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Dec 6, 2008 05:28 PM

Acme Burger - Bloor/Bathurst

As the wind swirls snow through the streets of Toronto, I feel the gentle nudge of hunger in my belly. I check the fridge and find it as vacant as my urge to cook for myself tonight. Fatefully, a new burger joint just opened up right across the street from my pad.

Acme Burger is clean and well-lit. I step up to the counter and, despite the backlit pictue of a greek salad forcing me to squint, I order a 6 oz. bacon cheeseburger burger with fries and a Pepsi. According to the girl at the order desk, a Sprite is extra. Like seasoned Quebec restauranteurs, these guys must hedge their bets by buying Pepsi futures.

I watch the 3 guys put the orders together. The grill guy drops the frozen advertised Angus beef patty on to the grill. It doesn't sizzle.

As my patty cooks, I check out the vast array of condiment compartments behind the sneeze guard: something that looks like dijon mustard (yes!), speckled mayo concoctions, canned mushrooms, house relish, tomatoes, lettuce, red onions, 3 types of cheese, olives and some other shit. The expediter pulls my bun out of nowhere and I'm glad to see it's a toasted, crispy, poppy seed egg bun. I'm not so glad when he tells me that I asked for cheddar (nobody asked and I didn't know I had a choice) and puts it on one side of the bun. How hard can it be to melt the cheese on the patty? I ask for dijon and he looks dumbfounded. I ask him for the hot mustard as I point at the suspect squeeze bottle. He understands and piles on some onions, mushrooms, tomato, lettuce, house relish at my behest. Pickles are delivered on the side just how I like 'em.

My fries land on the counter. I wait some more. They forget to put my bacon on the grill and are placing my burger on the bun when the expediter realizes the mistake. They scrutinize my order ticket as I take a closer look at the bacon. The grill guy lays something that resembles turkey bacon on the not-too-hot grill: heavily processed and two-dimensional. The processed 'bacon' is just barely warm when they drop it on my patty They stick a certified Angus beef pin in the top of the burger, place my components into a brown paper bag and hand my dinner to me.

I dodge angry cars, climb the stairs to my flat, put the Pepsi in the fridge for dessert and crack open the bag. I pour myself some red wine and get busy. The bun is good and crispy. The burger is predictably soft and soggy. Good thing I held off on the mayo. The fries have also gone soft on me from being cooked well before they served the burger and they taste like cheap oil. The only crisp I'm feeling is from the onions. I'm hungry enough, though, and devour the meal regardless of its shortcomings.

Price: under 10 bones
Rating: 2.5 toothpicks (out of 5)

I'd think twice before hitting Acme again. Mediocre ingredients and half-assed execution are just barely adequate for a lazy guy on a cold night. If you're going to push the Angus beef, you'd better light a bigger fire under your grill and avoid the canned condiments.

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  1. That's too bad. I was looking forward to trying this place. At least their poutine uses cheese curds.

    2 Replies
    1. re: flibbertygibbet

      Enjoyed reading your review, DeepGreens, and reading other threads most people agree with your condemnation of Acme. What was the cost?
      Ghazali's next door to Bloor Cinema is a much better bet for sustinance.

      1. re: AzulH

        The downside of Ghazale's is the lack of a place to sit and eat. Which, i guess, isn't a problem for DeepGreens since he can dash the food home.

        I agree with the initial review. I tried it. They flipped my burger prematurely, nearly tearing off a chunk of it. It came out dry, and slightly burned. The very poor track record Toronto has with burgers continues.

        I mean, why is it that I can get a far better burger all over Israel than I ever could in Toronto? It's just sad.

    2. Curiosity got the best of me. I went late in the evening, and the place was almost empty. They still seem a little disorganized, but i guess that's to be expected. I'm not sure the kitchen staff would be able to handle it if it got busy.

      The burger patty was reminiscent of Burger King, McDonalds et al. The fries and onion rings were decent in a fast food sort of way. I think we only got 7 onion rings though. The fries come out of a big plastic bag. Like the original poster, we also had a problem with the sides being ready far ahead of the burgers (and remember, the place was almost empty). Toppings included all of the standards, as well as guac, tzatziki, and some sort of red pepper sauce in a squeeze bottle. I didn't try the signature sauce or signature relish.

      I saw the burger guy handle the raw burgers and cooked burgers with the same tongs. I don't think that's okay.

      The meal satisfied me at the time since i was starving. For about $9 a meal, it's not much more expensive than the big burger chains anymore, and the product reflects that. Mediocre.

      My burger patty looked nothing like the one on this page:

      1 Reply
      1. re: flibbertygibbet

        Try Gourmet Burger on Parliament North of Carlton for a Good Burger

      2. There is another Acme at Royal York and the Queensway. I have been twice and they seemd to pre-cook and reheat to the point of death and dryness. I wouldn't go back and if they are related, good luck on the franchising opportunity.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Westwardho

          That's the only one I've been to

          Wasn't terribly impressed.

          Funniest thing is, I wrote about it on here before; the guy when he's making my burger was going on and on about how he cooks it so it's pink in the middle still, yet when I unwrapped it and went to eat it, it was grey the entire way through

          Looks like they did the "Licks" style pre-grilling too.. I absolutely hate that

        2. I've mentioned this before but it seems if a place advertises "Angus burgers" you can pretty much rest assured they'll suck.


          1 Reply
          1. I live in the annex and was curious about this place. My husband took one look and said "closed in 6 months".
            thanks for saving me a trip!