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Riverside Burger Battle: The Burger Shoppe vs. Dangerous Dan's

Posted by Frank / Reviewed on April 15, 2008 / review policy

Find yerself at the corner of Queen & Broadview much? Maybe you just stumbled out of Jilly's and into chilly, river-scented street blinking daylight with a rumble in yer gut and a crumpled double sawbuck in yer hand. So you're peckish, huh? Maybe carnivorous? How about a burger? 'Cross the road: the Double 'D'...four doors down: The Burger Shoppe...which d'ya choose?

The burgers purveyed by these two upstanding beacons of this community-in-transition trace an elliptical orbit twixt dangerous, pocket-mumbling, urine-stained, toothless grinning, downtrodden shabby-chic-that-you-never-wanna-stand-downwind-of past; and the nouveau riche, gleaming starbucksed future face of the newly trendy south-east end. Well if gentrification equals evolution then for the riverside burger consider this screed its Scopes Monkey Trial.

The N00b

Open mere weeks and playing Spencer Tracy in this culinary tete a tete, The Burger Shoppe like its locale is getting much buzz lately, in this case inheriting a lotta digital wind through various foodie message boards. It's a trendy little earth-toned faux-70s space blaring Jamiroquai and crammed into the tight shell of an old barber shop with little in the way of extra room for the staff of 4 to maneuver behind the counter. The service is brusque and at times the staff seems to be under each others' feet rather than working as a well oiled machine; surprising considering how ponderously slow the food arrives during lulls in the take-out traffic. So much for fast food.


Their schtick is freshness and despite obviously flawed choreography, the grill still manages to churn out a surprisingly decent burger. The 'Organic' packed with fresh-not-frozen Healthy Butcher beef ($7.45) finally arrives slightly pink and perfectly juicy at that. Nestled in a crusty bun that doesn't overwhelm the patty, the burger is topped with a scant slice of aged cheddar and a meager line up of the usual toppings suspects including iceberg lettuce, onion, pickle and a squeeze each of mustard ketchup and mayo. Luckily the lack of competiting flavours makes the beef stand out and its a taste that definitely merits the price tag.

The poutine is another story. Fantastic fries, twice cooked juilienne jobs--think Swiss Chalet's skinny sister--are standouts and probably tasty enough solo but are overpowered and undermined by excessively salty feeble beef gravy and forget about eking a squeak outta the sorry cheese curds on top, it just ain't gonna happen. Save your $4.95 and order the excellent extra-chubby golden onion rings instead.


Washing down this meal comes with a heavy price tag too: the Burger Shoppe Shake'll give you the shakes when you fork over $5.25 for a double scoop of Ed's real scoop organic ice cream (nah, there's no burbon in this shake) that although accompanied by the steel cup it's blended in, may actually have half a scoop left in the bottom and good luck trying to suck that up with a straw.

The price tag for the burger/poutine/shake combo comes out to a staggering $20.12.

The Pwnzor

A riverside stalwart and home for the wayward punks on pit stops heading for shows at the opera house, there's nothing subtle about this greasiest of oldschool greasy spoons. Decorated with a dominant Holstein motif and seating poached from mini van interiors if refined's what you're looking for, move along Jackson. Dangerous Dan's aint it. And that lack of refinement extends to the food as well so bring yer appetite.

Ponying up $22.99'll getcha the infamous Quadruple 'C' or "Colossal Colin-Clogger Combo' which even for the most ambitious or emaciated of eaters is an exercise in pure gluttonous, mouth-stretching excess and includes:

* a 24 oz ground beef patty approximately the size of a baby's head
* 1/4 lb. of cheddar
* 1/4 lb. of bacon
* 2 fried eggs
* A small poutine (which, in any other restaurant would be a large)
* A large milkshake
20070529_rbb1.jpgPlug in the defibrillator and prepare to marvel at the way the kitchen manages to get a burger of such obscenely mamoth proportions cooked to a consistent grey all the way through and still manage to keep it relatively juicy all in under 10 minutes. And while a "Quadruple 'C'"may be about quantity, the intense beefiness is highlighted by a pleasant proprietary spice mixture sure to keep diners entertained for the half hour or so it takes to down one of these behemoths. Anything less than 'the works' on this burger would be an insult-- in fact, you'll be wondering if the Double 'D' is actually a sly reference to your bra size after the meal, me boyo.

