: 5200 Dixie Road, Unit 55, Mississauga

In my continuing quest to check out any halfway decent burger near my work (which is no easy task when you work in Mississauga, a horrifying burger wasteland), I did my semi-regular “best burger in Mississauga” search, and found a top 15 by Foursquare.  Number 13 on that list: Galito’s.

Wait, Galito’s?  That Galito’s?  The peri peri chicken joint?  Do they even have a burger on the menu?

Apparently they do.  I was fairly certain it was going to be bad (because why does that place even serve a burger??), but I figured, sure – why the hell not?

Ordering a hamburger here is so bizarre that I was honestly a little bit embarrassed even asking for it; I glanced around furtively as I ordered, like a guy buying a Hustler at a convenience store.


I was asked how spicy I wanted it, which certainly isn’t a question you expect when ordering a burger.  I thought, at the very least, that this might be interesting.

Well, I don’t know what I was expecting, but what I got was a run-of-the-mill frozen patty – grilled – that had been slathered in peri peri sauce.  It was also topped with lettuce, tomato, and onion.

The frozen patty was what it was: with its chewy texture and anemic flavour, it’s identical to the hamburger you’ll find at any number of crappy old-school burger joints, hospital cafeterias, and company picnics. The spicy, lemony peri peri sauce adds some heat and some zip, which kind of helps, but there’s no saving a patty like this.

The burger came with one side — I went with the peri peri fries, which were just mediocre frozen fries that were dusted with some kind of peri peri seasoning.  With the hamburger, I can barely even blame them for going the frozen route – no one but a madman would order a hamburger from a restaurant that otherwise so single-mindedly specializes in chicken. The fries, on the other hand, I have a much harder time forgiving them for.

1.5 out of 4

Galito's - the outside Galito's - the restaurant Galito's - the burger Galito's - the burger Galito's - the burger

John Anderson’s Charcoal Broil Hamburgers

: 1069 Dundas Street West, Mississauga
Website: None

Mediocre frozen burger, mediocre frozen fries, THE END.

Seriously, I think I’ve written enough of these at this point that I really don’t need to go much further than that.  I could just point you in the direction of any number of reviews I’ve written of places that serve mediocre, industrially-produced frozen burgers just like this one.

I wouldn’t be surprised if all the old-school burger joints serving crappy frozen burgers get them from the same supplier, so can’t I just cut-and-paste the same review every time?  Why should I go to the trouble of writing a review from scratch when they can’t be bothered to make a burger from scratch (which is, I should add, probably the easiest thing you can make, so WTF)?

The sad thing is, I discovered this place through random “best burger in Mississauga” searches; clearly, the burger boom that’s hit Toronto in the last few years has left Mississauga almost entirely untouched.


John Anderson has a regular burger and a “Big Puck” burger on the menu.  I was told that they’re both exactly the same aside from the size, so I went with the regular, and had it topped with pickles, tomato, and mayo.

I’m not particularly going to get into it, because why should I, but it was a frozen burger and it tasted like so many other frozen burgers: it had the same overly-processed hot dog texture, and the same disturbing lack of any kind of beefy flavour.

The bun was fine and the toppings were fine — though again, like with so many other old-school burger joints, the mayo is actually Miracle Whip, which I’ve just come to expect at this point.

As for the aforementioned frozen fries, they were well-prepared and slightly better than average, but they were still pretty lifeless compared to the real deal.

1.5 out of 4

John Anderson Charcoal Broil Hamburgers - the outside John Anderson Charcoal Broil Hamburgers - the outside John Anderson Charcoal Broil Hamburgers - the restaurant John Anderson Charcoal Broil Hamburgers - the restaurant John Anderson Charcoal Broil Hamburgers - the burger and fries John Anderson Charcoal Broil Hamburgers - the burger

Fran’s Restaurant

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.

1.5 out of 4

Fran's Restaurant - the outside Fran's Restaurant - the restaurant Fran's Restaurant - the burger and fries Fran's Restaurant - the burger

El Furniture Warehouse

: 410 Bloor Street West, Toronto

In case you’re not familiar with the place, El Furniture Warehouse’s whole shtick is that every item on the menu costs five bucks (or more accurately, $4.95).  Yes, all the appetizers, mains, and desserts are five bucks.

As you can imagine, it’s a popular place — I went on a Saturday afternoon, and it was pretty much packed.  The vibe seemed a little bit forced, like they were trying really, really hard to be hip, including a purposely unfinished design with a hodgepodge of ephemera on the walls, servers with piercings and tattoos aplenty, and the requisite uncomfortably loud music (how much of a curmudgeon do I sound like right now?).

As for the food?  Surprisingly enough, it’s not horrible.

It’s not particularly good, mind you — but considering what they charge, it could have been a whole lot worse (it certainly doesn’t seem to be any worse than a place like Kelsey’s or Boston Pizza, where the prices are double if not triple what they’re charging here).


