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Feb 27, 2014 01:57 PM

285 Burger

If it's one thing foodies love is THE NEXT BIG THING. I had to try this unassuming food cart at Granville and Pender for myself. Background:

Long story short, a good burger with great value!

Some more pics and thoughts here:

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  1. Wow, when was the last time you read "Maillard browning" in a Big Media piece ?

    One thing I don't get, the wait time at White Spot was 2min 10 sec ??

    I like Splitz Grill's burger a lot (they've been having an ongoing weekday midday $4 burger-only special since the summer). Love the wide assortment of condiments (including sauerkraut, salsa, hummus and tzatziki .... ftw !).

    The only downside to Splitz is their very meh bun, and the harsh cold energy-efficient fluorescent lighting in the room. In the evenings the lighting/ambiance is horrid.

    1. Heading down tomorrow with another Hound to try this burg, so a very timely writeup!

      9 Replies
      1. re: grayelf

        Perfect sunny warm day for a food truck adventure. I arrived at 12:25 to a lineup of about ten or 12 people. My DC got there right at 12:30 and we waited another five minutes or so to order. Got two cheese and one regular. Then we waited perhaps 15 minutes for our order to be ready and got the now patented "Thank you for waiting" from the young lady who passed us our paper bag. We added mustard only as we figured the teriyaki sauce would be a bit sweet already.

        Off to Sinclair Centre's now-food-free food court to devour our booty. Our bag had a hole in it by this time as condiments had leaked, so beware.

        The buns are indeed kinda perfect for this type of burger: soft and white but not Wonderbready, a bit of a sheen to the top, structural integrity holding for duration of eating.

        The lettuce is plentiful (I'd like even more but I'm a lettuce monster) and icebergishly yellowy white, the tomato unremarkable but present.

        There is a fair dollop of mayo that could be more evenly distributed. The processed cheese is really well melted and added a pleasing nostalgic flavour for me, less so for my DC who felt it took over a bit too much.

        The teriyaki sauce is a tad sweet but was added judiciously enough that it was not an issue, though I might ask for my next burg here without it, just because I'm not a huge fan of sauces on burgers.

        There is a danger that the patty will be too dry without it, though, as of course the meat was cooked to within an inch of its life, sigh. It doesn't have any char as it is griddled and the sauce would likely preclude that anyway but the texture is decent, not rubbery or too granular.

        This is a burger whose spectacularly reasonable price makes it easy to love. I'd go back if I was downtown on a weekday for lunch. They are open M-F 11-7.

        1. re: grayelf

          Great report, GE. I got hungry reading it.

          Now I love burgers as much as the next guy, esp. well-charred which sounds like this isn't. But I feel like asking ....... if the price was say $4, or $6, would its high appeal still be there ? Guess what I mean is, if this burg is at the same price points as say, Vera's, Fat Burger, Five Guys etc. that are closer to the $6-8 range, would it still be this good ?

          1. re: LotusRapper

            Definitely not. For me, price was a big factor in calculating the value and worthiness.

            1. re: flowbee

              How does it compare to a $3 Teen Burger ?

              1. re: LotusRapper

                I will never eat at Vera's again. Fat Burger has horrid buns. Haven't tried Five Guys. Seems like they're all overpriced for what you get, though.

                The 285 is MUCH better than any fast food burger I've tried (McDolts, DQ, A&W et al) which is damning it with faint praise. For sure the price is part of the value proposition. But really none of these places seem like destinations, even 285. Hence I would return if I were downtown but prolly wouldn't make a special trip from Kits.

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  Teen Burgers used to be a guilty pleasure when they were 2 for $5. But I stopped eating fast food for a long time, then when I went back and tried Teen Burgers again, I just didn't enjoy it as much as I used to. To me it tasted both jacked up and bland at the same time...does that make sense?? I must sound crazy. But the freshness and simplicity of the $2.85 burger really appealed to me in comparison.

                  1. re: flowbee

                    I hear ya. I think it's that simple un-adulterated "backyard BBQ"-ness of 285's burger that appeals ?

                    For me personally, burger patties only ought to be grilled, not flat top-fried. And to that, I go back to Splitz Grill and The Red Onion (RIP) as two examples of exemplary grilled burgers. TRO had a nice sweetbread-style bun I really enjoyed, whereas Splitz's buns really leave much to be desired.

                    1. re: LotusRapper

                      I too, love the basic, old fashioned burgers without the excessive amount of fancy toppings and condiments that we see on most burgers today. I will have to get over to 285 Burger soon to try them out.
                      The best basic burger that I have ever eaten in my life was at the Dundarave Pier concession booth back in the early 90's when it was run by Vera and Frank. The modern day Veras burgers today do not even come close.

            2. re: grayelf

              I happened to be in the area on Saturday so we checked to see if they were open and they were. It was almost exactly noon at the time. A few people were there, no line. We got four cheeseburgers, two no tomato and one no teriyaki, and they did fine with accomodating the special order.

              We walked down to the waterfront to eat it (there's tables and chairs there). Hit the spot. I agree with the others, not worth a special trip, but if you're craving a simple fast food style burger with processed cheese, and you're downtown, does it beat McD's, A&W etc in both price and flavor? I say absolutely. The meat is probably comparable but the toppings and bun and price are all better at the food truck.

          2. If you ever find yourself in Calgary, you should try Clive Burger. Excellent beefy Alberta beef taste. Here's a pic of their $10 double bacon cheese.

            2 Replies
            1. re: flowbee

              And to add insult to injury, a pic of the burger at Model Milk, also in Calgary. I requested RARE and they did it! OMG so good. Like steak tartare in a bun.