Location: 994 Queen Street West, Toronto
Frankie’s has apparently been around for 35 years. I say apparently because I had never heard of it before a few weeks ago, and it certainly appears to be a new restaurant. However, a review at blogTO (which is, oddly, the only thing that pops up when you Google this joint outside of sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon) claims that it is a years-old neighbourhood standby. Okay, if you say so, blogTO. I should really make some calls and do some research, but that sounds like a lot of work. What do I look like, a journalist?
Anyway, a place this mediocre really isn’t worth that much thought or effort. The restaurant’s sign hilariously proclaims that these are the “world’s best burgers.” They’re not even Queen Street’s best burgers.
The menu offers two different types of hamburgers: the Frankie’s Original, which the menu describes as having “100% Canadian beef and Frankie’s secret spices,” and the specialty burgers, advertised as being eight ounce burgers made from “Canadian chuck.”
I found it very odd that they advertised the cut of beef that went into the specialty burgers and not the Frankie’s Original, and I was leaning towards getting a specialty burger over the who-knows-what’s-in-it Frankie’s Original; however, the specialty burgers were all so condiment and topping-heavy that I thought I’d never even be able to taste the beef. So I went with a Frankie’s Original topped with my usual selections (pickles, tomato, and mayo).
A note about the restaurant itself, which is waitress service, so you’ll be sitting there a while: they have TVs on with the volume up. This isn’t a problem. They also have a working jukebox. This is a problem. I have no problem with a jukebox in theory, but when you’ve got the music coming from the jukebox on one side, and the noise coming from the TV on the other, it can get a bit cacophonous. A note to the owners of Frankie’s: please pick one or the other.
The service was relatively fast, at least. The hamburger is, as advertised, a meatloaf burger — though it is thankfully not too strongly seasoned. This allowed the flavour of the beef itself to come through, which, in this case, wasn’t necessarily a good thing. The beef had a fairly typical low-quality beef flavour: vaguely funky, and somewhat unpleasant. Though I’ve had worse, it certainly wasn’t anything I’d want to have again.
The patty also had an oddly mushy texture despite being cooked to well done; I’m thinking that the meat had been too finely ground, and perhaps even had a filler of some sort.
As for the toppings, the pickles were fine, but the tomatoes were mealy enough to warrant removal from my hamburger, and the mayo was not mayo. It was either Miracle Whip or some house-made concoction; it was cloyingly sweet and completely overwhelming. I scraped off as much as I could from the bun and the patty.
The fries were okay, but they were a little bit soggy and very greasy, with a stale oil flavour. It’s likely that they’re using oil that is not quite hot enough, and that needs to be changed.