Whether it be NHL/NBA allstar games or 2Pac vs Biggie, the East vs West beef will never end. When it comes to Toronto burger joints, there's Johnny's (#4 on the blogto list) repping the East and Apache (#2 on the blogto list) on the West. Both restaurants have a similar old school burger joint feel but in my opinion, the comparison pretty much ends there. Seeing as I just reviewed Johnny's a couple weeks ago, I suppose this right here is the showdown where only one will be victorious.
When I say location, I mean the location for the general Torontonian and not for myself. I live on the east end and let me tell you, Apache was a bitch to get to. I went on a Saturday afternoon on a long weekend and the traffic on the 401 was just crawling. It took me a good hour to get there. The trip would have been unbearable if it wasn't for a couple of good friends and Abbey Road!
The restaurant itself is located on Dundas and perhaps a kilometre or two west of Kipling. Kipling station is also very close by which makes it more convenient to get to for you red rocket riders. You really can't miss the place when travelling on Dundas. It looks like an old school diner and has a neon sign.
As soon as you walk in, you'll notice an improvement over Johnny's because there's...wait for it...SEATS! There's a good row of booths along with chairs. I would guess that it could seat 25-30 people but I wouldn't be surprised if it could handle more.
Don't fret if the line up is long because there's a whole shrine for you to look at. They have a display with pictures of local celebrities (David Miller) and NHLers! I notice a bunch of current and former Leafs like Tie Domi, Tom Fitzgerald, Nathan Perrott and Matt Stajan. There were also other NHLers like Brendan Shanahan! Here, take a look for yourself and see who you recognize (click to enlarge).
So let's get this straight: tables and chairs, NHLers and the Stanley Cup has been here?
I got the Apache Burger which is two beef patties with cheese. They also have something on the menu called a twin cheeseburger. I'm not entirely sure what the difference is between the two but I digress. As you wait for your burger to cook, the guy at the counter will ask you to pick your toppings. From what I remember, the choices were lettuce, tomatoes, relish, pickles, onions, hot peppers, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. Nothing over the top but all the standards are there.
The burger itself was very good. The patty tasted fresh and was seasoned nicely and didn't taste like a frozen super market patty like Johnny's did. My only complaint was that they used too much sauce. Rather than adding a squirt, they dump a whole blob of ketchup/mustard on your bun and then smooth it out with the spatula. I guess some people may like this but with some bites, I thought it overpowered the taste of the burger and it made eating it a hell of a lot messier.
Now I know this is supposed to be a best burger review but I wouldn't be doing it any justice if I didn't talk about the onion rings. I'll give props my boy, Leafer1984 for recommending them to me. He told me they are by far the best onion rings he's ever had and boy was he right. Another friend I went with can attest to this as well...but my other friend foolishly decided against getting it because she thought it was too junkie and regretted it all the way home...and probably still regrets it now (Hi Foodtographer!)
Now I know what you're thinking. How can onion rings be THAT great? I don't fuckin know. Just go try them! The batter is a bit thick but surprisingly light so it's not extremely filling. Notice how when you bite into an onion ring sometimes the whole onion comes out leaving you with all batter? Well, the onion on these are cooked to perfection so you won't have to worry about that. Every bite of this gift from god is filled with greasy, battery, oniony goodness.
So a superior burger, the best onion rings known to man and lettuce as a topping?
My meal, which consisted of an Apache Burger ($6.79), onion rings ($3.89) and a medium Dr. Pepper ($1.79) cost $14.09 after taxes. It certainly doesn't break the bank but it seems rather expensive for a meal at a burger joint. The onion rings were good but at $4, I would have liked to see more than 7-8 of them. $0.50 for one seems a bit expensive but fuck yeah, I would do it again!
I have never had Johnny's onion rings so I don't know how they compare but I've never had to spend over $10 at Johnny's either.
Verdict: 4.5 The Apache, Aldo Raines' out of 5
After visiting both places, I can honestly say Apache has Johnny's beat on everything except price. I suppose you can justify spending the extra few bucks on seats or having the ability to put lettuce on your burger. I only wished I lived a little closer to this place so I could visit it more than once every blue moon. Rejoice the victory and throw up a W. Wesssssssstsiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiideeeee!
Whether you're in the area of not, I highly recommend you give this place a visit if you're into burgers (and more importantly, onion rings). I believe they open late to cater to the clubbing crowds so there really is no excuse not to go. And if you do decide to go, don't be an idiot and get the onion rings! Otherwise your friends will have to listen to you deny about making the right choice then whine about it when they gush about how good it was on the way home.