(Originally written November 21, 2013)
Being that I walk by the place twice a day, I was certainly intrigued when the signs first went up for South St. Burger at 360 Bay Street. While it isn’t much of a fast-food area–underground food courts aside–you’d think that a brand-new burger joint might be a welcome addition to the neighbourhood. After all, not every Bay Streeter can afford to eat at Blowfish or John and Sons for every meal!
In fact, I’ve already eaten at South St. twice. I first came in for lunch last week to find the place was still pretty packed shortly after 1 pm. I’d soon seen why–their service is a tad slow, albeit no more so than, say, Big Smoke Burger at the Urban Eatery. Their assembly-line layout lets you choose from a variety of toppings, and if the beef takes a bit longer, it’s cuz they cook it to order. But they’ve also got a line of signature burgers that I felt compelled to try, starting with The Nacho. C’mon, you can’t tell me that a nacho burger doesn’t sound amazing…
The nacho burger is so named because it comes topped with salsa, cheese, guacamole and “jalapeno sour cream.” (Suffice to say I added a few more toppings to mine above.) First things first: the patty is nice and juicy, cooked perfectly. There’s definitely some creaminess from the guac and sour cream, but I was a little disappointed in the salsa, which was milder than a bridge party at grandma’s house. If you’re gonna put salsa on a burger, it’s gotta have some kick to it–and call me crazy, but this is one time I would actually prefer some processed cheese sauce.
That said, the overall experience was fairly pleasant. Being that they were still within their first couple weeks of operation, a manager was quick to ask me how I liked my food and to clear away my trash. I should also mention that this local chain has an arrangement with New York Fries for all their potato needs. Not a fan of their poutine, but on their own, their fries are nice and crispy.
Anyways, I came back a few days later for dinner, and it was much quieter around 7 pm. Hell, there were no more than 10 people in the place–although one guy did make a massive order to bring back to the boys working late in the office. (Accountants, I presume. Hey, it’s beginning to look a lot like tax season…) This time, I went with another South St. specialty, the True North, which is basically beef, extra cheese and bacon. Oh, and some “maple-syrup-infused onions,” although I couldn’t exactly taste the cabane à sucre.
I might lose my Wendy’s Club membership for saying this, but the True North sure beats the hell out of a Baconator. Again, the burger was perfectly cooked, and the bacon was the ideal texture: good chew, but not too chewy nor too crisp. Oh, and big ups for using real cheddar cheese instead of the “orange cheese” you get at your generic burger joint. The onions also added a bit of tang, but like I said, I couldn’t taste the maple syrup.
In any case, while this might not be the best restaurant and Bay and Temperance, it’s certainly the most affordable: a signature-burger combo will only set you back 13-15 bucks after tax. Even if you tip your server, that’s still less than a martini at the Trump Tower!