P&L Burger, the new burger shop offshoot of Parts & Labour, already claimed a win at the recent CMT Burger Wars, and now after only a month of construction has transformed the address of the short-lived White Squirrel Snack Shop into a dedicated source to get the champion P&L Burger ($9).
Despite being situated between a Burger's Priest and the newly opened Toma Burger Addiction, the P&L team -- consisting of Chef Matty Matheson, Richard Lambert, Jesse Girard, Kie Ng, David Ginsberg and creative partners Brian Richer of Castor Design and TAXI -- are confident the demand for burgers is there. Since winning the CMT title, the original Parkdale location has almost quadrupled burger sales and the intent is to expand with multiple locations.
Inside, the narrow space only seats 20 max and in true fast food fashion discourages guests from lingering too long (hence there is no booze). The decor is utilitarian and predominantly painted with whiteboard paint that lends itself to ephemeral graffiti/defacement from waiting customers. Orders are placed at the counter and picked up when ready at the kitchen door.
The opening menu boasts six variations of the same house-ground chuck patty on a Silverstein bun distinguished only by toppings. Some are subtle riffs on the iconic cheeseburger while others veer towards the unusual.
I'm won over immediately by The Castor ($9), a juicy, slightly pink patty topped with peameal bacon, cheddar, crispy fried onions, lettuce and BBQ sauce (lead photo).
More novel is The Italian ($9) topped with mozzarella, roasted sweet and hot peppers, sautéed onions and marinara sauce.
Vegetarians can take part too with The Big Tempeh ($9), a meatless version of The Deluxe ($9) covered with melted cheese, sliced tomato, pickles, onions, lettuce and house sauce. Gluten-free eaters can have any burger wrapped in kale.
Fries and a fountain soda can complete any order for an extra $3 or there are thick old-school shakes ($4.50) and additional a la carte side orders including onion rings ($4), poutine ($5.50), coleslaw ($3) and kale caesar salad ($5).
P&L Burger is open daily from 11am 'til 11pm. Take-out is encouraged and delivery options will hopefully follow in the coming weeks or months.
Photos by Jesse Milns