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Restaurants

P&L Burger

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on December 4, 2013 / review policy

P and L burger torontoP&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.

P and L burgerInside, 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.

P and L burgerThe 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).

P and L burgerMore novel is The Italian ($9) topped with mozzarella, roasted sweet and hot peppers, sautéed onions and marinara sauce.

P and L burgerVegetarians 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.

P and L burgerFries 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 and L burgerP&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

Discussion

67 Comments

theend. / December 4, 2013 at 10:55 am
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Much like the grease these burgers are made in, the Queen W burger market is officially saturated
stra / December 4, 2013 at 11:05 am
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as the casual non hipsters walk on by, look at Mr. Hippilydodah staring at the camera inside this joint. Trinity Bellwoods is gonna be beef-saturated in the summer time.
John / December 4, 2013 at 11:17 am
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Can P&L provide the nutritional information on these burgers please!!

McDonald's down the street is watched under a microscope but these trendy burger places are allowed to let their chefs/cooks create menu items without a concern for the fat contents, etc. I bet these burgers have at least twice the amount of fats and cholesterol than a fast food burger.
Scientist replying to a comment from John / December 4, 2013 at 11:39 am
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Good point, John! But not only that, these "gourmet" burger shops often serve ground beef a bit pink on the inside...and they even do so on purpose! This is something McDonald's would never do, as the practice is extremely hazardous. An unminced cut of beef (a steak etc.), can be served medium or medium rare at a restaurant because the inner part of the cut is considered effectively sterile while the outer surface, which may have become a site for bacterial growth during handling or transportation, is still heated to a sufficient temperature during the cooking, even if only briefly.

Once you mince up beef, any bacterial growth on the surface is then spread throughout the meat. The addition of moisture and egg during patty construction further increases the risk of unbridled bacterial colonoziation of the inside of the patty. When you cook the patty without fully cooking through to the inside, you run a serious risk of food poisoning.

Just "food for thought".
J replying to a comment from John / December 4, 2013 at 11:42 am
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I'm pretty sure most people know these burgers aren't healthy. McDonald's is under scrutiny because a lot of people make it a regular part of there diet - mainly because it's so so cheap.
why / December 4, 2013 at 11:44 am
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Has every potential restaurateur seriously ran out of ideas for a new place?

rG replying to a comment from Scientist / December 4, 2013 at 11:55 am
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Sure you can get sick if the meat isn't handled properly and is already infested with bacteria or the environment you handle the meat in is already infested. When the meat is handled properly and you knnow the source of your beef I think the risk is very low. I've eaten countless medium-cooked burgers (which are much more delicious than well-cooked) and have not gotten sick yet.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/03/02/medium-rare-burgers-are-taboo-in-canada-but-may-not-be-as-perilous-as-thought/

jitte replying to a comment from rG / December 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm
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It's illegal in Ontario to serve a non-well-done hamburger.

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_900562_e.htm

(7) The following shall be cooked to reach an internal temperature of at least 71 degrees Celsius for at least 15 seconds:
1. Pork.
2. Pork products.
3. All parts of ground meat, other than ground meat that contains poultry. O. Reg. 74/04, s. 1.
sad face jerry / December 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm
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Had my first Burger's Priest burger the other day.

Tasted like a Wendy's Big Classic.

So disappointed.
poh replying to a comment from Scientist / December 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm
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You ever heard of a dish called steak tartare? There's no problem with uncooked ground beef if you're grinding it fresh in-house or at a reputable source. And the "addition of egg"? Jesus, you're not even describing what a burger is anymore. That's fucking meatloaf. For a guy that claims no to so much about proper food handling (which you really don't), you sure as hell have no clue as to how burgers are made.

