The start of summer is almost upon us and nothing beats that crave-inducing smell of a burger on the barbecue. You know the one – that savoury, smoky, meaty aroma wafting through the air, often mingling with summery hints of fresh cut grass… and it usually sends us racing home to fire up the grill. Whether you’re an order-in or cook-out kind of burger buff, an exciting day to celebrate the all-mighty beef patty is coming.
Thursday, May 28th is, you guessed it, National Hamburger Day. The origin of the hamburger itself is a topic of hot debate, but most food historians agree that it is named after the German port city of Hamburg, where a hurried Otto Krause fried up a ground beef “steak”, topped it with an egg and slapped it on a bun for portability purposes. German sailors brought along this idea to the United States and, of course, the rest is history. Many global variations of this cooked or raw delicacy existed in some form before the 19th century at a time that minced meat was considered aristocratic, since butchers would have had to hand-grind it in intricately in built homemade machines. Contrarily, the modern-day hamburger was popularized following the First World War when the culinary needs of our society rapidly changed due to industrialization and the emergence of the working class, resulting in a demand for mass-produced, affordable food that could be consumed outside of the home. Enter the commercialized 5¢ hamburger, and conglomerates like McDonald’s were born.
There is no question that hamburgers are one of the greatest creations in history, and some of the best can be found at local hometown restaurants like these:
Fume Restobar, 150 Morrell Street – 548-880-3863 or www.fumerestobar.ca
If you seek a refined taste for your palette, pick up some take-out from Fume Restobar in the elegant Dufferin neighbourhood. Try the classic Fumeburger, Bacon Blue or Aloha at one of Brantford’s newest and most contemporary hotspots. All burgers come with house-made specialty sauces and a side of truffle fries. Fume Restobar is open for take-out lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday.
Goo’s Takeout & Catering, 230 Shellard Lane – 519-752-1111 or www.goostakeout.com
A little bit of everything is available at this west-end grub joint. Keep it classic with a hamburger, cheeseburger, Deluxe or the Bacon Bacon. Jazz it up by trying the Gooburger topped with mozzarella and fried chicken skins, or the Barnyard – a beef patty heaping with cheddar, bacon, pulled pork and chicken fingers. If you’re feeling spontaneous, try something new by upgrading your side to the Big Mac poutine! Goo’s is open for take-out Tuesday through Saturday, 12 pm-8 pm.
Hudson Public Kitchen + Bar, 93 Dalhousie Street – 519-304-4568 or www.hudsonpublic.ca
Located in the heart of downtown, this relaxed pub-style restaurant is distinctly Canadian and has a cozy, familiar, hometown feel. Whether you’re very vegetarian or a committed carnivore, the Beyond Meat burger and the locally-raised Bison burger are sure to hit the spot, or stick with the tried and true Traditional or Canadian Bacon burger with fries, soup, salad, or upgrade to onion rings or sweet potato fries on the side. Open until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays, Hudson Public is open from 11 am until midnight other days of the week.
Lonnie’s on Market, 42 Market Street – 519-752-0011
Lonnie’s on Market is open until an astonishing 4 am Thursday through Saturday, and until 3 am the rest of the week. Lonnie’s keeps it simple offering a Double or Banquet burger, but their sides take the cake. With over thirty variations of poutine and a plate full of “drunk junk” consisting of mozza sticks, potato skins, onion rings and popcorn chicken, what more could you ever want?
On The Lam, 106 Queen Street – 519-756-5177 or www.onthelamrestaurant.com
This quaint, upscale locale offers only one burger, but many Brantfordians say it’s one of the best they’ve ever had. The Chef’s Choice, medium sous-vide burger is only available occasionally from On The Lam’s often-evolving take-out menu during the COVID-19 pandemic, so be sure to check their website or social media platforms for your window of opportunity to get your hands on this masterpiece.
San Franos Carry Out, 95 Charing Cross Street – 519-759-3270
Revered as another one of Brantford’s favourites, this stripey little drive-in with a retro vibe has been around for ages serving up sizzling char-broiled burgers, steaks and hot dogs. San Franos keeps it classic with quarter pound patties and standard toppings, but you can garnish them any way you like for a signature taste. Compliment your burger with a side of deep-fried pickle spears and treat yourself to a creamy, delicious milkshake.
Stacked Burger Bar, 102B-265 King George Road – 519-759-3575 or www.stackedpancakehouse.ca
Stacked Burger Bar is the new kid on the block, recently opening in early May. In addition to the usual suspects, Stacked also offers the Chipotle Breakfast Burger with peameal bacon and fried egg, the BBQ Cowboy topped with frizzled onions, and the Stacked Burger, adorned with zesty buffalo chicken fingers. Delivery or curb-side pick-up is available every day from 11 am to 8 pm.
Zander’s Fire Grill & Brew Lounge, 190 King George Road – 519-304-7625 or www.zanders.ca
This landmark on King George Road has a rock and roll attitude and some of the best burgers in town. Though their trademark rock music-themed burgers like the Triple Decker Tour Bus, Sweet Emotion and Thunderstruck aren’t currently on their take-out menu, they’re serving up a temporary wholesome, Rydell High-approved selection instead. Orders will be taken daily for pick-up between 4:00 & 8:00 pm during COVID-19.
Most of us have been cooking a bit more than usual while we isolate at home, so even if you have a license to grill, put down the flipper, take a break and try ordering one of these awesome local, Brantford burger joints. Happy National Hamburger Day!