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Restaurants

BQM Diner

Posted by Amanda / Reviewed on April 11, 2010 / review policy

BQM DinerBQM Diner opened last year in the old The Stem location on Queen, causing greasy spoon purists to question whether a local gourmet burger joint would tarnish this once classic spot.

Like their Leslieville and Ossington outposts, the Burger Shoppe (BQM) modus operandi is in full effect here - all the meats are naturally raised and hormone free and every dish is prepared with a little bit of gourmet pizzazz - like fresh aioli instead of your standard mayo.

BQM Diner TorontoHaving already popped in once with a friend for a (great) chicken sandwich, I have no reservations about making a second visit. But this time I have a specific objective - it's the burger I'm after.

For those who haven't been the space still has that classic diner feel. There are bright blue booths, a jukebox and an open kitchen.

BQMEverything on the menu looks great - all day breakfast, poutines, sandwiches, salads and burgers. Aside from salads, there are a few vegan and vegetarian options like a tofu scramble, a tofu sandwich, and a chickpea patty sandwich. In fact, any burger can have one of the vegetarian patties substituted for no extra charge. But seriously, if you're really looking for something animal free, would you really come to a place called Burgershoppe Quality Meats?

BQMI order "The Natural" burger ($6.95) and my friend goes for "The Shoppe" ($7.95). The burgers come out fast and are just asking to be devoured. My fussy dining companion notes the lack of horseradish on his burger (at least in comparison to the mountain of caramelized onions) but that crisis is soon averted when he simply mentions this to one of the staff whereup he's given a generous bowl on the side.

I'm hungry so I bite in. The aioli has a great zing to it and the large helping of fresh greens makes me feel just a little less guilty about the indulgence.

The patty itself is bit more well done than I'd like (even though I ordered it pink). It's a bit dry and less seasoned than what I'm used to but at the end of the day it only minimally detracts from my overall impression.

Ironically, even though we both asked for our burgers to be cooked the same, my horseradish obsessed lunch mate strangely discovers his burger to be a bright pink, with plenty of juice and nothing that would mistake its texture for the Gobi desert.

BQM Diner TorontoWe lurch out of BQM after our meal not entirely sure what to make of it. I finish happy--I got to eat a diner-style lunch without feeling greasy and bloated.

But I'm not sure how to pin the BQM diner on Queen. It's definitely not a greasy spoon like its former tenant but it has a different vibe from its other locations and feels a little less gourmet than the one on Ossington. I suppose it's just a good place to get a healthy-ish indulgence.

BQM DinerBQM Diner is open 8-9pm daily. Everything on the menu (which is currently incorrect online) is $9.95 and under, except for the meatloaf. Sides are ordered separately.

Discussion

27 Comments

Steph / April 11, 2010 at 11:15 am
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I checked out this joint a few weeks ago and I was thoroughly satisfied with their burger. They have a really nice char on the patty (although I'll agree that it's a little on the dry side) and it's a good size. Absolutely delicious onion rings so make sure you get a side of those! The service was nice too.
I have to say that their booths are ridiculously small and somewhat uncomfortable to sit in though. I found it tight and my brother had to sit sideways so we had space for our legs.
S / April 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm
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Too bad about the booths. There should be at least a table or two with real chairs for a group of four or for tall people.

The burgers in this story look yummy to me.
Jan / April 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm
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I've been to Ossington and to Queen. Burgers are not special. Not as adventurous as they sound. They're fresh and hot but the price is high for what you get and yes you are totally squished in to eat. I remember my son ordered fries and it was a small order for the money, yet he left some - that says something. Epicure does a better job a few blocks west - or has that gone downhill too? TBH, Union Burger is more satisfying, to me at least.
Amanda / April 11, 2010 at 12:40 pm
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steph--i agree, the char was nice. Managed to forget to mention that (*smacks head*) so I'm glad you did!