The gravy lacing the albeit mccain extra thick fries comprising the poutine is beefy alright; rich and brown and flecked with actual groud beef, it's enhanced with a hit of vinegar which plays well with the perfectly squeaky cheese curds.

Hopefully you'll have enough breath left over to suck back the venti-sized classic shake that is perfectly blended and despite the obvious absence of any gastric space'll definitely be worth the pain of finishing every last heart-attack-inducing drop.

The Verdict

Hardly a fair fight, none other than BlogTO's very own Tanja-T. said of the pitch for this review: "it's like pitting Hulk Hogan against Bill Nye" and she's right. Both burgers are excellent in very different ways. The Burger Shoppe's 'Organic' is, for all the attending hype, a great tasting burger and worthy of a trip on the 504 until management gets the kinks worked out and franchises the heck outta this concept. For pure quantity, it's hard to go wrong at Dangerous Dan's. Undoubtedly filling, the surprise is that the burger is hella tasty too. Either way, locals both old and new are spoiled for choice when it comes to burgers on the lower east side.

The Burger Shoppe - 688 Queen St. E. (at Broadview) - 416.850.7026
Dangerous Dan's - 714 Queen St. East (at Broadview) - 416.463.7310

Photos Courtesy of Yee-Guan Wong and Tim Shore



Tanja / April 27, 2007 at 01:29 am
Oh my goodness. I've never actually SEEN the colossal... that is OBSCENE! lol. F'ing amazing.
Burger king / April 27, 2007 at 02:20 am
DD all the way nothing beats the coronary. Forget about the other pussy ass burgers in town.
Ryan C / April 27, 2007 at 07:32 am
That first pic is the nastiest looking burger I've ever seen in my life.
Steve / April 27, 2007 at 09:13 am
Does the triple-bypass and arterial shunt come included: - )
I do like this description
"-a 24 oz ground beef patty approximately the size of a baby's head"

"I just ate a wee baby's head...GET IN MAH BELLY!! I'm dead sexy"

And the fact that you referenced Spencer Tracy and the Scopes Monkey Trial in a food review is just prue genius.
Tim / April 27, 2007 at 09:16 am
Some new photos have been added to this post
The Beerad / April 27, 2007 at 09:25 am
Both reviews are spot-on.

The Burger Shoppe needs to figure out what they're doing combo-wise--there's no way to sub in onion rings for french fries in a combo.
Matt / April 27, 2007 at 09:25 am
Dude, what happened to the original headline picture! That was an epic of awesome disgustingness.
frank / April 27, 2007 at 03:21 pm
I've re-posted the headline pic at the bottom of the piece for your enjoyment and a little schadenfreude, natch!
Al / April 28, 2007 at 12:17 am
the secret to minimizing pain when consuming a Quadruple-C is to bolt it down as fast as possible.
typically, i eat with others who are just getting coronary burgers, and pace myself with them, proportionally. 15 minutes is my comfort zone before my stomach starts realizing what i'm doing to it.
my favorite thing about Dan's? the sassy, sassy staff. on my puzzling about the burger when i first encountered it, the cook said, "there's no clean way to eat that bad boy. you just have to turn your head sideways and tear into it like a weasel."
Chris Emery / April 29, 2007 at 12:12 pm
Burger Shoppe is a big dissapointment. I'd rather go to Hero Burgers; at least they have a more original menu.
Duke / April 20, 2008 at 03:58 pm
I was pretty disappointed overall with DD's. The food was good, but not great. I'm not sure what the deal with the employees was, but He was yelling constantly while we were there, and his comment were quite negative and demeaning (no wonder he can't keep staff). I made the atmosphere terrible. No "thank you" when we paid to leave. I was pretty bummed because I'd heard so much good about the place. I feel I wasted a meal going there.

As for the food, my wife got a burger which was very good. I got chicken wings which were okay, and quite pricey. The onion rings are so so.

