: 46 Blue Jays Way, Toronto

Kudos to whichever Wahlberg brother realized that their name made them ideally suited to open a burger joint, and double-kudos to whichever one decided that they should actually make good on what I can only assume started as a silly joke. As a fan of cheesy puns and general wordplay, I approve.

And if you want to eat a hamburger while basking in the reflected glory of a famous movie star and a semi-famous TV star (and a third guy you probably don’t care about), then Wahlburgers will fit the bill.

Of course, there’s a good chance that you don’t care about such things, and are just looking for a tasty burger. Thankfully, Wahlburgers is more than just a Planet Hollywood-esque shrine to celebrity-adjacent dining; it’s certainly nothing anyone is going to go too crazy over, but they serve a pretty good burger.

It’s a fairly large, full-service restaurant with long list of pre-topped burgers to be had. Each Wahlberg has his favourite burger labelled on the menu: Donnie’s got a BBQ bacon burger, Mark has a turkey burger, and Paul (i.e. the Wahlberg you haven’t heard of –- and the chef) has a simple cheeseburger. I went with Paul’s choice, dubbed Our Burger: “Paul’s signature Wahl sauce, dill pickles, government cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion.”


The griddled burger was cooked all the way to well done (despite the claim that they cook to medium on the menu), but was somewhat juicy regardless. It was definitely a bit more dry than I’d like, particularly around the edges, but I’ve certainly had worse. It was also too tightly packed and a little bit dense, making it a bit more tough than it needed to be.

Still, it’s a pretty good cheeseburger outside of those two beefs (no pun intended… oh, who am I kidding? Pun absolutely intended). The meat has a decent –- if somewhat mild –- beefy flavour, and the American cheese on top is nicely gooey. Though the bun looks a little bit big, it’s not overwhelming at all and actually suits the burger perfectly.

The other toppings were all solid — particularly the onions, oddly enough. I normally find raw onions to be a bit too overwhelming for my tastes, but these were very thinly sliced and nice and mild. They added some crunch and oniony character without over-asserting themselves, as onions tend to do.

The burgers don’t come with any sides, so I got an order of tater tots.  I could have gotten fries as per usual, but who can say no to tater tots?  Nobody, that’s who.  They pretty much tasted like run-of-the-mill cafeteria tots.  This isn’t a bad thing.  I also tried the onion rings, which are more like onion strings than what you’d expect.  They were pretty good as well.

3 out of 4

Wahlburgers Toronto - the outside Wahlburgers Toronto - the restaurant Wahlburgers Toronto - onion rings and tater tots Wahlburgers Toronto - Our Burger Wahlburgers Toronto - Our Burger
Wahlburgers on Urbanspoon

Home of the Brave

589 King Street West, Toronto

Home of the Brave opened a few months ago, and word very quickly got out that it’s a place you should probably check out. They serve their take on classic American comfort foods like fried bologna sandwiches, BBQ ribs, and tater tots, in a trendy, hipster-friendly environment (read: it’s dark and loud). The burger isn’t on their regular menu — it is, however, on the late night menu (served after 11:00 PM) and it’s the daily special on Saturdays.

I didn’t even realize they had a burger on the menu, but as soon as I saw it I knew that I had to have it. Called The Altar Boy, it’s described as having “house ground beef, tartar sauce, house made processed cheese, tomato & lettuce.”

After a string of mediocre (or worse!) hamburgers, this was just what the doctor ordered: beefy, juicy, and seriously satisfying. It’s a bit busy; it actually reminded me quite a bit of the burger at Wallace & Co. Like that one, it’s a saucy, juicy mess with a little bit more going on than it probably should. And like that one, it’s really good.


I think the quality of the beef is better here than at Wallace & Co. The griddled, medium rare patty has a pretty solid beefy flavour (or at least it seemed to in the few less condimented mouthfuls I got).

The tangy tartar sauce is a little bit more assertive than I’d like, but it tastes good and mostly compliments the burger pretty well.  Though they’re going to the trouble of making their own processed cheese, there’s so much else going on that you can’t really tell.

The fresh sesame seed bun has enough heft to hold up to the messy burger without ever tipping the scales and throwing off the beef-to-bun ratio. It’s pretty great.

It’s a shame that this burger isn’t on the regular menu. It’s kind of sad that a burger that they only occasionally serve here is head and shoulders above what they serve at a lot of burger joints (I’m thinking specifically of my most recent review, the mediocre-at-best Patty & Frank’s), but there you go.

The closest thing on the menu to fries are the tater tots — though with their creamy interior and cripy coating, they’re more like fried mashed potato bites than tater tots. But whatever they are, they’re pretty darn good.

The Buffalo cauliflower is also quite tasty. If you have to eat cauliflower, battered, deep fried, and dipped in house-made Buffalo and ranch sauces is probably the way to go.

Home of the Brave - the restaurant Home of the Brave - The Altar Boy burger Home of the Brave - The Altar Boy burger
Home of the Brave on Urbanspoon
(Image of the outside of the restaurant in the header photo courtesy of kiki’s B.F.F. I totally forgot to take that picture. Whoops!)