Worshipping at the altar of The Burger’s Priest Option

Burger's Priest Option
The Burger’s Priest Option

While they represent another addition to the city’s fixation on homely-gone-haute dining—see our ongoing obsessions with the taco or the poutine—vegetarians have had few mouth-shattering, and creative, local hamburger options. Which isn’t to say that we’re devoid of solid meatless options: Hogtown Vegan‘s grease-bomb of a Big Mac, for example, satiates comfort-food cravings; Cruda Cafe, in St. Lawrence Market, has a wild mushroom-nut burger, which is a raw-food delight but only a burger by the loosest of definitions; countless others, meanwhile, offer up variations on the traditional ground soy patty. Still, many of Toronto’s veggie burgers choose to be either soul-nourishing or inventive. Rarely are they both.

It’s surprising, then, that one of Toronto’s most lust-inducing veggie burgers—and one that’s simultaneously unusual and homely—comes from The Burger’s Priest, a cheeseburger joint known to make carnivores wobbly kneed. You’ve likely heard the hype: If you believe its marketing materials, it’s a religious joint, but it truthfully worships at the altar of Alberta beef.  It’s a restaurant billing itself as anti-gourmet, serving impossibly crumbly, formed-to-order patties to classic American standards. And the lineups are legendary, even during off-times, despite their decidedly less-than-trendy locations at Queen and Coxwell and Yonge and Lawrence.

It’s classic. Traditional. Eerily Catholic. So, were we betting folk, we wouldn’t count on them having a decent veggie burger. But one bite into Burger’s Priest’s Option burger proved us wrong. Very wrong.

Disclaimer: The Option isn’t vegan (sadly). And at first glance, topped with traditional accoutrements—lettuce, onion, tomato, ketchup and mustard, squished in a white bun—its patty-croquette doesn’t look appealing. Don’t let that deter you. Coated in a crisp, airy panko batter, the Option’s patty is glorious in its simplicity: It’s simply two mushroom caps crushed by a solid mass of grated cheese. One bite in, here’s how it looks:

the burger's priest option

Portabello burgers, of course, aren’t a rarity, but there’s few that are textured quite like the Option. The mushrooms, loosely packed and griddle-fried, provide the burger’s intense, earthy base. The dense cheese blend—heated, but not to the point of stringiness—provides a creamy, artery-clogging wallop. And the panko crusting provides a pleasant crunch, without overwhelming with its greasiness. The result: An addictively offbeat burger—which counterbalances its uninspiring toppings—that’s just as melt-on-your-tongue, and swoon-inducing, as any of the Priest’s meat offerings. (Not that I’d know.)

Paired with its hand-cut, slightly oversalted fries—which gives the potato an excellent, kettle-chip quality—we’re buying what Burger’s Priest is preaching. There’s a Cheesus Crust joke to be made here, but we’re not going to be the ones to make it. Hosannah!


Article written by Mark Teo



Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 2035 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography