This, the year 2015, is fixing to be the "Year of the Hamburger/Hotdog." One barely blinks and another "Coming Soon" sign proclaims the imminent arrival of a quirky-gourmet hotdog stand, or promises to reinvent (and restore faith in) the burger as we know it. It is scarcely May, and these quasi-upscale but deliberately down-home joints are spreading throughout the city.
It would seem, then, that The Burger's Priest has tall promises to fill, given that their motto is "redeeming the burger one at a time." The place, just off Jasper and 109 Street, is judiciously emblazoned with Biblical references in both English and Greek, but cleverly treads the line between being cheeky and overdone. Burgers are named after various roles in the Papist roster and can be customized with various toppings. One couldn't help but wonder, though, if T.B.P.'s chops would deliver.
The aptly-named Priest brings a beef patty topped with melted cheese, a deep-fried portobella (which, on its own, is the "Option" burger) and - at my request - lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup and mustard. The tomato immediately stands out. It is ripe! Thank the heavens. It oughtn't to be the case, but woefully underripe tomatoes plague too many Edmonton eateries. Not "The Priest." This benevolent omen ushers in a burger characterized by flavourful, juicy meat, an especially satisfying fried 'shroom, and a delightful crown of melted cheese.
The Vatican takes tongue-in-cheek indulgence to a different level entirely. Not one, but two grilled cheese sandwiches carry two beef patties that sport even more melted cheese. Though the cheese is more of the Kraft Single than the vintage cheddar variety, it quickly becomes ooey, gooey, nostalgic fun and reminds one of the grilled cheese sandwiches made by the inevitable best friend's mom in grade two. Though it is a bit difficult to finish this calorrific treat, each bite really is one step closer to hamburger heaven.
Burgers may well have their day in the sun this year, but The Burger's Priest quickly converted even the staunchest of non-believers. Reach out and touch faith.