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Greatest Burger Restaurants in Canada

Toronto's Burger Priest is listed #8 in this Reader's Digest's article, behind Orillia's Weber (#2), and Ottawa's The Works (#6). http://www.readersdigest.ca/food/bbq/... I take all "best of" listings as interesting reads but always with a grain of salt....

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  1. Doesn't Weber's use frozen patties??

    A lot of those burgers don't really look all that great.

    DT

    1. The Priest is the only one that I actually want to eat from that list. Unimpressive fer sure!

      1. Wow. "Webers" #2??? Lining up for hours for an 1/8" frozen patty - no thanks. I actually like Hero Burger the best so far. Haven't tried Priest yet though... Anyone weigh in on the Great Burger Kitchen? My wife had their poutine and it was tasty but nothing earth-shattering.

        http://www.nonsticksteel.com/

        36 Replies
        1. re: NonStickSteel

          Hero Burger makes the most revolting burger I've ever had the displeasure of trying. Sorry, it was truly disgusting.

              1. re: TorontoJo

                Each to their own. I'm prone to taking all things on the interwebs with a large grain of smoked sea salt. The experience I had with the burger there was positive. I could go back there today and have a burger unfit for the dog's breakfast but the one I had when I had it was delicious.

                Or maybe it's just my palate. Maybe I prefer my burgers to taste like Pedigree Chum because I don't know a good one from a pile of steaming pink slime...

                www.nonsticksteel.com

              2. re: NonStickSteel

                Yeah, I'm with TorontoJo and Bobby on Hero Burger. I revisted the place in the last few months to review it for my blog, and it was quite literally the worst hamburger that I've ever eaten in my entire life -- and I say that as someone who has eaten hundreds of burgers in his lifetime. Truly, truly awful.

                1. re: Michael N

                  Only thing I like about Hero Burger is their 'gravy'!! Love getting a couple and pour them onto M&M Shepard's Pie to kick it up a notch!!

              3. re: TorontoJo

                Ya Hero is a dry puck and Webber's?? HAHAHAHA, just cause a place is nostalgic or whatever doesn't mean they have a great burger, for example Apache Burgers and Johnny's, horrible burgers

                1. re: Bobby Wham

                  Glad finally agrees with me on Johnny's. Only thing going for it is their late night hours.

                  1. re: trane

                    Finally!? :) Slamming Johnny's is a regular Chowhound bloodsport. I will admit to occasionally still enjoying their burgers.

                    1. re: T Long

                      I think there's room for old school burger places like Johnny's and Webers in the burger market. I'm tired of the burger snobs who keep slamming almost iconic burger places that obviously are able to maintain a loyal following.

                      I haven't tried a Johnny's burger yet, but this thread has convinced me to try their burger next time I'm nearby, and pick up a box of loukamades at their neigbour Athens Pastries while I'm in the neighbourhood.

                      1. re: prima

                        For me it is more about the quality of meat. While I wouldn't be rude at someone's home I try to avoid all mass ground meat. I just don't want to participate in giving money to mass production of that kind. Does that make me a food snob, for sure and I'm fully ok with that. :-)

                        1. re: JennaBean

                          I hear what you're saying, but I'm still going to try Johnny's burger.

                        2. re: prima

                          I dunno, is it really snobbery to slam a place like Johnny's or Webers? They serve industrially-produced, frozen burgers -- the exact same stuff you can buy at the freezer section at Costco. Spongy, salty, not-beefy-at-all frozen patties. I have no respect for a burger joint that can't be bothered to actually make their own burgers, and I'll take that to the grave.

                          The only reason those places survive is people's nostalgic connection to them. Open a place now and serve frozen patties like at Johnny's, and you'll be (rightfully) laughed out of town. But somehow restaurants that have been around for decades get a free pass to serve mediocre food, which is fine, but you certainly don't need to be a snob to put them in their place.

                          1. re: Michael N

                            If you're slamming Johnny's because Johnny's is serving cheaper,industrially-produced, pre-frozen burgers, it sounds a little like snobbery to me.

                            I can think of some burger joints that have opened over the last 10 years, serving pre-frozen patties, that have managed to be financially successful, despite the fact most Chowhounds slam their burgers. Not sure if running a financially successful business while serving a mediocre burger is the same as being laughed out-of-town.

                            Not everyone can afford to spend around $9/burger a la Burgers Priest.

                            1. re: prima

                              I have never understood the love for Johnny's or Apache (haven eaten at both before) I find them both very similar to Harvey's (not a fan). Dairy Freez, Aries and many others have been doing the same thing for years as well. My personal neighborhood burger was Golden Star and while there is a certain amount of nostalgia associated with it, I would not bother if I was hungry for a burger. (though let me add that I understand some of these places do a "homeburger" - different story - I am referring to the frozen patty)

                              If you like that type of burger, why not just go to Harvey's?