I’m not sure the quality of the food even matters at these prices, but I’ll note that the burger is frozen and industrially produced.  The patties are a bit higher quality than usual (similar to what they serve at Zet’s), so that’s good at least.  It’s not quite as hot-doggy as some, and actually does have some vague beef flavour.  Still, no one will be confusing it for anything but what it is: a cheapo burger that can claim to be edible, but not much more.

There are three burgers on the menu, but the waitress helpfully pointed me in the direction of The Works, their signature hamburger: “maple bacon, cheddar, crispy onion strings, macho sauce, shredded lettuce and tomato on a toasted Brioche bun.”

The toppings were all actually pretty decent — the macho sauce was some kind of garlic mayo, and everything else was pretty good, including the fresh, slightly sweet brioche bun.  With a better patty it could have actually been not bad, but that patty does bring the whole thing down several pegs.

Still, for five bucks including fries (i.e. cheaper than fast food), it might be worth a vague recommendation, provided you know what you’re getting into.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, however, to hear that the fries also aren’t that great; like the burger, they obviously originated in a factory many, many miles away, followed by a long stay in a freezer.  They’re pretty bland, but again, I’ve had worse.

2 out of 4

El Furniture Warehouse - the outside El Furniture Warehouse - the inside El Furniture Warehouse - the burger and fries El Furniture Warehouse - the burger
El Furniture Warehouse on Urbanspoon

Hwy 55

548 Trafalgar Road, Oakville

Though I hadn’t heard of it until recently, Hwy 55 is a fairly widespread American burger chain (they’ve got over a hundred locations) that’s making their first foray into the Canadian market with a restaurant out in Oakville. It’s in a spot formerly occupied by a Lick’s; any restaurant replacing Lick’s is pretty much an upgrade by default. It’s always sad when people lose their jobs, but one less place serving up rubbery frozen burgers can only be a boon for humanity as a whole.

The ’50s-diner-inspired decor is a lot like a Johnny Rockets or a Steak ‘n Shake (an aside: I was at a franchise show a couple of years ago, and, tantalizingly, Steak ‘n Shake was there and had a fairly elaborate booth. So they obviously have vague plans to expand into Canada, though thus far there’s no indication that it’s happening any time soon).

Like those two places, it’s waiter service. The menu highlights the Original Special combo, which is described as their “award winning” daily special (though which awards remain unclear), so obviously that’s what I ordered. I was given the choice of cheese among American, Swiss, Provolone, or Pepper Jack. I went with American, obviously; a classic American cheeseburger requires American cheese. Its creamy consistency when melted is perfect for this style of burger, and it imparts a subtle cheesy flavour without overpowering the beef, as stronger cheeses are prone to do.

There was also the choice of toppings, and as usual I went with mayo, pickles, and tomato.


As you’d expect, the restaurant serves a fast-food-style griddled burger. It came looking pretty much picture perfect: a well proportioned patty, a good amount of crust from the griddle, a fully melted slice of American cheese, and a nice looking bun.

And it was actually pretty tasty, though sadly not quite as perfect as I initially hoped. The good? The beef was clearly of a decent quality, and had a satisfying — if somewhat mild — beefy flavour. It was, as it looked, nicely griddled, with a decent amount of crust on the patty. The toppings were fresh and well-proportioned, and the fresh, squishy bun was the absolute perfect bun for a burger such as this.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of fairly big issues that keep this burger firmly in pretty good territory. Foremost, the beef was clearly too lean, and the well done patty was quite dry. Anyone who has read a few reviews on this blog will know that overly-lean beef and too-dry burgers are pretty much my arch-foe, so I’m not going to get into yet another rant about this. Check the archives.

It was also a bit too tightly packed and finely ground, which only compounds the dryness issue. It all adds up to a patty that requires way more jaw-power than you’d like.

Another, more minor issue: whoever seasoned the burger was a bit heavy-handed with the pepper. But I’d much rather have a slightly peppery patty than one with onions, garlic, and other spices mixed in, so I can give them a pass on that one.

As for the fries, they were standard-issue frozen fries. They were well cooked and perfectly edible, but not much more.

Hwy 55 also serves frozen custard, which was the thing I was probably most excited about this place.  For those unaware, frozen custard is basically like ice cream made with a much more custardy base, which gives it that distinctive custard flavour and a very silky, rich creaminess that is unparalleled by regular ice cream.  The only place that I know of in Toronto that serves frozen custard is Jedd’s, and the one time I visited I found it to be icy and underwhelming.

I ordered a scoop of the vanilla frozen custard; sadly, even Jedd’s has this place beat.  Grainy and not particularly creamy, with only a vague whiff of custard flavour and more of a generic sweetness than anything else, it was disappointingly mediocre.  I guess I’ll continue to drive to Buffalo for my frozen custard fix.

Hwy 55 - the restaurant Hwy 55 - the menu Hwy 55 - the restaurant Hwy 55 - the burger Hwy 55 - the burger Hwy 55 - vanilla frozen custard
Hwy 55 on Urbanspoon