Bongo Burger Bar in Sherwood Park – Boffo, blah or blech?

Yesterday, a blurb in the Edmonton Journal about a new burger joint in Sherwood Park caught my eye. The new burger place, called the Bongo Burger Bar, is an offshoot of Jungle Jim’s Eatery located in the Roadking truckstop on the north end of Broadmoor Boulevard. 

What sets the BBB apart from other burger establishments? Mark Siderson—credited as Chief Bongo—answers, “First and foremost, the flavors and quality of Planet Earth’s Best Selection of WORLD-Class Burgers!” BBB offers 35 hand-made burgers made from your choice of either an eight ounce beef patty, or a six ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast, or a six ounce crispy-coated chicken breast. The press release states that the BBB is located in “the friendly confines of the Roadking Travel Centre”. That was reassuring because I planned to take my kids, and the last place I wanted them to be was in an unfriendly burger confine. You know how those travel centre patrons can get sometimes.

Part of the press release:

“Now, you may have guessed it already, but at the Bongo Burger Bar, we like having a little fun! So, if you think you can play the Bongo’s, the Burger Bar has a treat in store for you! Just dare to play the bongos for us…and your fellow Guests…and you could walk away with your very own authentic Bongo Burger Bar Bongos…Did we mention that it’s a little nutty at the Bongo Burger Bar?”

Despite the fact that the BBB is an offshoot of a chain, and despite their abominable use of alliteration and their penchant for making proper nouns out of random words in their press release, I was still intrigued. Off we went to the Bongo Burger Bar on Broadmoor Boulevard and bunkered down in a bamboo booth. (Two can play this game.)

The décor, as you might imagine in a place called Jungle Jims Eatery, is like Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville on steroids: plastic parrots, strings of coloured lights, silk tropical plants, neon signs in shapes of palm trees, the appropriate amount of beer paraphernalia and booth benches upholstered in a soil-resistant fabric featuring ghastly Hawaiian print. It was everything I expected.

The waitress brought us our drinks and told us the burgers were really good because “Like, the meat is actually, like, real meat…” We settled on the Teriyaki Pineapple Burger, the BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger and the CHEEZE Please! Burger and waited. My step-son said, “I’m scared.” He’s 15.

Here’s what I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect the burgers to be so damn good. Eight ounces? At least.

All three were hot, juicy and had great flavour combinations. I took a bite of my teriyaki burger and was rewarded with a stream of juice running down my chin. That’s definitely a sign of a good burger. The kids gave a thumbs up for their burgers as well.

So here’s the thing: the burgers may be hand-made, but those fries and onion rings came right out of a bag and unfortunately all three sides ended up being luke-warm and soggy with grease. But as far as the burgers go? Those were bloody beautiful, bar none.

Author: Twyla Campbell

World-wide wanderer, CBC Edmonton AM Restaurant Reviewer, Member of Edmonton’s Slow Food convivium, oenophile, epicurean explorer and a freelance writer whose works have appeared in several magazines and newspapers including More, Above & Beyond, Avenue (Edmonton), Up Here, Northern Flyer, Opulence, City Palate, the Edible Prairie Journal, The Edmonton Journal, Slow Food Canada, Lifestyle Alberta, and on Slow Food Edmonton’s website. Grant MacEwan University (Professional Writing Program) Bachelor of Applied Communications Degree (in progress). I’m a Tweeter @wanderwoman10

14 thoughts on “Bongo Burger Bar in Sherwood Park – Boffo, blah or blech?

  1. We took our 2 children to this place for supper the other day, and it was by far one of the WORST places we have EVER been! The food tasted awful, it was cold and extremely bland. In fact the kids complained of tummy ache after supper, then vomited on the way home in the minivan. This place should not be in business! The cook came out of the kitchen a couple of times and was picking his nose in front of people. The lady serving drinks at the bar was also picking her nose while eating her supper from a Tupperware container. Very, very unprofessional, and quite terrible in fact. This place doesn’t even have a bathroom, you have to use the truck stop’s bathroom facilities. In short, avoid this unsanitary place.

  2. Well, your experience is definitely worthy of the “blech!” rating! I hope you spoke to the manager about the unsanitary habits of the staff; those kinds of things need to be addressed immediately.

