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The Burgernator

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / Reviewed on February 8, 2013 / review policy

burgernator torontoThe Burgernator has been open for less than a week in Kensington Market (in the former home of Big Chubby Burger), but it's fairly easy to spot; from the logo, to the sandwich board, to the small plastic robot figurines on the island condiment stand in the shop's center, a lot of thought has clearly been put into the packaging (and consequent look) of the place.

burgernator torontoInside, it's fairly dark, due in large part to the slightly glossed black wallpaper, lending the space a grungy-bar-type atmosphere. Why black, you ask? All the better to see the various mission statements, slogans, and logos scattered across the walls in bright white paint (this isn't nearly as obnoxious as it sounds). Notable excerpts from their manifesto include "the burger is our weapon; the city is our battlefield," and there's a tongue-in-cheek "duty calls" marking the way to the bathroom.

burgernator torontoThey offer 10% off for students, and in exchange for five visits (and your e-mail), you'll receive a free milkshake. There's also a smirk-inducing game of Cards Against Humanity that's available for play. And yes, it's a game, not a pile of esoteric fortunes as I at first assumed: we pick out "African children," for what it's worth.

the burgernator torontoThe family owned and operated business has already streamlined the process--from start to finish--thanks in part to the chef's rumoured previous experience at the Duke family of pubs. The menu runs the gamut from simple 4oz patties topped with cheese or the basest of basic toppings, to a homemade chill-topped burger, or the slightly terrifying Burgernator ($14.99), which sees a triple beef patty (and that's not even the worst of it), nestled between two grilled cheese sandwiches, onions and sautéed mushrooms.

Yes, it follows in the footsteps of Burger's Priest, but no, that's not a court-worthy excuse when the coronaries start rolling in (writer's opinion, don't bite).

burgernator torontoMy partner is pretty clear in his verdict after just one bite of his Big Bang ($10.99)--"This is definitely fast food," he declares. Not to be mistaken with big chain burger spots, the mix of a 6oz freshly-ground chuck patty, buffalo chicken strips, canadian cheddar and roasted garlic rosemary aioli is flavourful, well-cooked, and satisfying--but still gives you that slight foreboding of meat sweats to come. The hint of rosemary adds some depth to the taste, and pairs nicely with the soft, fresh bun.

the burgernator torontoOur first side of fries ($2.99) comes with rosemary garlic aioli; the house-cut potatoes are well-salted, and the sauce is flavourful without being overpowering. My onion rings ($3.99) arrive with the same sauce, and are slender, lightly battered, and perfectly crisped. The frying is done with a lighter hand than elsewhere, and without an excess of oil, the dipping sauce shines through.

the burgernator torontoIn search of something slightly healthier, I opt for the Battle Fields ($8.50). A crusted, fried portobello mushroom comes generously stuffed with cheese and herbs, then topped with lettuce, tomato, and guacamole. It's remarkably rich for a little vegetarian burger that could, and the cheese is unfortunately concentrated at the centre of the patty--yielding a jack-in-the-box squirt of sorts.

If they'd gone a bit lighter on that aspect (as I was daintily wiping globs off on the side of my plate), it would've been a near-perfect vegetarian offering--it gives a vigorous middle finger to the notion that only meat burgers are bad for you.

the burgernator torontoPops on offer run the usual gamut, or you can opt for a milkshake with vanilla or chocolate ice cream ($4.50)--although this last one might be better reserved for the spring thaw. The prices are good, and if you can stand feeling like you're the first one at the bar just after lunch-time mid-week, Burgernator might just win you over.



Enough Already / February 8, 2013 at 09:56 am
Please no more burger joints.

That is all,

Loper / February 8, 2013 at 10:00 am
I'll just say what every one is thinking. I'm tired of gourmet burger places and the city doesn't need anymore.
Jacob / February 8, 2013 at 10:05 am
Big Chubby Burger closed? That's too bad, I liked that place. It was actually affordable.
Josef / February 8, 2013 at 10:16 am
Torontonians will always love their burgers, these places open because the demand is there.

