Burgers are always a fun food. I remember how, as a kid, I’d root through my fridge and look for all sorts of fun toppings to put underneath the bun. Some toppings made sense (barbeque sauce), while others were a bit on the strange side (rippled potato chips, corn nibblets). While half of the fun was eating the tasty burger, the other bit of fun came from building a wobbling tower of deliciousness.
For those looking for their own edible tower of deliciousness, may I introduce to you: Holy Chuck.
The menu’s divided into a greasy spoon’s Holy Trinity: burgers, shakes and fries. When you read over the ample menu, you realize that its a delicious heart attack waiting to happen. Its burgers are similar in principle to Toronto’s other Burger Renaissance restaurants. The meat’s ground by hand, griddled and served on neat metal mini trays.
No need to worry about a hidden menu here: all of their burger options are listed in detail. I eyeballed the menu and was excited about one extra that other Toronto burger joints don’t offer: chili on your burger (beer chocolate chili, to be exact). I decided on the Grind ‘n Shine (double bacon cheeseburger, caramelized onions, a fried egg & topped with crispy fries) and even though I should have tasted it “as is” first before making any executive decisions, I opted to have it topped with chili. Chili on burgers is common in Winnipeg where I grew up, but it’s hard to find it as an option in Toronto and I was just too excited to resist. Robin ordered the Big Bad Wolf (two beef patties fried in ball park mustard with caramelized onions), as it closely resembled the “Animal Style” burger from In n Out Burger. All of the best burger places in Toronto are doing their take on it and she likes to try each burger joint’s version.
We decided to splurge and ordered the Holy Chuck Fries. Out west, burger enthusiasts know about “Chili Cheese Fries.” Holy Chuck goes one step further and offers fresh hand cut fries with bacon, double cheese and beer chocolate chili. After reading their milkshake menu, Robin settles on Nutella and salted caramel shake and I chose the bacon, fudge and sea salt shake.
My Grind ‘n Shine burger was a delicious mess, oozing with flavour (read: yummy fat) and rich in toppings. Robin’s Big Bad Wolf was just as good, with the strong mustard flavour giving the burger that “animal-style” flavour that we love. The patties were moist and flavourful. As we ate the burgers, we picked away the Holy Chuck fries. The beer and chocolate flavour was present and accounted for and there was a healthy dose of it covering the nicely cooked fries. Personally, I dig a small kick of vinegar to cut the dark richness of the chilli and fries, and I know some people will cringe when they read that, but its a tiny add-on ingredient that I wish I’d had to give the fries another dimension.
I left the milkshakes for last for a reason. People can debate who make Toronto’s best burger or tastiest fries until they’re blue in the face, but no one can debate who makes the best milkshakes… Yet. Burgers Priest is adding them to their menu soon, but for now Holy Chuck wins, hands down. The milkshake’s consistency was perfect and both of us loved the perfect touch of salt in our shakes. The little hint of bacon and the mouth blasts of sea salt mixed perfectly with the fudge. I could drink these bad boys all day. Robin thought the salted caramel and Nutella was craftily executed and was a must have if you visit the restaurant.
Both of us left completely stuffed (and unable to eat dinner later) for $40. It isn’t cheap, but for an occasional splurge and a hit of burger nostalgia, its certainly worth it. And if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can always order the Go Chuck Yourself: six patties, six slices of cheese, triple bacon, caramelized onions and stacked between three grilled cheese sandwiches. If you can finish that, fries and a shake in 6 minutes, you get your meal for free and your picture goes up on their wall. The best time right now is 3 minutes! Think you can do better?