When you’re at the cottage, heading to the cottage, or thinking about the cottage—calories don’t matter. So when you have a craving for a juicy burger this summer, it’s okay to give in. Trust us. From the greasy (in a good way) to the gourmet, here are some of the best burger pit-stops.
The Riv Chip Stand and Larry’s Chip Stand in Sturgeon Falls
Two chip stands, one street. On one side, the orange: the Riv, which boasts a large picnic area and a menu that includes specialty milkshakes using local berries from Leisure Farms. On the other, the white: Larry’s, the chip stand that, according to journalist Ian Brown, “put Sturgeon Falls on the chip stand radar.” Wherever your loyalties lie, both serve your favourites, including burgers, poutine, and Pogos. And if you prefer to avoid the chip wars altogether, check out Monique’s Chip Stand on Nipissing St. and their superlative jumbo pogos.
With no membership necessary and lots of vegetarian options available, this bistro has something to please everyone. While fans rave about their namesake burger, other go-to dishes include the deli-style Reuben sandwich and the fish and chips made with battered Icelandic cod. The menu changes seasonally, and they have more than 20 Ontario craft beers and ciders available—so there’s always lots of choice.
Go for the burgers—the “special sauce” is a must—and stay for the ridiculously delicious tater tots. We’re not sure what’s in the “magic dust” they sprinkle on their tots, but the dish has a loyal following of fans. (There are even tater tots on their hot dogs.) If it’s a little too early for burgers, the Vic does some great breakfasts, including a range of brunch platters from avocado toast to eggs benedict with smoked salmon.
Open year-round, this family restaurant in the North Kawarthas offers food as sweet as their name sounds. Think old-fashioned and homemade grub that tastes like Canada, including butter tarts, cabbage rolls, steak sandwiches, and, of course, burgers. For an extra-special treat, go on a night when they’re serving barbecue ribs.
When you’re on your way to the cottage, it’s easy to default to the known chains, particularly in Barrie. But if you’re looking for a homemade and customizable alternative—and you don’t feel like waiting in line at Weber’s a little further up the road, Barrie Burger won’t disappoint. Their exhaustive menu features everything from the Foot Long Super Hot Dog (which comes with cheese and smoked back bacon) to the Halibut Fish Burger.
Don’t be fooled by the Burger Shop’s checkered-floor interior—this isn’t your standard burger joint. Here, patties are ground and pressed daily from a blend of sirloin, round, and prime rib Canadian beef. Next, they’re topped with flavours like BBQ-stewed pulled pork, wine-glazed mushrooms, and coffee-infused mayo—or, you know, basic lettuce, tomato and pickles. Don’t worry vegetarians—there’s also not one, but two patty options for you.
Power to the (hungry) people! Here, “flavour is freedom” and the people have spoken, naming this the home of the “best burgers in Ontario.” These gourmet burgers, which come from cows on a farm in Tweed, Ont., break the mould with toppings like pineapple and ghost pepper spread, smoked tomato jam, and even peanut butter. (It’s not as weird as it sounds.) It’s no wonder Burger Revolution was featured on the Food Network’s show You Gotta Eat Here.
Out-of-province honourable mentions
We’d be remiss in our best-burger duty if we didn’t mention a couple of places that have been brought to our attention repeatedly (even though they’re not in Ontario):
This family-owned spot in Regina Beach has been an icon since 1928 and are probably best known for their fish and chips. That being said, they’ve got a mouth-watering list of burgers to choose from, including a crispy chicken burger and a mozza bacon burger. While they’re just open for take-out in 2021, it’s worth checking them out for their view of the southern end of Last Mountain Lake.
Gimli has deep connections to Iceland—its first settlers were Icelandic Canadians, and the town hosts the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba every year. Rest assured, though, you won’t find Iceland’s national dish, hákarl (fermented shark), on the menu at Beach Boy—just fat hamburgers, fresh-caught pickerel, and Greek specialties like souvlaki and gyros.