I won't go back there.
Hold the Onions / April 23, 2008 at 08:49 pm
I found the people that worked there extremely rude and the location is just disgusting...Jilly's across the street is literally 100% cleaner and more dignified, I would rather eat off the floor there then go back to Dangerous Dans.
Mike / June 13, 2008 at 03:37 pm
4 of us from work are on a mission to visit all of these places to crown the winning burger. Today at lunch we visited Dangerous Dan's. Here were our thoughts:

Great ambiance. This is a traditional burger style joint. You sit on old van seats mounted to wooden boxes. The tables look like someone cut up a Parquet Floor and framed it up. Little ledge on the wall holding salt, pepper, and menu's. Place is cluttered up a bit with nick-nacks, but it adds to it's charm. This is the way a burger joint should be in our opinion. Look behind the counter, it's clean, it just has a aged facade.

None of us got the Quad C or anything crazy. We stuck with the traditional 8oz burger, with cheese and bacon, everything on it (no relish for me). All beef burger here, good consistency, good thickness, and very moist and 100% hand made (no pre-formed patties here). Bun was great, held together for the duration of the eating, and wasn't overwhelming. It was cooked well for a thick burger (you always run the risk of people burning the outside when the burger gets thicker). Overall, decent burger, but definitely not the best. Even with all of the positives above, we all agreed that the flavor of the burger was a bit lacking. It was almost bland. There was a hint of Worcestershire or something like that inside but that was it.

For this place, claim to fame would be finishing off the Quad C burger, but I'm not sure it would be a fully enjoyable experience...like finishing off a 64oz medium rare T-Bone/Porterhouse steak :).

So our verdict. Worth going to. Order the Quad C if you dare. We would give it a solid 7/10.

Next up, Steak Queen at Vic Park and Lawrence followed by Golden Star at Yonge near Steels
Kate / January 9, 2009 at 09:53 am
Seriously? DD has got to be one of the worst burgers. It's nothing but a mess and chaos of taste. Since when were the toppings and fillers the highlight of the burger? And Apache? Really? It's a frozen patty. How about actually highlighting a restaurant where the size portion is nothing but a side note and the actual meat is the best part? And that last picture looks like regurgitated food!
Oranjette5 / March 31, 2009 at 04:33 pm
I'm with Kate. My burger (I always try the meat on its own to see what it tastes like w/out condiments) was dry and tasteless. I'm not high-maint but this place was too grubby for me. Did someone actually use the word "ambiance"? Ok, sure...if you feel like you don't want to touch anything while you're eating.

And I agree with the comments about the pic - that's truly gross.
Trish / April 13, 2009 at 04:53 pm
Poutine: the fries were too big and on the dry side.
Cheese wasn't squeaky enough.
Kenny A Boo / April 30, 2009 at 02:02 pm
I just can't agree with some of these posts about the burgers being bad. They make them fresh daily they don't add any of the weird fillers and shit that other places do. That's what makes the burgers taste different...and good.
If you offended by the staff and then mention Jilly's as another place to eat...there might be another reason for the different locale than the burgers! ;)
If you want a good burger then go to DD. If your offended by the decor and outspoken staff, then this not your place. Eat at the "Golden M", sit on their plastic seats, enjoy all the fillers and give your money to the smiling clown.

sue / May 15, 2009 at 01:22 am
The burgers are good. The guys behind the counter are JERKS! They basically hated their lives and took it out on us gals. I would not eat in. The tables were old van seats. Sounds fun but brutal to sit on. Get it to go!
moe / July 23, 2009 at 09:50 am
yo whats dis shit? i had a burger dere dat other day n it wuz fukin disgustin. it wasnt even cooked, still raw inside
cynthia / September 5, 2009 at 01:21 am
Went there this evening and a cockroach joined us on the table. I was in shock and killed it with one of the menus then discreetly went to the cash to tell them. They basically said, yup, we have an old building and what did I expect. I'll NEVER eat there again.
Ed & Linda / October 19, 2009 at 12:27 am
not just gluttony - no, all of the 7 deadly sins combined, from gluttony, lust, and greed for more of these heavenly or hellishly delicious burgers, served in an establishment that admittedly is not a vanity fair by normal standards but definitely made us envy Torontonias who can go every Sunday to soothe their hangovers and act out sloth at its best - we're left with the wrath of having to leave.

