93 Mont-Royal O.
Bus: STM 11, 55, 97
Visit: January 8, 2013
In 1942, just over 70 years ago, the world was still deeply involved in the second World War. It was that year where a newlywed couple would purchase a snack bar and turn it into what is known as Beauty’s Luncheonette. Home to an extremely well known Beautys Special, it’s no wonder that this iconic Montreal establishment is still going strong in 2013.
Beautys made its way onto my list early on in my search for burgers. A few years back, the information regarding what this restaurant has to offer was hard to come by. It wasn’t until just recently where they opened a website and made their special offerings open for the world’s eyes to see.
The most unique aspect of Beautys is probably not the food, but the man that is tied to the image of this Montreal institution. Once featured on CTV News on his 90th birthday, the owner, Hymie, is hard to miss when you enter the restaurant. We spent about an hour at our table right next to his seat, where we got to watch as he was the center of attention. If you check out the piece done in 2011, you’ll see just how active he is in the operation of the restaurant.
Beautys is not that large of a place. There are approximately a dozen tables and booths ready for action. If you happen to walk in during lunch rush, you might just have to be waiting for quite a while. Upon our entrance, there were a few tables open, but I did manage to see that some had reservation cards on them. Those cards were kept in place to make sure that large parties were able to be seated rather quickly. By the time we left, it was still busy.
The attention given to us from our server didn’t lag too far from the attention given to each and every person who entered the door. All our questions and requests were attended to with the utmost politeness and we never felt rushed at all.
A place like Beautys, with all its years of service, has really amassed a loyal following. As each party entered the restaurant, the majority of them went out of their way to greet the owner and his granddaughter. The table that was seated next to us were quite familiar with the family. That’s the kind of relation that’s sorely missing on the rest of the island. You hardly have those places that have endured time. Our visit here clearly showed that there is a dedicated following, one that is hard to break.
The menu is divided into two sections, one for breakfast and another for your typical lunch options. What everyone who has ever been here or read about Beautys will be able to tell you is that breakfast is the right way to go. With the bagel, lox, and cream cheese special at the helm, it’s no wonder why that’s the case. But, when you do your research about the restaurant, almost all of the focus is on that. So, I wanted to perhaps showcase something else and better item than a bacon cheeseburger.
This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar, and bacon.
In one of the rare occasions that I have ever been given the option, the server asked how I wanted my burger done, to which I requested medium. I’ll get to the results later. It would be time to address this aspect of the search once again. If I’m not asked how I want it done, that’s how it is. I have to try the burger the way it was meant to be, without trying to add condiments or going out of my way to add things that shouldn’t be there (though, me and bacon might contradict that). The reality is that the majority of people eating burger don’t really put that much thought into the question either and that’s the way I have to approach things.
My first look at the closed up burger created one question for me. The top bun looked a little tough and I was a little bit hesitant to take that almighty first bite. However, once that bite was taken, I was relieved to find out that the bun would not cause any huge concern.
With the combination of your traditional burger ingredients topping the patty, you can tell that it all goes together rather well. The bacon is not an extra, but a component that comes automatically. It fits quite well, as a breakfast place just knows how to do it.
Probably the most impressive burger was the taste. Each bite, from beginning to end, just exemplified what a good bacon cheeseburger should be like. The most telling aspect was the fact that, as requested, the burger showed up to the table medium. That way, it allowed for a greasy, yet tasty eating experience. My sister, who I was having lunch with, ordered a burger well done. She soon discovered that the burger was good, but a little dry.
In all, I was impressed with this burger. I’m surprised that not many people talk about it. It might be a simple burger, but that is sometimes the best way to go about it. The fact that the servers ask how you want the burger done is an added plus.
When I made the decision to come here, I had all the intention in the world to select one of their homemade desserts to finish off the burger. What I didn’t expect was the fact that this piece of chocolate cake was absolutely huge. It was so big that my sister couldn’t finish her own piece and had to take it home. I, on the other hand, was too stubborn to let things be and had to finish this cake.
My opinions of this cake are more or less hit or miss. The fact that there is a sheer amount of cake makes it a tad bit difficult to put the whole thing down. The cake portion can get a bit bland after a while. It would be best to combine the frosting bites with some of cake to get the best experience out of it. Better yet, if you’re not alone, it would probably be better to share the cake.
Beautys Luncheonette is one of those places that has an iconic dish that can identify itself as part of Montreal’s fabric. While I didn’t get the chance to try that particular dish, I can easily say that the burger offering here is easily just as strong as any other in the city. Whether it be for breakfast or lunch, you’ll be seated in a place that’s rooted in 70 years of history.