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Restaurants

W Burger Bar

Posted by Devon Scoble / Reviewed on November 9, 2009 / review policy

W Burger Bar torontoToronto has a lot to be depressed about, but W Burger Bar, a new eatery at Yonge and College, has developed a formula to heal us.

Their solution to the pains of a bad economy, pandemic fears, and the onset of winter is simple: burgers, booze and boobs. Lest this heady trio of indulgences get your guilt-o-meter soaring, W Burger Bar donates a portion of all proceeds to Sick Kids, ensuring each visit will mix the joy of sin with the satisfaction of redemption.

But first, the sins. W Burger Bar is foremost a hamburger joint, and their comfort-food menu is anchored on a solid selection of burgers. Emphasizing locally sourced, antibiotic-free meats and fish, and a host of vegetarian options, the menu isn't all guilty pleasures, but the meats and toppings are so tasty, it might as well be.W Burger Bar

At $5.75, the Pure Beef Burger is succulence for a steal, the Rowe Farms beef providing, hands down, the most flavourful patty I've had this year. I shelled an extra $2.50 for "Aussie Rules" toppings, and graced my fresh, house-baked bun and burger with the singular flavours of fried egg, pineapple and pickled beets. I'll tell you something: those Aussies sure know how to sex up a hamburger.

It was challenging not to order the delicious Pure Beef Burger on a subsequent visit, but I selflessly sacrificed my desires for the sake of this review, requesting the Lamb Burger ($10.95) and a Quebecois Poutine ($6.95) instead. I also brought a friend, who got the Fresh Panko Breaded Chicken Tenders ($9.95) and a half-order of Macaroni and Cheese ($4.95).

W Burger BarWe started with the poutine. A solid Toronto approximation, it was fresh golden fries, salty beef gravy, and a scattering of soft curds. Quebecois diners would have my pretty Anglo head on a platter for saying it was the real Montreal deal, but I quite enjoyed it.

Next stop on our palatable pilgrimage was the Macaroni and Cheese, the only dish on our journey that gave cause for penance. Despite perfectly al dente cavatappi (long macaroni curls) fresh mozzarella, and dried cilantro, the dish was overwhelmed by the plasticky taste of processed cheddar. Co-owner Frank Weshler assured me that the full-sized version, which is baked to a crisp, is better, but with so many solidly tasty alternatives, I'm not sure I'd order this again.

20091109-wburgerbar-panko.jpgPanko Chicken Tenders, however, will definitely be on my plate next time. Fashioned from the soft muscle of the inner chicken breast and cooked till juicy in a dusting of crisp panko, they are a delight. The light panko allows the delectable chicken to take its rightful place as the dish's star flavour.

Although similarly juicy, W Burger Bar's Lamburger was subtler than both the chicken tenders and the beef burger. I ate mine in a wrap of bib lettuce, with menu-recommended cilantro yoghurt, mint sauce and alfalfa sprouts, plus a side of beets.

W Burger Bar serves a mean hamburger, but it's ripe for a sausage party, too. Female wait staff chirpily offer suggestions and shuttle dishes from kitchen to table, but good luck focusing on the teeming dining room, as their translucent pink v-necks and black bras emphasize bust over bustle. With such quality food on hand, the see-through tops seem unnecessarily tawdry, and I wish management would let the genuinely sinful mains speak for themselves. That said, I am guilty of my own indulgences, and will return to try W's confession-worthy after work special (2 mini burgers, a shooter and a beer for $9.95) and its boozy milkshakes.

A true believer, I know where all this booze and beef will take me, and I'm happy to go there: Heaven.20091109-wburgerbar-food.jpg

W Burger Bar

Discussion

63 Comments

potatoboobs / November 9, 2009 at 10:11 am
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boobs are like potatoes!
donna / November 9, 2009 at 10:17 am
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Anyone else notice the amount of "gourmet" burger joints opening up in the city is increasing? Very few have impressed me thus far, at least not enough to ration spending $15* on a burger+fries, but this place looks/sounds like potential...
Rob replying to a comment from donna / November 9, 2009 at 10:41 am
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Agreed - for the money ($7 or so), there is no better burger than a Licks homeburger
thatguy / November 9, 2009 at 10:51 am
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This place is pretty good actually. Friendly staff and probably the best turkey burger i ever tasted. I got a lot of sides so my bill for two ended up over $30. It was well worth it, the fries rocked and their bread is good. Since I live close this will be a regular joint for me.

