Hole-E Burger Bar, a new restaurant on Coxwell Avenue just north of East York, gets its name from the trio of holes stamped into every patty cooked on the kitchen’s flattop. Owners Justin Lebofsky and Sam Gan claim that the perforations help ensure an even cook. Also, the tri-pronged contraption used to make the holes doubles as a flavour injector, allowing sauces to be piped directly into the meat. The ingenuity doesn’t stop there—these teetering stacks come topped with things like crushed nachos, mounds of mashed potatoes and, in a few cases, something called a “cheese skirt.” Here, seven of Hole-E’s most creative burgers, ranked from “slightly out-there” to totally bonkers.
In-N-Out patties are, for some, the Platonic burger ideal—squashy, sloppy and sizzled on a flattop, with just the right ratio of grease to salt—and they’re coming to Toronto, at least temporarily. Ganzi Osteria, the Italian restaurant in the historic Gooderham House on Jarvis Street, announced earlier today that it’s hosting the fast-food chain for a lunchtime pop-up tomorrow (i.e. Thursday, September 11) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. According to the flyer, people will be able to choose from three burger options: Double-Double (two patties, two slices of cheese), Animal Style (mustard-grilled patty with lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onions and extra spread) or Protein Style (a burger wrapped in lettuce). One can only speculate about what, if anything, this means for the future of Toronto burgerdom, but there’s a chance it will spell good stuff for local In-N-Out fiends (and less good stuff for the Priest).
Thurs., Sept. 11, 11-3, Ganzi Osteria, 504 Jarvis St., twitter.com
“Le Burger Week” is a multi-city, Montreal-based rival to Toronto’s homegrown Burger Week, which happened last May (and whose future is now uncertain, thanks to the demise of its founder, weekly newspaper The Grid). The francophone-ish version—currently taking place in six different cities, including Toronto, Montreal and, intriguingly, Port-au-Prince, Haiti—follows a pretty similar procedure, albeit with fewer participating restaurants and, unfortunately, higher prices. Until Sunday, September 7, nineteen spots in the city will be serving at least one special burger (accepting, in some cases, the loosest possible definition of that term). The options include truffled cheeseburgers, Chinese burger buns and, from Queen West restaurant Lisa Marie, a Nutella-slathered beef stack that will be familiar to those who made the Toronto Burger Week rounds last summer. (The price tag—a whopping $15 to last May’s $5—will be slightly more novel.)
Until Sun. Sept. 7. Various locations, leburgerweek.com
The Momofuku Shrimp Stack is a cheeseburger topped with lettuce, pickled onions, “Momofuku Hozon sauce” (a kind of fermented nut paste) and a slender supplementary patty made out of pulverized shrimp. If that sounds like sheer heaven, you’re in luck: the burger was recently added to the lunch menu at Daishō, where it comes with kohlrabi slaw and tempura onion rings for $21. When David Chang debuted the surf ‘n’ turf burger at Shake Shack’s 10th-anniversary event in New York, it drew the longest lineup in Shack history (and got overwhelmingly positive reviews, at least on social media). A word of warning, though: it may look slightly less glamorous in real life.
Earlier this summer, The Burger’s Priest owner Shant Mardirosian promised that a new outlet would soon be opening in an undisclosed “university town,” which, as it turns out, was sort of a lie. In fact, The Priest will be landing in two new university towns: Mississauga and Guelph. The Mississauga location, which is scheduled to open in late July or early August, will be housed in a strip mall at 129 Lakeshore Road East, in Port Credit (about a 15-minute drive from U of T’s Mississauga campus). The precise coordinates of the Guelph shop are still under wraps, but it’s also expected to open by the end of next month. One small piece of advice for excited suburbanites: based on the lineups at the chain’s recent Etobicoke launch, it might be prudent to wait a day or two before attempting to feast at the Priest.
Good news, west-enders (or bad news, possibly, if being tempted by monstrous stacks of beef, grilled-cheese sandwiches and battered vegetables isn’t something you need in your life right now). The Burger’s Priest has announced that its long-awaited Etobicoke location—the fifth Priest outlet in the GTA—will start serving burgers at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 28. The restaurant is located at 1559 The Queensway between Algie and Atomic avenues, in close proximity to a Wendy’s and a Burger King, both of which should probably start preparing for a noticeable dip in traffic.
The chain is also set to announce the location of its sixth shop, which, according to this Facebook teaser, is coming to an as-yet-undisclosed “university town” on August 15. The most popular guess so far is Port Credit, close to U of T’s Mississauga campus, which would be consistent with some vague promises made by owner Shant Mardirosian back in 2012.
