Popular California burger chain opening its first downtown Toronto location
A California-based burger chain with iconic red and yellow signage is gearing up to establish a foothold in downtown Toronto, but it's probably not the one you're thinking of.
No, this is not the long-teased Canadian debut of legendary fast food chain In-N-Out Burger, but instead a second attempt from another Californian burger joint at breaking through to the northern market.
Retro-themed fast food joint Fatburger is coming to Toronto, with signage now plastered in the windows of the former Green Beanery cafe at the southeast corner of Bathurst and Bloor.
Founded in Los Angeles in 1947, Fatburger has expanded far beyond U.S. borders in recent years, including a previous attempt at creating a brand presence in the Toronto area with the opening of a since-shuttered Richmond Hill location in 2015.
Things are already in motion behind the temporary window coverings in the Annex, with a city permit issued for interior alterations in mid-May, allowing the conversion of the space into a new fast food restaurant with 30 seats or less.
James Kang, Chief Business Development Officer at FDF Restaurant Brandz, tells blogTO that the location "just started the construction last week."
"I'm anticipating the construction to be completed by the end of October, and we target to open the first or second week of November."
Kang says that Fatburger has a second Ontario location coming up, set to begin construction in Barrie this summer with a targeted December opening.
And the brand has even grander plans for the Toronto area, saying that "we have we have third, fourth and fifth location coming up in GTA," with the new locations planned to open next spring and summer.
While Fatburger previously had a brief presence in the region, there are currently no Canadian franchises east of Manitoba. Fatburger operates 63 restaurants elsewhere in Canada, including as far north as Yellowknife, almost 3,200 kilometres away from the franchise's home base in Beverley Hills.
As thin smash-style burgers soar in popularity, Fatburger remains known for its thicker patties.
This may have been a barrier in the brand's previous attempt to gain a customer base in a region known for trendy burger offerings, but may now prove an asset as diners seek more bang for their buck amid exploding inflation and runaway food costs.
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