Tongues are wagging over The Burger’s Priest Toronto chain-phenom that set up in Edmonton last month. This marks the eighth location but the first one outside of Ontario. There’s a burger hole in Edmonton, and Shant Mardirosian has set his sights to fill it.
Forgive me, but, what the hell is with that name? The nutshell explanation is that, for a time, Mardirosian had serious thoughts of entering the priesthood, took a step back, went to New York, fell in love with the burger culture there and set his sights on something more contentious than religion itself: offering what he defines as the “classic burger” to the masses.
Everyone has an opinion on what makes a burger worth talking about, and worth going back for, so here’s mine:
Firstly, the burger contains beef, salt and pepper, and that’s it. No filler, no egg yolks, no crackers or breadcrumbs. Just beef. That’s important because what you should want, most of all, is to taste that beef. They use “ultra premium” beef but they won’t disclose the source. That irks me because I like to know these things, and as a customer, I think I have a right to know where my meat comes from. Not sure what “ultra premium beef” is either. Perhaps the cows have been ordained by God himself to bless us with divine meat. I’m less irked, though, knowing that they grind their beef on the spot every day and don’t use any meat that’s been ground the day before. Fresh is good.
For those reasons alone, the burgers taste different from — as in better than — other burgers in the fast-food industry. And yes, this is still considered a fast-food restaurant. I went on a Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. hoping to avoid lineups. It was relatively quiet and I placed and received my order in the span of 10 minutes.
Secondly, they use a flat-top to grill their burgers and every burger comes as a cheeseburger. All these methods amount to what Mardirosian says makes their burgers “classic” and how (I say) burgers used to taste before pre-formed, frozen, over-seasoned, grey-matter patties flooded the fast-food market.
I’m a brioche bun fan but at Burger’s Priest, the buns are plain, white bread buns. They don’t make a statement one way or another. They’re soft. They’re good, and they don’t stand in the way of tasting the patties or the toppings. Speaking of toppings, every burger comes with the standard lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. What you won’t find is relish.
You can order a single or double cheeseburger at Burger’s Priest or you can go all hellfire and brimstone with combinations and toppings never seen before in Edmonton like the Vatican City with Smoke, a double cheeseburger smashed between two grilled cheese buns with a topping of panko-crusted, deep-fried jalapeños. You can smoke any burger, and you can ramp it up by asking for the option (roasted portabello mushrooms, breaded and deep-fried). The Burger’s Priest is very good about accommodating your likes and wants.
You’re going to need help, because things are a little overwhelming with the Burger’s Priest menus — menus, as in two: the one hanging on old hymn boards above the cash register, and the secret one on the website that you should study before bellying up to the counter.
The secret menu is where the wicked things are: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Judgement Day, the Tower of Babel and the Religious Hypocrite, to name a few. This menu is only accessible after successfully answering a skill-testing question about Noah and the Ark.
Some of the most successful business ventures have a dash of sass, and serving of shtick. The Burger’s Priest has both, in spades.
To find out what I thought about the Double Magnum, Peter’s Denial (featured in the cover picture of this post) and other rapturous rations, listen here to my CBC Edmonton AM review with Mark Connolly.
Really want to hear the choir sing? Click here.
The Burger’s Priest: 10148 – 109th Street, Edmonton.