I've been looking for a good neighborhood burger place since moving back to Toronto. Problem is, in my immediate neighborhood there isn't one. But trekking a little farther (and by a little farther, I mean a 15 minute walk from home) I had on a previous venture found a possible contender, but had never gone in. Well now I have.
Watch out, because you might just walk past Burger Brats. It's in the basement of a building underneath another eatery with a bigger sign, on a stretch of street that is void of a lot of commercial business shopping but it is right beside a fire station. But being on the edge of clubland, this stretch has some late night eats (burritos, poutine, etc) and Burger Brats certainly caters to that crowd.
Inside the decor is pretty simple, but it works. There isn't a lot of seating, but I suspect their big open area to the cash is for big line ups at 2am on Saturday morning (they stay open till 4am). There was only one other patron when I was there. Skye took my order, I didn't wait long, and soon a fresh burger was grilled up and brought out by the cook to me.
They have a wipe board menu of burgers, dogs and sandwiches. The burgers have fun names like "The Adelaide" (BB is on Adelaide street, and consists of goat cheese, lettuce tomato, onion, maple syrup, bbq sauce & garlic mayo for $7.49), The Angry Texan (grilled cheese bread bun, peameal bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, chipotle mayo, egg and fresh jalapenos $9.99) or burger I got, The Fire House. And don't forget their special burger, The Great Canadian HANGOVER! - a 3, 6oz patty burger with peameal bacon, cheese, mushrooms, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, an egg, and special sauce. Actually eat this sandwich, and join the "Bratt Pack" in photo honour on their website.
The 10 burgers do not include sides and run from the basic (or 'classic') at $5.34 to the Hangover at $14.99. They also do special burgers each month (Right now they have the The Adam Crunch ~ Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Pickles, Special Sauce, Cheddar and Ruffles BBQ Chips). You can add sides (fries, onion rings, sweet potato fries), go bigger with poutine or Tex-Mex Fries, or make it a fry & pop combo for $3.50. Pop refills are free when dinning in. They also have milkshakes, but I was feeling a soft drink more.
I was very tempted to have Tex-Mex fries, but my combo was pricey enough as it was, and I didn't need to feast, so I went with classic fries. I was happy with these fries - I needed to season them as they came out plain, but they tasted like good chip truck fries. Skin on, crispy, but soft at the same time. And a generous portion I nearly didn't finish.
My burger was The Fire House Burger. "CAUTION HOT!! Cheddar cheese, fresh cut jalapenos, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo." This was not a massive burger, but it was a good one. Everything complimented each other well: super fresh/soft bun; meaty beef patty that had a nice crispy crust to the outside; creamy but hint of spicy mayo; grilled onions and crisp veggies. I love the contrasts of the appropriately cold veggies to the melty cheese and warm meat to the soft bun. The jalapenos were actually not that hot, and I think I would prefer them grilled.
There's nothing fancy about Burger Brats. The place isn't that warm or exciting. The food is not falling into the gourmet burger crowd (which is a good thing). The toppings are simple, the burgers are simple, the sides are simple, and it works. I think the price is a bit high, but what isn't these days. I will go back for another burger fix, or maybe try their hot dogs and Tex-Mex fries.
254 Adelaide St. West, Toronto ON
PS: just before publishing I noticed this in the NOW Magazine newspaper: