Though the burgers grilled before your eyes are indeed hearty, the name is something of an oxymoron considering the building itself is little more than a narrow retro shack.
A capacity of 20, tiled walls, a cash only policy (there’s an ATM on site) and long hours from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. every day but Sunday hit all the hallmarks of an iconic diner.
The gas grill that cooks nearly all items in full view of diners is manned by exactly the type of curmudgeonly old men you want to be slinging your burgers, reticent at first but who just might open up to boast about experience at other burger institutions like Johnny’s and Dairy Freeze.
In typical fashion, there are options for hamburgers, cheeseburgers, bacon burgers and “banquet” (cheese and bacon) burgers, and when your order is yelled out you head up and select your condiments.
We get our banquet ($6.40) with everything, six-ounce all-beef house patty on a puffy white bun with a fluffy top and squishy bottom, the flavours simple and nostalgic, veggies nice and fresh. The bacon isn’t too chewy, crispy around the edges.
Steak on a kaiser ($7.95) is just as traditional but much heftier, steak poking out the sides of the crusty roll, dressed with standard condiments of BBQ sauce, onion and tomato.
Souvlaki on a bun or pita comes in options for pork ($6.75) or chicken ($7.50). The chunks of meat get a nice medium char and the pita gets a bit of a grill as well, and the iconic condiments are a thick smear of tzatziki on the bottom, tomato, onion, and a generous drizzle of oil dressing on top.
These meals are nothing without some greasy thick-cut fries ($3.35), which I’m happy to learn are so similar to the ones I used to get at Dairy Freeze and would drench in vinegar and sprinkle with salt. These are great with the same treatment.
Onion rings ($3.85) are textbook, huge and oblong with a thick fluffy golden batter, full of fatty, greasy flavour that nevertheless doesn’t overshadow the sweetness of the onion.
If you’re looking for good grill marks, a timewarp atmosphere and a cheap hot meal available all hours of the day or night, head to Jumbo.