Name: The P&L Burger
Neighbourhood: Queen West
Contact Info: 507 Queen St. W., 416-603-9919, partsandlabour.ca, @partsnlabour
Owners: Richard Lambert and Jesse Girard’s The Social Group, which also owns Parts & Labour, The Hoxton and The Dog and Bear
Chef: Parts & Labour chef Matty Matheson
The Food: Meaty, cheesy, decadently dressed burgers. The signature is the bacon jam–topped P&L Burger, which was crowned Toronto’s best burger on reality food show Burger Wars. Also on the menu: the peameal-topped Castor, the cheesesteak-inspired Philly and the soy-based Big Tempeh, which comes topped with cheddar cheese and thousand island dressing. Gluten-sensitive customers can get their patties wrapped in lettuce or kale. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Name: Toma Burger Addiction
Neighbourhood: Queen West
Contact Info: 712 Queen St. W., 416-901-1027, toma-burgeraddiction.com, @tomaburger
Owner: Husband-and-wife team Clemence Gossiaux and Thomas Sedille
Chef: Thomas Sedille, who hails from Cap D’Agde, France
The Food: Fourteen pub-style burgers made with Angus beef (except for the extravagant brie-topped Las Vegas burger, which is 100% Kobe). Brioche buns are house-made daily, as are ketchups, mayos and compotes. For nine bucks, true hedonists can top their patties with slabs of foie gras. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
In August, Parkdale’s hardware-store-turned-restobar Parts and Labour scored the title for Best Burger in Toronto on CMT’s new reality food show Burger Wars, triumphing over both Burger’s Priest and Dangerous Dan’s. Now the owners are taking the battle off-air with a brand-new burger shop just doors down from the Priest’s new west-end location. Opening in early December at 507 Queen West (i.e. the space recently vacated by White Squirrel Snack Shop), The P&L Burger will have the same rustic-industrial feel as the Parkdale original, but the menu will be entirely devoted to bun-encased beef. The list will include an updated version of the prizewinning dish: seven ounces of fresh-ground Ontario chuck topped with dill mayo, bacon-onion jam, iceberg lettuce and Monterey Jack cheese on a toasted milk bun.
Toronto has so many patty artisans, it could well support a burger guild. The Gabardine sets aside artisanal trickery and commits to the elemental simplicity of meat, bun, BLT. The sirloin-chuck mound is two inches thick, pink in the middle and draped with old cheddar. On top, there’s double-smoked bacon, ripe tomato and a Boston lettuce leaf. The sturdy sesame seed bun soaks up the free-flowing juices. $18.
The Gabardine, 372 Bay St., 647-352-3211
The third location of the owner Shant Mardirosian’s crazy popular griddle-smashed burger chain opened its doors on Saturday to a line up that stretched a solid city block. Like Burger’s Priest’s other always-stuffed shops on Yonge and Queen Street East, the new Queen and Spadina location serves fast-food classics, Mardirosian’s unique burger bombs, like the soaring Tower of Babel or the Vatican City (the latter items are on the Priest’s “secret” online-only menu) and a new California Classic burger that’s still in the works. Also in the works: another location, this one at 986 The Queensway in Etobicoke.
The Burger’s Priest’s third location at Queen and Spadina hasn’t even opened yet—though it’s supposed to very soon—and already the crazy popular east-end gourmet burger joint is expanding again. The restaurant tweeted with word of its fourth outpost: a new location at 986 The Queensway near the Cineplex movie theatres in Etobicoke, not Mississauga, as the owner Shant Mardirosian had told Insauga.com Radio last year. The menu is also expanding at the new spot. The Priest will be serving ice cream and other classic soda shop treats, like sundaes and banana splits.
First, Crossroads Diner, a food truck covered in painted images of 1950s American icons and serving kitschy diner food, popped up in Toronto two weeks ago. Now, a roving restaurant with a ’60s California surf culture theme has hit the city’s streets. The Beach Boys Food Truck is painted aqua blue and sunshine yellow and is serving classic American greasy spoon dishes, like mushroom garlic burgers and chicken fingers and fries.
Toronto is crammed with craft burgers. Joints like the wildly popular Burger’s Priest and The Rude Boy on Roncesvalles are opening all over, Hero Certified Burgers are seemingly ubiquitous and, of course, the city’s more ambitious restaurants are serving ultra-artisanal versions with double-digit price tags. Holy Chuck, known for its stunt burgers, like a six-patty, six-cheese, three-bacon monstrosity, is the first gourmet shop to venture to the suburbs. The restaurant’s second location opens at Hwy 7 and Pine Valley Drive on the Canada Day long weekend, serving the same ridiculous burger bombs as the original Summerhill spot. The room is twice the size and has a drive-through, though we don’t recommend trying to eat the famed Cowlorie at the wheel: it requires two hands and a full stack of napkins to clean up each grease-unleashing bite.