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Buns: The burger joint!

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Being back in Montreal for the last month has been a real eye opener after having been away a few decades. More so in regards to food as I am a working Chef. Right now, I'm living downtown while I house hunt. I am a bit of a burger fan, soooooo I searched the board and found out where to go.
For my own taste, Buns on St Catherines makes the best, bang for your buck burger. I also like their grilled potatos.
It took a comerece major to come up with the following menu:

Burger $4
Double Burger $6
Grilled Potatos $2
Soft Drinks $1

That's it folks....and they have their buns made for them.

Now this all might just sound like a commercial for them. But in two other threads about burgers they are prominantly mentioned. So I thought that I would start this thread to tell everyone that they are planning on opening a second location on the Main (St Laurent to the unintiated)

Enjoy! And thanks for letting me ramble on!

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  1. on the main, but what "height" ? (à quelle hauteur) ?

    1. Don't tell me it'll be the doomed local of the former Taco Bull.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mainsqueeze

        close to des Pins.

        1. re: mainsqueeze

          I thought there was sandwich place there now, or is that next door? anyway, close to des Pins does sound like that location.

          1. re: Shattered

            Hmmm, I haven't walked past there in a while so I'm not sure. Maybe you are right.

            1. re: Shattered

              Yeah, there's a sandwich place called Bocadillos in the old
              Taco Bull, but right next door Terraza (ice cream, if I recall) has gone under.
              But I'm being nitpicky... anyway, prime spot that would be perfect for a small operation.

              The Internet Cafe (that was the name) just a few doors up, opposite Guilbault from the Second Cup has gone under -must've been just in the last week or two, unless I somehow didn't notice before. I guess no surprise given the competition and the economy, but it looks damned unsightly with the newspaper from street to roof level on 2 sides, and will be a large tough spot to fill.
              There will be many more closures coming, unfortunately....

          2. It will be between Duluth and Rachel I have heard.

            6 Replies
            1. re: bigfellow

              ack that's terrible news for Patati Patata. :(
              Maybe they are taking the spot where Le Bisou is now? Or one of the weird places on the west side?
              Hrm, we'll see.

              1. re: bopuc

                It will take over the Terraza (spelling?) space, from what I gather.

                1. re: bopuc

                  i dont think itll hurt patati at all
                  their burgers are way better and their prices are cheaper and they have a more diverse menu and do breakfast and have beer

                  1. re: celfie

                    yeah, they have beer.

                  2. re: bopuc

                    Why would they take Bisou's spot? That place does very well. The only reason I could think is that Bisou wants a bigger space.
                    Do you know something I don't?

                    Agreed that it won't hurt Patati, that place has a hardcore following. It's like saying that rotisserie place between Patati and Bisou hurt Romados when they opened a couple years back.

                    1. re: Shattered

                      They definitely will not hurt Patati, Bun's roasted potatoes are , imo, a breakfast accompaniment, and nothing to rave about; I do like their burgers and the special buns they use but when I'm in the mood to have a burger with the works, it's french fries I want alongside the burger, I'll head somewhere else than Bun's.
                      I still grab the occasional burger at Bun's for lunch, since I don't indulge my love of french fries all the time, too many calories, lol....

                2. The new location is open now. I haven't tried the one on St. Catherine's, but I think this one is good. You can never have too many cheap eats places in the neighborhood! $5 for a burger (with free cheese!) and a drink. Can't go wrong really.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: afoodyear

                    Rereading through the thread, they're on St. Laurent, figuring above Pine and below Rachel. Can you specify where?

                    1. re: porker

                      It's in the old Terazza (sp?) location, right next to Bocadillo & Co. at 3673 St. Laurent.

                    2. re: afoodyear

                      The burgers are only $4 at the St Catherine location, including the cheese. Unless it's changed since last week.

