About Mr. Lew and the GBS | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

Burgers are posted once a week on Sundays.

Who is Mr. Lew?

Mr. Lew is a normal person looking to try the great burgers Montreal has to offer.  Not only does he like to have a bacon cheeseburger, he’s into such dishes as won ton soup, pizza, and poutine.  He’s not a fine diner, but if it’s worth it, he’ll try it.

How did the Great Burger Search start?

Back in 2009, at a crossroads in life, Mr. Lew decided to try the so-called pillars of poutine and burgers in Montreal.  After being underwhelmed by what he found, Mr. Lew decided to see what else there was in Montreal.

How does the Great Burger Search work?

Once a week, Mr. Lew goes out to try the burger restaurants he’s selected for the week.  There is no real method to how a location gets chosen, but it’s what looks the most appealing at a certain time.  Each year, if all works right, 50 burgers are tried during a “season.”  The final burger (50, 100, 150, so on…) is the season finale and must be truly special for the occasion.  For that reason, Burger 50 was held in Ottawa, Burger 100 in Quebec City, and Burger 150 in Toronto.

What is the ideal burger visit like?

An ideal burger search location is open at lunch time.  If they have a burger on the menu, they better be able to serve it.  Only one restaurant wasn’t able to deliver all the ingredients when Mr. Lew showed up.  Mr. Lew likes to order a burger that hopefully has some sort of cheese and the most powerful ingredient of all, bacon.  On the side of his burger tends to be sides like French fries, salads, onion rings, or poutine.  The round the trio up, should be a glass of ice tea.  Mr. Lew is not fussy on what kind of ice tea, as long as there actually is some to be found.  Price is no object during a location.  The current record for most expensive burger search location is $50 set by Burger 175 at the Vieux-Port Steakhouse.

Why ice tea?

In 2001, Mr. Lew stopped drinking soft drinks completely.  Ice tea is my drink of choice because Mr. Lew genuinely likes it.  However, in Montreal, what you’ll get in a majority of restaurants is your canned store brand variety.  Very few restaurants make their own ice tea, therefore it goes unnoticed.  Then again, Mr. Lew has nothing against a good store brand ice tea.

Why isn’t there a rating system?

Mr. Lew does not use a rating system because that’s what he does during his day-to-day life.  The Burger Search is more or less a hobby.  When things become a job, Mr. Lew loses interest.

In Mr. Lew’s opinion, a rating system is difficult to implement.  Not every burger is the same.  Each has their own unique attribute.  If this was McDonald’s, a rating system would be perfect.  If a burger was given 10/10, it’s like saying what the best burger in Montreal was, and Mr. Lew will never make a “best burger” claim.

What is the deal with the length of the reviews?

Starting in Season 3, the length of the reviews have significantly increased.  When the Burger Search started, it was merely something Mr. Lew posted to his personal Facebook pages.  The reviews from the early days were merely captions for pictures.  In Mr. Lew’s opinion, most of those pictures speak for themselves.  Mr. Lew also can’t go back to rewrite those reviews because it would be unjust to the burgers tried over 2 years ago.

In Season 3, the Burger Search and Annex reviews will be as detailed as humanly possible.

What is the Annex?

The Annex is an extension to the Great Burger Search.  These are other restaurants that offer other things outside of the burger domain.  Among some of the things Mr. Lew is looking at are Chinese restaurants, pizza places, and various poutines to be given to Montreal.  While that may seem like a short list, Mr. Lew is willing to try almost anything.

In what is a sad reality, the greater Montreal area does not have an unlimited source of burgers for Mr. Lew to try.  The burger search itself, in its current form, has a shelf life of about 3-4 years.  After that, the Annex will become the most updated portion of the site.

What is the BEST burger in Montreal?

If I had an answer to that question, there would be no point in continuing a search for great burgers.  In reality, each burger is very different, as they are composed of different ingredients.  If I had a “best” burger, wouldn’t I return to that restaurant every time I wanted to have one?  However, I do have favorites, which is why I created the Fave 5.

What is the Fave 5/Hall of Fame?

The Fave 5 are the burgers that are currently among my favorites.  Since I’m limiting it only to 5 burgers, that list may change with time.  Burger that used to be in the Fave 5 will be transferred over to the Hall of Fame so that I can always recognized their place in the GBS.  Finally, only burgers from the Greater Montreal Area can qualify for these labels, as it would be unfair to add other cities that I don’t frequent in this.

List of “Accomplishments/Milestones” (Starting July 2011)

Note:  Some of these may be small, insignificant items, but for Mr. Lew, they are huge.

Your Input

Your input is very important to Mr. Lew.  Any restaurant suggestion, burger or no burger, is very helpful in keeping Mr. Lew busy.  Also, submitting relevant questions will help make this Q&A page more complete, as it is a work in progress.

Use the “Ask Me Anything" button to submit questions you’d like to see answered or e-mail me at mr.lew@hotmail.com.