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Burger's Priest now only serves overcooked burgers!

I was distraught when I recently was told very rudely by employees at the Queen east location that I could only have my burger cooked medium well. To me, overcooking meat is sacrilegious. I stopped eating burgers in Canada for 10 years until BP came along and happily served rare burgers (a testament to the quality of their meat).

A few weeks ago, the cashier and a cook both said I could only get my meat overcooked, when I asked why the policy had changed, they basically had no answer and rudely asked if I still wanted it (they also very rudely dismissed a customer -burger geek type- who asked a couple of questions about the process-- and no, it was not at all busy at the time).

I then when on their Facebook page to ask why the policy had changed, and my question was simply deleted and I got no answer. (pretty rude in my view) It's unfortunate as I have been singing their praises since day one as the only place one can get a good burger (loosely packed, griddle cooked) in all of Canada. I suspect they are mainstreaming to franchise and that's great for them, but sucks fr the people who want proper burgers.

Can anyone recommend a griddle cooked, coarse and loosely packed burger joint that still serves rare burgers?

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  1. I believe it's an Ontario law to cook ground meat to 71degrees C.

    There was a recent discussion about food safety here:

    3 Replies
    1. re: Apprentice

      Thanks Apprentice. I am aware of the 'law'. It is complaints driven enforcement so unless they had complaints I'm not sure why they changed their policy and why they chose to be opaque about the change. Personally, I take risks for pleasure everyday and can order steak tartarre in many restaurants in Toronto so it makes no sense to apply the law to burgers.

      1. re: Norm1966

        They probably had complaints from someone that they either pissed off, or a competitor, perhaps... if you had a choice between losing your business and serving 'undercooked' burgers, which would you choose?

        1. re: justxpete

          Well said jxp,

          Sadly, either of your two choices are exactly what the TBP's competitors would be happy with.

          BTW 71C is 160F. I don't think my instant read thermometer can go that high.

          Leaving for NYC this weekend and can't wait to try a burger from Corner Bistro, Burger Joint, or IMHO "The Best Burgers" at JG Melon Old Time Tavern...

    2. Its too bad that they only thing they had going for them (serving raw meat) has been taken away!

      1. Folks, if you've got an experience at Burger's Priest to share, that's fine, but please try to focus your attention on that, rather than speculating about what their health practices might be or on making personal comments about how other users have chosen to post.

          1. I thought the rule in Ontario is that if beef is ground in-house, it can be cooked to any degree you want.

            12 Replies
            1. re: acd123

              Otherwise, how do restaurants in Toronto manage to serve steak tartare?

              1. re: Full tummy

                There was already a lengthy discussion about this and I'm still surprised chowhounders don't know the difference.

                Tartare is prepped by hand chopping with a knife, so the contact surface to disinfect/clean is much smaller than a grinder. Also, tartare does technically go through a process of "cooking" with acid instead of heat.

                1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                  Steak tartare may be ground. Though it often is not. But you are correct the Ontario regulation in question refers to the internal cooking temperature of "ground" meat to 71 degrees.
                  "(7) The following shall be cooked to reach an internal temperature of at least 71 degrees Celsius for at least 15 seconds:
                  1. Pork.
                  2. Pork products.
                  3. All parts of ground meat, other than ground meat that contains poultry."

                  I am quite certain there are restaurants in Ontario that have served tartare ground rather than chopped.

                  1. re: PJO2007

                    Which restaurants would you recommend in Ontario that serve ground tartare?

                    1. re: prima

                      Yeah, seriously. I'm pretty darn careful where I order tartare, and to my knowledge, the restaurants that I frequent always hand chop their tartare.

                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                        I can't imagine a restaurant grinding Tartare... that would be disgusting. And the texture? No way - not for Tartare.

                            1. re: EverymanJack

                              I've had Kitfo before from a place on the Danforth. Did not enjoy the texture.

                        1. re: prima

                          I would not recommend any. But tartare by definition does not prohibit grinding. It is in fact served around the world ground as well as diced or chopped. I have most certainly eaten coarse ground tartare in France, in particular I can think of a meal I had skiing a few years ago in Meribel France and eating tartare that was most definitely not hand chopped but ground. I suspect that the regulations as they are in Ontario ensure that most places avoid grinding just to stay onside with the regulation. But if you are grinding your own tartare and if that is all that is ground in a particular grinder, it is certainly no riskier than hand chopping it.

                          1. re: prima

                            i wouldn't *recommend* any of them, but i'm certain they're out there... pretty sure my ancient copy of mme benoit's encyclopedia of canadian cuisine has a recipe for tartare that was basically "make a hamburger and don't cook it" (i'm paraphrasing, obvs)

                            1. re: smartygirl

                              'Make a hamburger' a la Mme Benoit is a far cry from 'buy a hamburger' in a burger joint.

                  2. I was at Holy Chuck last week and had no problem at all when I asked for a medium rare burger. This is pretty sad news to me considering I would always ask for med rare whenever I can, wherever I can (provided the beef is freshly ground).

                    1. I like mine medium well anyway. It's the perfect balance of texture and juiciness.


                      11 Replies
                      1. re: Davwud

                        Me too, Davwud. A medium well burger made from ground beef with good fat content is perfect. I find that medium rare or medium burgers with that kind of beef are a bit too mushy.

                        1. re: acd123

                          Bingo. I actually did a test on this just last week. I was at the vaunted Miller's Bar in Dearborn and ordered one medium, one medium well. There was no comparison. Ya, the medium was juicier but the MW was plenty juicy with a more pleasing texture.

