Thursday, August 27, 2015Mostly Cloudy 18°C

Apache Burgers

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Reviewed on March 11, 2015 / review policy

Apache Burgers TorontoApache Burgers is one of the most iconic burger joints in Toronto, renowned over the years as a source for cheap, fast foods served in a retro setting. The spot's late-night opening hours also might be among its best qualities.

Apache has been in business since 1969, and while its reputation precedes it, this is my first-ever visit. I'm not exactly carrying a nostalgic flame for this place, like I was on my most recent (and, likely, last ever) trip to Johnny's.

Apache Burger TorontoUpon entering, my first impression is how clean and well preserved the space is. It's obviously not just retro, but original, and it's well loved - as it should be. In the afternoon when I'm there, the tables are populated with school-aged kids, but I gather that the post-midnight crowd is quite different.

The cheeseburger ($5.15) is a bonafide, old-school dirty burger. The patty is unremarkable and most likely mass produced and brought in by the box. It's by no means the best burger I've ever had, but I suspect that anyone who comes here must know what they're getting into.

Apache Burger TorontoI order the chicken sandwich ($6.29) too, and witness the chicken filet hit the grill in pale, par-cooked frozen form. The no-frills array of toppings isn't a putoff for me - I actually prefer it to gourmet burgers gussied up with fancy toppings.

Apache Burger TorontoHomemade onion rings ($4.39) are decidedly tasty - they're fried to a deep gold hue and nicely crisped. The hand cut fries ($3.39) are decent, too.

Apache Burger TorontoTo be honest, it pains me to dispel the legendary status of a place like this (same in the case of Johnny's). In some ways, this type of food seems totally indicative of its era (this what they ate in the '70s, right?) and I want to see it preserved for posterity.

In other ways, I totally acknowledge that this place is not for burger aficionados - in fact, it's pretty much what you'd expect to find at a bowling alley.

Apache Burger TorontoPhotos by Jesse Milns



416adam / March 11, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Actually the decor isn't original - it was renovated a few years ago. The previous decor was pretty basic.
GRBY / March 11, 2015 at 12:34 pm
Their Burgers are all frozen crap. Save your $, it's not even a place where you get a good deal. A burger with fries and a pop will come to $12 or more, and it's total shit compared to any fresh meat burger joint.
DHM / March 11, 2015 at 01:53 pm
Great place in the 70's and "80, probably haven't change their fryin oil since. Leaves an unpleasant ring around the roof of your mouth. Burger contains more gristle than meat.
Good buns and colourful condiments,including BBQ sauce.
S / March 11, 2015 at 02:46 pm
That chicken sandwich doesn't hold a candle to a spicy chicken sandwich at Wendy's just a few buildings over.
Grimby / March 11, 2015 at 03:38 pm
You can't operate these kind of places long term, pile on year after year of cutting corners and paying your staff like they are not flipping burgers and you end up with mediocre crap like this place and Johnny dog food and laxative burgers but... some people went there when they were kids.... so now they show up and let these places crap in their mouth because nostalgia.
Rick / March 11, 2015 at 04:09 pm
You idiots that posted above have obviously never been there, or you are some hipster trash that don't like anything unless a like -minded douche spews it from his bung hole.

This place makes great burgers, and the onion rings are another reason alone to go here - can't be beat.

Everytime i've been here the burgers have always been tasty, and not too mention a line up meandering to the entrance of the store.... Must have some pretty shitty burgers then right?

Stick to eating dog shit off the ground and chime in on this blog how its so good - the people that really know this place will tell you that it is quality, not nostalgia.... idiots
B / March 11, 2015 at 04:10 pm
abstract / March 11, 2015 at 04:16 pm
If it's so crap, it wouldn't still be here 45 years later and I would have to stand in line to place my order most nights of the week.
HeartLakeLoafer / March 11, 2015 at 04:35 pm
Have never been to Apache Burgers without having to wait in line. Whether I was there at 4pm, 6pm or 12am. Always a lineup. Never been disappointed.
JM / March 11, 2015 at 06:12 pm
The only old school burger joint that holds its own, in my opinion anyway, is Square Boy on the Danforth. Their basic burger combo is only $4.75, but its really just a crappy frozen burger and frozen fries, but it is what it is. Their homemade burger for $1 more is much better, and even though the fries are likely McCain frozen fries, I dont mind them.