    As far as the food goes: we went back for a 2nd visit and it was a bust. The burgers were like hockey pucks: dry, hard, burnt. Not good…I don’t think we’ll be going back either. Too bad because our first experience was pretty good. It looks like the bloom is off the rose at this Jungle.

  3. They have great homemade burgers and awesome fries as well. There were over 20 different burger choices and most were priced at only $11. Best burgers in Sherwood Park!

  4. just got back from the bongo burger bar. My wife and I have gone there 4 times before for the Tuesday 2 for 1 burger special. BUT, something has changed new waitress….poor service, left us sitting for ten minutes before she came out of the back. I asked her if it was 2 for 1 Tuesday she mumbled and walked away. We ordered 3 burgers (they where not as good as previous) got the bill for 3 burgers. I asked her if it was 2 for 1 Tuesday as I expected to pay for 2 burgers. She said my boy did not finish his fries so it was full price. I called bullS*&^ and after having to talk to another waitress and telling the first waitress she was full of crap I finally got $9 off the burger. I am done with this place this use to be our Tuesday family spot, NO MORE. BONGO BURGER BAR…if you want to go out of business your doing a good job.

  5. It’s really unfortunate what I’m hearing about the Bongo Burger Bar lately. The place had potential…but they are heading for disaster and doing it at warp speed. Too bad; I thought they had a shot.

  6. We wanted to try their burgers for my wife’s birthday. Noone wa sin the place at 4pm when I went in. 2 waitresses wouldn’t even leave the back counter to greet me. They were playing some kind of music that was all about havinf sex and should have had some words “bleeped” out, hardly family atmosphere. I ordered 2 burgers and when I went to pay they told me 2 for 1 did not apply to the take out! Foood was just ok….. beware……

  7. Sounds like many people are experiencing terrible service here. I went for the first time in April with my wife and daughter after hearing the 2 for 1 ad on 630 CHED. The food wasn’t bad but the waitresses were too busy talking to each other. When our bill came she didn’t apply the 2 for 1 offer. I asked her and she said she forgot. There were no ads in the restaurant and she didn’t tell us about the offer before we ordered. We thought we’d give the place another try in June and what a disappointment. There were 2 waitresses talking at the back and they completely ignored us. There were only 2 other families in the place… not exactly busy. After our order came we were ignored again. I wanted another order of fries (endless fries…), well the waitress acted like I was disturbing her by asking. She didn’t even ask us once how the food was or if we needed anything. It took 15 minutes for my fries to come! I didn’t leave a tip and she scoffed after looking at the bill when it printed from the handheld device. We are never going back to this place. As another person here put it…if you want to go out of business you’re doing a good job.

  8. Went to the Bongo Burger Bar yesterday with my family for their special that I heard on 630 ched. I was worried because of all of the negative comments.

    Overall? I loved the place! The waitress seemed a bit new but she was very approachable and the special (2 burgers for $13) was a great deal. A surprise to me was that they also had something called ‘pay by your height’ where kids paid by how tall they were. My son got his kids meal for only $1.70 which was great! Overall for our family of 3 to eat out it came to around $20 plus tip which is exceptional. Best of all the burgers were REALLY good and juicy. The fries left something to be desired but were good enough and bottomless.

    Overall I thought the value of this place was excellent and the food followed. Service was good – our waitress was a bit timid but the service was up to par. The place was lively and it felt like the servers were having a genuinely good time which is what we love when eating out. Going in with low expectations we were blown away and will happily return!

  9. I think Anonymous’ comment on Sept 28 was from either the owner or an employee. They’re trying to get some positive reviews out there because there are too many negative ones.

  10. Went for dinner yesterday and it was pretty good. Server said they had new menus so the food took extra time. Burgers were worth the wait. There were many different types of burger selections from weird to standard. Service was good if not a little too casual. Lots of joking and goofing around. It is a jungle atmosphere so I guess this didn’t bother me too much. Overall not mind blowing but I’d definitely return. Wasn’t very busy. Restaurant was clean and had free wifi which was great for us truckers. Am on the road alot so I always look for different places to eat. While this wasn’t the best meal I ever had it was pretty good. My biggest complaints would be I thought liquor prices were pretty high for casual dining ($6 a pint) and lack of other menu items aside from burgers.

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