Tried the burgernator last weekend. Great food (the Captain Jerk is delicious), great service from the family that owns it, and great atmosphere. Also very affordable! Def recommend the place.
Joel / February 8, 2013 at 10:21 am
Looks great! Can't wait to give it a try.
Mike / February 8, 2013 at 10:25 am
I must not be alone in thinking that the majority of people who would be interested in going to a place like this (myself included) are not interested in a review of the vegetarian offering or a healthier option at all for that matter. This tells me nothing about the quality of the burgers they sell. How can you review a place without touching on the strengths and weaknesses of their primary offering? This seems to be a trend with Blog TO reviews. All I have learned from this review is what some of their menu options look like, what some of their items are composed of, and what the decor of the establishment is like. I wish some effort was made to provide a review by someone who at least appreciates a good burger calories and all.
p / February 8, 2013 at 10:34 am
Is this supposed to be the standard veggie burger now? It was creative when Shake Shack did it in 2004 - maybe even when Burger's Priest did it years later - but now it's a little overplayed.
hellebelle replying to a comment from Mike / February 8, 2013 at 10:35 am
i love when reviewers write about vegetarian offerings because this is not touched on in most reviews, which often leaves me thinking, "the place looks nice, but do they have anything i can eat?"
lauren replying to a comment from Mike / February 8, 2013 at 10:47 am
i am a vegetarian that CRAVES the dirty junk food everyone else gets! the review of this mushroom burger has led to my planning to go here today!
Michael / February 8, 2013 at 10:59 am
This place looks pretty good.. but how can you be a greasy burger joint and not offer bacon anywhere on the menu? Come on!
Burger Boy / February 8, 2013 at 11:04 am
Blogto reviews are good for nothing...other than advertising a new place for all to know about, which is great. Rarely, very rarely do the reviews have any depth what-so-ever. The main event, the burger, is hardly touched on here. I am not even sure what the hell they meant about the fast food, burger chain, or whatever the hell they wrote. And meat sweats? Give me a break. Why not pick a reviewer who likes burgers?

So anyway, I am commenting because I am asking those who have been there to please add a review to this non-review so others will get some heads up! : )

Donger replying to a comment from Mike / February 8, 2013 at 11:07 am
I agree. And the reviewer didn't note how the burger is prepared. Are they grilled over flame or on a flattop? Burger experts need to know these things.
Change / February 8, 2013 at 11:26 am
Poor Toronto. So many burger bars but EVERY one of them the same. You still don't understand that it's about the bread as much as the beef. Woodfired sourdough would be a great place to START, and how about some clean golden chunky fries instead of the mundane skinny brown things. Let's go from there...
jesse ship / February 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm
It's the exact same management/owners as Big Chubby Burger (formerly Craft Fat Burger), they just rebranded....again. This guy is famous as a low-range/fast food restaurateur. They own two properties at king and bathurst that keep changing names. I stayed away from them when i worked at that corner but it was interesting to watch a mexican place evolve into a wings place, and see how the menus didnt change all that much lol.

Burgernator looks enticing though and could be worth sticking with. Good branding, and I think they have better ventilation, although the slogans are not very clever, a little too obvious/direct. It looks like they took hints from DENIAL on that, or maybe he helped out? hehe

Jason / February 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm
Well, Burger Bar is closed now, and was supposed to re-open last month (under new ownership, I hear, by the family that runs the Green Room, Red Room, etc) so this is the only gourmet burger spot in that part of Kensington Market for now.
poh / February 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm
This was a really strange review, while I appreciate you trying the veggie option, I would guess most people going to a burger joint would order a meat-based burger. Also, why is the fact that one of these burgers has fried chicken strips on it mentioned only in passing. Does such a strange combination work, fail?
Lilly replying to a comment from jesse ship / February 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm
Hey Jesse - the place is actually now owned by a former head chef of the Duke Pubs (Duke of Richmond/Westminster/Devon, etc). I think his name was Amer.
Al Hunter / February 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm
This poor review doesn't encourage me to travel an hour each way from northern Toronto via transit to try this restaurant. Does freshly ground mean it's ground inhouse or just bought pre-ground? What does 'locally sourced' mean? You can buy Alberta beef locally. How is the burger cooked? So many unanswered questions.
jesse replying to a comment from Lilly / February 8, 2013 at 12:48 pm
ok, but it's all the same staff. Maybe the ownership is just for investor purposes?
Alex / February 8, 2013 at 12:55 pm
Damn, you guys are mean today.
The Burgernator / February 8, 2013 at 01:11 pm
Hey guys -

Thanks for the comments. Just to answer some of your questions:

We grind our beef fresh every morning.
We use Ontario grain-fed chuck beef.
We grill our burgers on a flat top.
We use fresh, soft egg buns.
All our sauces are made in house - so are our fries.
The restaurant is owned and managed by Amer, former chef of the Duke Pubs.

If you have any questions check out our FB or Twitter pages.

Let's Burgernate!
Omar Nazmi / February 8, 2013 at 02:32 pm
Really an awesome spot! Went with a couple of my buddies to check it out, ended up spending 6 hrs in between two meals -- and lots of cards against humanity (a hilarious game!)

I had the captain jerk -- which had an awesome touch of pineapple to it (a little spicy - watch out) and the second time around I had the Big Bang which was surprisingly -- amazing! The chicken strips on the burger add for an awesome flavour -- and a lot of protien (I was skeptical at first)

Anyways I'm no critic -- I just enjoyed the food and the atmosphere here and would recommend anyone wanting a good burger to check it out!
Burger Brat replying to a comment from The Burgernator / February 8, 2013 at 03:27 pm
Hey The Burgernator....sounds great!