Divide / November 9, 2009 at 11:16 am
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Gourmet? Give me a break.

For the best home made burger all you need is $6 and a ride to square boy on Danforth and Jones.

http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/squareboys

girlpublisher / November 9, 2009 at 11:48 am
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Too bad about the ridiculous objectification of women going on at "W" burger bar. The food looks good, but I will not spend money there.
cathy / November 9, 2009 at 11:54 am
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The best burger place hands down is the Yellow Grififn in Bloor West village. However, it could possibly be the worst service in the city as well. But the burgers are so good, I put up with it and go back.....
Bonnie / November 9, 2009 at 12:01 pm
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Out of all the gourmet burger joints, I still prefer HERO burgers.

W wasn't bad. Their milkshakes are great, their fries need work and they need stronger buns - mine disintegrated half-way through my meal. The burger was dense but properly cooked, and very delicious.

I also wanted to tell those poor girls to wear flesh-coloured bras. A black bra under a light pink shirt? Tacky, ladies. Just tacky.

hendrix / November 9, 2009 at 12:06 pm
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where are the boob photos? I need to see to know if I should visit. Objectification is awesome!
matts / November 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm
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Some folks in this discussion seem to think Licks or Hero are gourmet burgers. Really?
AV replying to a comment from Divide / November 9, 2009 at 12:42 pm
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Agree with both statements!
wheretheboobs :p / November 9, 2009 at 12:50 pm
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Where are the boobs, falsely labeled :p

Do burgers really need to be gourmet, crazy fads. i will take a nice greasy, unhealthy, but delicious and filling burger any day. :D
Sunny / November 9, 2009 at 01:18 pm
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I can’t wait to try the W burger bar, food looks good.

I have been to lots of gourmet burger joints and have to say Craft burger is great, never been disappointed.
Sheryl replying to a comment from cathy / November 9, 2009 at 01:38 pm
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Definately have to agree with you Cathy. Love Yellow Griffin, but have to put up with their service. Give me a 'Healthy Kick' burger with sweet potato fries and garlic mayo to dip it in. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Kev Townhouse / November 9, 2009 at 02:20 pm
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Those chicken tenders were honestly the best chicken I've had in T.O. in ages... they were cooked to perfection. Agreed though, the mac & cheese could use work!

Bronco / November 9, 2009 at 02:46 pm
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I tried the chocolate banana spiked milkshake and it rocked. 3oz of booze in it too :) I've always been annoyed that more burger joints don't offer a whole wheat option, so it's nice to see that that's available here. I dug the sweet potato fries (with the chipotle mayo). I've tried the beef and lamb burgers are they were very good. Oh and they have PBR on tap for $4 a pint... not bad.
Hello / November 9, 2009 at 07:53 pm
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Beconsfield Burger Is Best.
jayphill / November 10, 2009 at 12:56 am
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After getting messages this review earlier today, a couple of pals and myself figured we'd giver a shot.

Burgers were excellent, and we all agree'd we would definitely go back. Also cheapest place ever!!! for PBR pints. $3.95 are you kidding me.

Only downfall to this excellent place is that one of the owners, i believe named, well I don't know, short guy, glasses and balding was quite rude. After speaking with one of the waitresses, who yes, wear low cut vnecks, but are still super polite, she shared with me that he basically has the social skills of lets say, a turtle.. Basically, coming back from the bathroom I was asking if I was going to finish carrying some boxes downstairs.. after giving the gentleman an odd look, I said why would I take them down, in which he replied, well what do you want me to take em down..

Once he found out I was a customer, well you would you know, expect some sort of apology, but no, just a weird look and back down the stairs he went.

Clearly this won't happen to everyone, but as long as that guy isn't around, I will totally go back!
danieljosef / November 10, 2009 at 10:13 am
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Went for dinner last night. And once again, I disagree with BlogTO's review. I had the beef burger with Aussie toppings, and ordered the burger medium. The meat of the burger was not seasoned at all (no salt and pepper), it was overcooked (almost crunchy), incredibly dry and the pineapple used for the Aussie burger was canned and the beets on my burger were not pickled. Ordered the mixed greens salad to start was consisted off standard greens and a unripe cold tomato sliced on top.

