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Great Burger Kitchen

Posted by Daniel Kuseta / Reviewed on April 21, 2010 / review policy

Great Burger KitchenThe Great Burger Kitchen adds another notch to Toronto's bulging burger belt. Launched three weeks ago by The Wine Bar's Ted Koutsogiannopoulos and Jim Gontis of Johnny G's, this labour of meaty love serves naturally raised beef and locally sourced produce in north Leslieville.

Sitting on a somewhat desolate stretch of Gerrard, GBK's location doesn't seem like the best place to launch a gourmet burger joint, but when I stop by the place is packed, so perhaps it's true that "if you build it, they will come."

With seating at a minimum, stark decor and KiSS FM on the box, the place is more geared for to-go than eat-in.

Great Burger KitchenA comprehensive menu boasts 100% Ontario beef burgers, "other" burgers (chicken, lamb and veggie) plus eight types of poutine. All the regular bases are covered with a few compelling additions like the pulled pork burger ($7.50) and Greek poutine (feta, tomato, lemon oregano dressing, $5.95) as well as the usual sides of fries, salad and onion rings. Pop, water and juice complete the beverage list.

I stick to the basics and go with the classic burger (Ontario beef, lettuce, tomato, red onion, ketchup, mustard and pickles, $5.95). Slapping on brie, some bacon and making it a combo brings my bill to just under $15.00 -- a little more than I'm used to shelling out, but the promise of blue-ribbon beef is too alluring to pass up.

Considering how busy it is, the meal doesn't take long to arrive, and for a place only three weeks old, the operation seems well-oiled (despite some initial confusion over cheese preferences and the presence of a large onion ring among the straws).

Great Burger KitchenMy burger's served in a retro steel tray and surrounded by a mound of glistening fries. I like the size of the patty and the sight of bacon, pickles and lettuce groaning from the sides. Tucking into the freshly toasted bun (organic, from the Brick St. Bakery) I hit the gutsy bacon, crisp iceberg and creamy brie. But all that's forgotten when I reach the mighty patty. Smoky, juicy and most of all meaty, the sheer "beefy-ness" of the thing wows me.

Coupled with the hand-cut, double-cooked Yukon fries, this is comfort food at its best. If I have one beef (sorry), it's that the patty is so brazen it smothers some of the other ingredients. Still, making the choice between more beef or more lettuce is really not much of a decision.

Great Burger KitchenMy burger buddy has opted for the portobello burger (portobello, brie, balsamic onion, sautéed tomato, lettuce, GBK sauce $6.95) with a side of pulled pork poutine. Though technically a side, the heaving poutine requires its own tray and could easily feed two. Lucky I'm hungry and offer to help out.

The portobello is rich and fleshy, topped with melted brie that gives a sharp note to the more neutral flavors. Too bad the mushroom is on the smallish side -- halfway through the bun it's all gone. Still, t'was fun while it lasted.

The poutine aspires to greatness but never rises above the sum of its parts. Certainly the sweet and saucy pulled pork is excellent and, teamed with the goat cheese, a thing of beauty. But heaped over the fries it's all a bit much. These flavors and textures don't lend themselves to one another, with the spuds and cheese conspiring to make everything a little dry. Still, a valiant effort -- though next time I'll try the pulled pork burger.

So while the Great Burger Kitchen is a little pricey, my pal and I leave feeling we've got a lot of bang for our buck. The quality and quantity of its product make GBK a welcome addition to Toronto's burger circuit.

Great Burger Kitchen



db / April 22, 2010 at 09:49 am
Delicious! I cannot wait to try this place. I'm moving east in a few weeks and was worried about missing all that the west end has to offer. This is a great start!
Sheryl / April 22, 2010 at 10:01 am
Jack FM no longer exists...its now Kiss 92.5
Dan replying to a comment from Sheryl / April 22, 2010 at 10:21 am
Right you are Sheryl, thanks for pointing that out.
music still pretty much the same though :)
dumpbear / April 22, 2010 at 10:50 am
I ate here for the first time the other day and the poutine was excellent but the burger was underwhelming. Patty was dry and the bun wasn't very good (cheap looking - premium burgers need premium buns). I'd go back for the poutine but not for the burger...
Jane / April 22, 2010 at 11:38 am
Sounds amazing I am drooling even though I just ate. Hopefully this means that this stretch of Gerrard will become more that just dodgy closed store front with this and the coffee shop opening at Gerrard & Marjory!
Adam Gorley / April 22, 2010 at 01:02 pm
I am impressed at this place in this location—and it looks great in situ. I hope it succeeds, and I can't wait to take'r for a test taste!
frankthetank / April 22, 2010 at 01:07 pm
that patty looks rinky dinky.
Lauren / April 22, 2010 at 01:47 pm
Good write up Dan. Sounds like it's worth a visit, and my burger belt could always use another notch.
martin / April 24, 2010 at 03:10 pm
the burger sucked ass !! craft burger is a billion times better. the burger was dry and rubbery.
and the bun. sawdust. burger to small for the bun YUK YUK YUK !!
Bart / May 7, 2010 at 04:58 pm
Meh.... good but not great. Will give it another try.
Love that its changing the look of the area though
cml / July 3, 2010 at 10:56 pm
mediocre on the burger scale
good beefy taste, but dry patty
onion rings were gross no flavour, super oily, partially burnt