Please clarify one more point if you could...ok two more points. : )

1) Is this indeed affiliated at all (workers/owners) with the King/Bathurst mexican/wing/etc places?

2) Is this indeed affiliated at all (workers/owners) with the Fat Burger place that was previously there?

I hope to find out from you rather than all this hearsay!

Will / February 8, 2013 at 03:46 pm
Their atomic burger is bomb! love the crusted, deep-fried cheese. And that patty is amazing/juicy/awesome. yum :)
Renesco / February 8, 2013 at 05:05 pm
Hey meat eaters: Play nice. This review devotes two paragraphs out of ten to the veggie burger. It seems to me it's only mentioned here because it's really good. I'm a carnivore through and through, but I'm not going to whine that a vegetarian option gets served at my favourite burger joint. And hey, to the guy who complained about the use of the term meat sweats: chill out. If you can't enjoy a good case of the "sweats" after a heaping plate of smoked meat or a couple of large patties on a bun, you have no business calling someone out for not enjoying burgers.
Seriously? / February 8, 2013 at 05:54 pm
BlogTo's restaurant reviews are just terrible. It's been a long, long time since I've read a BlogTo eatery review with a single negative thing to say about the food. They should just be called advertisements.

Are the reviewers too afraid to say something negative about these places?

On another note...seriously, another gourmet burger joint?
RichTeaMedia360 / February 8, 2013 at 06:27 pm
Is that fried shrimp in a burger? I'm sold !!
James Re / February 8, 2013 at 08:14 pm
I went there last week. Honestly, it was amazing! Great atmosphere and most importantly great food! Definitely going again and just seeing these pictures made me hungry. Must go.
Pete T / February 8, 2013 at 08:59 pm
Ventured out there and was thoroughly disappointed. The burger was borderline inedible
Jackson Chan / February 8, 2013 at 09:01 pm
I was there during their opening week and can honestly say the burgers were delicious. Sure the decor and manifesto were cool and all, but when it comes down to it, the one thing people hate the most are things that can't live up to expectations. With a mission statement and decor that they have, they really set a high expectation for me.

The burger. Well, it was freaking delicious. And I'm not even saying it just because it's a gourmet burger. I ordered the bazooka burger, two beef patties with a perfect crust on each patty, and a fried egg to ooze all over the burger. The fries were honestly some of the best home-cut fries I've had.

The reviewer may not have done the restaurant justice, but I think the point is everyone's tastes and values are different. So honestly speaking, you might as well go and try the place out yourself. And no, Toronto does need more gourmet burger places, GOOD gourmet burger places.
Shawn replying to a comment from Renesco / February 8, 2013 at 11:12 pm
There's as many photos of the non-veg burgers as there are of veggie burgers....why is it that the fries and onion rings each get their own photo yet only one photo for a burger that wasn't even mentioned in the review? I understand covering vegetarian options, but they shouldn't take equal prominence to the non-veg options at a burger join review...
bobby / February 9, 2013 at 07:50 pm
Went today and was highly disappointed, dry-ass burger about .25" thick, not juicy, dwarfed by the massive bun, weak toppings, they used limp greens, no crunch. Had to go to Five Guys after so I could get a good burger. rating: FAIL
Eddie / February 9, 2013 at 08:12 pm
Had the Commander burger - 6oz beef patty was nice and thick and very juicy. Loved the egg bun, really soft and tasted fresh. Their sauces were awesome too, especially the one that came with the fries. All in all really great experience and will definitely go there again.
Kevin / February 9, 2013 at 08:55 pm
Tried their chili burger special today. The chili was delicious, just the right amount of spicy. The burger patty itself was huge (I am sorry Bobby, but to say the patty is less than 3/4 of a cm is a bit outrageous). It was also nice and juicy. Loved the fries and their rosemary sauce. They were pretty busy today and the atmosphere was great. They've definitely won me!
Rob / February 11, 2013 at 10:24 am
Fries look great, bun and bun/meat ratio not so much.
Ryan / February 11, 2013 at 12:05 pm
Hey Jennifer, the owner of the burgernator is not the former owner of big chubby. Read the comments before saying something, it was confirmed by the restaurant that their is a new owner, that has nothing to do with the fact that that the former owner never paid you or his suppliers.
Burger Brat / February 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm
Not impressed and not surprised. It is the same people as before who are the same people who keep coming up with the worst restaurants in the city (King and Bathurst). If you open 4 theme restaurants and all fail, you should probably get into a new business. Why this chef from Duke came in and saved their ass is way beyond me!

Jaspal / February 11, 2013 at 01:31 pm
Had dinner here with the wife yesterday. I got the Atomic burger she got the regular burger. The burger was enormous, well seasoned, juicy - loved the addition of the fried cheese too. The cheese was stringy and delish. I had the fries too which were crispy and came with a delicious aioli sauce. My wife loved her burger, and the sauce they put in it (burgernator sauce?). Folks should try it out.

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