Location: 20 College Street, Toronto
I was perusing the menu at Fran’s with no particular desire to order the burger — but then something caught my eye. On the menu, they claim to have invented the banquet burger. A banquet burger, for the unaware, is another name for a bacon cheeseburger.
I’m a little bit skeptical that the bacon cheeseburger was created at a diner in Toronto; I’d say it’s more likely that they invented the term banquet burger, but hey, who knows?
Either way, they’ve clearly been serving it for a long, long time (they’ve been around since the ’40s), so I figured I’d be remiss in my burger blogging duties if I didn’t give it a try.
The menu also states that they make their burger patties with a “special blend of spices and seasoning.” I’m generally not a fan of burgers with stuff mixed into the patties, so I’m not going to lie: I was skeptical. But you know what? Sometimes places like this can surprise you.
This was not one of those times.
It’s so meatloafy. Like, crazy meatloafy. I could talk about how strongly spiced it is, how the flavour of the beef is completely gone. I could talk about how it’s ground way too finely, and has a texture that’s closer to sausage than to hamburger. I could talk about how a burger like this completely misses the point of what makes a burger so great in the first place. I could talk about all that, but instead:
The banquet part of this burger is actually the highlight; the creamy mild cheddar is nicely melty and gooey, and the thick-cut bacon was way above average. Too bad they’re both resting atop a mediocre patty.
The fries are even worse. At least they put some effort into the burger, even if that effort is ill advised. The fries are just bottom-of-the-barrel frozen fries. I am continually baffled by how terrible frozen fries like this continue to be served at restaurants. They taste so lousy, and really, is it that hard to cut a potato into strips? Get out of here.