S--there is one table at the back that has two real chairs (as you can almost make out in the jukebox photo) and 2 or 3 other larger tables for four (which is what I sat at--it didn't get into the published version, but the booths being too small was an issue for my tall friend--luckily when we moved to the bigger one he seemed ok.)


dave / April 11, 2010 at 01:19 pm
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I've been here a couple of times, both times for brunch. I like the location and I like the tight layout, but the service was atrociously bad. Waitresses working for a chain burger bar shouldn't have any kind of attitude towards their customers as though they were doing us a privilege by letting them in. The pseudo-hipster vibe (wow, they server PBR -- what a surprise) doesn't give you carte blanche to pretend you're working in some exclusive restaurant in Brooklyn.

This place has some great potential, but management needs to have a word with the wait staff (or maybe I just got unlucky, twice).
amanda replying to a comment from dave / April 11, 2010 at 01:41 pm
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can i ask what PBR means? (I've got no knack for acronyms..)

I dont know if this is a 'chain burger bar'.. especially since each location is diffrent, but you never should have to put up with attitude, period.

I think you maybe got unlucky twice.. or I got lucky twice.. (both equally possible) because I found not only my server both times to be pleasant, but the other server working struck up a friendly conversation with me as well.. Anyone else have experiences for/against the service?
Joe / April 11, 2010 at 03:11 pm
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@amanda, PBR stands for Pabst Blue Ribbon, it's a beer. The official beer of hipsters as Dave alluded to.
BurgerBurghur / April 11, 2010 at 08:03 pm
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Yep - great burgers. Priced on the high end but at least they deliver on the quality. Good sides too. Never had a problem with the service. RIP Stem, thank god a Subway didn't open there instead.
Joey / April 11, 2010 at 08:48 pm
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PBR = Pabst Blue Ribbon

An American beer that's very, very cheap. It's low price and cachet of irony have made it a favourite of hipsters in Williamsburg.
soteeoh replying to a comment from amanda / April 12, 2010 at 09:41 am
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pabst_Blue_Ribbon

hipster beer of choice
mccool / April 12, 2010 at 11:14 am
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Man, these photos are just god awful! Oh, and, another pointless review. These read as if the writer were simply recalling some random meal they ate last week because their editor, in a hurry, had to put up a review and didn't have the foresight to plan ahead.

In other news, I've eaten here at least 20 times (I work across the street) and it's always just okay. The BLT is the best thing on the menu because it comes with a salad. Burgers are inconsistent, fries are great but over-priced and, Amanda, PBR is Pabst Blue Ribbon.
jimmyosis / April 12, 2010 at 02:03 pm
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got to agree with mccool, the photos are atrocious.

and i have to second dave as well, i've been in there a couple of times (both for takeout orders) and the service left something to be desired. i got the vibe that the guy behind the counter thought he was superior to me because i wanted to order a plain burger with only a couple traditional fixin's for a friend. meh. sadly i've come to expect attitude if the person serving me is wearing skinny jeans or anything American Apparel.

BQM burgers are okay, but didn't live up to what i expected after friends had over-hyped the place to me. they do make some mean onion rings though.
amanda / April 12, 2010 at 02:50 pm
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re:PBR. Got it..

re: photos. While I didn't think these were my best set, I honestly never imagined they were 'atrocious'. Constructive criticism is appreciated, and just saying "you suck" doesn't help me much. While I realize I might be inviting some searing pain by asking for this--I would appreciate knowing why you feel the photos are bad so I can improve.

One thing our critical commenters don't tend to do very much is talk about what they want to see. I'd honestly love to be able to give you exactly what you want, just help me figure out what that is. (Saying "if you don't know already, you shouldn't have this job" is as helpful as the girlfriend who says "if you don't know why I'm angry you obviously don't love me.")

That and nothing is ever just 'poor' or even 'bad' according to comments.. it's always absolutely horrid.
Susan replying to a comment from mccool / April 12, 2010 at 05:33 pm
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I'm glad that you linked to your own site so that people might get a sense of where your coming from -- most commenters aren't brave enough to do that.

But, I have bad news for you. While you slam this review, the writing on your site is hopelessly pretentious (as is its name). Ever wonder why there's basically no critical comments on your blog?

