Les Cours Mont-Royal
Bus: STM 15, 24, 107, 420, 715
Visit: August 23, 2011
With so many burger locations opening up in Montreal in the last few years, Cheeburger Cheeburger has been one of the few that I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. This is the second American chain, after Five Guys, to open up shop in the province of Quebec. With American norms driving a new Canadian business, one is to wonder how it will do in our oversaturated burger market. So far, after being open 3 weeks, I’ve heard mostly positive things about this place, making me want to visit all the more sooner. Regardless of that, even after such a short period of time being open, I was leery of what I was to receive.
My first disappointment with Cheeburger Cheeburger was the website. There is no Canadian website. I had to rely on the American version of the site, as well as a Facebook photo post of the menu. I like to do my research beforehand. Without that Facebook picture, I would’ve gone in blind. I mean, for the last six months, I’ve been staring as the same countdown page and it hasn’t changed much since. It may not be my place to say anything, but having an updated website is a big draw for an informed customer, like me. However, having said that, I feel it was the only real complaint I had of the entire Cheeburger Cheeburger experience.
When you enter the restaurant, it’s like you phase yourself to an entirely different world. You’ll notice the tremendous amount of pink. I’m an orange person myself, but I was indifferent to the color scheme, except when it came time to taking pictures. The pink background made it a little challenging. Despite that, it’s a unique look that I think makes the restaurant stand out. I also noted that there is a wi-fi router positioned in the restaurant, which shows promise for those wanting to use the internet while waiting for their burger.
While I was sitting in the restaurant, I could notice the manager/owner walking around, doing the rounds of a new location. This made me uncomfortable a bit. I do not like being watched eating. It’s nice to see management being so hands on, but having eyes on you most of the time makes it strange. However, it was in the middle of an onion ring that I got to start speaking to this owner. He seems like a very reasonable and personable person. He’s the head franchiser of the chain in Quebec and Ontario. Even though Bill 101 has made their entry into Quebec a little difficult, they made it clear that they’re here to stay. Our discussion with the owner also answered a lot of questions having to do with freshness and onion rings.
By far the most ideal and best feature of our experience was the service. The server assigned to us was extremely personable and courteous. There was always a smile on their face and our issues were dealt with utmost kindness. Even though I will say that it took me a while to differentiate which server was ours, in the end, I was happy with the service. Our table even got a chance to have a pretty lengthy conversation with the server, which I really appreciate it. Luckily, the restaurant was at the end of the lunch rush, and the conversation did not hamper anything. We got some great answers that will definitely help me flesh out this text. If every server was like this, I’d come back as a regular.
The one surprising thing was that the restaurant was still crowded at 1:00p.m. We were lucky to even get a appropriately sized table for our party. Even at similar times, I’ve seen Downtown restaurants that had more staff than customers. There are three separate sections to the restaurant, inside, mall terrace, and outdoor terrace.
The menu of the restaurant was quite vast for a burger specialty joint. The main basis is for customers to build their own burgers. You have a variety of choices ranging from sizes, cheeses, and ingredients. Specialty ingredients cost extra, like bacon, because it is so absolutely awesome that you should be charging for it. The most unique part of the burger menu is the One Pounder burger option. I have done similar burgers in the past and was heavily thinking about doing it again. But honestly, I wanted to try the burger before making the plunge. Completing this monster gets you a photo on a wall of fame. We learned that a Montreal Alouette player recently finished the pounder twice and will return on his birthday for 2 of them. After completing my half-pound burger, I’m pretty sure that I would be able to complete this, when I’m ready, and I will be back, for sure.
This is the ice tea that you can order alongside your burger and sides. The normal ice tea is unsweetened, so I decided to get the lemon option. For the extra money I paid of lemon in my ice tea, I didn’t really feel the difference. The lemon was there, but you could still taste the fact that there were no sweeteners involved. Even though the drink did not quite meet my high expectations, it was satisfactory enough to join my meal. Two unique notes to mention are the oddly shaped glass that went well with a straw and the fact that you get free refills. Free refills are always a selling point for any meal, though I never seem to take advantage. One of my co-eaters managed to down 4 lemonades during the consumption period. I believe that’s a free refill used wisely.
I’m a little on the fence about the onion rings. For one, you can easily notice that they are larger than your average rings in Montreal. The batter was good and didn’t leave too many crumbs to contend with. The taste reminded me of some of the memorable onion rings I’ve had in the past. The one thing that was strange was the texture of the onions. I have never tasted anything like it before. It was explained to me that the onions were made fresh, therefore making it a little strange to the touch of a person’s tongue. When you get used to it, the onion rings turn out to be a perfect companion to the burger experience.
This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, sauteed onions, brie cheese, and bacon.
Upon first inspection, I was happy with the way the burger looked. After taking the olive off the burger, I was ready to pick up and eat. Within a second of picking up, a piece of sauteed onion fell out. That was not a big deal to me because there were other pieces. I don’t mind things falling out when the other things work out real well.
The structure of the burger was quite interesting. At first, things kept together quite fine. As you go along, mainly due to the size of the patty, you start having trouble holding it all together. One of my co-eaters made it clear that putting down the burger was not a good idea. For me, I need to be able to put down a burger to have my kind of optimal eating experience. What it I needed to take bites out of a poutine? Near the end of the consumption period, the patty fell apart a bit. Luckily for me, it was really easy to put everything back together and finish the experience.
The choice of brie cheese was definitely a good one in combination with the bacon. Even though I lost the bacon for a while, the cheese made up the gap quite nicely. I manage to have to separate bites of bacon outside the burger that I found a little too crunchy for my taste, but that’s me nit-picking. At the end, I had a big pool of shredded lettuce remaining from my burger, which made me question the choice of greens used. Other than some minor issues, I felt that the choices I made went well together. When you build your own burger, you and not the restaurant, are to blame if you don’t like how the ingredients mix together. I was extremely happy with the way my choices meshed well and complimented the star of the burger, the meat.
By far, the best part of this burger was the meat. At a half-pound, the meat was the absolute highlight of the burger itself. When you order, you get to choose from 3 temperatures, medium, medium well, and well. I went with medium well and I came out on top. The burger patty reminded me of the ones that my parents made when I was still having cheeseburgers at home. Anything that reminds you of your younger days becomes comfort food for me. If something is comfort food, it is good. The patty also reminded me of some of the top 5 burgers I’ve had during the search. The consistency and the taste really ranked up there in the same league as those juicy, flavorful burgers that still stick to me to this day.
One of my personal worries going into the consumption of this burger was the size. I was originally planning on getting the ultimate one pounder option, but later decided against it. Now, I am not doubting that I can do it, if I limit toppings and ingredients. But, it should be noted that a half-pound burger and a side of small fries or onion rings is quite the meal for a person my size. So, before you order, it is definitely smart to think twice before ordering more than you can handle.
Overall, the burger I had today ranks up there with some of my favorite burgers I’ve had over the last two years. I am seriously thinking about returning to progressively work my way up to the one pound burger. Even though you are paying for nearly every aspect of your meal, it is worth it because you are paying for quality. The bill came very close to the Burger Search record, but I felt like the meal was worth every single penny, if you also take in account the wonderful service. In a market over-saturated in burger options, we have a brand new contender to deal with. Three weeks into business, the Cheeburger Cheeburger I see is one that is running smoothly and one that will be in the Montreal landscape for quite a while.