                              1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                                I don't know if I like the burgers at Apache or Johnny's, since I haven't tried either of their burgers. I already do go to Harvey's, when I'm not in the mood for Wendy's, an indie homeburger or a hyped-up $9 burger.

                              2. re: prima

                                You are totally right on the price point issue. For many people $9 for a burger is just too much for this type of a food oftering. We need many options at many price points so that everyone can have a burger every now and again! :-)

                                  1. re: JennaBean

                                    Agreed on the price thing, but even on price I find that Johhny's cannot justify its existence. I just find the mushy texture and only vaguely meat-like taste of a frozen burger to be completely unappealing. At that price point I'd sooner just go to McDonald's and order off the value menu. At least they serve burgers whose texture/taste approximates fresh beef.

                                    1. re: Michael N

                                      I can completely agree with you. If you're going for a prefrozen, prefab burger it's very difficult to beat a McD's Double Cheeseburger off the Value Menu. Dollar for dollar, a good deal.

                                      DT

                                      1. re: Davwud

                                        add pickles, lettuce, onions and Mac sauce! Poor man's Big Mac!

                                        (though some McD's have started charging for the upgrade)

                              3. re: prima

                                Prima, in my experience the nostalgia for a Johnny's burger has as much to do with the time you go there (late, returning from a night out downtown) as the food itself. For a long time, it was the only thing available late night. And it's conveniently located off a DVP exit. So I suggest you go out, then head out to Johnny's late to get the full experience.

                                  1. re: prima

                                    Johnny's offers grilled onions as a free topping, unusual for this level of burger. Yummy!

                                  2. re: trane

                                    Except you can't get loukoumades at the same time if you go late night.

                                    .__. I've tried.

                                    But yes, Johnny's serves me nostalgia more than anything. It's especially good after 2am... XD

                                    1. re: jlunar

                                      Ha! Good to know. All these years, I've been eating souvlaki when I'm hungry at 2 am. Don't think I've ever eaten a burger that late at night.

                                      Good point re: the loukamades, although I think the Vic Park location is usually open until 10 pm weekdays, 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The Danforth location is open until 11 pm daily, as far as I know.

                          2. re: TorontoJo

                            +1 - just the thought of it makes me feel icky. Frozen pucks.

                          3. re: NonStickSteel

                            I like Webers' burgers better than Burger Priest's burgers or Hero's burgers.

                            Guess there's no accounting for taste.

                            1. re: prima

                              i've been on here long enough to know that you at least mostly have an idea what you're talking about, i think, so this comes as a pretty serious shock. weber's is just plain not even close to on the same playing field as priest, regardless of whatever feelings you may have against the place (which i can only assume is why you would make a statement like this) you have to admit that much haha

                              1. re: disgusti

                                They're completely different types of burgers, so I completely agree, they're not on the same playing field.
                                What I'm trying to say:
                                To each their own.

                                I realize Webers is a chargrilled, pre-frozen patty, probably dusted with Lawry's seasoned salt, so it isn't going to work for someone who thinks a Burger Priest/Holy Chuck-type burger is the ideal burger. Some people out there (like me) don't mind burgers that started out as pre-frozen patties. Whether a patty was frozen previously is a non-issue for me. I know, I know, the horror!

                                I realize Burger Priest's burgers are close to the best you can get for that American-style, fresh in-house ground beef, fried on a griddle, usually topped with processed cheese burger, but I find Burgers' Priest burgers kind of greasy and not that tasty. I don't have any feelings against the place. The staff has always been friendly when I've been there. It hasn't been too loud when I've been there. The restaurant is usually relatively clean, and any slight mess is a result of customers who don't clean up after themselves after eating.
                                I just don't find their burgers worth the $9 they charge. I'd much rather get a sandwich at Ciccio or Black Camel for the same price.

                                I prefer Holy Chuck for an in-house ground beef burger. While I think Holy Chuck is a good burger of that type, that doesn't mean I'm not going to stop for a pre-frozen, chargrilled burger at Webers when I happen to be driving past. Webers still hits the spot (for me).

                                1. re: prima

                                  I've never had a Weber's burger so I can't comment on how good, bad or middling they are. I also don't have a problem with frozen patties either but more about the construction of frozen patties. The frozen 100% Sirloin patties at Costco are really good, grilled with some steak seasoning on them. Are they better than fresh?? No, but when having to do numerous they work perfectly well. The problem is, most frozen patties have lots of fillers and they fail miserably at that point.

                                  I find, most of the time, BP is slightly under seasoned. They have S & P there for just a reason. I add a bit of each and it's so much better.

                                  DT

                              2. re: prima

                                IIRC you don't like the grind of the meat at the Priest right? What about Stockyards or Holy Chuck?

