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Jun 23, 2013 06:46 PM

Burger's priest at Spadina/Queen

Anyone been yet? How big is it? I heard that there is seating, but how much? Is it hard to get a table, and are the lunch time lineups beastly? Thanks.
Or if anyone has another recommendations for a fun lunch spot in that neighborhood (not too casual) I'd appreciate it.

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  1. I went past on a Monday evening and there was a short line (or at least people just inside the space and not spilling out onto the sidewalk). It was around 8pm. Couldn't tell if there were a lot of tables but the space did look fairly small. Lunch time may be worse though since it's prime time.

    That area doesn't have too many non-causual restaurants that I can think of. You could try Lisa Marie, Epicure Cafe and Grill, Aji Sai or 5th Element.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bluefirefly

      not sure id consider lisa marie close. its more than a major away. but its valid then maybe consider nota bene, jabistro, patria, rock lobster, strada, frank, yuzu, fresh, jules, tutti matti

    2. There are around 8 tables for 2 and 2 small round tables that could fit 3 to 4 (tightly) each. It does get really busy at lunch. I wouldn't count on getting a seat. With the line reaching the door I'd say the wait is at least 20 minutes before getting your order.

      Other similarly casual spots in the immediate area are Bahn Mi Boys, White Squirrel, and Come and Get It.

      For old school greasy spoon diner there is Avenue Open Kitchen on Camden. It probably seats around 20 people tightly. The daily specials are what makes this place great.

      And there is Sense Appeal, which is ostensibly a cafe, but their lunch menu is quite ambitious given that they have such a tiny kitchen. They are always experimenting with molecular gastronomy techniques but in a fun and exciting way. It has some seating, but it's weird that it is scattered out in the lobby of the building they are in.

      For something a bit nicer for sitting in, there is Strada 241 for good pizza and pasta. It's on Spadina about a block or so north of Queen.

      1. I went past on a Monday evening and there was a short line (or at least people just inside the space and not spilling out onto the sidewalk). It was around 8pm. Couldn't tell if there were a lot of tables but the space did look fairly small. Lunch time maybe worse though since it's prime time.

        That area doesn't have too many fancy restaurants that I can think of. You could try Lisa Marie, Epicure Cafe and Grill, Aji Sai or 5th Element.

        1. I waited about 20 minutes and was extremely claustrophobic in line. The line is very narrow, moves slowly and people have to squish by you to get to the cash machine. If staff were more organized they could likely cut the timelines in half, I saw zero sense of urgency.
          I am medium height yet at the pick-up area I couldn’t make eye contact over the high counter. While they finally yelled my number repeatedly I kept yelling back I am right here in front of you THREE times. It annoyed me to the point of being quite pissed off. There was only one chair at our table that could barely fit two hamburgers and one drink. Strangers stand at crotch level one foot away and watch you eat while they wait.
          Burger was very good but I will never get in that line again. I would consider take-out at off hours. I’d give the burger 8/10 but I would give the overall experience a 0.

          2 Replies
          1. re: A flock of seagulls

            Yeah, while they do have chairs, I consider BP more of a take-out place than dine-in. I ate in the car every time I visited the Queen E. or Yonge location. The atmosphere really does get a zero.

            Also, I hate how the door opens inwards (into the restaurant) when there is a massive crowd already gathered there.

            But their burgers are primo and I'm a five min walk away from the new location so yeah... I suck it up and go back.

            1. re: ramenramen

              I've been three times already - much at the behest of other individuals (ie, peer pressure). Never had an issue, don't find it odd or narrow, (with the exception of where the waiting area is, relative to the condiment 'counter'), and I've never had an issue getting a table (when desired) or feeling uncomfortable or communicating properly with the guys at the back. Due to how busy it currently is, I could understand that if you're somewhat claustrophobic, it might cause you some anxiety. I also find it somewhat quicker than all the other BPs. It's now easily my favourite BP, and, luckily for me, closest! Most of all, I like how you can sit down at an actual table, and not eat on a shelf.

          2. What kind of beef do they use? Is it antibiotic/hormone free or just the regular type?

            26 Replies
            1. re: ManAbout

              The same beef known to be despicable when served by Harbour premium beef. That's it. No farm names or pedigree or any other promises. But they sure do charge a lot per ounce.

              1. re: justsayn

                Good beef in a burger vs a steak is entirely different. No one's ever said BP has great, exceptional Beef, just that it's fresh beef. And for the classic american cheeseburger, that's really all you need.

                Regardless, Harbour 60 still sucks, and is one of the most pretentious restaurants in Toronto, if not *thee* most. Maybe Shoto Shoto (from what I hear) or that other place in Yorkville might compete?

