A tale of two hamburgers

Student Living by

For many people, hamburgers bring to mind bad cafeteria food and mystery meat. But two restaurants are redefining hamburgers, or at least getting back to the good old days.

M:brgr, on Drummond and de Maisonneuve – best classified as diner-chic, with gleaming white tables and ketchup squirt bottles – serves up custom, gourmet hamburgers, spiked milkshakes, and other glamorized versions of hamburger joint classics.

The restaurant doesn’t have appetizers – it is, after all, a burger joint – but the ample main courses suffice. Eaters can choose from the “AAA” burger at the reasonable price of $8.75, or a Kobe Beef burger at $18.75 for true aficionados. Regardless of price, all of their hamburgers are juicy and perfectly cooked.

Other notable menu items include the Big Zak – the glamorous version of the Big Mac – piled high with two burgers and traditional Big Mac toppings, and the fry basket, which includes regular fries, sweet potato fries, and onion strings. Split a giant chocolate chip cookie covered in ice cream and hot fudge with friends to complete an indulgent meal.

Over a dozen toppings can grace your patty, including pulled pork and cucumber-mango relish. The cheese selection rivals that of Atwater Market, including thick slices of Gouda and Brie. But be wary: a slice of cheese may only cost a couple of dollars, but the truffle shavings will cost more than your cell phone bill. It’s also easy to lose track of toppings, and before you know it, each bite will be worth $2.

While the food is worth the price tag, the over-stimulating atmosphere takes away from the M:brgr experience. Loud music blares even in the early afternoon, and combined with bright lights and big screen televisions, it is not a cozy, romantic, or even friendly environment. You are sure to leave M:brgr feeling as full as you might have at a 1950s-style diner, but without the feel-good vibe.

Ultimately, M:brgr is a great place to go when your parents – or anyone else who isn’t on a student budget – are in town. It’s not a good place for a first date, or to talk about anything important. But in the meantime, stop by for lunch during the week, when an AAA burger, fries, and soft drink will only set you back $12.75. Put your savings towards a spiked milkshake – because who doesn’t want some ice cream and Bailey’s in the middle of the day?

And if you’re not in the mood to splurge on ground beef and potatoes, head over to Patati Patata on St. Laurent and Rachel. This 13-seat burger joint serves made-to-order sliders, poutine, and beer for under $10. It’s probably the exact opposite of M:brgr, from the understated food to the friendly atmosphere. Patati Patata doesn’t try to make hamburgers sophisticated, but it’s a step up from frozen patties and doesn’t cost much more. You can even watch your entire meal being prepared behind the bar – from salad to burger to poutine.

M:brgr: 2025 DrummondPrice: $15-20 per personPatati Patata: 4177 St. LaurentPrice: $7-10 per person