                      1. re: bigfellow

                        Ah, yes. Same prices. I meant $4 for the burger + $1 for the drink = $5 :)

                    3. BUNS
                      The address is
                      3673 St Laurent, Montreal, QC
                      between des pins and prince arthur

                      It's the old spot of FATOUCH restaurant.

                      your are welcome........;)

                      1. This is a fun place to go. I tried the new location out the other day and in general I enjoyed my visit. I would say that there are still some issues to be worked out before this becomes my go-to burger spot on St-Laurent. A place like this, with so few items and kitchen on full display, needs to run smoothly and remember to keep hygiene at the forefront. They'll do fine.

                        The potatoes look disgusting, though. The only thing I dislike more than burnt "homefries" is those grated potatoes you get at breakfast places that are always practically raw.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Delmare

                          They taste OK in their own way (gotta be in the mood for them), although a real fry would go a long way with a burger. I asume its a simplicity/insurance thing.

                          Yeah - its gotta run smoothly. I haven't been to the new location and the two times I was at the St. Cath place, they were still uncomfortable with their utensils (it was quite some time ago).
                          They should find their rythm (we hope).

                        2. Gave this a whirl on Sunday and really have nothing but good things to say. The setup is simple to the point of being minimalist, but you simply order your burger, wait a couple of minutes and there you go. For $5 (with drink) you really can't go wrong. They are simple, filling and really, really tasty. The potato fryer was down so we couldn't try those, and if anything a side of decent potato cut fries would've sealed the deal. I hope as the year goes on, they have a broader array of hot sauces or condiments but other than that, it's definitely a place I'll stop by if I'm in the neighborhood and feeling peckish.

                          1. Ok, now I find out that the staff at Buns have been holding out on me...they have hot sauce at the St Catherine St location. It is on the milder side of hot sauces but now I don't go without!

                            1. I tried the Ste. Catherine's location and it was almost comically bad. Patty OK but served on big stale bun after 30 minute wait. Potatoes were third world. Reminded me of those old clips of Beavis and Butthead at BurgerWorld. Even if it had been good it would not have been that good. Do people seriously look to this as a contending burger?

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: thelonious777

                                I know that they had some people problems there for a couple of months that affected food quality.
                                The burger that I had this last week was fantastic.

                                1. re: bigfellow

                                  Yeah I loved my burger but those potatoes are seriously depressing. So pointless. I'll still go there but never eat potatoes.

                                  1. re: Delmare

                                    The last few times I was there the potatos were very good. But in the month or so before that I had raw or half cooked potatos a few times. I even mentioned it to the owner, not really expecting anything and I was right I didn't even get an appology. He does seem to have a recipe for a good restaurant. But is somewhat inept on the subject of customer service.

                                  2. re: bigfellow

                                    Just re-read that and came to the conclusion that refraining from posting until after I've had a few coffees is probably a good idea going forward...Sarcasm is like chocolate--best enjoyed in smaller bites.

                                  3. re: thelonious777

                                    I've only been once to Buns and I'm not in a big hurry to go back. The burger was okay but I agree that those potatoes are atrocious. It was like the guy scraped the grill right into our baskets. Mmmm...carcinogens. Further, I really wish they would provide aprons for their staff. The guy was touching food with bare hands then wiping them on his jeans over and over again. He had a thick layer of grime and grease all over his thighs.

                                    1. re: mainsqueeze

                                      Yeah, the hygiene is not good.

                                      I eavesdropped a bit on a conversation between someone I took to be the owner and one of the employees. Sounds like the owner is a real bottom-line business man and doesn't want to staff his restaurant with more than one employee unless it's absolutely, absolutely necessary. This is where some of the hygiene problems are going to come from, I'm afraid, because the one guy was a bit run off his feet and was finding it difficult to be cashier, cook, and burger assembler (all the while struggling to remember to put on and take off plastic gloves at the appropriate points).

                                  4. I had to check it out. The bun was decent, the toppings fresh and crisp and the burger was cooked from scratch (not warming or partially cooked already). BUT when I bit into it I could not believe how much steak spice was on it. It overpowered everything. If I ever go back I would definately order without the steak spice.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: everyonelovessushi

                                      From what I gather(based on eating there twice & observing(including checking their preparation in the back)), they only put steak spice to season their burger meat. If you don't want steak spice on it, it will really be a tasteless burger(I already felt it was a tasteless burger, even with steak spice put on it).

