The Great Burger Brouhaha
T.O. is obsessed with burgers. Just walk around your ’hood and see how many burger bars you encounter. See?
Still, the question remains: who makes the best burger in town? We grilled old-school fave Burger Shack’s Joe Batshon and Burger’s Priest’s chuck-master Shant Mardirosian (opening a new Yonge & Lawrence location soon) and asked them all the meaty questions.
The Legendary Shack VS. The Rookie Priest
|Joe Bashton, 1981||Owner & year opened||Shant Mardirosian, 2010|
|I came here to Canada from Israel in 1980. My sister and my brother bought the business. I loved it. I stayed with it. I like what I’m doing. I like to cook from my soul!||Tell us: why did you decide to get into the burger biz?||One night, me and my buddy decided to get something to eat. We said we couldn’t get a good burger here — but we could get one in New York. So we hopped in the car and went to New York. I decided to bring [good burgers] to Toronto.|
|I used to fix cars in a garage.||Previous ventures?||This is my first business. I was a waiter and a seminary student before.|
|The spices we put in. Everyone loves them. But we can’t tell you what the spices are. I also grind my meat three times. Some people do it once or twice.||So what’s the secret to making a great burger?||It starts with the beef, the quality of it, how it’s handled. The freshness is important. You can do it charbroiled or flat-top; I prefer flat-top.|
|We get it from a small butcher on the Danforth.||Where do you source your beef?||We don’t discuss anything about the beef.|
|No relish.||Any burger no-nos?||No relish.|
|One lady asked me for five Banquet Burgers: each with three patties, three slices of cheese and nine slices of bacon.||Most burgers you’ve seen consumed?||One guy had five doubles. So that’s 40 ounces of meat.|
|Actually, it’s our Banquet Burger: With cheese and bacon.||Your most popular burger?||The Vatican City: A double — but the buns are grilled cheese sandwiches.|