Earlier this month, I had a chance to sit down with the folks behind Toronto’s newest burger spot, Bareburger. Torontonians love their burgers, and our growing list of burger restaurants shows no signs of slowing down. Bareburger has several locations in the New York area and is expanding throughout North America. It started out as a standalone burger joint in Queens that aimed to turn out great tasting organic burgers, salads and comfort food using organic ingredients from local producers. Bareburger successfully replicated this concept throughout Manhattan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. When I heard Bareburger had chosen our city as their first international location, I wondered how this crew from New York was going to export their “everything local” mandate to Toronto. The Bareburger team and Toronto franchise owner, Raghu Balasa did a great job of finding local suppliers for their sauces, meats, drinks and even the decor - and the result is pretty fabulous. Aside from the name, the space feels uniquely Canadian. Everything, down to the screws holding the place together, is from Toronto and the surrounding area.
Bareburger has a solid menu with enough options to customize burgers for the straightforward lettuce and pickles type and the more adventurous duck bacon and curry ginger ketchup type. They stood out most in the areas that are important but often go unnoticed.
Buns - There are plenty of restaurants that offer burgers on a lettuce bun for the carb concious or gluten intolerant and, in my experience, they're never really satisfying. Executive Chef Andrew Sarda, a North Carolina native, had the brilliant idea of wrapping burgers in a blanched collard green. It's the only bunless burger I've tried where I didn't miss the bun. The collard greens have more flavour - and nutritional value than lettuce and because collards are a thick hearty green they really hold the burger together well.
Fried Chicken - You can taste North Carolina in the crispy fried chicken. It's offered as a sandwich, or burger or salad topping but good enough to order on its own.
Salads - No side salad here, portions are huge and great for sharing. The burgers are great, between the chicken and the salad, this is the only burger place I know where you might not have the burger
Bareburger is located at 111 Dundas Street West, on the southwest corner of Bay and Dundas. If you haven't been, head on down - wrap some meat in a collard green, eat some fried chicken, drink some local beer and thank me when you're full and happy :-)