Craft Burger Keeps It Simple
I think winter might just last forever this year. It honestly wouldn't surprise me the way things are going right now. But whether you're someone who either loathes or embraces that sentiment, I think there's one thing we can all agree on: a warm and hearty meal tastes about a hundred times better after coming in from a cold, windy winter's day.
So far, my favourite meal to beat the cold this year has been a Craft Burger combo. Fresh and tasty ground beef, served as simple as possible, with a side of crispy, salted fries.
I'm feeling warmer already.
So what does Craft Burger do so well you ask? Well, first of all, they choose some really good beef. Top quality Ontario AAA beef to be exact. On top of that, they make a point of sourcing their toppings and side dish ingredients from Canadian growers (always a plus in terms of sustainability and quality).
Looking at it more from a food enjoyment perspective, in my mind, there has always been two main ways to make a really great burger...
The first is a really interesting seasoning blend for the beef (more along the lines of a Utopia or Czehoski burger). The second is a super simple, lightly seasoned but incredibly fresh and locally sourced, patty of beef. Craft Burger, at its best, definitely falls into the second category and that's exactly what makes it a favourite of mine.
One main rule I tend to live by when choosing a restaurant is probably the simplest one possible: if the place is packed with locals, they're probably doing something right. This is definitely the case here. Walk by on a weekday afternoon and you'll probably find a line running right out the front door. For this particular meal though, I decided to avoid the elbow-throwing crowd by grabbing a late lunch on a Saturday afternoon.
When you walk in, you'll notice a giant chalkboard with a few different burger options. My personal favourite -- and my choice for Saturday's lunch -- was the Organic Beef Burger Combo. The organic beef comes directly from The Healthy Butcher just north on Portland along Queen, which is exactly the type of local relationship I love to see in a Toronto neighbourhood.
Apart from the Organic Burger, and straight up original Craft Burger, they also have a couple more dressed up choices, like the Craft Bleu (topped with blue cheese and avocado) as well as the Craft Spicy (with caramelized onions and spicy chipotle mayo). And of course, any of these can be ordered in a combo, which consists of either fries or onion rings (both of which are crispy and delicious), and a pop or bottle of water. For a little bit extra though, you can substitute the drinks for an old-fashioned vanilla or chocolate milkshake.
Being a sucker for a vanilla shake, I couldn't resist. Yes, you might consider the shakes a little pricey $3.95, but they're still a nice treat when you need something soothing and sweet.
Craft Burger has definitely become a local staple for myself, as well as the King Street neighbourhood that it serves.
That said, I should warn you that they do get very, very crowded for lunch on weekdays. So if you're a little claustrophobic (like I am) you might want to consider phoning in your order and picking up. They're also in the midst of setting up an online ordering system, so be sure to check back at their website for that.