When you combine these asshats with all the ones complaining about cholesterol at a fucking burger joint and the ones that cringingly call these burgers "gourmet", I'm actually surprised that these burger places can get business. Kudos to P&L for using an actually fatty cut like chuck and advertising it and good luck, because in this town you're going to need it.
Chester replying to a comment from Scientist / December 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm
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Properly handling meat most of the time eliminates the threat of bacteria. If you have good quality beef mincing it makes no difference from eating a steak. Bacteria grows based on temperature threat zones not from naturally being on the surface. Personally the city of toronto and public health treat us like children. You should never cook quality meat to well done its a sin.
John replying to a comment from J / December 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm
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Even if people know its unhealthy and their gonna break their routine for a day they should be informed if its a day's of fat and cholesterol their eating in one sitting or a weeks worth or a months worth. Not trying to hurt their business only the 50 of us that read the comments on here are gonna see this - If anything it may help their business to be the one burger place on the oversaturated Queen Burger shop strip to do this for its customers.
Ken replying to a comment from jitte / December 4, 2013 at 01:12 pm
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Except that isn't completely true because there are exceptions (for example, if ground in house). Medium rare burgers are more delicious than well done burgers, all else being equal.
BUTTER DEMON / December 4, 2013 at 01:22 pm
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BUTTER DEMONNNNNNNNNS
Patrick replying to a comment from John / December 4, 2013 at 01:28 pm
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From what I understand, it's also crazy expensive to get your food professionally analyzed from a nutrition standpoint. Most small places can't justify the cost, especially when the food is patently unhealthy anyways. Why would they splash out to make people feel guiltier about eating their food?
meat tasting veg burg lover / December 4, 2013 at 01:40 pm
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does not want tempheh. appreciates effort :/
Please / December 4, 2013 at 01:40 pm
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Oh, hey. Cheeseburgers with bacon, poutine and shakes! Novel concept.

Dear Toronto restaurateurs: please stop trying to kill us all. We're unhealthy enough as it is. Thanks.
Linh replying to a comment from John / December 4, 2013 at 01:42 pm
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Hey John, I doubt there is more bad stuff in these burgers than any fast food chain. I owned and operated a Japanese restaurant before and I wanted to get the nutritional values of the Sushi we sold. The truth is, it's very expensive to get the nutritional facts calculated in a lab. You are looking at thousands of dollars per dish/item. So a few months worth of rent for some data isn't always worth it for small business owners. It's a penny pinching business if you're not serving alcohol, let alone if you are new.
Linh replying to a comment from why / December 4, 2013 at 01:46 pm
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Because it's safer to improve the wheel than to re-invent it. Opening a small burger joint will still cost you a few limbs and soul. What kind of "new" innovative joint would you like to see replace the burger trend?
Randy / December 4, 2013 at 01:56 pm
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No one is forcing any of you people to eat this food. Try taking responsibility for your own choices, maybe?
casual_observer replying to a comment from Scientist / December 4, 2013 at 02:07 pm
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For a "scientist" you're fudging things a little. What matters is internal temperature, not the colour. You can cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 F / 71 C to kill bacteria and still get a pink center. "Cooked through" is a rule of thumb that errs well on the side of caution.
jitte replying to a comment from Ken / December 4, 2013 at 02:24 pm
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I'm not sure that there are such exceptions. Can you find them in the relevant legislation? I can't.
Steve replying to a comment from Linh / December 4, 2013 at 03:22 pm
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So the shop owner is always right? I thought your job was to serve the customers needs, and if you really want to exceed go above and beyond. That's the cost of doing business

Is there any reason you no longer run a restaurant.
GM / December 4, 2013 at 04:00 pm
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They could probably *estimate* calories for customers based on the ingredients though. That would cost nothing. Just maybe 10 minutes on some of the calorie info websites. Not going to be 100%, but it would be a guide. E.g. http://www.myfitnesspal.com/recipe/calculator

No, people don't think that a burger is healthy, but after counting calories for 20 years I'm still really shocked by the variation in calories between meals in different restaurants. Toronto Star's "The Dish" is often a complete eye-opener (e.g. the >900 calorie muffin from Urban Herbivore)
el jay / December 4, 2013 at 04:12 pm
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$15 for a combo is a little much but I might try it out.
Ryan Henson Creighton / December 4, 2013 at 04:36 pm
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There's an exception to the well-cooked beef law in Ontario if the meat is minced on-site.
edward replying to a comment from Ryan Henson Creighton / December 4, 2013 at 04:44 pm
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not true, Ryan.
If its is ground to order its ok, not just done on site.
Mo / December 4, 2013 at 05:18 pm
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MEAT IS MURDER!
Burgermeister / December 4, 2013 at 05:19 pm
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Who cares about Queen W?! The stretch of Dundas between University Ave & Bay St is crying out for a burger joint! Crying I say!
Ryan Henson Creighton replying to a comment from edward / December 4, 2013 at 05:39 pm
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Sorry - i must have misunderstood the rule (as explained to me at BQM Burger Bar).

