Bless Me Burger Priest, For I Have Sinned


The image to the left is courtesy BlogTO.

I am currently cheating on my attempt to write a blog post a day for the month of February. Yes, I’m writing this post on a Monday, and backdating it to late Sunday night. I was pretty busy this past Sunday, and managed to clear through my pressing project, so I guess something fell by the wayside. But it doesn’t mean I can’t write two posts today and use the extra to fill in the gap, can it?

It’s been a busy week, but it’s largely over now. And I was able to head into Toronto to do some errands back on Friday. And while I was there, I happened to head out east to try out a burger joint called the Burger Priest. Having heard a lot about this place recently, I decided I had to try it out. And I was pleased that I did.

The Burger Priest clearly has a cult following. I arrived at the back end of the lunch hour at its location near the Queen/Coxwell intersection, and the place was packed. And considering the neighbourhood, I can’t think of where its clientele is coming from. They’re close to a residential neighbourhood on a commercial strip (lots of competition), so where are the office workers or industrial workers who are packing the place? Clearly, it’s drawing its hungry patrons from beyond its local area.

I was warned that there would be no place to eat inside the Burger Priest, and that was clear from the get go. Not only were there signs around the place banning consumption within the building, the outlet was literally no bigger than my kitchen, and without a steady flow of people coming in, grabbing their burger, and going out, what little order there currently is would completely break down.

To pay off the name “Burger Priest”, the restaurant makes use of a couple of church motifs. The menu is a hymnal display board, and a confessional screen separates the patrons from the hard working people of the kitchen. But the motif isn’t overused, and is all the better for it. The people behind the counter have an informal air about them. There’s no uniforms, and baseball caps keep their hair out of the food. They concentrate on just making a good burger, and here there is a seriousness about them.

I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with “the usual” toppings. Add some fresh-cut french fries and a pop, I paid around $12 for the experience, which I had to somehow eat on the cold winter street.

Well, I managed. The burger was stored in its own bag and, while juicy and a little sloppy with condiments, either went in my mouth or stayed in the bag. The fries could have used more salt, but that’s easily rectified.

The ingredients of the burger were clearly fresh and well put together. The whole thing was not overcooked, and the tastes were bold and mixed well. It was, clearly, a good burger, and if I had a Burger Priest in my area, I’d frequent it a lot.

Is it the best burger in Toronto, though? I’m not so sure. There are many burger joints out there that haven’t been tried. As good as the Burger Priest was, I’d have to give the edge to the Big Smoke Burger (four outlets across the city), which also prepares the burgers fresh, and uses fresh ingredients, albeit ones that are a little more upscale than your usual ketchup and mustard. It’s also a more substantial burger, in my opinion, though it’s something of a compliment to say that the Burger Priest’s burgers left me wanting more…

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