Ofcourse its the other items that are why that place is amazing. Id put their Chicken Souvlaki on a bun up against any restaurant in town, and even thir Gyros are quite tasty(the only mystery meat on a spit that I love).

Oh, and somehow, their Souvlaki/Gyros dinner is only $10 and change after tax, which includes a tasty salad and fries(get Greek fries and thank me later!). Anywhere else you're looking at $14-15 before tax...
Joey / March 12, 2015 at 12:03 am
Still a perfect '70s time capsule!!
Ryan / March 12, 2015 at 03:28 pm
Apache's is what it is. I grew up in the area and moved back to the neighbourhood not long after Uni, so I have frequented the establishment many a time. Far from gourmet, they proudly proclaim they do not have "homeburgers". Everything is frozen, greasy is an understatement and definitely over-priced. The mark up they make on these burgers is no doubt significant. That all said I do like to go maybe once a year to satisfy a craving. Despite it being frozen, the taste is actually good and they have a solid Apache sauce. The location, just down the road from Kipling station lends itself to many late night drunken munchie seekers on their way home from bars/clubs etc. It's hard for me to crap on the place. It outlasted Red Cabin Restaurant that used to be kitty corner and is now a Starbucks. It has withstood competition from Wendy's. There was even a McDonald's that didn't last in Six Points plaza steps away and let's be honest, McDonald's almost never closes their restaurants. Maybe i'm one of those nostalgia customers, but good ol' Etobicoke just wouldn't be the same without it.
Rick / March 12, 2015 at 04:26 pm
This Frozen vs. Non-Frozen debate has to stop - Every goddamn cut of beef, chicken, pork, or Fish is FROZEN or chilled close to frozen temps before it ends up being processed into whatever...

If you really want to experience non-Frozen food, go to a farm and buy meat that has been slaughtered that day...

Frozen food done properly, you'd be hard pressed to know that it was even frozen in the first place.
Whaa...??? / March 12, 2015 at 05:20 pm
Personally I find Apache to be 'just okay'. For a really good burger, Woody's Burgers on Lakeshore near Browns Line is making some of the best burgers in the city.

Licks is still very good too... though the location on the Queensway is starting to have the sad look of management going down hill. The Burgers Priest practically next to it is inexplicably getting way more business. Burgers Priest is way overrated and inferior to what Licks offers... yet people go to the new place just because it's new.
Sandman / March 12, 2015 at 05:40 pm
I think the barometer for judging should be a "Banquet Burger" not a cheeseburger or chicken burger
pz replying to a comment from Whaa...??? / March 13, 2015 at 01:01 am
i second the Woody's reco! great spot.

have never been to Apache but now moving to the 'hood, so will do so in short order...
Mark replying to a comment from Whaa...??? / March 13, 2015 at 01:33 am
I'm with Whaa' on that one; Woody's just outpeforms Apache on every level with burgers to die for though it is not really that cheap there. Still, I go out of my way to go there often during the summer.
Smokey / March 13, 2015 at 02:04 am
It has been around since the late 60's and they have made millions. And will be around for decades more! Still huge lineups during peak-times. They must be doing something right.

Comparing it to a bowling ally burger... really?? Oh my.

Still the best onion rings in the world! In my opinion. Burgers are good. Toppings are always fresh. Will fill you up, every-time.

There seems to be a motive behind this review - big time!
Frances / March 13, 2015 at 04:53 am
Looks d@mn good to me!!
Hamburgler / March 13, 2015 at 06:42 am
Been twice. Got sick both times.

Apache is just nasty.
DirtyT / March 13, 2015 at 07:26 am
Comparing food from Apache to food found in a Bowling Alley gives the article a terribly snobby tone.

