Vancouver Weekend: We’re thinking… burgers

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      Need something to do this weekend? Here are five of the best burger spots in the Lower Mainland.

      @texxbigburger / Instagram

      Texx Big Burger, 10320 Whalley Blvd., Surrey

      What a lot of places that boast about having the “best burger in town” do wrong is trying to reinvent the wheel. They throw on gold-crusted truffles and beef from cows that are on a strict Himalayan grass and vodka diet. What makes Texx Big Burger great is that it doesn’t need any of those fancy gimmicks. We’re talking about your simple, no-nonsense, meat and cheese kind of burger, and it’s incredible. 

      Not only that, but Texx is every introvert's dream restaurant. You don’t have to talk to anyone when you order. Instead of ordering at the counter, you’re given a pencil and a piece of paper with everything on the menu. You check off which kind of protein you want (beef, chicken, fish, or veggie), then check off every sauce and topping.

      But no good burger place is complete without a burger challenge. The Texx Big Burger Challenge includes a Super Texx Burger (three big beef patties with three slices of cheese) and fries, and you have to finish it all within 30 minutes. If you do, you get your photo taken for the wall. Before I die I am determined to get my photo up on that wall. Mark my words, I am coming for you and your burger challenge, Texx Big Burger. -Marco Ovies

      Bells & Whistles, 3296 Fraser St., Vancouver

      I really miss the Whip’s burger. It had, and I truly believe this, the best burger in the city. The owners just had to turn the place into a fancy-pants natural wine bar that serves pate on crackers instead. Whatever. I’m over it/not over it. In my quest to find a back-up, I skulked my way up Kingsway to Bells & Whistles, where I discovered—lo!—a gourmet take on the Big Mac. It’s called the Royale With Cheese, despite the fact that this is what McDonald’s in France calls the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, as per Pulp Fiction. But this is forgivable, because the Bells & Whistles Royale elevates all aspects of the McDonald’s favourite—The bun! The sweet pickles! The gooey mouthfeel!—without sacrificing anything that’s made the Mac such a heart-enlarging staple in the everyman’s diet. It’s really good. It’s so good, in fact, that it’s Seth Rogen’s favourite Vancouver burger too, as was once relayed to me by a B&W staffer. (Note: Seth Rogen could not be reached for comment on this matter). -Stephen Smysnuik

      @bin4burgerlounge / Instagram

      Bin 4, 2996 Granville St., Vancouver

      “Burger” might not be the first thing that comes to mind when blue cheese gets brought up. It more likely inspires something closer to “sauce” or “dip” or “mouldy and gross.” But thankfully, some chef over at Bin 4 Burger Lounge decided to try pairing it with BC beef, blackening spice, jalapeno and sweet onion relish, chipotle aioli, lettuce, and tomato. Lo and behold, the Bin 17: Black & Blue was formed.

      There’s just something about that flavour combo that I can’t get out of my head. Maybe part of the draw is that Bin 4’s burgers are half-off after 9pm, or maybe because it’s reminiscent of my carefree youth in Victoria when the only (arguably) fancy dates I could afford were late-night, half-off burgers at Bin 4. Back when the world still felt young and the future was still welcoming and bright.

      Or maybe—probably—it’s just a damn delicious burger. - Chandler Walter

      @meetonmain / Instagram

      MeeT on Main, 4288 Main St., Vancouver

      The first thing I ever ate in a Vancouver restaurant was the Mighty Mac from MeeT. Being the lactose-intolerant vegetarian that I am, I’ve become well-versed in the city’s vegan cuisine. And while other eateries, like Planetary Kitchen or Tera V, can serve up perfectly tasty meat-free mains, my loyalty lies with MeeT. Not only are its in-house meat-free patties the most satisfyingly savoury and chewy, but the burger options are legitimately interesting. 

      The Mighty Mac is pure hedonism. You want a burger, but also fancy mac and cheese? Boom: put the creamy vegan carbs right in the sandwich. Top it off with crispy onion strings and some pickled jalapenos for kick, and you can’t tell me there’s anything better. Serve them at my wedding. Serve them at my wake. Nobody’s doing comfort food like MeeT. -V. S. Wells

      Nardwuar the Human Serviette with Johnny Sarkis of Levitation Festival and two Skookum Chief Burgers.

      Tomahawk Barbecue, 1550 Philip Ave., North Vancouver

      Come for the truly epic retro-kitsch decor, and stay because, if you’re lucky, you might see Tomahawk frequent flyer and celebrity spokesman Nardwuar the Human Serviette stroll in for his favourite meal in the world. Not so much a sandwich as a Mt. Everest-size challenge, the Skookum Chief Burger isn’t going to win you any brownie points from your doctor, personal trainer, or waistline. And that’s OK—you’ll always have Salted Lettuce Sunday to help assuage the guilt. Start with an organic beef patty piled sky-high with Yukon-style back bacon, a fried free-run egg, aged cheddar, onions, shredded lettuce, tomato, Tomahawk special sauce, and, finally, a wiener (yes, that’s right, it’s a hamburger where, perhaps in the spirit of inclusivity, a lowly hot dog wiener is invited to the party.)

      The whole thing is roughly the size of volleyball, which is another way of saying, “Good luck making it across the lunch, brunch, or dinner finish line, especially if you’re stuffing yourself with crispy golden fries between bites.” Don’t let that stop you from giving it the old college try for an hour or two, the added benefit being you might be able to screw up the courage to approach Nardwuar, who, if urban legend has it correctly, is almost always on site because he not only eats four or five Skookum Chief Burgers per week, but has his own table at the Tomahawk because, well, he’s Nardwuar. Doot doola doot … -Mike Usinger