The Burg Burger & Bar

10190 104 St.


Food: 3 of 5 Suns

Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns

Service: 3.5 of 5 Sun

Dinner for two, excluding beverages: Basic, $30, loaded $70


I am conflicted when it comes to reviewing the downtown’s latest trendy restaurant, The Burg Burger and Bar at 104 Street and 102 Avenue.

For the choice of location, the interior design and the overall look, magnificent, 4.5 of five stars!

For the actual food itself, from a critical point of view, barely a three.

But for the food, as in attracting as many people as possible through the front doors, closer to a four.

The food, you see, is all about burgers — four hamburgers, a bison, turkey, fish, vegan and two chicken burgers constitute all the main courses, plus a “build-your-own” option. I’m not sure how much more unadventurous a restaurant could be.

But on a Friday at 6 p.m., The Burg’s loosely defined bar area is two-thirds full. The dining area (one flows into the other) has the usual assortment of youngish adults in twos and fours, but there’s also a family of six with young’uns, and another group of four senior ladies, out for an early evening on the town.

You want the widest socio-demographic spectrum possible? Serve’em burgers.

You want to put off any self-respecting food reviewer? Offer them nothing but burgers.

Back to the décor, which is so well done.

The last restaurants in this space, Ric’s Grill and then for an eye-wink the 104 St. Grill, were all about corporate, old-style dining – privacy and booths. The Burg has opened up the space, as if it was an immense, airy, spacious warehouse loft but on the ground floor. The best elements of the historic space have been retained. The modern touches have been carefully thought through to compliment the old.

Likewise, the big space — almost 200 seats — is subtly multi-purpose. The bar is at the front, but as it fills can comfortably expand into a combo dining/bar area without causing diners discomfort. It could be a sports bar, a conversation bar, or a family-friendly dining spot.

The service is excellent, the staff attentive and helpful. Everybody’s in the same The Burg shirts ‘n’ jeans, including the kitchen staff in the back … to cook and serve nothing but burgers!

I wouldn’t mind if these were all-star burgers. But they’re not. As far as gourmet burgers go, they’re OK — the meat in my bison burger was a bit dry, but that’s expected from bison. The fancy fixings sounded real good on the menu, but weren’t memorable in the mouth.

The signature Burg burger was most distinguished for having two onion rings inside the burger, which meant my mouth – and it’s a big one – couldn’t stretch wide enough. The brown buns are advertised as brioche, but I didn’t taste any of the billowy, extra-egg sweetness that defines brioche. They might as well have been your basic brown buns.

From the predictable appetizer list, we opted for prosciutto-wrapped prawns and two halibut tacos. Again, the menu appeal was good, but the actual appies were nothing to rave about.

Which brings us to the next sticking point. Prices.

Boy, is this place expensive! The Burg is charging $12 to $15 for its burgers, and, get this, sides like fries, pickles or salads are an extra $4 to $6. That’s pushing the price point too far. Two appetizers, two burgers and a shared apple crisp dessert, not including drinks, GST or tip, totalled $63. By the time we left, the bill was teetering on $100 — for a meal built around two burgers!

I’m willing to pay a premium for top quality, but the Burg burgers would not crack the Top 10 in any city-wide best-tasting gourmet burger contest. Likewise, the all-burger formula may be a winning one, but these prices will discourage repeat visits.

Kudos to The Burg for everything … except the food.

Graham Hicks

780 707 6379