                                1. re: JennaBean

                                  I just found BP greasy and a little bland. I didn't have a problem with the grind. TorontoJo found the grind too finely ground, or the texture a little too mushy, if I recall correctly.

                                  I don't mind Holy Chuck. Still haven't gotten around to the burger at Stockyards.

                                  Don't get me wrong. I'll still eat a Burger Priest burger if I'm hungry.

                                  1. re: prima

                                    Yep, I don't like the grind at BP. Too fine and mushy for me.

                                2. re: prima

                                  i like Webers too - certainly not the priest however their burger on the way up north always hits the spot. Can't comment on their frozen patties as i've never had 'em. Their burgers don't go on the grill frozen in their own locale though i'm pretty sure.

                                  1. re: dannyboy

                                    Pretty sure Webers thaws their pre-frozen patties before grilling them.

                              3. Darrel's in Halifax is popular, but I have no idea why. There is a current tread in the Atlantic board discussing Darrel's.

                                1. I think the list would be better named "Iconic Burger Restaurants Across Canada"

                                  Hero reminds me of those frozen Schneider's patties you'd get a summer camp. Sort of rubbery with a tough "skin" and they bounce back at you when you bite them.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. Interesting list

                                    Though on a side note, I have it on good accord Webbers is looking to expand and open a second location! More salty fries and long line-ups!

                                    2 Replies
                                      1. One observation about this list: Webers is the only entry where they did not talk about the food at all. Every other entry had comments about the dishes, condiments, quality of meat, anything. At weber's other than mentioning that they charbroi 800/hr, there was not a single word about the food they serve.

                                        I guess the writers and editors don't have anything at all to say about their food, and for good reason given the response in this thread.

                                        1. I love the smell of the Weber burger. Miss taking detours to the Pearson for their burgers and fries as I never head northward to their main place and don't think I can reproduce the fumes at home. That being said, I'd rank Priest and Chuck ahead of Weber's in terms of freshness and taste. (But really, if you stuck a Weber burger under my nose right now, it'd be devoured within seconds - watch the fingers)

                                            1. Weber's ahead of Burger Priest. Well, there goes any possible credibility this article may have had. I have never understood the popularity of Webers. There burgers are frozen garbage.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: cynalan

                                                BP was my favourite EVER, but the last 2x its been really greasy...I know a burger is inherently greasy but the grease actually soaked the outside of the bun.

                                                Agree, Hero is nasty

                                                Johnny's is a guilty pleasure

                                                Apache loses its lustre without alcohol

                                              2. Had a Shamrock burg the other day...pretty damned tasty (messy as all get out) but I regret staying in the restaurant to eat it, should have taken it home. We stank like fryer grease and grill smoke the entire night. The staff were great, very accommodating.

                                                Quick poll: How much is too much to pay for a decent burger combo?

                                                www.nonsticksteel.com

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: NonStickSteel

                                                  NonStickSteel,
                                                  I have no problem paying $10 for a good burger. It's not an everyday thing, nor an every burger thing...occasionally, you need the real thing, and can fill in with others in the meantime. That being said...I have never found Five Guys to be worth the hype. I live in Whitby, and there are a few burger joints I frequent that are decent...Starr Avenue, Shake Rabble and Roll, and Big Guys. My favourite in the area is Patty Shack. They do some awesome toppings, if you want a "gourmet" burger.
                                                  I used to go to the Real McCoy on Markham, still served up a homemade patty a couple of years ago. Famous Sam's in Gormley used to be good, but now serve the ubequitous frozen patty too.

                                                  1. re: sandymctyre

                                                    I've found there are two different 5 Guys. Good ones and bad ones. I really like a good one and will avoid a bad one like it's Hero Burger.

                                                    Real McCoy was great the last time I was there. About 2 years ago (for a burger anyway) and is a really cool place.

                                                    I'm really trying to get to Bubbi's (http://www.bubis.org/) in Windsor which is supposed to have some pretty awesome burgers too.

                                                    DT

                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                      Davwud,

                                                      Before you drive all the way to Windsor... (not that it's NOT worth the drive...)

                                                      Little Louie's... Cambridge... shhhh.

                                                      1. re: Davwud

                                                        If you're heading through there (Windsor), you might also try Motoburger.

                                                        1. re: Yimahaji

                                                          Thanks for the rec. y'all.

                                                          We cross the Windsor/Detroit boarder at least a half dozen times a year I'd say.
                                                          The problem with Cambridge is it's in no mans land for us. Not worth a drive specifically for a burger. Not far enough away that we can hit in on our way south.

                                                          DT

                                                      2. re: sandymctyre

                                                        Starr Avenue is a good burger, at least it was last time I was in there over 10 years ago...

                                                        www.nonsticksteel.com