Burger 129: Atlas Pizza | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

4051 Saint-André
Montreal, Quebec

Metro:  Mont-Royal, Sherbrooke
Bus:  STM 11, 14, 24, 29, 30, 97, 144, 427

Visit:  February 2, 2012


I know what you’re thinking, why on Earth would I do a burger so soon after nearly drowning myself in poutine just 2 days ago?  Well, I’m crazy.  More seriously, after a slow month of January, I felt it was time to make sure I was back on track.  If that meant pulling overtime on bacon cheeseburgers, so be it.  So, on this beautiful day, I was off to find another burger that no one ever really thinks about.

My choice for Burger 129 was Atlas Pizza.  I didn’t really know much about them.  My only knowledge about the place was that they were on Twitter, had 2 locations, and were excited at the prospect of the tornado known as Mr. Lew showing up.  When a place is so enthusiastic about me coming by to try their burger, I know the pressure is on and the magnifying glass will be stuck to me.

Before I go on, I wanted to take this time to address something that’s been bothering me for months.  At the tail end of 2010, I went to Woodland Pizza in Verdun to have their burger.  After that, someone left me a comment questioning why I even went in the place since they were specializing in pizza.  That bothered me because it felt like I was given an edict to stick to burger specialty places only.  If that were the case, I would only be doing burgers once a year.  My philosophy is clear, if you put a burger on your menu, you’re fair game.  It’s that simple, don’t ever put something on your menu you don’t want people eating or ordering.

For Burger 129, I decided to go to the Plateau location of the small franchise.  There is also another location on Somerled, for those interested.  For those inclined to walking, the restaurant is located within a decent distance from either metro station listed above.  I started off at the Mont-Royal metro station and walked back to the Sherbrook metro station to end the visit.  Funny thing happened as I was walking out of the restaurant.  Going south on Saint-André, I stopped for a second and don’t ask me why I did that.  Lost in my own thoughts and thinking about the burger, something was about to happen.  Boom!  A whole bunch of loose ice fell from a balcony, missing me by that much.  I know this has nothing to do with the restaurant, but that nearly killed Mr. Lew.  No Mr. Lew, no Burger Search (unless someone else starts one of these blogs).

When I entered the restaurant, I stopped for a second to take in the atmosphere.  I noticed a person sitting near the door and another at the counter.  There were a mix of regular tables and what seemed like waiting areas.  The mix of red and black coloring in the furniture was distinct.  Those are my kind of colors.  So, after I waited a bit, I approached the counter where the server was.

My interactions with the server were probably the strangest and most uncomfortable I’ve ever had in the over 2 years of this search.  The person seemed to have a lack of personality.  I would thank the server and I wouldn’t get much of a reaction.  At times, I felt a little neglected after I finished eating.  There seemed to be a whole lot of other things.  I was actually going to order something for dessert, but it never came to fruition.  For one, the fact that I was waiting so long forced me to change my mind.  Secondly, the food settling in my stomach wasn’t going to allow more to come.  It didn’t help that I wasn’t even given the option, just the bill.

The next thing I noticed isn’t really concerning the restaurant, even though it happened here again, but something I see a lot.  I was sitting near the window, where I had a pretty good view into the kitchen.  I couldn’t see the prep area, but I could see the sole person working.  At times, it felt like I was being watched.  That seems to happen a lot when I go out, which is why I try to be discreet when taking my pictures.  If there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s being watched while I’m eating.

Much like the last burger I did, this place seems to be more of a take-out/delivery restaurant.  There were two other individuals who came in for coffee, but no food.  I was the only person dining in during the time I was there.  I even saw a bunch of delivery drivers coming in and out.  Since the phone was ringing and the drivers were coming, at least things seemed busy enough for that time.

Double Cheeseburger w/Bacon

This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, caramelized onions, pickles, mustars, mayo, cheese, and bacon.

When I was doing my research, I noticed that they offer a bacon cheeseburger and separately, a double cheeseburger.  So, me being the intrepid fool that I am, decided to ask if bacon was possible.  I realize some people can’t stand the over-mentioning of bacon, so that’s why I mention it more.  With much delight, I managed to combine both options for a double bacon cheeseburger for only a dollar extra.

The first thing I have to mention has nothing to do with the burger itself, but the plate that holds the massive concoction.  I find it absolutely incredible to see a plate like this.  This place reinforced the fact that the restaurant and the owners actually give a darn about their burger.  Other places, where burgers aren’t the star, would just slap it on any old plate.  This was unique and started the burger experience on the right track.

Pizza places doing burgers can either be hit or miss.  You never know what you’re going to get because you don’t know how much care they put in the actual burger.  Some pizza places actually will give you a casse-croute style burger.  As much as I don’t hate those, I don’t want to make my search based on them.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to see what was on my plate, a real burger.

Picking up the burger was awkward for two reasons.  The first reason was the combination of mayo and mustard.  It was one heck of a messy problem to deal with.  I actually went through 2 napkins quickly.  Eating a messy burger can go one of two ways.  The first is total disgust.  The second is the price you pay for something worthwhile.  I’m proud to report that it was the second way in this case.  While it was quite messy, it wasn’t enough to deter my enjoyment of what I was having.

The second issue when picking up the burger hast to do with the age old problem of putting too much in such a limited space.  I find when there’s a second patty, it starts to affect the bun somewhat.  Most burger buns aren’t strong enough to contain the immense size of the ingredients.  So, with each bite I took, I had to be careful to make sure everything stayed in place.  Even my upside down burger technique didn’t provide much stability at times.  Again, was it a nuisance at times?  Yes.  But, was it a deal breaker?  No.  If you have enough burger eating experience, you should be able to conquer this with all the glory that goes with downing a lot of food.

In the end, there were a lot more positives than negatives.  The first big positive was the meat.  I wasn’t really expecting this to be one of the stars of the meal, but it really was.  I never had to fight the meat whatsoever.  It was juicy enough to be worth each bite.  The fact that there were so many toppings didn’t overshadow what was supposed to be the main player in the game.

The biggest plus came from the combination of various ingredients put together.  If you mix the mayo, mustard, and cheese, you get something that forces you to enjoy each bite.  From the beginning to the end, I didn’t have to force myself to eat anything bland.  It might of been messy, but not enough to prevent myself from licking some of the mayo off my fingers.  You can judge me now because I know I’m not at KFC.  For the type of restaurant it was, the taste exceeded my expectations.

Final Verdict

I can’t be much of a judge for the rest of the menu and especially the pizza specialty, but what I can say is of another less thought of category.  The burger, which most would expect to be forgettable, wasn’t.  I may be wrong, but this is what I thought on this given day.  The restaurant promotes its Habs nights a lot and I think I’m going to have to come back with my resident pizza guy to see what they really have to offer.  In all, I was actually quite please with the results of my mixture of two burgers.

Atlas Pizza on Urbanspoon

  1. josepf reblogged this from mrlewburger
  2. mrlewburger posted this