guy taking the order was unfriendly bordering on rude
just pushed the order towards us and looked away

will take my burger craving elsewhere.
john / September 6, 2010 at 01:43 pm
locally sourced, ok. naturally raised, thats fine. free range, good stuff.

Now they just need to figure out how to actually make a good burger.
JMY / January 4, 2011 at 11:15 am
If you are going to go for a concept, WORK IT. Organic, free run, fresh made, locally inspired -- all great things. But if you are going for "consciousness" whats with the plastic forks and the no recycling bin? It is NOT hard to wash forks, especially when four employees are hanging out in a completely empty restaurant when we are there. Throwing a pop can in the garbage sucks, honestly.

I would really appreciate a real fork, and maybe some glasses with water jugs or something. Watching the employees go in the fridge, down a plastic bottle of something and then chuck it in the garbage is not getting me thinking sustainable. Neither is leaving behind two unused plastic forks, as we eat fries with our hands.

food, meh. not impressed.
gerry / January 26, 2011 at 08:42 pm
BQM Burger Shoppe is way better and actually buys from real farms. The service and the attitude of the staff sucks at Great Burger Kitchen.
V / February 8, 2011 at 06:38 pm
Went a couple months ago with my coworkers to this place. It was one of the worst most overpriced burgers I have ever had. Their fries were bad, and the bun as well.

Just bad, don't go there.
Where's my bacon?! / April 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm
More like Not-So-Decent Burger Kitchen.

And they got my order wrong too. How that was possible with only me and my buddy in the place is beyond me.

Magda O / April 6, 2011 at 02:05 pm
I have been there probably a dozen times already (it's in my hood). I have taken friends, lovers and family there and they have all loved it. It's the best burger I've ever had (more than BQM, etc etc) & they do buy their meat from a 'real farm.' Have you heard of Cumbrae farms? That's where their meat is from. Their buns are also from the local Brick Street Bakery.

The toppings are generous and delicious. Everything oozes into place on the burger and in the mouth. The balsamic onions with goat cheese are truly a "flavour explosion."
I love the oversized onion rings, and the fries are great. They don't compare to the burgers, but they are ok as a sidenote.

And the staff? The first day I went there, I wanted to get the poutine but was afraid to have so much with my burger, than they gave me some to try. They have always been very nice and accommodating every time.

And you can get your burger in a lettuce wrap if you can't have wheat which is great!
Magda O / April 6, 2011 at 02:07 pm
Ok, re-reading the comments again, I feel like we are not eating at the same place. Although I just started eating there in October of 2010, so maybe they were shit when they started. Now, if anything, the buns are too small to hold in all the burger and toppings. I would say that the burger is even too juicy and explosive to maintain composure. And Craft Burger is so overpriced, gross and dry. Their sweet potato fries are like cardboard. Ick.

Duck / May 27, 2011 at 08:35 pm
just wanted to add a not to the last comment from magda O, the great burger kitchen chain do not and have never sold sweet potato fries
daniel / September 29, 2011 at 03:43 pm
my Fav is the Voodoo.
great juicy burger and crispy fries... but ppl like to bitch...
this is not S P A R T A ! ! !
Lavender / December 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm
The pulled pork and goat cheese poutine is amazing. GBK should have been higher on the list of best poutine joints I think.
AN / March 9, 2012 at 03:52 am
I first visited GBK shortly after their grand opening; the burgers were great. About a year later, I notice it has changed; it doesn't taste fresh anymore, but rather the meat had been frozen. I remember them being fresh tasting and soft. Suffice to say, I don't eat here as often anymore. The service is top notch though: super friendly people and good looking too ;)
Oscar / March 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm
Soggy fries. Dry burger patty, oddly metallic tasting.

The thing that bugged me the most was the unfriendly service. I don't expect service people to smile like Walmart greeters but the surliness was palpable. I went 25 minutes before closing and I was the only customer. I don't know if that had anything to do with it, but I won't be going back and I live right around the corner
Pickle King / April 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm
My wife and I just ate GBK - I had their Burger of the day, which had, swiss cheese, feta, bacon, banana peppers, sriracha, and the usual fixings. It was one of the best burgers I have ever had. The flavor combinations went so well together. The bun was fantastic.
justanasshole / January 9, 2014 at 12:46 am
Burgers are hit or miss, usually hit. Poutine is excellent!

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