Apache is what it is.. It's a good cheap burger.. It's juicy, it's greasy, and (even though the joint is closer to a truck stop than a hipster d-bag joint the blogto writers are constantly yearning for) is quite tasty. If you're in the west end and are hungry, it's worth a stop. I wouldn't ever recommend that somebody drive out of their way for Apache, but I still stop in there from time to time when I'm in the neighborhood.
Rick replying to a comment from Hamburgler / March 13, 2015 at 10:06 am
I'm sure you did get sick - after eating, did you lick the toilet bowl each time as well?
Amazes me the idiots that chime in with defamatory comments while never setting foot in the place.
DPiedra / March 13, 2015 at 10:20 am
Not even close to Five Guys!!
dan / March 13, 2015 at 10:55 am
This is the original burger place. And it should stay that way. Who wants like beets or other fancy crap on their burger. A buger is messy and full of crap. That's the way we like it. And its not hurting as both owners drive $100k benz
Tofooddude / March 13, 2015 at 11:14 am
People are getting way to upset at this review. I thought it was fairly accurate. It's old style burgers and probably one of the best of them we have in this city. Unfortunately with Toronto's burger craze in the past few years places our tastebud's (most critics/burger lovers) have aquired a taste for "gormet" (typically in house grinded non frozen) burgers. It is what it is. If you want a late night or old school burger west of the downtown core this and a handfull of other oldschool burger places like jonnys and dairy freeze are where its at to be but as for the days spent wandering around for lunch and dinner there are maybe 20 other burger joints id check out first. Regardless the article is of opinion of the reviewer and people should respect that.
seriously? replying to a comment from Rick / March 13, 2015 at 12:08 pm
This place was great when etobicoke was a wasteland for food. Now given how many options are available it's totally not worth. I've been eating there since the late 90's but either quality went down or places around it got better. I'm thinking it's a combination of both.

But then again, I always went drunk out of my mind on saturday night's after the bar. Food always tastes better when drunk.
Blip / March 13, 2015 at 04:20 pm
are they still using that 'back to work program' by employing people recently out of jail?

Apache -used- to have amazing burgers; when they did their art-deco renovation a decade ago, they changed their burgers to the crappy frozen costco stacks, obviously to offset the reno costs. nostalgia aside, the place is definitely not worth the high cost for low quality of patty.

at least the buns and onion rings/fries are still great though.
Eugen / March 13, 2015 at 05:16 pm
Blip, seriously, if all three owners can afford to drive a brand new top of the line Mercedes every year, then going to a lower quality burgers was not due to renovation costs.

I totally agree with people who say that Apache burgers are nothing special. I lived across the road from them for a few years, and almost 20 years now in the area. Been to that place a few times - absolutely regular kind burgers, nothing special, nothing to rave about. There are so many more better burger places in Toronto that this place is no longer worth mentioning.
Heck, Priest has opened on Queensway/East Mall, which is not that far.
Bottom line, they make decent burgers, but nothing that would put them into top 10 in GTA.
vince / March 13, 2015 at 05:32 pm
Some of the people above obviously haven't eaten at the Apache because they have excellent burgers. I stop in anytime I'm near and even make the trip from home with the family quite often. Also, the fresh cut fries and homemade onion rings are second to none.
Sam / March 13, 2015 at 05:47 pm
I love it! One of our favourite places to eat. Burgers are great. Steaks, hot dogs, chicken and peameal, all are proper... Onion rings and poutine are the best in the city. All that these new joints have to offer are burgers and very expensive ones at that... Try the fries and other sides offered at those places and find how much they suck. For overall satisfaction, price and selection Apache just can't be beat, why you think they've been there nearly 50 years.
sarah / March 13, 2015 at 06:01 pm
We tried Apache for the first time after hearing a lot about it. It's really good food and can totally be rated with the new guys.
Triple 6 / March 13, 2015 at 08:09 pm
It's a place to get some late night grub. If you want something less salty than chain fast food and to keep your money in the community, it's an option. But it's unremarkable: the patty is flavourless, the bun is generic and the fries are ordinary. The retro interior isn't original--contrary to what we assumed as teens in the late 2000s. Meh.
matt / March 15, 2015 at 10:52 pm
Try Royal Meat kipling &north queen...fresh n tasty
Stop, Rick / March 22, 2015 at 11:40 am
Get over it, you irrelevant boomer.
Mike / July 10, 2015 at 05:19 pm
You don't just order a burger, you order an Apache Burger. Double patty, double cheese, fresh bun, lots of great toppings, crispy fries. The other burger joints are just pretenders compared to Apache Burger - and that's coming from a guy that loves Cheeseburgers and checking out greasy spoons whenever possible. Other gourmet burger places just have overpriced burgers with fancy dressings. If I'm going to pay $10-$15 for a burger meal I want to be full at the end.

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