Time and money are often the greatest limiting factors during a holiday, and my trip to Toronto was certainly no exception. A busy schedule of playing tourist meant that on occasion, we were too late or too tired to travel great distances for dinner – or at least, everybody else was. When it comes to travelling for food, I believe in the words of two wise Scotsmen, who once proclaimed: “I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more, just to be the man who walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door”. Whilst The Proclaimers’ words are often mistaken to be a declaration of love for a woman, they were actually the basis of their food-hunting philosophy, and it’s a philosophy that everyone who claims to love food should have. Sadly, everyone else I was on holiday with was a normal human being, and lacked such blind dedication. On these busy and tiring occasions, I did my best to make life easy for our chauffeurs, and selected restaurants and takeaways that were fairly local to our hotel. “Burger Factory” was one such establishment, and whilst we expected a cheap and cheerful meal that would instantly hit the spot, it missed like an English footballer faced with an open goal. All the meat here is halal.
NOTE: All scores below are in accordance with fast-food standards, and are not in keeping with the usual gourmet-burger standards.
By now, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that when it came to ordering, I took the quick and simple route of picking the largest thing I could see. “The Compressor” stood out like a sore thumb – not least because it was a triple-patty, 15oz cheeseburger, and probably named after the fact that it would inflate the stomachs of anyone who dared to eat it – and certainly not with air. Unfortunately however, a 15oz helping of air would probably have made for a more satisfying meal. The buns that encased this monstrous machine were of a low quality, and decidedly dull and dry. The beef patties were of a reasonable, average quality given the exceedingly low-price, and fairly thick and crumbly in texture, but, despite ordering them to be cooked to medium-rare, they were cooked to well beyond well-done. As a result, they were drier than a bale of straw, and whilst people often say that I look like a cross between a horse and a cow, I certainly do not produce enough saliva to eat like either one. The cheese that covered the patties, however, was pleasant, and combined well with the pickles, which provided a sharp zest and a contrasting, crunchy texture in combination with the sliced onions. Meanwhile, the “factory sauce” which covered the patties, provided a strong and pleasant flavour, but there simply was not enough of it in relation to the three patties. In combination with the already-barren patties, this lack of sauce completely ruined the burger, and after eating just half of it, it became grossly unpleasant and inedible. Never before had I voluntarily stopped eating a burger before I had finished it. Much like my social life, it was nothing short of a complete and utter tragedy.
Value For Money: 2.5/5
Burgers here range from a humble $5 for single-patty options, to $12 for the “Compressor”, whilst sides and drinks are generally below $6. These prices are very low, but it’s worth remembering that the quality of the food is too. Whilst a meal here won’t empty your pocket, it will empty your happiness. There are many halal burger establishments in Toronto that are worthy of your dollars, but sadly, Burger Factory is not one of them.
For a restaurant that resides in one of the friendliest cities in the world, Burger Factory’s staff members are exceptionally cold. For a Londoner like myself, it’s extremely unnatural to be enthusiastic when speaking to strangers. London is perhaps the only city in the world where friendly manners are only displayed when absolutely necessary – so much so that even friends and family members will avoid each other when in public – (my Dad once pretended not to see me on a bus). Toronto however, completely diverted me from my natural, reserved London-mannerisms, and often, I found myself happily speaking with strangers – simply because in Toronto, it’s fairly normal behaviour. Thus, I was very surprised by the cold reception from Burger Factory’s staff. The waitress behind the till for example, wore a frozen frown on her face and spoke in the bluntest of monotones, as though our existence was somehow an inconvenience. The cook who was preparing our burgers was a little friendlier, and at least smiled politely, but generally, service was not warm or receptive at all – even for London standards. Indeed, by Canadian standards, it was exceedingly poor. That said, they were prompt and efficient in rustling up our order, which was perhaps the only thing I could give them credit for.
Burger Factory is a fairly small diner and takeaway that sports a red and white livery and contains no more than 20-25 seats. There are comfortable, red-leather-laden booths and it’s a fairly simple and attractive set-up, but there’s nothing particularly spectacular about it. For a low-key diner, it simply does the job. The restaurant is located on a strip-mall off Dixie Road, and as such, there are plenty of parking spaces outside.
Much like the decor, there isn’t a great deal of excitement in the atmosphere either. The restaurant isn’t particularly welcoming (partly due to the unwelcoming staff), and for the most part, silence fills the surrounding air.
With disappointing food, poor service and mediocre surroundings, there were very few silver linings (if any) that I could see during my cloudy visit to Burger Factory. Whether the staff-members were having a bad-day and uncharacteristically off-form, or whether the Burger Factory genuinely is as unspectacular as I found it to be – I cannot say. What I can say however, is that I would certainly not recommend it as a burger establishment worth visiting – especially since there are many other cheap and cheerful burgers in Toronto, which are actually cheerful. Stay tuned for more of our “Toronto Special” series – we’re now halfway through!
Address: 5130 Dixie Rd, Mississauga, ON L4W 1C9, Canada