                And I don't recall anyone saying it's "despicable", just average - and they charge an extreme premium for it.

                1. re: justxpete

                  I would say the beef at Burger's Priest is better than just fresh. Lots of mediocre burger joints use fresh beef. BP's burgers have a richer, beefier flavour than 95% of the burgers in this city, which leads me to believe that they are taking greater care in sourcing their beef than simply making sure that it's fresh.

                  1. re: Michael N

                    I would say that it's average, and not overly above in terms of beef, but lots of credit for how fresh it seems to be - but I would also argue that most burger joints use below-average beef. Remember, we're now comparing steaks to burgers, so not apples to apples.

                    If we're comparing BP's beef to other burgers joints' beef, then yes, definitely, I think it's quite good, if not great, by comparison.

                    I once made some "smashed burgers" from medium ground chuck from Cumbrae's (custom request). Now those were damned good burgers.

                    1. re: justxpete

                      Sure, it's definitely not steakhouse quality. But then the only way you're going to get that is if you happen to have a burger at a steakhouse that makes their burger from the trimmings. For a burger joint the beef they use at BP is well above average.

                  2. re: justxpete

                    I agree it is all you need for a burger.....after all, it can be all you need for an awesome steak too. As so many have said, Costco puts out some darn good steaks.

                    I just don't understand when people need to know the source of the beef in order to eat a steak, but when its squished in a burger, source doesn't matter anymore. How is it still not the same mystery meat from an unknown plant that could gag a person, if not kill them?

                    I LOVE the burger at White Squirrel and I don't need to know where the meat was raised because I know it is fresh just by eating it and trust that it is safe based on the long history of the owner.

                    1. re: justsayn

                      Meat from specific farms are *typically* far superior to 'mystery origination' meat. They taste much better. That's all. They are typically organic, well raised and well fed (with natural grains and such) without hormones/steroids - but there is always the exception to the rule. When you're talking about a burger, there's so much interference from the cheese and condiments and all the other stuff, that just fairly good/average beef will often do just fine, as long as it's cooked properly.

                      You're thinking that people prefer sourced meat because of the safety, but it's for the taste and quality. Of course meat from anywhere can be compromised - but that has nothing to do with anything.

                      It's like saying kraft brand honey from Metro is as good as honey from anywhere else - or chocolate - or mustard - or bread - or anything that you'll find in a grocery store, really. Do you not have the capacity to appreciate that food that is produced with more effort than is average (or mass produced), is better???

                      Is pizza from Pizza Pizza as good as Pizzareia Libretto???

                      Have a Cumbrae's ribeye (cooked properly) and compare it to anything you've had a H60. Dare ya. You can get a good cote de beouf (ribeye) from Cumbrae's at Best Ellen.

                      1. re: justxpete

                        I agree with everything you say except the part of the cheese and condiments. Believe me, the beef quality, or lack of, still speaks through those condiments.

                        So yes I agree on all of that, because I have experienced it firsthand and continue to. Trust me I know the difference between best, great, good...I do think you've read that about me.

                        My point has been lost in translation.

                        I am saying that YES first class travel overseas is phenomenal compared to business class, but guess what, business class is not to be laughed at for the price difference. It is pretty damn good and much more affordable especially if you fly often. That's my point. And sometimes the steak at H60 exceeds all expectations for the price so you really win! Jacobs makes you pay through the nose for their premium cuts with no guarantees of satisfaction. For the amount of entertaining I do, and steak eating with friends, I can't always afford Jacobs premium steaks. So I am not embarrassed to say H60 is perfect for me.

                        Anyway, IMO, to say that H60 CAN'T be enjoyed because it isn't the absolute finest origin, is to also say that BP can't be enjoyed, as it isn't the finest origin.

                        1. re: justsayn

                          You can get H60 steaks anywhere and pay a lot less for them. You can't get burgers as good as BP for a lot less in TO that are as good.

                          Get it yet? H60 charges absurd prices for average steaks and food.

                          Also, I'm not sure what you've been ordering at J&C, but my SO and I find it far less expensive than H60 - so your opinion is flawed on a few different levels. First you were comparing BP to H60, and now you're bringing J&C in to the mix? When most people regard H60 as the most expensive steak house in TO?

                          1. re: justxpete

                            Name a place that serves a steak as good as H60 for less money, but for more money than JC? I agree there are places with better steak value than H60 and JC, but who cares. That doesn't mean H60 is junk meat from who knows where and thus can't be eaten.

                            H60 prices are not at all absurd for the great rib steak you get.

                            H60 is not the most expensive steaks in the city. That is just wrong. The H60 rib steak is the same price as JC if you order apples to apples. But actually JC has more expensive options than H60 and when you read the reviews on here, those are the options most people are buying - the expensive ones. They are spending large and getting something extravagant...JC is fantastic for that.

