Chuck's Burger Bar
You've often heard of us speak of our love for The Harbour Diner. With it's kitschy decor and affordable (yet incredible) menu its one of the places we often we suggest when people ask us for recommendations. When we found out owners Chris and Erin were opening up Chucks Burger Bar, their second restaurant, we were over the moon about it. The space underwent an extreme makeover and while we curiously tried to peak in the papered up windows during its renos, seeing it all come together was worth the wait. "I wanted to bring everything back to raw materials, natural and handmade" explained Chris "we've got steel elements and concrete, brick and glass. I wanted to showcase that style by exposing the original elements as opposed to ordering new". Chucks has quickly become the place in Hamilton not only because of the location and decor but because these are some of the best burgers you'll ever have.
Chris is an incredible Chef, and hes conscious of sourcing locally. "All of our burgers are made from meat from local farms," explained Chris, "They're handmade, hand ground, fresh to order." And since there are no fillers, all the burgers are gluten free. With choices from grain fed Ontario lamb to Crescent Creek venison, the burgers are more lean and full of unique flavour. Stephanie's favourite is the farm raised, all natural bison burger with smoked cheddar, roasted garlic mayo and tomatoes. Next she plans to try the Crescent Creek venison burger with grilled asparagus, creamy brie and basil mayo. Jacklyn, on the other hand gave up meat for Lent. And since she's a burger-aholic knew it would be a great challenge. Of course it so happened to be during the time a gourmet burger resto would open. Its kind of ironic, like our friend Jay Perry who recently gave up eating potato chips for his Give Up To Gain initiative and was later hired to be the photographer at a party hosted by Doritos. Soy based burgers are usually awful so Jacklyn was so incredibly surprised to discover how Chris makes the veggie burgers. "I roast turnips, carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, onions, zucchini and garlic, and sautee it with a touch of olive oil," Chris explained, "Then I add water, salt, pepper, and potatoes and boil it down to create a vegetable stock." From these ingredients he makes the veggie patties. "I think people were expecting a soy based patty," said Chris, "But I didn't want that at all." And we're so glad.
Built in 1908, the building had incredible features that were covered up. Chris exposed the brick walls and salvaged the original tin ceiling. He made the tables himself with wood from Canadian Salvaged Timber and they're absolutely stunning. We just wish there were more of them. We've always been lucky to get seated but on each of our (many) visits people have been waiting out the door. "People are waiting 45 minutes and saying it's well worth it," said Chris. To that we'd agree.
If you have a chance, definitely try the hand cut sweet potato fries with ancho chilli mayo. They are unreal. And they have an entire section on the menu dedicated to poutines. Try the lobster one and tell us how it is!
The bar was built by an amature artist and concrete crafter out of Toronto. We love the fresh colours of the subway tile back splash and wallpaper. "I wanted to create a place people would love," said Chris, "I didn't really have intentions going into it. I just want to make great food, I guess if it works, it works. You can't create cool, it kind of just happens".
Chuck's Burger Bar
194 Locke Street South