Tag Archives: Calgary burgers

Calgary Under $10 Lunch: Boogie’s Burgers

Local beef, generous size, great fixings, affordable: What’s not to like at Boogie’s Burgers?

It’s not hard to find a budget burger in most cities and towns. Just head to an old-school drive-in and, for $6 or $7, order a nondescript patty disguised by the usual fixings in a fall-apart bun.

The real challenge is discovering a bargain burger that stands out. Which is why Boogie’s Burgers is my go-to under-$10 burger joint in Calgary.

Yes, in some ways it fits the classic description of old-school burger barn. It’s been around since 1969, and has the standard menu of burgers every which way and an equally long list of milkshakes.

Spartan settings, with the focus firmly on the food

What’s different is the quality and imagination of ingredients. The patties are 100% Alberta beef and the toppings generous, including fried mushrooms and fried onions on even the most basic burger.

The other thing that impresses me is the heft. I often judge food by its weight, and Boogie’s doesn’t cut corners here. My bag of single-patty Fay’s Burger ($7.50, featuring two slices of bacon) and “small” fries ($2.60, hand cut from Hutterite colony potatoes) easily weighs two pounds and takes a hearty appetite to demolish.

A honking big bag of burger and fries

Finally, I’m told my order will take 10 minutes to prepare, even though the place is all but empty. That’s okay. It means everything is being made to order, not sliding off a warming tray.

Boogie’s Burgers
908 Edmonton Trail NE and one other Calgary location
Monday to Saturday 11 am-9 pm, Sunday noon to 9 pm
403-230-7070

A Rare, Medium-rare Burger at Calgary’s National

Juicy, medium-rare burger at National in Calgary

Juicy, medium-rare burger and a side arugula-pear salad at National in Calgary

Here are seven words I wasn’t expecting to hear in a Canadian restaurant: “How would you like your burger cooked?”

You see, burgers up north are generally cooked till the critter is well and truly dead, devoid of the flowing juices one expects of another cattle product, namely a steak. It’s something to do with health regulations and fears of nasty e coli outbreaks.

Truly, I understand being on the safe side. But that hasn’t stopped many U.S. restaurants from offering flavourful medium-rare pucks, without accompanying trips to emergency.

Apparently, a way around these Canadian regulations is to freshly grind the meat in house and scrupulously clean the equipment used to do so. This allows National, a restaurant/pub with three locations in Calgary, to grind its chuck steak into burger meat and ask customers how they want it cooked.

I’d heard The National could be hit-and-miss about producing medium-rare burgers. But mine is perfectly tinged pink in the middle and all the more succulent for it. I add some American cheese and a runny egg, but really, this is a burger on a brioche bun that doesn’t need dolling up.

As if a medium-rare burger wasn't juicy enough, I added a runny egg

As if a medium-rare burger wasn’t juicy enough, I added a runny egg

You can get your burger with a side of what I’m sure are perfectly good fries. But just go for a sizable bowl of excellent salad, whether it’s arugula, pear and walnut or quinoa and bacon. If a burger’s not your thing, the open-faced short rib and oxtail ragu sandwich is also first rate.

The short rib and oxtail ragu is a good choice, too

The short rib and oxtail ragu with a quinoa-bacon salad is a good choice, too

National has an impressive 60 beers on tap, though at a rather pricy $8.50 a 20-ounce pint ($5 during weekday happy hour, 3-5 pm). But hey, this is Calgary, so the $15 tab for an unadorned burger is not surprising. And maybe worth it for one of the best in town.

The latest National outlet is in a bright, former Blockbuster video store in the West Hills shopping mall, with lots of windows, an expansive patio and shared, picnic-style tables.

National
180 Stewart Green SW, (and two other Calgary locations)
Weekdays 11 am-late, weekend 10 am to late
National Westhills on Urbanspoon

What are your favourite Calgary burger joints? Just hit the reply button at the top left of the page.