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Building the better burger

The ultimate comfort food – the hamburger – has experienced a renaissance of sorts, thanks in part to Toronto’s burgeoning food scene. But where to find a burger that truly satisfies?
Whether visiting the downtown core, staying in the east or west end, or exploring the northern part of the city, there are plenty of great options. We’ve noted just a few below, but check out online references like Summerlicious (Toronto’s annual summer food festival) for a location-based list to find a palatable burger – and other comfort foods – close at hand, and at a reasonable price.

THE BURGER’S PRIEST

Toronto’s take on the classic American cheeseburger is found at The Burger’s Priest on Queen St W. Its unique blend of premium beef, freshly ground right on the premises, has garnered somewhat of a devout following.
If you’re game, opt for the secret menu, but be prepared to answer the amusing, Bible-themed skill-testing question first. And, should you shy away from beef (or all meat in general), ask for “The Option,” their delicious vegetarian offering.

HOLY CHUCK

As the name implies, chuck, a fattier cut of top-quality steak, is well-represented on the playfully-worded menu here.
The eponymous “The Holy Chuck,” made with two hand-rolled patties and dressed with cheese, bacon and caramelized onions only, led the charge that landed this establishment at the forefront of the TO burger scene. And for good reason: the signature burger packs a punch and helped earn the restaurant a coveted spot on prominent Canadian food critic Joanne Kates’ Top 100 Restaurants in Toronto.

THE STOCKYARDS SMOKEHOUSE & LARDER

The “Butter Burger” – The Stockyards’ specialty offering – is a bone marrow, blue cheese and red wine butter-infused culinary concoction known to tantalize the taste buds.
Elevated by the griddle-smashed technique used to achieve its deliciously thick outer crust, this juicy 6-ounce patty is made of an impressive mixture of ground chuck, brisket and a third, very hush-hush cut of beef. While burger smashing has surged in popularity among the city’s restaurateurs, The Stockyards has mastered the art, and has, justifiably, won the favour of many a Toronto foodie.

BQM BURGERS – the eco-friendly choice

Crowd-pleasing signatures at this eco-conscious eatery include: the original “BQM” (caramelized onions, homemade aioli, and zesty horseradish), and “The Riverside” (tangy BBQ sauce, crisp bacon, capped with one enormous onion ring).
However, the real cachet comes from BQM Burgers’ commitment to serving only family-farmed, locally-sourced ingredients and hormone-free beef.
A unique approach to burger-making also helps separate them from the herd: You decide which cut of meat goes into your patties (ground in-house brisket, chuck, or sirloin). Can’t tell one from the other? The ingenious menu features a cow-shaped diagram, divided into cut-specific sections from which to choose.

FOOD & DRINK