It's rather simple: no one's reading it. Along with the I-want-everyone-to-think-I'm-cool writing style, you're using something that looks like a 6 point font, your photos are too small and you have apparently been conned into thinking that forsaking capitalization makes you an iconoclast. It doesn't.

Grow up.

mcschooled / April 12, 2010 at 07:34 pm
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hotdamn this shit's getting real yo
Captain Geezer / May 31, 2010 at 10:41 pm
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Right on Susan!
Anyways, I've not been to this place but went a few times to BQM on Ozzy and I'll never go again. Burgers are inconsistent and the last time I went with my girlfriend, she pulled out what appeared to be a one foot dread-lock buried in the gravy of her over priced poutine. We both just about simultaneously puked!!!
scott d / July 8, 2010 at 03:14 pm
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PBR is so Williamsburg 10 years ago.Remember when we were proud that our beer was stronger and better made than s beer ?
smiles / July 31, 2010 at 12:45 pm
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This place has the cheapest beer on Queen West PBR Pints are 3.50
kyle / September 17, 2010 at 05:00 pm
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One of but not quite the best burger in the city. It does get the highest rating on my burger blog. "Elite Meat"
JACK / November 12, 2010 at 09:13 pm
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The Burgers were ok. The branding is better - which from the font to the copy they ripped off from Quality Meats in NYC. Too bad for all they didn't rip the rest of it off. That would truly be something worth writing about.

tony / January 16, 2011 at 09:10 pm
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They have a beer special for $2 after 3pm we come here after work each day
derk / January 26, 2011 at 08:45 pm
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I Love the Stem Burger - perfect for a hangover.
Joe / February 19, 2011 at 11:54 am
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Meal for 2 with 3 drinks came out to $34. I don't mind paying more for a burger or a poutine but if it tastes like what i got at BQM then i'm going to have to say something.

First of all the patty was dry as hell. For the people saying "it's a little on the dry side," well let me tell you: When it comes to burgers, there is no such thing as "a little" on the dry side. Either it's dry or it's juicy. Craft burgers are dry, even when they're cooked to medium. Don't believe me? A good beef patty should be juicy and tasty on it's own. It's simple: the toppings hide it it's mediocrity. It's like milk on cereal.

The patty was alot smaller than in the picture or than i would expect from a specialty burger joint but i guess you could say it was due to inconsistency. Having said that, there was no lineup when we arrived nor was the restaurant at half capacity. It's not hard to pump out a proper order in slow traffic.

The bread was cold. No complaints on the toppings.

But what bothered me most was the poutine. WHAT THE HELL. People are eating blinded by some kind of placebo effect. I don't care if your sitting in a nicely decorated restaurant on queen street and you've just paid 6 dollars for a poutine that you think MUST be decent. Truth is, this poutine is horrible. Soggy, skinny fries, stone cold gravy and their poutine is now made from regular mozzarella, not cheese curds. The must have measured the cheese with a teaspoon because all i got was soggy fries and cold gravy. Terrible portions for 6 dollars.

Can't complain about the service. Waiter was nice, ambiance was great.

I would never recommend this place to anyone. What I did hear from a nearby table was, "mmmm this burger isn't bad, it's a pretty good burger!"

Yes, you may enjoy it, but if you've ever had an excellent burger and or poutine, than you'd have the dignity to admit that this place does not offer anything close to it.
Faisal / March 3, 2011 at 09:38 pm
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The Burger and Poutine is always awesome:) I love coming to BQM Diner because the food is always done right.
william / March 23, 2011 at 11:36 pm
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Dave, I agree with your comment.

at the queen location, I'd never go back b/c of the staff. ossington location, thats a different story, great service, and super friendly. this also could have been b/c the owner was around, either way ossington BQM over queen location
johnny / March 29, 2011 at 04:32 pm
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haters gonna hate

great burgers
Vicky / December 13, 2012 at 09:58 pm
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The burger at BQM is amazing! Give this place a try.

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