Obviously we like our mother pops, and the most popular hamburger joints round the country are virtually all individually owned, but there are specific occasions in life—overnight layovers, hungover Sunday mornings, all-day shopping journeys in the outlets—that the only real options around would be the chains. Squence Of Events is here now that will help you decide when to choose the hamburger, so when you are best staying with the chicken fingers.
[Photographs: Erin Jackson]
Hero Certified Burgers
77 Wellesley St. Toronto ON (map )
28 locations in Ontario, plus much more in the future. Full list at heroburgers.com
The Schtick: Chain serving 100 % Heritage Angus beef burgers, sourced from the select number of maqui berry farmers in Western Canada
The Hamburger: A bland, mushy, cooked from frozen mess
Want Fries With This? The poutine is not bad, but I'd just stick to the shakes
Setting: Brightly-lit, semi-comfortable fast casual restaurant which makes an issue about the caliber of their beef, but nonetheless serves lousy burgers
Cost: four-ounce Hero Hamburger, $4.99 six-ounce Hero Hamburger, $5.99 poutine, $4.99 chocolate shake, $3.99
Several things have altered within the (nearly) 2 yrs since i have left Toronto. Massive skyscrapers and condo developments abound, there's shiny new subway cars, and Hero Certified Burgers has become the key homegrown hamburger chain. I still remember once the first location opened up in 2003 within the trendy Hazelton Lanes food court, enabling you to pay attention to a pianist while eating lunch also it felt natural to pay for extra for any better-than-average hamburger. In individuals days, a hamburger cost $5 to $8, and also the city was still being becoming accustomed to the thought of "premium burgers." Other operators had attempted the idea (and unsuccessful) but Hero were built with a winning formula: The burgers were a substantial step-up from junk food fare, while being affordable and consistently good.
The idea has continued to be consistent through the years. Burgers can be found in three sizes (four, six, and eight ounces), and could be capped with 31 different toppings, including premium cheeses like Swiss Emmenthal and Fior di Latte, plus sauces like Horseradish Dijon, mango, and guacamole. About 50 % from the toppings have the freedom others will cost you an additional 79 to $1.29.
The chain has grown to twenty-eight locations, with two more within the works, but on the way, the standard has had a nosedive.
For the busyness that Hero makes about its beef, including it's the opportunity, hormone and antibiotic free, and sourced from 100 % Angus stock (that's also halal), there's an important factor missing: It isn't fresh. Yes, individuals premium burgers produced from "certified beef" are frozen once they hit the grill .
As you may expect, that fatal flaw flatlines any chance the hamburger might have for texture. The meat am completely pulverized it may as well have emerge from an aerosol can. It didn't have char, and it was rubbery, spongy, and completely without having any beef flavor. Every, freshest toppings could not have saved this hamburger, and mine were about badly because the beef. The veggies were beyond bland and also the ancho chipotle sauce was excess of-portioned and thus weirdly sweet it had become all I possibly could taste.
My friend's large six-ounce hamburger with walnut chipotle barbecue sauce and also the standard roughage wasn't any better. The sauce seemed to be way out of whack and squirted out each side from the bun each time she attempted to consider a bite, that was two times. Next, each of them hit the bin. Existence is simply too short for burgers this bad .
Any expect saving your food rested around the poutine. which switched to be passably ok. Your skin-on fries were decently crisp and attractive, although the gravy was a little too heavy (and bland), it had been still a lot more satisfying compared to burgers. Truly good poutine requires soft curds which are so fresh, they squeak in your teeth. On Hero's version, the curds were completely melted and did not possess the prized bouncy texture. For $4.99, it comes down to just like you'd expect for a quick-casual restaurant, but no better.
Ordering a shake together with two burgers and poutine felt shameful at that time, however it switched out to become a good decision. The shake, produced from vanilla soft serve combined with milk and chocolate syrup, switched out is the best area of the meal. Initially, it had been so thick that could simply be consumed having a spoon (because of the fact it's 90 % frozen treats ), however it settled right into a sweet, thick, slurry which was really worth $3.99.
In Toronto, you will find better poutine at the official poutineries (like Smoke's. another homegrown chain, with locations in seven provinces), as well as the cost, it might be difficult to get a much better shake. I'd return to try the premium flavors like mint chocolate nick or caramel, but that is the final time I consume a Hero hamburger.
About the writer: Erin Jackson is really a food author and professional photographer who's obsessive about finding the very best eats in North Park. You'll find all her breakthroughs on her behalf recently-launched food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax