Apache Burgers is one of the most iconic burger joints in Toronto, renowned over the years as a source for cheap, fast foods served in a retro setting. The spot's late-night opening hours also might be among its best qualities.
Apache has been in business since 1969, and while its reputation precedes it, this is my first-ever visit. I'm not exactly carrying a nostalgic flame for this place, like I was on my most recent (and, likely, last ever) trip to Johnny's .
Upon entering, my first impression is how clean and well preserved the space is. It's obviously not just retro, but original, and it's well loved - as it should be. In the afternoon when I'm there, the tables are populated with school-aged kids, but I gather that the post-midnight crowd is quite different.
The cheeseburger ($5.15) is a bonafide, old-school dirty burger. The patty is unremarkable and most likely mass produced and brought in by the box. It's by no means the best burger I've ever had, but I suspect that anyone who comes here must know what they're getting into.
I order the chicken sandwich ($6.29) too, and witness the chicken filet hit the grill in pale, par-cooked frozen form. The no-frills array of toppings isn't a putoff for me - I actually prefer it to gourmet burgers gussied up with fancy toppings.
Homemade onion rings ($4.39) are decidedly tasty - they're fried to a deep gold hue and nicely crisped. The hand cut fries ($3.39) are decent, too.
To be honest, it pains me to dispel the legendary status of a place like this (same in the case of Johnny's). In some ways, this type of food seems totally indicative of its era (this what they ate in the '70s, right?) and I want to see it preserved for posterity.
In other ways, I totally acknowledge that this place is not for burger aficionados - in fact, it's pretty much what you'd expect to find at a bowling alley.
Photos by Jesse Milns