First Look: The Burger Press, a new Bathurst Street hamburger joint where the customers call the shots
By Anna Silman
Freedom of The Press (Image: Anna Silman)
The Burger Press is more than just wordplay fodder. At this new takeout hamburger joint at Queen and Bathurst, pre-seasoned patties are literally pressed to the customers’ specifications, making this eatery a unique entry to Toronto’s flourishing burger scene. Add to that its VIP “press pass” for frequent customers and the extra-spicy “press your luck” hot sauce, and the place certainly gets mileage out of its namesake.
As co-owner Michael McRobb explains, there are a number of things that make The Burger Press different from your average burger spot. For one, there’s no pre-set burger size. The patties are pressed out in front of the customer, and for $1.25 an ounce, patrons can choose the exact size of their burgers (as little as 4 oz for a quick snack, or as much as 10 oz for ravenous meat lovers).
Then there’s the meat. While most restaurants rely on the toppings to provide flavour, at The Burger Press, seasoning and spices are found within the patty itself. Spice-fiends can order the El Press-adante, which has a patty seasoned with finely chopped habanero and jalapeño peppers. Blue cheese lovers who don’t want to ham it up for a Blue Steel can indulge in Le Press, which comes seasoned with blue cheese, Dijon mustard and horseradish.
“A burger should have flavour,” McRobb says.
The signature Burger Press patty, made with onions, mushrooms and six different spices, is McRobb’s own personal “backyard recipe” that he’s been cooking at home for over 15 years.
“That’s the difference between us and other burger places,” continues McRobb. “When your mom made your burgers at home, she always chopped up onion and put it in the patty. The meat’s always seasoned. But no restaurant does it like that.”
And there are choices for the meat-averse as well, with salmon burgers ($9.99) available, plus an authentic Lebanese falafel burger ($5.99, pictured below), the recipe of which comes from co-owner Sam Zaytoun’s mother.
The Burger Press also operates without a deep fryer, so you won’t find any French fries here. Instead, potato wedges ($2.99) are cooked in a convection oven, and the falafel is cooked on the grill.
“Nothing’s deep fried here,” says McRobb. “It’s probably the healthiest falafel you’ll ever have.”
The Burger Press opened four weeks ago, and McRobb and Zaytoun are hoping that their DIY approach will become a hit with Toronto burger fanatics. If so, they intend for this location to be the first of a franchise.
But will Torontonians be able to handle this much power? As the saying goes: with great power comes great responsibility. And, we hope, great burgers.
The Burger Press, 167 Bathurst St., 416-862-7737