we can't even describe how awesome the 8oz chunks of meat, pineapple, and bacon were, covered in relish, cheese, and many other tantalizing condiments but it most definitely made our trip!
thanks, dan !
nettienoname / November 3, 2009 at 12:20 pm
eat in or take out??
i got rude service ordering over the phone for delivery!! totally not worth the money...take your business elsewhere-there are PLENTY OF BETTER BURGER JOINTS IN THIS CITY!
Kevin / November 16, 2009 at 01:52 pm
Double D rocks! Accept no substitutes!

It's the Sunday brunch destination when friends are in town. Yes, the decor is a bit gritty and hell yes the owner gets on his staff. IT'S A DINER!

He's running a tight ship back there and is teaching a relatively inexperienced team what they need to know to work in a kitchen. Besides that, it is absolutely hillarious to listen to! I still remember him riding this guy Lucas. Man, I will never forget that. You know, if you ever worked a "Joe" job in your life you will recognize and understand that dynamic ... it's par for the course and totally harmless.

James is a really nice guy: he is always interacting with the restaurant, often walking out to say hi. The burgers are great and the atmosphere is a lot of fun. I'm currently working on moving into the specialty burgers but everything else is great too (the Kevorkian was awesome).

The neighbourhood, the decor, the music, the diner chatter, the menu ... they're all part of the package. Check your hang-ups at the door and go have a great time.

Double D rocks!
Big Lou / December 1, 2009 at 11:35 am
tasted ok, but got a REAL bad tummy ache and wicked d__rrea within 24 hrs> Nothing special at all. Avoid! .2/5 rtg!!
Hocus / March 17, 2010 at 03:38 am
When did Toronto get so dainty?

Jeez guys, its a god damn diner.
timb / April 17, 2010 at 03:55 pm
Please people Go to New York city and try Jackson Hole Burgers or the burgers at the Meridien Hotel in Manhattan restaurant in behind the curtains in the lobby....can't remember the name of the place in the hotel. But Jackson Hole in New York is the best ever!!!..even the fries! If you can't make it to NYC then you have to drive one weekend to Buffalo (this is closer than NYC), go to the Walden Galleria and at the Cheesecake factory you will find a place that has amazing food...and the Burgers are better than anything in Canada. But if I am stuck in Toronto then it has to be Burger shoppe on Queen. Still haven't tried DD's. Next on my list.
I just no with our food laws...well done burgers....nothing compares to Jackson and a few other places in NYC.
timb / April 17, 2010 at 04:16 pm
sorry forgot to mention Markham has a great burger place on Woodbine just south of hwy 7...
excellent fries and onion rings. This place uses frozen patties for the burger but it is still very good and the great portion of very good fries and amazing onion rings, wins over Johnnys or Burger shack. Cumon who voted for Johnnys or burger shack? They dont know what a good burger is. Like I said try Jackson hole and write me....sorry if you have to pay big $ to go to New York city to do this....but once you try this you will agree with me...best by far. No one will talk about anything in TORONTO any more!
Funny how many great burger places in New York City. i can think of about 12 places I have had burgers almost as good as Jackson Hole. Let me give you a list of some...Stage deli, Carnegi Deli, 2nd av. Diner across from Marriott Marquis just across the street to the south from the hotel at TIMES SQUARE. I know many of the fine dining places have $20 burgers like club 21.... have unbelievable burgers also! Hard to find bad burgers like most of ours are here. Our standards for food in Toronto are so low. Anyone who goes to New York city or las Vegas can back me up. Everything from frozen here and high prices to match and yes even small portions. You'd think potatoes cost a fortune or something with how chinsey these burger places are. ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY HERE IN TORONTO...you'd think they'd learn to give us quality for our money and some quantity especially when it comes to burgers and fries. Were not talk about Fois Gras or truffles just beef and potatoes.
Greedy owners. You'd think places in NYC would be like this when everything is so expensive there but they give you so much for your money! Great service even. I spend a couple weeks a year in NEW YORK CITY and boy I always come back a few pounds heavier.
For expample...I tried Dallas barbeque on 42 and a about ten wings I though would be an appy and I amost fell off my chair when I saw the portions and the wings were fantastic even the ribs. $8 for the wings the size of three wings equals a dozen here in Toronto. Anyhow talk to me about burgers once you've done a few days in NEW YORK. By the way my wife thinks I am crazy talking about burgers and food especially in NEW YORK CITY. Says I will have a heart attack one day just talking about it let alone eating.
JuJu Boy / June 27, 2010 at 09:58 pm
Oh my god, the various description from the original review had me in stitches and belly laughing.

