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Hello faithful fellow readers and followers of The Greater Toronto Burger Scene. I have been away for two weeks being sick, lazy and I suppose taking a mini vacation from writing. But I’m back and I’ve got a new burger to review. Today that burger is one that everybody has heard of. A burger place that is everywhere in the GTA. A place called Hero Certified Burgers.
I’ve never liked this place and it’s not a place I frequent often (well when I lived near one that was open till four in the morning I used to eat their often enough I suppose) but for the purposes of reviewing all the burger joints in the GTA I figured it was time to head back there.
So I popped into my local Hero and perused the menu. They have chicken, salmon and beef burgers. The beef comes in 4, 6 or 8 oz sizes. I walked up to the counter and did my usual. I ordered a 4 oz and asked for a double. The lady behind the counter said I wanted an 8 oz. I said yes but with two 4 oz patties. She said ‘So an 8 oz, that’s how they come’. I said okay and ordered it well done with the usual toppings and fries and a coke.
A quick note here for those to be in the know. Hero Burger was one of the first places I knew that had gourmet toppings. Not as many as the newer places but it was unique at the time. Red pepper relish, guacamole, egg, it was different. And in regards to the 8 oz patty, it used to be a single large 8 oz but now they have apparently switched to using two 4 oz ones.
Well I’m not going to lie, when I sat down to eat my burger I was excited, more excited than I had first been when I walked in. The switch to two 4 oz patties might make the burger better than I remember. My memories linger on bad tasting 8 oz burgers. Also, over at Tasty Burgers (another burger review site that inspired this one) Hero got 0 stars. I have not read the review yet but based on my past experiences I can see why.
So this time I sat with my burger and fries and coke in front of me. Again, as usual I tasted the fries first. Not bad, but not great; thick, somewhat crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Not the best fries in this style but by far not the worst. Maybe they could of been fried a few seconds longer?
Then I bit into the burger. First I’m going to discuss the toppings and the bun. The toppings were great; fresh, ample and flavourful. The pickles were fantastic; the perfect burger pickle experience. The tomatoes were juicy and not to stringy and the onions were robust and yummy. The lettuce was chopped iceberg and to me that is burger lettuce perfection and the bun was great too. It had sesame and poppy seeds, it was perfectly toasted and it was just the right size for the patties. It had a nice texture, it tasted good and it held together as I ate the burger.
So far this sounds like a great burger but what makes or breaks a great burger is the patty and in this regard Hero had not changed much. Their patty was and still is terrible. It tastes like a generic frozen patty but I can buy better frozen patties at the grocers. It has a texture more akin to chunky pudding (yuck!) than a beef patty. It is a very juicy patty but in a weird way as it seems to never stop running out of fat to drip onto my tray, paper and jeans. It was so unappealing that I left the last two bites on my tray and chucked them into the garbage. That is something only done when I am too full, I was not too full I had just had enough.
I have no idea why this burger chain does so well. I have no idea why they have so many locations. I have no idea why people still insist on eating there when there are so many other choices. I have no idea how it was ever voted best burger. I have no idea why this place still exists. I do know however that I will not be returning.
Out of 7 Hero Certified Burger scores 1 (Bun and toppings raise it from 0)