What does "ground to order" mean, and how does it reduce the chance of contamination? Can meat be "ground to order" and then shipped to Toronto over the course of a few weeks on a hot, festering slow boat from Farflungizstan?
Tim / December 4, 2013 at 06:45 pm
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Remember when it was just Craft Burger the only new hip Burger spot. All of these places need to recognize.
timmy replying to a comment from Tim / December 4, 2013 at 07:40 pm
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Boy has that place ever gone down hill. Its for the likes of Hero Burger Fans now.
jb replying to a comment from John / December 4, 2013 at 08:05 pm
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Christ John, go vote for Olivia Chow. IF you don't like P&L, don't go there. But stop telling the rest of us how to live!!
jb replying to a comment from GM / December 4, 2013 at 08:07 pm
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Yes GM, MORE regulation. Not enough in Ontario. But since you are on the public purse, why care?
DcD / December 4, 2013 at 10:29 pm
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Ugh, what is this, America. If you want nutritional content of a burger, eat at home. That whole regulation crap is ridiculous. If your salad has a pound of creamy dressing and fried chicken, guess what- it probably has 1000 calories too. Educate yourself. If you're so interested in caloric intakes and nutritional content, you should know more or less an item's health factor by asking ingredients. And there's a difference between packaged ground beef from the grocery store and using fresh ground meat at a restaurant. Go to Europe, and ask for anything well done. It will come back pink. They've been surviving just fine. And everyone isn't 800 pounds. Cause you're not supposed to eat burgers every day. Next thing you know we'll be litigating over hot coffee.
derek p replying to a comment from John / December 4, 2013 at 10:54 pm
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_sense
Nate / December 5, 2013 at 07:55 am
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Way to much whining going on here. Requesting nutritional facts? Hahaha. Here's a fact: It's a greasy burger smothered in cheese and bacon among other things.

Too funny.
Debb replying to a comment from jitte / December 5, 2013 at 08:02 am
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71 degrees for 15 seconds is nothing. It can still be med rare to rare and hit that temp. It is NOT illegal. The problem is 2-fold. Storage using FIFO and proper temps for the storage of meat etc. Cross contamination by improper food handling is the general way people get ill. You know, employees who don't wash their hands.
Dylan / December 5, 2013 at 10:58 am
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So many people in this thread need to get wedgied. These guys won burger wars, beating out Burger's Priest, so why not try opening a burger joint if you were seen as the best? Everything these owners touch succeeds, and I'm sure P&L burger will be no different. And yeah, to people complaining about nutritional value of ground beef, cheese, bacon and mayo, save your calorie counting for the rest of the month and indulge when you crave a burger.
shel / December 5, 2013 at 04:05 pm
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Went to P & L last night. and loved it. the patty was the best part. what a treat! i live very close and this will be my once a month burger treat instead of Burger Priest as they take interact! and they have gravy! nice. welcome P%L
captain obvious replying to a comment from John / December 5, 2013 at 04:36 pm
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Hey! Can you provide your home address so every non-idiotic human being can come over and whack yyou upside the skull with the "SUPER OBVIOUS STICK."
Jeez.

Of course it's FAT FREE man just look at the pictures.
v79 / December 5, 2013 at 05:38 pm
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When one makes a nice hearty, yet fatty meal at home, they know they're eating something for the pleasure of it and not for the nutritional value. They also don't have a clue as to the calorie count, or levels of fat and cholesterol present. Why would they suddenly need this knowledge at a restaurant when ordering the same thing? 95% of the public doesn't care. It's a needless expense for the business.

The burgers here look excellent (especially the Castor and Italian burgers), and unlike some places (like Sandoozles and their $5 side of fries), it's nice to see a "gourmet" fast food place charge decent prices for the non gourmet aspects of their menu (side and drink for $3). Be warned though, looking at their twitter feed, they had more than a couple incidents of serving their burgers way too pink on their first day. I'm sure they'll be a bit more careful from here on in.
o.k. replying to a comment from Scientist / December 5, 2013 at 07:56 pm
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Freshly ground chuck is no different the eating a steak rare. If you follow safe handeling practises its fine to eat the burger pink. What Mcdees and stores get in trouble is the meat is ground off-site in some random foodlot with all types of dirty nasty shit getting into the meat. They spray it down with a ammonia but still even that is not enough.