                                      1. re: BLM

                                        The one man show was curious. An amiable guy who followed me in from a smoke break outside. He got my burger going and 5 people came in quite quickly afterwards. They ordered potatoes as well as burgers. Talk about weird seeing one worker turning individual potato pieces on the grill as they cooked, slicing and dressing buns and cooking burgers and collecting money. I was first in the queue and it was probably close to 15 minutes for my burger to be ready. I have no idea how this place can be viable if it got really busy. The people behind me definitely had a much longer wait than me. I heard him explaining to one customer that since the potato grill was already full his order would take longer. He did a great job other than over steak spicing my burger. Judicious use of salt and pepper is really any burger meat needs.
                                        And as a side note the round prices (tax included) seem great but I had no change to leave as a tip for this dude who deserved one.

                                        1. re: everyonelovessushi

                                          At the downtown location i find that if i walk by and there are more than two people in line i generally go elsewhere or come back later. If there is a lineup, the wait is usually long and i've actually been forgotten and had to reorder after a 15 min wait. But generally my experiences have been good as far as service.

                                          As far as the cleanliness issues brought up above: I also sometimes wonder why there isn't a sink near the cooking area. If it's busy at least the guy can wash his hands every once in awhile. I know they wear gloves but if he forgets or grabs some money then at least the option is there.

                                          1. re: blond_america

                                            When I went he was definitely not wearing gloves to handle the food.

                                    2. Is there cheese and bacon for the burgers?

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: duckdown

                                        Just cheese (which is free) but no bacon. I think it was mentioned previously that it might be cross contamination issue.

                                        1. re: unlaced

                                          thats brutal... i like bacon on my burgers

                                          1. re: duckdown

                                            If you're ever in the joint on Ste-Catherine you'll see there is neither the manpower nor the space to cook bacon. That being said I'm still convinced it good be a very nice burger if the steak spice was replaced by salt and pepper. Or you could go BYOB (Bring Your Own Bacon).

                                            1. re: everyonelovessushi

                                              However, a big item these days is precooked bacon. I know everyone'll say blech, but foodservice pre-cooked ain't bad. They could, theoretically, toss it on the griddle, right next to everyone's favorite crispy, crinkle-cut fries to heat it up...

                                              1. re: porker

                                                Yeah, true enough. I use pre-cooked bacon bits on the regular Caesar salads I serve in house and they're better than anything I could produce myself.
                                                Burgerwise I guess it depends on how you like your bacon. Hot and greasy or warm and dry. On a burger pre-cooked it could work, on a pancake breakfast no way.
                                                Cheers.

                                                1. re: everyonelovessushi

                                                  For a restaurant, pre cooked bacon is convenient. But is is double and triple the cost of regular bacon. For that reason alone, we are not likely to see it.

                                                  1. re: bigfellow

                                                    I've used it (Prince has it packaged in 6 x 100 slices) and agree that its expensive, but it ends up comparable or slightly more in price than regular - man hours to cook and weight loss due to rendering.
                                                    I also agree that we're not likely to see it at buns as they seem very bare bones and inflexible.

                                      2. Buns St Catherine's
                                        (Photos from Lucy Lent Midnight Poutine)

                                         
                                         
                                         
                                         
                                        1. I just tried Buns on st Cathrine and St Marc last night and I thought the burger was pretty good. Not as good as a dilallo burger or Patati patatata but for a cheap joint it was yummy and clean inside. Service was relitively quick! I didn't find the potatoes too bad. They are not french fries. They are roasted yummy charcoaled potatoes. Super greasy and fattening like anything.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Alyson777

                                            My take on the potatoes is that it depends on how much carbon crusting they have. I've had them before where they were good but i also have had a batch where there was too much burnt carbon and it ended up tasting bad. I guess it depends on how attentive the griller is and how often the grill is scraped clean.

                                            1. re: blond_america

                                              They do need to clean that part of the grill more often. They also have to pay more attention to making sure that all the potatoes are cooked.