Mama's Boys Burgers
Mama's Boys Burgers is a family-run diner that's been open for three years at the corner of Danforth Road and Birchmount.
Formerly a Portuguese grill, the eatery still features plenty of tile, terracotta and a mural of a Portuguese street scene with "Mama's Boys" painted into one of the shopfronts. Tables clothed in thick brown vinyl aren't the most stylish, but it's all part of the quirky charm. No one cares anyway - the clientele are for the friendly service and, of course, the food.
The menu features burgers, fries, and Greek dinners, and after a broad sampling, I can say that there's no real way to go wrong.
The chicken souvlaki dinner ($9.75) is one hunger-crushing plate that comes loaded with juicy, roughly-torn grilled chicken; a respectable diner-variety Greek salad, dressed generously and assembled with care; rice flecked with peas and carrots and gently flavoured with chicken stock; and last but not least, lemon herb potatoes that are so good they pretty much steal the show. A dinner roll and the thick house-made tzatziki don't fit on the same plate.
When it comes to burgers, you can choose between griddled or charbroiled options including singles ($3.99) or doubles ($5.99). On the advice of the house, I go with the Mama's Signature, the priciest option at $9.25. Like all Mama's burgers, this one starts with freshly house-ground beef patties, two of them sandwiching bacon and deeply caramelized onions.
Slices of cheddar are applied to the outside of each patty and then it's finished on the griddle so the bottom cheese crisps and bubbles while the top cheese melts just enough to relax. Toppings are applied at the counter to specification and then the final high-piled burger needs to be skewered to keep it together. It is undeniably an exceptional burger.
On the side, there are regular fries ($3.25/$4.50), poutine ($5.95), pulled pork poutine ($7.95) and my fave, Greek fries ($5.50) doused in olive oil and topped with feta and oregano. The chips are thick cut and fried to a deep golden crunch - portion sizes are easily shareable.
Desserts like baklava ($3.50), tiramisu ($4.50) and Bailey's cheesecake ($4.50) are worthwhile too, and cleverly packed to-go, should you find yourself too stuffed to try one out in just one sitting.
Photos by Jesse Milns