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Mar 31, 2010 09:41 AM

Grass-fed Hamburgers in Toronto

Where can one find burgers from grass-fed beef in Toronto?

I know some places advertise they are made without hormones and antibiotics, but no mention of whether they are grass-fed or not.

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  1. Most grass-fed beef in ontario is a seasonal thing, and I don`t know if any restaurants have it as a regular menu item, I have seen grass fed burger patties for sale from time to time at the healthy butcher if your interested in making your own at home...

    As for restaurants your best luck might be a seasonal special at one of the new `burger`bars, such as W Burger Bar, Burger Bar, or Grind House... giving them a call up might be your best chance.

    18 Replies
    1. re: flying101

      I know The Stockyards has offered grass-fed burgers as a daily special.

      1. re: flying101

        I just contacted the Healthy Butcher and they told me they have lots of grass-fed beef "for the holiday weekend". There is no need for grass-fed beef to be a seasonal thing, as "grass-fed" cows can eat hay...

        Healthy Butcher
        298 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M4R, CA

        1. re: Full tummy

          thats what i thought, about eating hay, but didn't post it

          1. re: Full tummy

            from the healthy butcher themselves,

            Good grass fed beef is a season thing. I frequent the healthy butcher, and I know that at the end of the summer the amount of grass-fed beef they sell drastically increases... I don't think there is a restaurant in the GTA that sells a grassfed burger year round as there is no consistent year round supply, however this year the winter wasn't all that harsh and maybe the cows have had more time on pastures...

            1. re: flying101

              Seems to me, the article is referring to when to buy the best-tasting grass-fed beef, not whether or not "grass-fed" beef is available at other times (aside from when it's at peak flavour). It's late March now, and Healthy Butcher does have, as per the person I spoke to on the phone, "plenty of grass-fed beef", so clearly it is available, even at the end of the winter. I don't know what the economics are of the grass-fed beef farms, but I suspect that as more people choose grass-fed, more farms will find a way to maintain consistent supply.

              The Healthy Butcher
              565 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

              1. re: Full tummy

                Generally the animals do not gain weight while eating hay.It's winter survival food. Most local farmers don't want to sell their 'grass-fed' animals during the winter because they are underweight. Have patience and wait.

                When it's on the menu (call first), I highly recommend the Stockyards grassfed burger for those who don't cook at home. Sourced from Rowe Farms and cost $10 with cheese and topping of choice.
                Pictures are here

                1. re: longolame

                  I was at Stockyards about a week ago, and the grass-fed burger was on the menu. Alas, couldn't pass up the chicken that night, but I have my eye on the burger, yes, sirree!!!

                  1. re: Full tummy

                    I always have the same problem at Stockyards. The fried chicken and the rib takes up all the ordering room, and every time I look with envy at the burgers....

                    1. re: shekamoo

                      Oh gosh, last time I almost contemplated a take-out order of the burger AND the all-beef hot dog special--after that huge portion of chicken. I. Must. Return. Soon.

            2. re: Full tummy

              If someone sold me some "grass fed" meat that was from an animal that ate hay, I sure wouldn't be too happy. Dried hay is not the same as fresh grass, even our horse knows that.

              1. re: foodyDudey

                They can only eat fresh grass for 6 months in Ontario, less in the west.
                Same in the upper midwest states.
                Maybe you can find true grass fed beef from Argentina or Brazil. Cans of corned beef will definitely be grass fed.

                1. re: foodyDudey

                  Personally, I don't object. There may be a taste difference (though I'd be surprised if I could tell the difference), but the health benefits are the same, as far as I know.

                  1. re: Full tummy

                    Aside from the fact that cows are not build to eat hard grains like corn, so it may be unethical to some, there are some health benefits

                    the whole idea of finishing a cow on corn and other grains is to increase the fat content of the meat, since retailers are able to sell meat at a higher markup due to the more fat the meat has (AAA, Prime etc...) more fat = less healthy. plain and simple.

                    1. re: flying101

                      I think you misunderstood me. I was not talking about finishing on grain. I was talking about feeding hay and eating cow that had eaten hay. Not grain.

                      And when I said the health benefits are the same, I was referring to the health benefits of a cow that has eaten only grass and hay, versus a cow that has eaten only grass. Hay is, after all, simply dried grass.

                      1. re: Full tummy

                        Hay is better than grass. It is carefully bred alfalfa, timothy, or other seeds providing a quick yield of high protein, nutrient-rich food full of roughage and carbohydrates. And it stores well over winter.
                        Pasture grass is indigenous, lower quality, and full of weeds.
                        No herd of heifers would be allowed onto a hayfield to destroy these valuable plants.

                        And, flying101, corn is used along with wheat, oats, rye, soy, and barley as a finishing grain in Alberta and Ontario. This is not the midwest, with vast corn subsidies.

                        1. re: jayt90

                          Thanks for the info about the hay. I have great respect for hay, from my years growing up on a farm. Helped with the baling myself and learned the importance of timing and weather. But we didn't have cows, and we weren't raising animals for meat...

                          Do you think it makes a difference, though, in the health benefits to humans? That is what I was referring to...

                          1. re: jayt90

                            @Full Tummy, sorry for my misunderstanding.

                            1. re: jayt90

                              Hay is only as good as it is managed, and never better than fresh green well managed pasture which is a 'living' food. The flavour of fresh well managed grass (especially in the late summer/early fall) and the transfer of such to an animal's meat and milk, just cannot be duplicated through the use of hay or grains.

                              It's the same reason why most hunting seasons start late September, early October. You want to take an animal that is a product of the summer and early fall's bounty. That food is fresher more flavourful and is full of live enzymes, gut friendly bacteria, and active bio-chemical processes that are minimal or non-existent in the winter's dry foods.

                2. The original comment has been removed
                  1. It is seasonal, and we're just at the end of winter. No grass outside for the last 6 months so you can deduce why there aren't any available now.

                    1. Not sure if Traditionally Raised means grass fed but Great Burger Kitchen has really good burgers.


                      Great Burger Kitchen
                      1056 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1Z8, CA

                      1. In general, buffalo/bison are only fed grass or hay. So you can potentially expand your search to include places that serve buffalo burgers, though I don't happen to know any.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jjmellon

                          I wish this was true but the majority of bison farmers finish their animals with grain. Fully grassfed bison can be found but not easily. Most restaurants will sell grain finished meat because it's available all year round and consistent. The Healthy Butcher and Sanagan's Meat Locker in Kensington do buy from fully grassfed bison farms in Ontario.

                          I buy from Todd Dowd who runs Cape Chin Bison Farm on the Bruce Peninsula. Some local restaurants serve his burgers - see

                          I also recommend Mountain Lake Bison Range

                          Casey's in Yorkdale has a grain finished bison burger on the menu. You could also check out Stampede Bison Grill on Queen W strip ( ) When I called them last year they were sourcing their meat locally from Southern Ontario but from a farm that I know does grain finish.

                          The Healthy Butcher
                          565 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

                          Stampede Bison Grill
                          5 Brock Ave, Toronto, ON M6K2K6, CA

                          1. re: jjmellon

                            Venison will only eat grass, I yet to hear of a farmer that finishes it on corn/other grain as the animals have a completely different digestion track that disproves of it...

                            this would be a better bet the bison.