I had a chance to check out their new location on 17th ave this weekend and I thought it was really good. You pay up front and then grab a seat with a little buzzer thing that goes off when your order is ready.
It would seem that it's their intention to serve a classic, no frills diner style burger.....and they succeed on all accounts in my opinion. A friend of mine told me the single burger can be a little small if you're really hungry so I went with a double cheese burger. Well seasoned Alberta beef seared on a flat top with your choice of cheddar (american) or swiss.
I opted for the cheddar along with lettuce, sauteed onions, pickles, clive sauce and hot mustard. Everything down to the soft bun was fresh and done perfectly for this style of burger. I shared an order of fries (huge portion) with my friend.....these were amazing. They come with a little side if ketchup and Clive sauce. Probably the best I've had in Calgary in some time. A little bit thicker than McDonalds and super crispy. Washed it all down with a Steam Whistle.
Essentially, this place is everything 5 Guys tries to be. Better beef, better bun, better toppings, signature sauce, exponentially better fries, and everything seems to be assembled with a modicum of care. I think the prices are fairly close. Maybe a dollar more here or there. The difference at Clive is that it feels like you''re getting inexpensive quality food as opposed to over-priced fast food slop.
The only thing I could complain about at all are the tiny bar stools which seem to be bolted into the ground at an unnecessarily close distance to the counter where one is required to eat. At 6'3, I certainly wouldn't want to cram my frame into one these seats for longer than 15 minutes haha. There are a handful of regular tables available.
There's no question that I'll be back soon to test out a bacon cheeseburger and perhaps a custard shake.
I tried the vanilla shake. It was delicious but so rich. I could only drink about half of it and I was already getting full. Burger comes before shake in my books!
I did enjoy the burgers though. Fries..meh. The Clive sauce is interesting and different. I actually thought I tasted coffee or something char roasted in it. My friend says I'm crazy.
I agree with johnj78 about the hipster vibe, it feels very cold and is much like a pre-school. Although by butt hangs over the stools, which are way too close to the countertop, I will return for sure.
Haha I'll be returning as well. I just hope they can get enough cash flow to buy a light dimmer, some real furniture, and maybe even some artwork or photography for the walls..... even if it has to be super avant-garde. If it were my business I think I'd want people to stick around and drink. Isn't that where all the $$ is?
As for the clive sauce, I've heard someone speculate that there are chipotles in the mix. I'd be impressed if they managed to sneak some kind of coffee flavour in there!
I finally went to check out Clive Burger last week. heard from a few reliable foodies that it was worth trying.
I echo most of the sentiments of the OP. Burger was very fresh and very tasty...albeit small. I had a regular burger with cheese, mushrooms, and the regular fixins, and foudn it very delectable.
What I REALLY liked though were the fries. I loved how the fries basically tasted like really fresh potato chips. They were nice and crispy, and not at all greasy. That, for me, was the highlight of the meal.
I don't know if I'll go there too often, because even though I enjoyed the meal, I didn't feel as though I got a whole lot of bang for my buck. Seemed a tad bit on the expensive side for a tiny little burger...and essentially what you're paying for is their upscale decor and 17th avenue rent.
I also dislike the stupid little bar stools along the edge of the kitchen. Not comfortable at all. Built for someone 5'5" and 110 lbs.
I went back for the 2nd time today and had a single cheeseburger this time. Although it was much easier to eat than the double, it wasn't nearly as beefy and juicy....unsurprisingly. It might also have something to do with the fact that the girl right in front of me returned her burger for a refund because there was a fleck of pink in the middle. Regardless, if you're hungry, get the double. The fries were fantastic yet again.....especially with Clive sauce.
I like Clive but I must say that the minimalist hipster vibe is totally lacking in character and comfort IMHO. Tiny stools everywhere and little tables that look like they're sized for preschoolers don't really do it for me. I'd kind of prefer a place where I could sit down and hang out with friends for a couple of beers. As it is now, I eat my burg and pretty much want to get the hell out of there.
Basically, their furniture is designed for 100 lb scenesters who are likely more concerned with their droopy toques and skinny jeans than they are with relaxing and enjoying a meal.