Originally founded in 2011 as a chef-drive burger concept, Wahlburgers, the U.S.-based burger concept launched by Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg and brothers, Mark and Donnie, opened its first Canadian outpost in November 2014 in Toronto. Located at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel on Blue Jays Way, the location is the family's first international outpost of their original Hingham, Massachusetts restaurant. With fresh made-to-order burgers, fries and frappes, Wahlburgers' menu reflects a mix of classic burgers and sides, as well as family favourites.
The 120-seat Wahlburgers Canada (or "Wahlburgers" from now on) is similar in layout to their U.S. counterparts in that it showcases a sports bar, a dine-in restaurant and a quick service take-out all under one roof. The restaurant emphasizes casual comfort food in a family-friendly environment (there was indeed quite a number of families there when I visited on a Friday night).
While burgers are the main focus, Wahlburgers (Facebook: Wahlburgers Canada, Instagram: @wahlburgersca) offers a variety of sandwiches and salads as well. Other specialties include a selection of house sides like sweet potato tots, mac 'n cheese, fresh cut Yukon Gold fries and onions rings, along with ice cream frappes and boozy frappes, Wahlburgers' alcohol-fortified version of the ice cream beverage.
Wahlburgers' "quick serve" counter with approximately 40 seats.
AUTUMN BLUE ($8/pint) (limited time only)
Available only for a limited time, the Autumn Blue - a smooth blonde IPA at IBU 87 - is an intensely premium local brew with refreshing citrus aromas. Highly recommended if you're into hoppy beers.
THE "EH?" BURGER ($10.95)
5 oz. burger, peameal bacon, fried egg, smoked cheddar, lettuce, mayo, ketchup & mustard
A common mistake that many restaurants make when serving a fried egg is overcooking the damn egg. With the yolk no longer runny, there's absolutely no point in having a sunny side up egg, in my opinion. It's all about that runny yolk! This is why I was really happy to see that the fried egg in the burger was not overcooked (it could actually be a bit runnier but hey, I'm not complaining). With the fried egg, the juicy beef patty cooked to a nice medium rare, the smoked cheddar all melted and goo-ey like that, all that in a warm toasted bun, The "Eh" Burger definitely gets two thumbs up from me.
TRIPLE DECKER (3 x 3oz) ($12.45)
Topped with Paul's signature Wahl sauce, dill pickles, government cheese, lettuce, tomato
Why? How about "Why not"? As if the Triple Decker wasn't massive enough, we added onion rings as an extra topping and substituted regular onions with caramelized onions. This was one impressive burger. Because the patties were only 3oz each, they weren't very big, but with three of them stacked on top of each other, the result was a very tall and intimidating-looking burger. Other than the fact that the onion rings were more like crispy onions (which was disappointing since we were hoping for actual onion "rings") this was one damn good burger. Messy and hard to eat, yes, but very tasty. In case you were wondering, the only way I was able to eat it was to alternate between eating the top half, the bottom half, the top half, and so on and so forth. It didn't matter how much I pushed the top bun down I still couldn't fit the whole burger in my mouth.
MAC 'N CHEESE WITH SMOKED BACON ($7.25)
Smoked bacon, government cheese, cheddar, smoked mozzarella & parmesan topped with garlic panko bread crumbs.
The description reads great but the final product certainly didn't deliver. There was a generous amount of smoked bacon but the mac 'n cheese itself was far from being cheesy enough. The cheese and the macaroni just didn't meld together like I would've liked. The result was a very dry mac n' cheese and the bread crumbs on top accentuated that. It was also served warm, not hot.
BANANA FLUFFANUTTA ($4.95)
Peanut butter, fresh banana, fluff & nutella
When I asked the server what the heck is a "Fluffanutta", she told me it's a sandwich and that "fluff" is actually marshmallow. I was sold. Would it be weird if I told you I'd go back to Wahlburgers just for the Fluffanutta? It's a simple dessert, really, just two pieces of toasts, peanut butter, nutella, marshmallow and banana, but oh my God, I want it all the time now! Can you imagine if the Fluffanutta was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side? That would be THE perfect dessert for me.
Aside from this location at the SoHo Met, there is another Wahlburgers location at Toronto's Pearson International Airport in Terminal One. It shares much of the same menu at exactly the same prices, and almost everything is available for take out to go on the flight. It also serves hearty breakfast items and coffees in the morning.
Before I go, since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, did you know that Wahlburgers also has a Thanksgiving Day burger on the menu? It is "Mark Wahlberg's Choice" and includes fresh ground seasoned turkey, stuffing, Paul's orange cranberry sauce, roasted butternut squash and mayonnaise. Wahlburgers will be open tomorrow for Thanksgiving Monday, obviously :)
Photo credit: Wahlburgers
*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*