Dirty meat makes you sick, not meat in general. If the meat is clean you don't have to cook as long.
meagr / December 6, 2013 at 10:05 am
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I think that burger place at ossington and dundas is the best. I'm excited to try out this new one. Burgers are my favorite food.
Hello replying to a comment from o.k. / December 6, 2013 at 11:37 am
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I don't think that you and Scientist are contradicting one another. He/she wrote "which may have become a site for bacterial growth during handling or transportation". I think you two are saying exactly the same thing, that the meat is sterile until it becomes contaminated.

It's true what Scientist is saying, that grinding meat makes it more likely for a bacterial colony to swell in numbers (assuming the bacteria is there in the first place).

I think the point of all this is how cautious you want to be, and how much trust you put into a restaurant, and a city's food inspection system.

As for me, I'm going to go enjoy some P&L burger for lunch!
shel / December 6, 2013 at 04:55 pm
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oh and p & l they are open sundays. the priest is closed on sundays (for church, pleeze). its the only day i want a burger. sweet! yes! love this place. can't stop thinking about it. went on the first day!
Mic / December 7, 2013 at 11:26 am
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Has anyone tried one of the non-veggie burgers with kale instead of bread?
marcus replying to a comment from captain obvious / December 8, 2013 at 12:23 am
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Hahahaha thank you!!!
The Dray / December 9, 2013 at 02:27 pm
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Child(ren) please! If you're worried about the way they cook their burgers, go eat somewhere else.....Personally, I'm naming P&L my new top choice for getting a burger fix! Try the namesake or "The Castor" for optimum deliciousness :D
Wes / December 9, 2013 at 03:31 pm
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the tall skinny guy with glasses that owns it is a dick
MrsPotato / December 10, 2013 at 06:42 pm
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tried this place.

the p&l burger was great. the bun wasn't a greasy soppy mess like priest (since we all want to compare the 2 ..)

but the fries were gross.

the onion rings, amazing.

50/50 ... lets see if they survive.
the space is severely uninviting.
they really need to do something about it, or they won't survive the burger wars they think they've already won.
Mark / December 18, 2013 at 01:14 pm
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The castor is awesome, fries are ok.
My bro had the italian and liked it. Big burgers and tasty. His onion rings were the best I had tried in a long time.
Small pop container, but free refills. Overall its a good spot to get a solid burger on the go.
Reminds me of a transit terminal type place, I liked the no nonsense urban feel of the place.
Rusty / December 30, 2013 at 01:40 pm
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I tried this place this weekend and wasn't very impressed.

I got a P&L burger and onion rings combo. I thought $14 was a little steep, but I guess that's about the standard price now in the city for burger and fries. The burger was actually a lot smaller than I thought it would be based on the photos above. Burger was ok. The sauce was probably the best part. Bun wasn't anything special and I felt the patty was comparable to Hero Burger.

I figured I would get the onion rings instead of the fries based on the reviews here. I was pretty disappointed with them as well. The ones without a ton of salt were pretty good, but every few were covered in salt making them almost impossible to eat. I had the taste of salt in my mouth for the rest of the afternoon after eating them.

The staff was nice, but I definitely don't think I will be going back here again.
Boba Fett / January 4, 2014 at 05:08 pm
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I had very high hopes given the reviews people have been posting, and I always give a new restaurant a few weeks to get their teething problems sorted out. So I finally went yesterday...and was given a completely raw burger. I like a burger that is a healthy pink on the inside, but this was totally raw guys.

Someone in the kitchen doesn't know how to control the heat on the cooking surface. The outer 1 or 2 mm of the patty was cooked black, so I actually thought on first glance that my burger was going to be over-cooked. When I took a bite into it, it was completely cold and had a slimy texture. When I looked at where I had bitten, I saw the inside was *completely* raw: bright red and cold.

I thought about going back to the place to return it and ask for my money, but it was too frigid outside for me to go out a second time, so I just threw the burger out.