                            I only mention H60 because it is funny to me that people won't eat their meat because they don't know where it came from but they will eat BP and not know where it came from.

                            There are better burgers than BP for less money, one example being Squirrel.

                            1. re: justsayn

                              H60 is average beef. Go anywhere and you will find the same for cheaper. If you don't understand that, I can't help you.

                              Also, I said "a lot less money", not "less money".

                            2. re: justxpete

                              What are some of the burgers that are as good as BP for a lot less? I can think of Blue Goose, and agree with justsayn's White Squirrel suggestion, but other than that I'm coming up short. What other places are you thinking of?

                              1. re: Michael N

                                "You can't get burgers as good as BP for a lot less in TO that are as good."

                                1. re: justxpete

                                  Ha, for some reason I read that as "can." Did you edit that??

                                  1. re: Michael N

                                    So, all this hype over a place that serves inferior quality meat? Even the much maligned chains like South St. and Hero use antibiotic/hormone free meat. Big Smoke burger offers organic as an option.

                                    How can one claim to be a "gourmet burger" restaurant and not even offer an option for meat that is organic and not pumped full of harmful crap?

                                    1. re: ManAbout

                                      Well, they may not advertise the source of their beef with a lot of buzzwords, but I can tell you that the beef they use is much better quality than South St. or Big Smoke, and tastes much, much better.

                                      As for the comparison of Hero to BP, I won't even dignify that one with a response. If Hero is advertising that they are using organic beef, then it is officially a meaningless buzzword that bears zero relation to actual flavour.

                                      1. re: Michael N

                                        I won't defend Hero or claim to know or care what they claim to be selling, but the organic designation actually does bear zero relation to actual flavour.
                                        Is BP claiming to be a "gourmet burger" restaurant? I guess I'd have to click over to their website and search on the word gourmet to truly defend my point. But I don't think their schtick is either "gourmet" OR "natural/organic", not that those two things are necessarily related either.
                                        I was shocked when I found out H60 wet ages their beef. Nuff said.

                                        1. re: julesrules

                                          Unless he's changed his tune, Shant (BP owner) despises the term "Gourmet" in relation to burgers. So he does not claim to be that.


                                        2. re: Michael N

                                          How do you know that their beef is much much better quality than South St or Hero Burger? Do you know where they get their beef from? For all you know it might be coming from some feedlot operation where the cows are kept covered in their own feces, fed left over candy bars to fatten them up and injected antibiotics to keep them from falling sick because of the filthy conditions. Basically your typical mass produced low grade meat.

                                          South St B Burger gets their meat from Rowe Farms, Big Smoke gets it from Beretta, so where does BP get their beef from that it is so much much better quality?

                                          Organic is not a buzzword, certified organic is a designation.

                                          1. re: ManAbout

                                            Well, the burgers at Hero are frozen and industrially produced, and have about as much resemblance to a freshly-made hamburger as I have to George Clooney. They taste rotten, and as for the texture, I believe someone here compared it to a grease-soaked sponge. If that's what certified organic gets you, I'll pass.

                                            As for how I know it's better than South St. or Big Smoke? My tastebuds. Anyone who has had more than a few burgers can pretty easily tell the difference between meat from a higher quality source and the factory-farmed stuff you'll find at the supermarket. The difference in flavour is night and day.

                                            I don't know where they source it from, but I do know that the beef at BP tastes better than SS or BS. A lot better.

                                            1. re: Michael N

                                              Agree whole heartedly.

                                              I believe BP uses a particular blend of cuts. Tough to get info on such thngs.

                                              As for Hero, it's no secret that I despise the place. I was the one who called it a "grease soaked sponge." There are a number mysteries on this planet. Among them are the Bermuda Triangle. The Nasca Lines. Stonehenge. How Hero stays in business. (Let alone expands.)


                                      2. re: Michael N

                                        If I'd had said "can" then that would defeat my entire argument. Not able to follow the logic? (no, I didn't edit it)

                                        1. re: justxpete

                                          Hahaha, yeah, I know you didn't edit it -- I was just joking around. I think I read it as "can" originally because I wanted there to be more great, cheap burgers in the city that have somehow flown under my radar.

                                    2. re: justxpete

                                      Jacob & Co is deadly expensive.. Me and the GF went there for my birthday and ran up one hell of a bill for only 2 people. Admittedly we expected it to be expensive, but thought it would end up somewhat cheaper than places like Queue de Cheval or Steakhouse 1221, and it wasn't..

                                      The caesar salad was really good but I'm not sure the extreme price was justified on that either, it wasn't even a very large portion at all