There is a religious bovine experience happening in Toronto … it is called The Burger’s Priest.
The kids are visiting the Grandparents and Brett and I are enjoying a full-out birthday weekend of food indulgence. Today’s destination: The Burger Priest, 1636 Queen Street East, Toronto. For weeks we have been hearing buzz about “this little burger shop in the east end that does the most amazing smash burger”. A sunny, kid-free, Saturday afternoon felt like the ideal time to take a drive into the city and experience this burger hype for ourselves.
The shop is tiny, holding only about 20 hungry burger fans at a time, the rest of us are forced into a line out the door. As we were standing in the line of like-minded burger fans, we started a few conversations about favourite toppings and tales of meat comas past. We were the only newbies in the group, everyone else were returning customers, raving about how much we were going to enjoy our near destinies. One woman we chatted with traveled across the city often for her gluten-free Priest burger, telling us, “This is the only fast food with gluten-free options that doesn’t taste like s#@t.”
We chat for a few minutes and then we’re up to order. Here’s where being an informed foodie comes in very handy, we’ve done our research and it turns out The Burger’s Priest has a secret menu. This is something that popular burger chains, such as In & Out Burger in California, have been successful with. Food blogger Food With Legs has done us all a favour by listing some of the hidden gems here.
I order The Priest with “holy smokes” (breaded and fried fresh jalapenos) and ask for it to be loaded with all of the usual suspects. Brett orders from the secret menu, The Tower of Babel, loaded up. The beautiful, hip woman behind the cash register shoots him an impressed smile, as if to say, “Way to go, big guy.” Now we shove back into the packed room of anxious bodies and wait for our names to be called. My claustrophobia is starting to set in.
There’s no real conduct to the room but somehow it works. There’s a rhythm to the chaos; if not from the hot grill noises and crowd anticipation, then from the Jamiroquai blasting from the in-house speakers. I tap my foot, stare through the gate longingly and wait… saliva pooling at my feet.
This is an excellent example of the power of word of mouth and striking when the rod is hot. Gourmet burger shops are extremely trendy right now, I’ve seen $16 kangaroo meat burgers, $18 hamburgers topped with foie gras. The Burger Priest doesn’t offer gourmet, they simply create great tasting, fresh hamburgers and then take them to the extreme.
With large brown paper bag in hand, Brett and I jump back into our truck, parked on the side of the street, and our feast begins. (Did I mention the ‘absolutely no dining in the restaurant’ signs?)
Burger lovers rejoice, there is a burger joint savior in the east end of Toronto. It’s name: The Burger Priest.
Apparently I’m not the only one using their craft to celebrate this landmark restaurant. Aside from the flock of food bloggers and social networking “photographers” sharing their own experiences, Toronto-based band, Actual Water, recorded the song “She’s A Priest” in honour of my new favourite burger joint.