Honestly, how hard is it to ensure that a burger is cooked? I'm simply never going back.
james / January 5, 2014 at 04:08 pm
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you know what's more ridiculous than a guy named 'Linh' running a 'Japanese' restaurant? A list of six people + creative team opening a hamburger shack. How novel!!
No wonder all the free/comped crowd shows up to get a free burger and sing the place's praises when this city has zero Michelin rated restaurants. When will a Michelin 3 star restaurant make it here?
PS: the entrance looks too narrow for Rob Ford to come in for his $18 burger and shake. Way to hinder your constituency.
Hold the mayo / January 6, 2014 at 11:09 am
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My favourite part of my trip to P&L was the attitude I got when I asked for my burger with no mayo. "Uh... I guess I can ask the kitchen to not put mayo on the burger..."
Add the onions replying to a comment from Hold the mayo / January 6, 2014 at 03:47 pm
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My favourite part of my trip to P&L is how I politely asked for some crispy onions to be added to my burger, and the tall skinny guy with all kinds of attitude then tells me, "No boss. Sorry. They're very specific in the kitchen."

I was like, "Specific about what?"

He said, "About the toppings, boss. They've thought long and hard about them."

I said, "That's interesting, because I've thought long and hard about crispy onions. I like them. Can I at least have them on the side, and I can add them myself?"

Dude was like, "I don't think they'd really be down for it, boss. It's still kind of like insulting their expertise."

Expertise??? Insulting??? We're talking about BURGERS dude. Man, I'd be embarrassed to be thought of as a "burger expert".

Honestly, this burger gourmet thing is going way too far. I think at this point I'd rather just have some Harvey's. Serious.
jim replying to a comment from John / January 6, 2014 at 06:25 pm
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If you want to know what goes into the P&L Burger, check out this video of the making of the burger for the Parts and Labour Restaurant in Parkdale. Looks like some pretty great ingredients which may have something to do with the price - you get what you pay for...

https://vimeo.com/57561183
Ricardo replying to a comment from stra / January 23, 2014 at 04:18 pm
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Clearly you know nothing. A) the person staring at the camera is the executive chef and B) I will shit my pants if I see a single person carry a burger from the corner of Spadina and Queen all the way to Trinity Bellwoods to eat it. Cool comment though bro.
WRONG / February 5, 2014 at 02:58 pm
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WRONG ADDRESS its Queen and Landsdowne NOT Queen and Spadina
nope. replying to a comment from WRONG / February 5, 2014 at 11:13 pm
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No. It's Queen and Spadina. Maybe, MAYBE, a little closer to Vanauley, but the major intersection is definitely Spadina.
yep. replying to a comment from Add the onions / February 5, 2014 at 11:15 pm
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Now I want crispy onions on all my future burgers! Who could ever have a problem with that??!
Ryder / March 17, 2014 at 02:45 pm
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P&L - please cut down on the salt for your burgers and fries. When you first opened, I was a huge supporter...always touting you guys as the best burger in town whenever a Burger Wars conversation started. I have brought friends to your establishment and I have to say...the last 3-4 times have been a huge disappointment...my friends would take a bite and go "You really think this is better than the Priest?" Quite honestly, things have gone down quite drastically since you opened. I'm hoping you can return to your glory quickly.
Brian replying to a comment from John / May 7, 2014 at 04:07 pm
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Mcdonald's has to provide nutritional info cause they don't use real meat.... most of these place have steak quality burgers and are cooked to order.... not made in a disgusting meat processing plant. That said you know you are not going to get out of P&L if you are on a diet.... but who cares, trendy burger joints are delish

john do you manage a mcdonalds or somthing?
Brian replying to a comment from jitte / May 7, 2014 at 04:13 pm
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You are wrong..... the burgers served at these places are considered steak QUALITY..... fresh ground chuck does not fall into any of those categories
Sean / June 10, 2014 at 08:25 am
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P&L Burger (507 Queen St.)
Inspected on: June 2, 2014
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
Number of infractions: 3 (Minor: 1, Significant: 2)
Crucial infractions include: N/A
Dominik / September 10, 2014 at 10:58 pm
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Was browsing the net for some ideas where to get a burger and stumbled over that place on blogto.com.
went in there at about 8:40 on a wednesday night. the place was almost empty but the server was nonetheless very friendly. I ordered "The General" Burger with fries and a ginger ale (including refills!). Shortly after ordering the burger was ready. It's a huge burger and it's impossible to eat it without smearing a bit of it over your fingers, but that's what makes it a good burger. the fries were double fried so the outside was crips but the inside still soft and still tasting of potatoes.
go there to enjoy a fast and delicious burger!

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