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A few months back I joined a poker club in east end Scarborough. I have a few routes I travel to get there, one of them being Bloor Street which turns into the Danforth and I just keep going straight through Greek Town and all the way till I hit the Scarbs. I tell you this because as you drive along the Danforth you will pass a plethora of burger joints. I want to eat at all of them eventually but the one that stuck in my mind the most was Retro Burger.
Well after a few weeks or so I finally made it out there. Not to the Danforth location mind you but the Eglinton location (which is also pretty close to my club). I apple mapped it on my phone, drove over making many a red light and finally pulled into their small parking lot. I was hungry, excited and ready to try a new burger.
Walking in there were a few (3 or 4) tables, one guy waiting for food, a condiment counter and signage on the walls of the type you would find in a 60’s style diner. You know, metallic pepsi ads and such. i Walked up to the counter and read the menu that was posted above the counter a la McDonald’s and the like. I knew I was getting fries and a Dr. Pepper (sadly no Coke) but I couldn’t decide between a single or double. At 5 oz a patty I opted for the double (I love my doubles) and placed my order. I think the whole thing was just over ten bucks. Not bad.
Before I took a seat I glanced over at the cook and the grill/flattop. He took my patties out of a drawer and placed them on the grill. They were of the frozen variety of patty. This in itself is not a bad thing but it’s up in the air on how it could taste. It could be A1 like Apache Burger or just okay like Steer Inn. It didn’t take long for them to call me up to place the toppings on the toasted kaiser bun; pickles, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, mustard, lettuce as per usual.
I went back to my table and dug into the rather larger order of fries that came with the burger. What can I say but that they were yummy. Perfectly cooked, perfectly crispy and mighty delicious. But, and I say but hesitantly, the fries from Steer Inn that I had eaten not to long before were so good and made such a long lasting impression on me that I couldn’t help compare and they weren’t as good. Pretty damn close though.
Let’s get back to the burger… Before I bit into I looked it over. Honestly, just by looking I could tell this was not going to be a great burger. It was going to be just like Steer Inn considering it looked identical. I don’t think I’d be able to tell which was which in a quiz. The bun was large, soft, dense, a typical kaiser burger bun, the patties fit perfectly on it, the toppings looked pretty fresh. Well I figured it was about time to taste the burger, the average nothing special burger. I bit into it and…
I was wrong. It was better than Steer Inn. It was tasty. It was juicy. It was great. Now it wasn’t as good as Apache but it was like I said better than Steer Inn. It was in effect a mix between the two of them. Considering these three places are very similar it’s an easy comparison to make. Apache sits at the top of the list (and probably always will) and Steer Inn at the bottom. Retro Burger fits nicely in the middle.
It’s very hard to describe why it’s better than one and not as good as the other or why it’s a combination of the two but I’ll try. Steer Inn throws a burger on the grill and cooks it. When you eat it it tastes okay but generic. Apache throws a burger on the grill and uses a spatula to almost chop it up as it cooks. When you eat it it tastes better than average and just awesome. Retro Burger doesn’t go as far as Apache in flavour and taste or awesomeness but it trumps Steer Inn quite nicely. Maybe it’s the charcoal they use or something? They pretty much have the same texture, the same toppings and the same bun (Apache probably has the freshest toppings but they are the busiest).
I’m not sure I conveyed how this burger is exactly or even discussed it’s merits well enough so let me know in the comments but I hope I but across the experience I had and the experience you will have if you eat here. And you should cause it’s a good burger. Fresh patties are all the rage but every once in a while a classic style frozen patty burger hits the spot if it’s done right and Retro Burger fits the bill. Especially if you are on the east end of the city (and nowhere near Apache).
Out of 7 Retro Burger scores 5