Gourmet Burger Co in Cabbagetown makes a much better burger.

On the plus side, the panko crusted chicken fingers were really great and the fact that Pabst is on tap and retarded cheap ($3.95/pint). Service wasn't that great, the food came out slow and sporadic (three people in my party, none of the food came out together and the appetizers and mains came out at the same time).
Loïc / November 10, 2009 at 10:58 am
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The poutine isn't bad, but i dont think that a basic poutine should be almost 8$, IMO
Jim replying to a comment from girlpublisher / November 10, 2009 at 02:33 pm
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baby wanna bah-bah...grow up and lose your inhibitions. Sexuality isnt sexist is actually quite liberating once you embrace it.
JR421 / November 10, 2009 at 04:40 pm
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South Street Burger Co at Yonge & Eglinton. Best burgers plus they serve New York Fries and amazing onion rings. Mmmm... think I'll go right now!
Bongo / November 11, 2009 at 06:04 pm
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Do they still have round plates these days? If I ask for one, will I be laughed at? Jesus I'm only 29...
Gloria replying to a comment from Jim / November 12, 2009 at 01:55 pm
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If wearing a black bra under a see-through top that's any colour except (a less-than-classy fashion faux-pas as long as I can remembered) is "sexuality" to you, then, damn, Jim, I think girlpublisher isn't the one who needs to grow up. The last time anyone thought that was genuinely sexy was when we were 14.

A smile and efficient service is all I want from a server. If you're cute and sexy, that's awesome too, but not required. But if I wanted boobs, I'd be at a bar or a night club. Or in bed.

Make me a good burger and we'll talk.
Japhet replying to a comment from Gloria / November 12, 2009 at 06:08 pm
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Here here!
LeDrinsky / November 14, 2009 at 12:55 pm
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yeah... its weird that we would pay big money for a sexed up burger! its pretty much the same stuff as a regular burger, and the average person can easily make these themselves... but i think the whole concept of buying and eating a gourmet burger from a nice place, is that it makes us feel nice... its a treat for many of us. While it may not taste 10$ better than an average burger... the experience for many of us is worth it.... every now and again.
phishLover / November 22, 2009 at 04:11 pm
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THE BEST ALL TIME BURGER in the city of Toronto/Thornhill honestly is at GOLDEN STAR..they have been around for 30 years..the guys are so nice, the fries are amazing, the onion rings are great..but their HOME BURGERS ARE HANDS DOWN THE BEST AROUND!!!!!!!!!!!! (who cares about the price!!! If it's under 10 dollars for a meal, then it's a good thing)
Try it! You won't be sorry...there's a reason why they have been around for generations and generations....
naz23 / November 23, 2009 at 10:44 am
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jayphill....

hahahhhahaa you should've taken those boxes downstairs... maybe you woulde'v come across the girl's changing room and observed some very nice boobies there... hmmmmm boobies and burgers... what a match...
Jackie / November 25, 2009 at 04:24 pm
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I was excited to see a new restaurant was opening up at the Yonge and College intersection an area seriously lacking on good food options. After waiting a few months for it to open I made my way to W to see if they can walk the walk of burgers.
I'm not a red meat eater so my opinion may be a bit bias.
The ambiance is lacking a bit but I spoke to the owner, who so nicely introduced himself, and he said he'd in the midst of picking some art work.
I was a bit confused in the begining by all the topping selections but after taking a few looks at the menu it's pretty easy to create your own burger. They have great selection of condiments and toppings.
I ordered a turkey burger which to my surprise was very moist. I did layer it with a slice of mozzarella which always helps, but it was lean and flavorful. My boyfriend got the Bison which he ate in 6 minutes which I took as he enjoyed very much. I didn't love their fries and wasn't crazy about the bun, but we don't live in a perfect world.
Overall, give W a chance - they seem better than most other burger joints popping all over the place. I look forward to going back to W and trying some different toppings.
M-PC / November 26, 2009 at 01:33 pm
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went there yesterday and we really enjoyed the food (lamb burger, beef burger, half order of excellent chicken fingers). they have a good selection of beers on tap too—we got some maudite! the only thing that was not so great was that the guy i assume was the owner was going around taking photos of the place, including some of people eating, without asking. it didn't bother me but he could have asked.
LuG / November 27, 2009 at 11:30 am
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Fruit let alone beets on a burger. There's just something wrong about that.
Japhet replying to a comment from LuG / November 27, 2009 at 11:35 am
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Don't knock it till you try it!
Kirby / November 27, 2009 at 08:05 pm
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Was hoping to welcome a great new burger joint in the area. This ain't it. Burger, just okay, but nothing I'd return for. And, no side pickle! The Craft "Blu" Burger still reigns.
Japhet / November 27, 2009 at 09:08 pm
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So after all of these comments I had to go over and try it for myself.