                          BTW, phenomenal burgers. For those who detest BP using sliced cheese don't worry. Miller's doesn't.
                          They use Velveeta.


                          1. re: Davwud

                            I've got to check out Miller's Bar. I'm in Detroit every few months to visit family. Burger's look awesome there. Have you been to Slow's? It's also on Michigan Ave., about 5 miles closer to downtown than Miller's. I'm craving their ribs and brisket right now. So good.


                            1. re: acd123

                              I sure have been to Slows. I was very impressed actually. The Triple Threat Pork Sandwich with the Carolina Mustard Sauce is one fabulous sandwich.


                        2. re: Davwud

                          I like medium well.

                          After a bad burger experience in the spring of 2004, the thought of eating a medium-rare hamburger grosses me out. I don't care if others eat their burgers that way, but it's not for me.

                          1. re: prima

                            I'm a medium well person too. The very first great burger I had (other than my mom's) was at Toby's where every burger was medium well. At home, I add a small amount of ground lamb to the beef. Those puppies definitely don't lack juiciness and are on the grill long enough to crust nicely.

                              1. re: prima

                                Me too. I recall the Toby's at Yonge and St Clair. Fantastic burger about 1970ish. Air conditioning nearly froze us solid but the memory of the burger lingers on.

                                1. re: Herne

                                  Just took a look at the Burger's Priest web page. http://theburgerspriest.com/
                                  Never seen a burger joint like it.

                                  1. re: Herne

                                    Interesting, they updated the website and put the "secret" menu online. Or atleast parts of it. Under the "unseen" menu.

                                  2. re: Herne

                                    Why on earth is no one trying to recreate the Toby's burgers? What? Did Chrysalis Group patent those things?

                          2. i believe this topic has been essentially beaten to death over the years. My own belief is that I will never post online about my favourite places that will serve a medium rare burger. The last thing we need is to draw attention to the fact that a restaurant is willing to do so notwithstanding the regulations. I do not believe that health inspectors review these sites for this information but at the same time, if everyone is talking about the fact that a particular place does it, and it is brought to the attention of the regulators, they will likely step in.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: PJO2007

                              Good point, that's exactly what i was thinking - no need to bring heat onto the guys that'll cook it to your specifications...
                              and to the dude who started the thread, if they pissed you off so much you don't have to go back.

                                1. re: dannyboy

                                  Really??? I thought it was compulsory for me to keep going.....

                                  Of course, as is my right, I have not been back . It is also my right to express my disappointment with yet another place that cooks the flavour out of a decent grind.

                                  I now support the other places that still cook beef to my liking.

                              1. I am still alive after eating this....and it was delicious.

                                7 Replies
                                  1. re: Pigurd

                                    To be fair, to expect to be anything better than so so after eating that you would have to be under 20, and perhaps a little confused.//

                                    1. re: PJO2007

                                      Ya, I probably had more to do with all that processed cheese and cow.


                                  2. re: PJO2007

                                    I gained 5 lbs from this...

                                      1. re: Full tummy

                                        Most definitely! Every single flavourful thing I eat these days has a cost in terms of weight gain or additional work-out time. I'd rather work on weight gained by something flavourful, moist and meaty than something that is not. (not naming names...)

                                        I happen to prefer a burger with no pink but love rare steaks...

                                        1. re: Yimahaji

                                          I'm good with a little pink and don't mind well done as long as it's not dessicated. Medium well is perfect IMHO. Anything less and the meat is mushy.


                                  3. one of the problems seems to be that (i'll say it without trying to sound negative as it mostly) americans will come in to the many restaurants i've worked in and order meat temps on burgers without asking if the patties are factory made or made in house. they don't seem to care where they are produced or how. maybe their assumption is that the meat is all ground in-house using better than hospital sterilization standards but that is rarely the case. even within regular restaurants or home cooks that do take the time to create their own fresh burgers, the sanitation is probably questionable-from hand washing to hair nets to what ever else may lurk.

                                    given the many deaths and illnesses attributed to undercooked burgers, i am surprised anyone would want to eat an undercooked burger. there are certainly enough recalls on all sorts of products but the russian roulette that people play with simply cooking a burger to temp to ensure that ecoli is killed should be a small sacrifice. i say that because 20 years ago i fought (and lost) with government agencies to crack down on the slaughter houses as it would be more effective to regulate them closer to the source than at our level. we should demand safer food but this industry seems to be inspected for quality (?) but not the safety of food.

                                    btw, when i make tartare, I generously rub my meat (sorry) with cognac to assist in killing some of the pesky critters on the outside....

                                    1. Once again, we're going to ask that people focus on their experiences with the food at Burger's Priest. If you want to debate the practice of cooking and eating rare hamburgers or Ontario's laws around cooking burgers in restaurants, please start a thread on the General Topics board.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                        To help things along, we split a long sub-thread about Ontario's laws to General Topics. You can find it here:


                                      2. By the way, I don't really believe this to be new, perhaps a new way of dealing with it. The last 2 times I went to Burger's Priest I asked for Medium Rare. Both times there was no hint of pink in my burger. A mistake? Maybe, but given the direction, I think perhaps not. I have no axe to grind vs. BP, if they were taking heat I don't blame there for a change in policy. But I won't bother with going and dealing with all the lines, location, and hassle that I previously went through to get it. I can get an overcooked burger on every corner of the city. Better meat and in houe grinding is not important if you cook all the taste out of it. Just my opinion though.