was something redeeming about this place then i would gladly speak of it but unfortunately the whole experience was blah.

                                            1. re: insideman
                                              gluttire Aug 20, 2008 05:56 PM

                                              I don't think this is some simple burger shop - the menu is varied w.r.t. meats and toppings.

                                              It's a buger joint, and does a great job.

                                              1. re: gluttire
                                                bostonianfusion Aug 22, 2008 10:56 AM

                                                I meant to say - it's a burger joint. :)

                                                1. re: gluttire
                                                  gluttire Aug 22, 2008 10:59 AM

                                                  I meant to say - it's a burger joint. I don't know why it logged me in to my old account here.

                                        2. re: jayseeca
                                          nipsyD Dec 15, 2008 05:14 AM

                                          I wouldnt discount the black diamond, as i see thier staff wandering around the price chopper frequently. also really enjoy it when the kitchen staff from the beaver come in and buy all the baguettes that the chopper has, when of course ive planned a meal around a baguetted sandwich.

                                    2. p
                                      petitaubergine Sep 3, 2008 05:36 AM

                                      ive been to stampede twice now and had the veggie burger (twice now). the first time it was really undercooked, and so everything kinda fell apart and subsequently, tasted awful.

                                      the second time, however; was excellent. the patty was cooked through and had a nice char on the outside, which made me appreciate the uniqueness of the veggie patty they use. most places use a requisite yves-style all tofu burger, which is not only flavourless, but a huge amount of tofu to digest. stampede's veggie burg had a combination of nuts and grains and veggies i think, with almost no discernible tofu.

                                      also, it was topped with sprouts and a slice of roasted red pepper, and for 4.50 you can't really go wrong.

                                      i would highly recommend it to vegetarians and meat eaters alike, because it has a lot of flavour that both sets would enjoy.

                                      1. Davedigger Sep 16, 2008 12:50 PM

                                        Is this place still open?

                                        While driving down Queen this morning I looked up the street but saw nothing on the patio. Perhaps they have to move the furniture inside for the night due to the "quality" of the neighbourhood?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Davedigger
                                          Non Doctor Sep 16, 2008 02:39 PM

                                          It is dangerously near my apartment...so I have been there regularly since they opened.

                                          Tasty, tasty bison... yum.

                                        2. Davedigger Oct 8, 2008 01:27 PM

                                          I finally got to the grill yesterday at lunch.

                                          Had the bison burger with cheddar, tomato, onion, pickles and mustard. It was quite good. Cooked medium rare, but wasn't as juicy as I expected. I suppose that's because bison is so lean.

                                          I also ordered the sweet potato fries on the recs of a few in this thread. Bad idea. I don't like any fries that have a coating on them. To me it ruins the flavour. In fact I could barely tell the difference between the grill's yam fries and Col. Cluck's fries. Yuck! Will be wary of the fresh-cut fries and poutine in the future.

                                          I only noticed on the way out that they had fresh-squeezed lemonade. Will have to try next time.

                                          Also, they are now licensed.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Davedigger
                                            tjr Oct 8, 2008 07:41 PM

                                            Bison, while leaner than beef, does not have to be dry. This comes from either poor quality meat or improper cooking.

                                            1. re: Davedigger
                                              Sui_Mai Dec 28, 2008 11:58 AM

                                              The roast bison sandwich is jui-jui-juicy! I think they should just sell those - they couldn't dissapoint!

                                            2. m
                                              mikefly Apr 16, 2009 07:04 PM

                                              Eating here tomorrow eve with a wee spawn -- has the poutine gotten better? And I presume burger is the way to go... (it's my first time)


                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: mikefly
                                                Kasia Apr 17, 2009 06:46 AM

                                                just went for the first time yesterday. unfortunately my experience included all of the problems people have identified in the posts above. the place was very busy, with walk ins and phone orders coming in all the time. but half hour wait seemed excessive, especially since people who have ordered after us were getting their food. it turns out, our order was somehow 'lost'. not sure if the piece of paper fell on the floor, or someone got our order or what. they handled it very well however - offered to refund us (you pay up front), and give us the food for free, or give us a coupon for next visit. we opted to wait for the food since at that point we were starved. took another 15 minutes to get our food.

                                                we both found our burgers to be much too overcooked, rendering them dry. the flavour of the meat was very nice, and the bun was good, but overall the burgers were disappointing. the fries for the poutine was overcooked (deeply brown with a burnt aftertaste), but i liked the gravy and the curds. the onion rings were pretty good, fresh and crispy.

                                                so it wasn't great, but i will try it again and this time will specify how i want the meat done, to see if it makes a difference. it was a thursday night and they were swamped, so two guys doing it all (cooking, taking orders, cashing people out) may simply have meant they were too stretched. the place seemed to have lots of regulars which makes me think they get things done right more often than not. hope you enjoy your dinner!

                                                1. re: Kasia
                                                  Smachnoho Apr 17, 2009 05:07 PM

                                                  Do they have anything like Sweet Potato fries to go along with the Bison Burghers?

                                                  How busy are they at lunch time on a weekday?

                                                  1. re: Smachnoho
                                                    num nums Apr 17, 2009 06:19 PM

                                                    Yes, they have sweet potato fries. I haven't tried them yet, though. Their regular fries are freshly cut and above average. They also have poutine which I haven't tried either. I like that they have freshly made lemonade.

                                                    I've been twice during the week at lunch and it's fairly quiet. But during those times they just had the one person running the whole place, although we received our food promptly.

                                                    1. re: num nums
                                                      mikefly Apr 18, 2009 11:09 AM

                                                      Okey... Bison burger was okay, but not awesome. toppings were mediocre. Perhaps i should have specified that I wanted it less well done, but typically I like my burgers on the well done side... Burger portion was very large.

                                                      I will try the beef next time.

                                                      Poutine was excellent!! .. The best I have had in Toronto -- a little too salty, but that's okay for a poutine! .. i will try to try the Caplansky's one that has gotten good reviews.

                                                      Lemonade was delish - but it's frickin lemonade. Beer selection was not my favourite, but was reasonably priced.

                                                      It's strange that it took what seemed like 30 minutes to prepare the burgers.. there was no one else in line, and 2-3 staff people. (one was clearly being trained and supervised, so this could account for some of it) ..

                                                      How can this take so long?

                                                      Anyhow, I felt good supporting local business, and exteme shock at the level of gentrification in Nouveau Parkdale. It isn't even slightly scary anymore -- apparently the crack whores are being pushed west.

                                                      1. re: mikefly
                                                        robgm Apr 18, 2009 11:20 AM

                                                        oh mikefly, all tho the hood has had a dramatic change in the last few years, come by at night, there are still some very scary corners...but its home...

                                              2. s
                                                Sui_Mai Apr 21, 2009 05:18 AM

                                                I hafta say the service (which for a take-out joint doesn't usually come up for me) is pretty slow and unorganized - albeit very friendly. But at a busy time, complaining about waiting 15 minutes for food?? - that's no biggie.

                                                I have only had bison burgs and bison sammy and never a complaint - very tasty. Like I said before they should just stick to one great thing and slam it out (keep the fries too).

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Sui_Mai
                                                  Smachnoho Jul 26, 2011 09:01 AM

                                                  Just went there for lunch this week & had the shaved Bison sandwich. Fantastic. The meat just melts in your mouth. I like it better than the Bison burg which is good too. Love the lemonade too. Great place to go on a nice summer day.

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