Thoughts on the food: The beef burger is delicious and priced extremely well quality-wise. I had it cooked medium and it was juicy and substantial enough to stand on it's own against the toppings (chili, mozarella cheese and sour cream). I'd have it again but substitute monterey jack. The fries (both sweet potato and plain ol' potato) were nothing special but the panko-breaded onion rings were amazing and a serious contender for best in the city! The panko chicken tenders were also really good.

The milkshakes were pretty decadent and with 3 oz of booze in 'em, packed quite a kick! I'll be back and you can bet I'll recommend this place to others.
Japhet / November 27, 2009 at 09:09 pm
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Almost forgot, the service was pretty crummy but I'd chalk that one up to growing pains.
Caro / December 7, 2009 at 03:18 pm
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What is with all the comments about boobies? Settle down, this is a post about burgers in Toronto, not an outlet for your sexual frustrations.
Laura Bee / December 12, 2009 at 04:25 pm
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I decided to try this place the other day for lunch.

I have to agree with the comments about the service being crappy. There were 3 takeout orders which came in after we ordered, and they were all filled first. I understand you're in a rush for take out orders, but just because we're sitting down doesn't mean we want to wait 30 min to have a burger cooked.

Plus, we're leaving a tip and those take out orders most likely are not.

It was frustrating, and the food wasn't good enough to make up for it.
David Mandel replying to a comment from Laura Bee / January 7, 2010 at 05:02 am
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I found an amazing deal where you can get a burger and soda for 3.85 from W burger. The deal is at wagjag.com

sweet deal considering the quality of burgers
itskatiee / January 12, 2010 at 10:50 am
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Has anyone tried their vegetarian options? If so, what did you think?
mitjak replying to a comment from itskatiee / January 19, 2010 at 06:06 pm
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Same question as itskatie. And Laura, you live a tip at a restaraunt?! How unusually unusual and noble of you!
tmm / January 31, 2010 at 10:59 pm
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Definitely in need of some artwork, and the service could be a smidge quicker, but everyone was nice when we were there and the food was easily tastier than average. I would definitely visit again, assuming they can cut down the wait time; you kind of expect to be in and out in a jiffy when you eat at a burger joint. But hey, it's new, and I'm sure it will age well.
ssh / February 7, 2010 at 01:49 pm
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Dropped by to try that veggie burger. Was quite delicious although I found the patty a little dry. Don't typically buy veggie burgers though so I don't have as many points of reference. For some reason it looked to me like my and my friend's burgers were smaller than those of people sitting next to us. Did anybody else notice that?

Aside from that it was indeed excellent. The service took a little while but it was relatively packed which was forgivable. The $4 beer helped. Will definitely come again.
KT replying to a comment from potatoboobs / February 17, 2010 at 06:49 pm
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I went here on the weekend. Burger was dry and somewhat tasteless. Service was shocking... staff didn't know who had or had not been served... service was slow and the order was incorrect on arrival! I see a lot of people have had a reasonable experience. Room was also so noisy I couldn't hear the person sitting across from me. Average ++
Dave / March 12, 2010 at 01:50 pm
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Great food - eat here often. I usually get the bison burger or the chicken burger and they have always been excellent. Burgers are well cooked and toppings are solid. Booze is dirt cheap - $9 for a pitcher of PBR is wicked.

Service is pretty slow. Has improved since the place opened but still has room to get better. Don't go here if you are in a rush.
Deez / March 28, 2010 at 11:49 pm
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Best burger around is 5hrs away... Cleveland,Ohio.... SWENSON'S.. Well worth the 5hr drive. Gally boy burger, potato teasers w/ caesar or ranch dip & a milk shake hits the 'G'ood Spot...

