Up until a few years ago, Toronto’s nickname could have been Toronto the Good (But Our Burgers are Really, Really Awful). We were a city that had Harveys voted in as one of our top burgers. Yikes.
But things changed with restaurants like Stockyards and Burgers Priest offering their homage to American griddled burgers, and suddenly, Toronto’s burger scene isn’t nearly as dreary as it used to be. One style of burger that we were missing is a dirty, 6 napkin, crazy topping burger that you see on the Food Network that disgusts you and makes you salivate at the same time. Enter: Goody’s Diner.
Goody’s opened up 9 months ago with little fanfare. Thanks to one Chowhound post and Toronto’s hunger for a great burger, Goody’s became the east end’s not-so-secret secret diner. There’s no way you would stumble on the restaurant; its located 2 blocks southwest of Warden and Eglinton next to, of all places, one of Toronto’s jails. So who said location is everything?
The interior is quite bare bones, but its clean and simple and a non-cheesy throwback to the ’50’s style diner. But walk towards the far end of the kitchen counter and you’ll feast your eyes on burger nirvana:
THIS is their non-menu burger menu. Call your server over, ask them what’s in each behemoth burger, try not to drool all over the table as he describes each burger, and narrow down your choices to what you want. I didn’t bother reading anything on the menu or considering their specials (although their bacon cheeseburger soup and fried chicken specials sounded artery-hardeningly awesome!). I was there for a burger and nothing else could distract me. I ended up choosing the Highwayman and Robin picked the Rhinelander. “Can we get our burgers medium done?” I asked. “No problem,” was the reply. Sigh! True love awaited!
The Highwayman is composed of these ingredients, starting from the bottom of the burger: bun, zucchini corn relish, 8 ounce burger patty, cheddar cheese, onion rings stuffed with homemade pastrami, Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, a fried egg, Swiss AND Havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion, garlic mayo and a bun. All in one burger. Times like this I wish that I was born with a bigger mouth.
This burger was incredible. It was nowhere nearly as sloppy or greasy as what one would think. The burger, more or less, stayed together for the 7 minutes it took me to put this big boy away. The patty itself was very juicy. I was too enamoured to look for the tell-tale pinkness of a medium burger, but it did have the pleasant mouthfeel and flavour of a patty that wasn’t griddled past its prime. Each bite yielded juicy mouthfuls of tender burger. The patty’s flavours were simple, showcasing the all-meat no-filler flavours. The pastrami didn’t have the spicy heat that I like my pastrami to have, but it was a great home-made meat. The ingredients worked well together and the burger was bloody brilliant.
The Rhinelander burger is made up of: pretzel bun, zucchini and corn relish, 8 ounce burger patty, peameal bacon, carmelized onions, pommery beer mustard, Jalapeno havarti cheese, lettuce, onion, chipotle mayo, bun and coarse salt and cracked black pepper on top of the bun. The smaller pretzel bun is a great choice, since it’s flatter than other buns. It had a nice salt element to it and it supported the burger and condiments well. I think the pictures and the ingredient list speaks for the deliciousness of the burger. We ate the burgers 5 hours ago and the desire to have another one RIGHT NOW is fantastically overwhelming.
Burgers come with a side and a soft drink in a throwback glass bottle. I chose the sweet potato fries and they were pretty good. After eating the burger, though, the fries were just an aside.
My two complaints about Goody’s: their hours are a pain (Monday to Friday, closed after 7 PM and closed on weekends) and it will take multiple visits for us to try all of their burgers. Fortunately, our will is strong, our cholesterol count is admirably low and Goody’s: your burgers are damn good.
17-33 Manville Rd, Toronto ON M1L 4J7
Blog post by Richard, food photos by Robin, menuboard photo by Richard