"a 24 oz ground beef patty approximately the size of a baby's head" and "the 'Colossal Colin-Clogger Combo' which even for the most ambitious or emaciated of eaters is an exercise in pure gluttonous, mouth-stretching excess".

Sweet Jesus my jaw hit the desk when I saw the actual pic of the 'Quadruple C' burger. You'd had to dislocate your jaw like an anaconda to eat that friggin' thing!
abe / August 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm
we hit up the double d last night for a nice little snack. grabbed the bulls balls (24oz patty) fries, salad. split a pitcher of steamwhistle and a mars bar with buddy who got the cereal killer (amazing) with fries.
if you're hungry and wanna treat yourself (not even that expensive for the quality/quantity) hit up dangerous dan's. has never been a disappointment!!
kyle / September 17, 2010 at 11:01 pm
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger might not fit Dangerous Dan's. You won't leave the same. I gave it a "Easy Fast & Cheap" rating on my burger blog. http://wheresthebeefto.blogspot.com/search/label/Dangerous%20Dan%27s
ArutroM / February 13, 2011 at 07:48 pm
I thought the burger in the picture was the $15.00 one but it was actually the $24.00 one.

Anyways, the burger was actually pretty good. I will most definitely come back here next time to try the $24.00 24.oz burger or get the T-bone steak.

LOL, the cashier was hilarious!!! :D
Terry / April 21, 2011 at 08:07 pm
This place isn't bad but the food doesn't justify the hype. Furthermore you will never find a business which showers more contempt on its customers than DD. They summarily close when they should be open so you may want to call them ahead of any visit, and the dude at the counter is such an ass even the TTC would fire him. I think it's partially shtick and you're supposed to be amused when a man who looks like he was recently kicked out of Hell's Angels shouts and swears at you for no reason but if that doesn't like fun to you, and you don't like paying more for burgers that are larger but no better than what could be had elsewhere, you may want to avoid it.
hater / July 5, 2011 at 11:42 am
I'd rather eat the buns across the street at Jilly's

for shame DD's for shaaaame
J*town replying to a comment from hater / July 19, 2011 at 02:00 pm
I thought you can more than buns at Jilly's. I heard they have a buffet.
rowCople / January 24, 2012 at 01:23 pm
must check online shopping buydesignerpurses-0121 and get big save
Adam / September 17, 2012 at 10:56 pm
Had a Bulls Balls Burger delivered to my home one time and there was plastic at the center of the patty, not a small amount either. So now I just stick to the Bronto rib dinner.
Kitty / September 16, 2013 at 02:31 am
This place is currently crawling with roaches, go any evening after they close and watch them all over the walls, counters and seating area. You could not pay me to eat there.
Mimmo / January 19, 2014 at 07:49 am
Went here with a few buddies cause it was rated on of the best burgers in Toronto... Had the coronary , with was supposed to be their best burger, It was crap.. It had no flavor.. Never again... I'm gonna stick with Holy Chuck
Hill Climb Racing Coins Hack / April 24, 2014 at 10:13 am
The media love affair with the Tenth was further enhanced.
David Brower- First Executive Director of the
Sierra Club. Sun Valley (and Tenth) ski instructor Friedl
Pfeifer was captivated by the place.
Jeff / October 23, 2014 at 05:01 pm
The meat in the pictures look gray - is that normal?

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