Where is Toronto's best Philly Steak found?
YacozA / August 11, 2010 at 07:31 pm
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Wow. Was recommend this place by a co-worker, and have got to say I am impressed.

Grabbed burger and fries to go, and while I waited had a $3.95 PBR.

Prices were right, taste was amazing and as a rarity, I was left full from this meal.
Roy / August 31, 2010 at 08:48 pm
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" their customer service level has dropped since their grand opening...please be careful...
kyle / September 17, 2010 at 11:08 pm
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W Burger Bar is king of sliders in this city. I gave them the rare "Elite Meat" rating on my burger blog. http://wheresthebeefto.blogspot.com/search/label/W%20Burger%20Bar
Frank / October 22, 2010 at 12:43 am
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There menu except for a couple of the their burger items sound like they cam straight from BQMs menu. Macaroni and Panko crusted chicken fingers...sounds like the only thing original about W Burger is the tacky outfits...
YQ / January 4, 2011 at 12:38 pm
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I went there a few weeks ago and decided to never go back. Received horrible service, plus their burger patty was so tough and dry that you can hit someone with it.
jmit replying to a comment from Frank / January 12, 2011 at 06:28 pm
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Frank:
Just so you know, BQM opened way later than w.

And thank you everyone for the positive comments! We have a ton of new menu items and drink specials since this review and have made wonderful progress on changing some of the things that weren't working for our guests.
Ag / March 20, 2011 at 10:32 am
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I went there last night around 1230 and was kindly informed by a waitress that they were closing. their website says they close at 2. Needless to say I was not pleased.
terence / June 11, 2011 at 08:19 pm
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BQM has better food and does not have a sexist attitude to their staff...
Jason / December 20, 2011 at 05:47 pm
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Been to the place twice now and I love it. The staff at the bar we're helpful both times with deciding on what I should put on my burger. The poutine was great also. Can't wait to go back again with friends!
Jason / January 10, 2012 at 09:47 pm
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Went back recently and the portion sizes have dropped. Burger (bison) was much smaller and poutine was served with thin shoestring fries. Not so much taken as a complaint but more of a recommedation to go back on how things use to be.
Cathy Chan / May 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm
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Don't go here!! They charged me $3.50 for extra cheese curds on my take-out poutine! $3.50!! And it barely made a difference, I couldn't even tell there's extra cheese curds. I was a loyal customer to them, but no more! That was just freakin' ridiculous! And on top of that, the last time I ordered the same, they didn't charge me extra. I can understand $1 more, but $3.50 is ridiculous!
Macho replying to a comment from girlpublisher / May 18, 2012 at 01:43 pm
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lol.. lesbo feminism
boobsarenotpotatoes / November 24, 2012 at 11:48 pm
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Boobs are NOT like potatoes.
cjm / December 27, 2012 at 02:23 am
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Im a head line cook at w burger, to answer ag's question, on nights we close at 2am, if the kitchen isnt getting any orders we tend to do last call for food earlier because the kitchen staff wants to go home aswell.
Dave / February 6, 2013 at 11:45 pm
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This place hires constantly on Craigslist, they are hiring at least 2-3 times a week, without exaggeration.

There has to be some serious management issues going on if they can't hold onto staff an judging from a lot of the comments here I can see why.

The staff here look miserable constantly and a friend of mine was interviewed 3 times to work here but never got the job. I guess it was decided she didn't look good enough in a low cut V-neck and the manager's perving abilities were hampered?

Either way, I will never go here again and I really hope this joke of a place takes a dive.
Grant / March 19, 2013 at 02:45 pm
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Have been there a couple of times. First experience -the food was good. Last most recent time, hamburger and fries were cold and not very fresh. Mentioned it to the wait staff who didn't seem to really care. Seems now more like a typical pub than specialty place.
asas / March 16, 2014 at 02:13 pm
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has anyone been to the 2nd location near Caledonia and Eglinton ?
Tonu / April 18, 2014 at 09:01 pm
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We went there on a weekday and they promise services in thirty minutes. After nearly an hour, they said its probably 40 minutes more. It would be good that the restaurant can respect the value of promise. We weren't the only ones that are dissatisfied with the wait line servers.

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