Religious irreverence, squishy buns, American cheese, high-quality freshly ground beef apparently this is what makes a top burger joint in Toronto these days. Reader, I’m sure we both have other favourites. The Drake, Marben and Allen’s all make excellent pub style burgers. The Stockyards has a griddled burger that is pretty close but Holy Chuck Bugers and Burger’s Priest are clearly not just fighting in the same weight class but they’re wearing different shades of the same colour of trunks.
Critics of the lineups be damned, the Priest is clearly the one wearing the title belt.
Now some of you will take their similarity as license to accuse Holy Chuck, who opened this September, a year and a half after Burger’s Priest of being a knock off. To which I say: Calm down. The (modern) burger was invented within a hundred miles of New York City and perfected at drive-ins across California half a century ago–not last summer on a distant stretch of Queen Street next to a KFC. Not to mention that while the beef should be top-quality both American cheese and Wonder Bread style buns are clearly products of standardised, industrial production.
So, with a challenger entering the arena in a gaudy silver robe it’s time for Burger’s Priest to lace up the gloves and defend their title in a fair fight. Obviously, this situation calls for a blind taste test. I could think of no better group to use as guinea pigs than friends Jen, Nina, Mark, Suresh, and Mike who are part of the Spotlight crew and all have palates that I hold in high esteem.
I’ll do a separate post on the methodology but the quick summary is that we each tasted a quarter of the double cheeseburger from each competitor. Both were ordered at the same time, cooked medium, without toppings.
Rest assured we were careful to make this a blind taste test. Actually, the first and nearly unanimous comment was how hard it was to tell the burgers apart. Both were widely praised as top-notch specimens and tasters were surprised by their similarity.
Like Hogan and Macho Man at Wrestlemania V this seemed like a bout between former team mates who had just found themselves too similar to get along.
By a razor-thin 3 – 2 vote Holy Chuck won. Our sixth taster arrived a few minutes late, sampled the two without knowing how we had voted and picked Burger’s Priest.
Clearly, we could not have been closer to a tied vote and still declared a winner.
The Priest’s entry was thought by most to be a bit saltier and those who voted for it found this led to a beefier taste. The meat also had a slightly coarser, more crumbly texture. Holy Chuck seemed a bit juicier, with a smoother, creamier, more cheesy taste. Bun, cheese, and meat seemed more seamlessly tied together in the Holy Chuck burger.
Obviously, there is more to these combatants than just their core burger. Burger’s priest has their secret menu and old-school style; Holy Chuck has seats, delicious milkshakes, and some interesting dessert options. Trust me that we’ll be back for more of these tests
The Burger’s Priest: 1636 Queen Street East, Toronto; 647-346-0617; call ahead to place pickup orders; open 11:30 AM to 9:30 PM Mon – Wed, 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM Thur – Fri, and noon to 10:30 PM Sat.