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Greatest Burger Restaurants in Canada

T Long Oct 28, 2012 10:27 AM

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. Davwud RE: T Long Oct 30, 2012 09:27 AM

    Doesn't Weber's use frozen patties??

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


    1. j
      JennaBean RE: T Long Oct 30, 2012 09:55 AM

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

      1. NonStickSteel RE: T Long Oct 30, 2012 10:06 AM

        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.


        36 Replies
        1. re: NonStickSteel
          TorontoJo RE: NonStickSteel Oct 30, 2012 10:54 AM

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

          1. re: TorontoJo
            NonStickSteel RE: TorontoJo Oct 30, 2012 11:25 AM

            Tell us how you really feel though. ;)


            1. re: NonStickSteel
              TorontoJo RE: NonStickSteel Oct 30, 2012 11:57 AM

              :) I know, sorry. But here you go:


              1. re: TorontoJo
                NonStickSteel RE: TorontoJo Oct 30, 2012 12:06 PM

                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...


              2. re: NonStickSteel
                Michael N RE: NonStickSteel Oct 30, 2012 12:57 PM

                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
                  Charles Yu RE: Michael N Oct 30, 2012 08:38 PM

                  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
                Bobby Wham RE: TorontoJo Oct 30, 2012 12:25 PM

                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
                  trane RE: Bobby Wham Nov 2, 2012 09:28 AM

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

                  1. re: trane
                    T Long RE: trane Nov 2, 2012 09:44 AM

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

                    1. re: T Long
                      prima RE: T Long Nov 2, 2012 09:45 AM

                      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
                        JennaBean RE: prima Nov 2, 2012 10:05 AM

                        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
                          prima RE: JennaBean Nov 2, 2012 10:35 AM

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

                        2. re: prima
                          Michael N RE: prima Nov 2, 2012 11:19 AM

                          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
                            prima RE: Michael N Nov 2, 2012 11:23 AM

                            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
                              kwfoodiewannabe RE: prima Nov 2, 2012 12:42 PM

                              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
                                prima RE: kwfoodiewannabe Nov 2, 2012 01:23 PM

                                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
                                JennaBean RE: prima Nov 2, 2012 01:23 PM

                                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
                                  prima RE: JennaBean Nov 2, 2012 01:27 PM

                                  Agree, completely.

                                  1. re: JennaBean
                                    Michael N RE: JennaBean Nov 2, 2012 01:53 PM

                                    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
                                      Davwud RE: Michael N Nov 2, 2012 04:33 PM

                                      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.


                                      1. re: Davwud
                                        kwfoodiewannabe RE: Davwud Nov 5, 2012 10:48 AM

                                        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
                                trane RE: prima Nov 4, 2012 06:46 PM

                                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: trane
                                  prima RE: trane Nov 5, 2012 06:35 AM

                                  Ok, thanks, trane. ;-)

                                  1. re: prima
                                    T Long RE: prima Nov 5, 2012 09:44 AM

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

                                  2. re: trane
                                    jlunar RE: trane Nov 5, 2012 09:20 AM

                                    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
                                      prima RE: jlunar Nov 5, 2012 12:46 PM

                                      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
                            JennaBean RE: TorontoJo Oct 31, 2012 07:26 AM

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

                          3. re: NonStickSteel
                            prima RE: NonStickSteel Oct 30, 2012 01:06 PM

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

                            Guess there's no accounting for taste.

                            1. re: prima
                              disgusti RE: prima Oct 31, 2012 12:04 AM

                              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
                                prima RE: disgusti Oct 31, 2012 07:37 AM

                                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
                                  Davwud RE: prima Oct 31, 2012 08:20 AM

                                  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.


                              2. re: prima
                                JennaBean RE: prima Oct 31, 2012 07:27 AM

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

                                1. re: JennaBean
                                  prima RE: JennaBean Oct 31, 2012 07:50 AM

                                  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
                                    TorontoJo RE: prima Oct 31, 2012 07:58 AM

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

                                2. re: prima
                                  dannyboy RE: prima Oct 31, 2012 08:32 AM

                                  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
                                    prima RE: dannyboy Oct 31, 2012 08:37 AM

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

                              3. c
                                CanadaGirl RE: T Long Oct 30, 2012 10:11 AM

                                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. hal2010 RE: T Long Oct 30, 2012 01:12 PM

                                  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. re: hal2010
                                    NonStickSteel RE: hal2010 Oct 30, 2012 03:54 PM

                                    Mmmm...rubbery tough skin.


                                  2. s
                                    Sadistick RE: T Long Oct 31, 2012 06:41 AM

                                    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. re: Sadistick
                                      NonStickSteel RE: Sadistick Oct 31, 2012 12:54 PM

                                      But will they serve Hero burgers??? ;)


                                      1. re: Sadistick
                                        trane RE: Sadistick Nov 2, 2012 09:34 AM

                                        You mean at the airport? LOL

                                      2. t
                                        trane RE: T Long Nov 2, 2012 09:37 AM

                                        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. y
                                          Yimahaji RE: T Long Nov 6, 2012 07:13 AM

                                          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. justsayn RE: T Long Nov 7, 2012 07:12 PM

                                            Hero Burgers' special sauce!


                                            1. cynalan RE: T Long Nov 16, 2012 06:43 PM

                                              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
                                                kingsway RE: cynalan Nov 18, 2012 06:55 PM

                                                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. NonStickSteel RE: T Long Nov 19, 2012 10:07 AM

                                                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?


                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: NonStickSteel
                                                  sandymctyre RE: NonStickSteel Nov 28, 2012 09:29 AM

                                                  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
                                                    Davwud RE: sandymctyre Nov 28, 2012 10:14 AM

                                                    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.


                                                    1. re: Davwud
                                                      kwfoodiewannabe RE: Davwud Nov 28, 2012 01:44 PM


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

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

                                                      1. re: Davwud
                                                        Yimahaji RE: Davwud Nov 28, 2012 02:25 PM

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

                                                        1. re: Yimahaji
                                                          Davwud RE: Yimahaji Nov 28, 2012 04:08 PM

                                                          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.


                                                      2. re: sandymctyre
                                                        NonStickSteel RE: sandymctyre Dec 3, 2012 12:22 PM

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


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